HC Deb 21 April 1970 vol 800 cc222-3
11. Mr. Barnett

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what discussions he has now had on the levels of world interest rates; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Roy Jenkins

I of course keep in touch with those concerned in other Governments.

Mr. Barnett

In view of the particularly harsh effect of the level of interest rates, whilst I welcome the fact that ours in relation to others are now much better than they ever were, would my right hon. Friend consider that the time is perhaps opportune to call a new international conference on the subject with a view to getting international co-operation for a reduction of world interest rates, which would be for the benefit of all nations?

Mr. Jenkins

I am not in general convinced that international conferences are the solution to all international problems. Probably we have done better by setting an example than by calling a conference. We have made two moves downwards in Bank Rate recently, and whilst our Bank Rate is high by historical standards we are, for the first time since the post-war world settled down, at a lower Bank Rate than West Germany.

Mr. Bruce-Gardyne

Does the right hon. Gentleman recall that his predecessor held a conference at Chequers about world interest rates? What positive results emerged from it?

Mr. Jenkins

In the short term the results were very good.