HC Deb 10 November 1971 vol 825 cc1012-3
20. Mr. Rankin

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what effect he estimates British membership of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, the European Free Trade Area and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade have, respectively, on price levels in Scotland; and by how much he expects these effects to be altered by United Kingdom accession to the Common Market.

Mr. Gordon Campbell

I am advised that it is not possible to give an estimate of this particular effect of membership of these three organisations in recent years.

Mr. Rankin

Surely, the right hon. Gentleman is aware that we have complicated pricing arrangements, trading arrangements and so on with other countries under these treaties, and that they affect us deeply. Does he not realise that Britain's entry into the Common Market will almost certainly bring us into conflict with many of those existing arrangements and organisations? Does he suggest that the new arrangements will have no deleterious effect on existing arrangements?

Mr. Campbell

The hon. Gentleman is quite right when he says that the arrangements are complicated. They certainly are, and I have to tell him and the House that the particular effect about which he has asked is impossible to identify. [Horn. MEMBERS: "Why?"] I remind the House that the hon. Gentleman is not asking about the Common Market; he is asking about N.A.T.O., E.F.T.A. and G.A.T.T. Hitherto, apparently, no one has wished to discover this rather abstruse piece of information. On the question of the Common Market, the Government made clear in their White Paper what they expect the effects on prices to be. I shall not take time to repeat that now. The Question refers to three other organisations.

Mr. Speaker

Mr. Rankin, Question No. 21.

Mr. Rankin

May I just make a simple remark—

Mr. Speaker

Order. There can be no remark, simple or otherwise.