HC Deb 02 March 1972 vol 832 cc734-5
Q1. Mr. Sheldon

asked the Prime Minister if the public speech delivered by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury on behalf of the Chancellor of the Exchequer on Tuesday, 15th February, in London on economic matters represents Government policy.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Edward Heath)

Yes, Sir. The speech was about international monetary reform, on which the Chancellor of the Exchequer's proposals have been widely recognised as very helpful.

Mr. Sheldon

In that speech the Chancellor referred to the difficulties of other countries which have their own balance of payments problems. Since we in Britain have achieved a massive surplus, which is now runnng at a higher level than at any other time this century, will the right hon. Gentleman say why it is not being used to increase demand and reduce unemployment? The only conceivable reason for failure to use the balance of payments in this way is that it would start the reflationary cycle too early for the next General Election. Because of this factor, must we be denied the use of that surplus in increasing demand and in reducing the present intolerable level of unemployment?

The Prime Minister

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for paying tribute to the size of the balance of payments in 1971, but my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer was dealing in his speech with monetary reform, not with the internal economy.

Mr. Lamond

Is the Prime Minister aware that his right hon. Friend in that speech anticipated our entry into the Common Market and suggested that it would be the financial salvation not only of this country but of many other countries? Is not the Chancellor incorrect in assuming that we shall enter the Common Market, particularly in view of the Prime Minister's speech on television the other day in which he said that the Geovernment were here to do what the people wanted them to do? If that is the case, we shall certainly not enter the Common Market.

The Prime Minister

When this House gives a majority of 112 to a policy, it is quite clear what the people's representatives want.