HC Deb 28 November 1972 vol 847 cc223-4
8. Mr. Wingfield Digby

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he expects to be able to return to the terms of the Smithsonian agreement.

30. Sir G. Nabarro

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will now announce that the £ sterling will cease floating on 31st December, 1972.

Mr. Duffy

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he intends to continue the sterling float beyond the formal date of British entry into the European Community on 1st January.

Mr. Barber

I have nothing to add to the many statements which I have already made.

Mr. Wingfield Digby

Is not my right hon. Friend now in a position to notify a new middle rate to the IMF, and has he come to any understanding with our new partners in the Nine if we have to defer the end of floating until after entry?

Mr. Barber

I can answer my hon. Friend only by saying that I have already made it clear publicly and on many occasions that it is our intention to return to a fixed rate as soon as conditions permit. I have also said that I hope it will be possible to bring floating to an end before 1st January. I can go no further than that.

Sir G. Nabarro

Does my right hon. Friend necessarily exclude devaluation of sterling in his calculations or is he talking of a return to a fixed rate based on the Smithsonian agreement, which was 2.60 dollars, and the rates associated with it?

Mr. Barber

I think that on reflection my hon. Friend will understand why I cannot speculate any further about the future course of the exchange rate other than to repeat the assurance I gave at the outset of the question.

Mr. Dalyell

What precisely are the conditions that are likely or not likely to permit?

Mr. Barber

Obviously the totality of conditions which affect any exchange rate.