HC Deb 24 October 1972 vol 843 c963
1 Dr. Gilbert

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement about the progress of discussions with Commonwealth countries on the status of the Basle Agreements.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Anthony Barber)

The present Sterling Agreements remain in force until September, 1973. Informal consultations have been held with the Governments concerned about the implications of recent United Kingdom measures for the operation of the agreements.

Dr. Gilbert

Have any of the parties to the agreements let the sterling proportion of their reserves fall in the last 12 months below the minimum agreed? Are the United Kingdom guarantees under the reserves activated only when a new parity is set for the £, or can they come into force if the £ floats far below the level of 2 dollars and 40 cents? If it is the case that it needs a new parity, how low can the parity be set without the guarantees being called into force? Finally, could the right hon. Gentleman tell us what would be the cost to the reserves of every point below 2 dollars and 40 cents at which the parity would be set if the guarantees were brought into force?

Mr. Barber

The hon. Gentleman will realise on reflection that all the points he raised are of a confidential nature. But there has been no occasion for implementing the guarantees.

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