HC Deb 17 January 1974 vol 867 cc903-4
13. Mr. Deakins

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if, in view of the economic situation, he proposes to make use of Article 135 of the Treaty of Accession to the EEC.

Mr. Maurice Macmillan

My right hon. Friend has already announced the measures considered necessary in present circumstances ; these do not entail recourse to Article 135.

Mr. Deakins

Since we now face the worst balance of payments crisis in the history of any country, surely the time has come to tell the Common Market that we can no longer bear the burden of the taxes on imported food, the net cost of our payments to the Community budget and the intolerable burden of Common Market membership on our overall balance of payments position.

Mr. Macmillan

It is not membership of the Common Market that has placed an intolerable burden on our balance of payments but the pressure of world prices and commodity prices, which has been enhanced by the increase in energy prices. This has presented the whole of Europe with a balance of payments problem vis-à-vis the exporting countries.

Mr. Dykes

Has the Chancellor discussed recently with the Community the question of limiting imports of nonessential consumer durables from non-Community countries?

Mr. Macmillan

My right hon. Friend has held a number of discussions with Ministers within the Community. In so far as these are public, the results have been made known. It would not be right for me to say what my right hon. Friend might or might not be discussing in his present talks in Rome.