HC Deb 17 January 1974 vol 867 cc908-9
Q2. Mr. Skinner

asked the Prime Minister when he next plans to attend a meeting of the NEDC.

The Prime Minister

I took the chair of NEDC on 21st December, but my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer is chairman of the council and I have no immediate plans to attend a further meeting myself.

Mr. Skinner

Before the Prime Minister attends the next NEDC meeting, and in view of the contradictory statements which have been made by past and present Governors of the Bank of England, will he tell us which bank manager is kept in the Downing Street wardrobe?

The Prime Minister

I have no plans to attend the next NEDC meeting. In any event, I do not believe that that would be one of the topics of conversation.

Mr. Molloy

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the reference to 1984 by the Governor of the Bank of England is not nearly as worrying as the activities of the Government, including statements by the Prime Minister that the problems which we are now suffering are problems of success. The Chancellor of the Exchequer says that devaluation of the pound by nearly 30 per cent. is a mark of our buoyancy. Is the Prime Minister aware that he has created so many bodies outside Parliament which are not answerable to this House that the sort of 1984 of which the nation will be afraid under a Tory Government is the Orwellian 1984 to which we are moving?

The Prime Minister

I am sorry if the hon. Gentleman cannot join the corps of responsible observers who have always recognised that in an expanding economy we are bound to be importing very large stocks of fuel and machinery to enable the economy to have a new capacity. In the debates on this matter I have constantly emphasised that this is the problem which the country has faced for the past 25 years. No viable policies will ever be formed by the Opposition until they recognise that.