HC Deb 01 April 1976 vol 908 cc1566-8
19. Mr. Hooley

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he next expects to meet the Director of the International Monetary Fund.

24. Mr. Crawford

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he next intends to attend a meeting of the IMF.

Mr. Healey

There are no arrangements for me to meet Dr. Witteveen at the moment, though he is always welcome here. The next meeting of the IMF Board of Governors is the annual meeting, planned to take place in October.

Mr. Hooley

When my right hon. Friend meets the Director of the IMF, will be impress on him the great contribution that the IMF could make towards solving the present world recession problems by increasing special drawing rights for the benefit of developing countries, accelerating the sale of gold to provide them with extra purchasing power, and also expanding the compensatory financing scheme? This would have an impact not only on the developing countries but on our own economy.

Mr. Healey

I am grateful to my hon. Friend. He will be aware that the IMF Interim Committee took decisions in all these fields, under strong urging from myself, at the meeting in Jamaica in January.

Mr. Crawford

Will the Chancellor of the Exchequer tell the IMF that he will very shortly have to rely on the good will of a Scottish Government in regard to Scottish oil revenues, in trying to keep English currency at a reasonably healthy level?

Mr. Healey

I always believe, like Dr. Witteveen, in confining my remarks to fact and not to fancy.

Mr. Hordern

Will the Chancellor of the Exchequer say how much of the reecnt IMF loan has been drawn down by the Government, and what remains of the loan? Has the Chancellor of the Exchequer anything to change in, or add to, his latest letter to the Director of the International Monetary Fund?

Mr. Healey

On the first question, the only drawing under the application I made last year has been the drawing of the special oil facility. The first tranche is completely untouched. I have no intention of changing anything I said in my letter of application.

Mr. Cryer

Will my right hon. Friend confirm that the International Monetary Fund in no way controls the will or desire of the British Labour Government to apply selective import controls if they so choose? Bearing that in mind, does he not agree that this is an economic technique that the Government must consider if British manufacturing industry is to recover?

Mr. Healey

I have always made it clear that the Government are prepared to consider selective import controls on the conditions agreed by the Labour Party conference—that they should not lead to retaliation or introduce a risk of an international trade war, from which the poorest countries would suffer most. My hon. Friend will remember that we introduced two such controls in the package of measures just before Christmas.

Mr. Nott

Will the Chancellor of the Exchequer say whether there are any additional facilities available to us from the IMF at the present time, and, if so, whether any of these facilities can be drawn without conditions?

Mr. Healey

We have a standby for SDR 700 million, which is equivalent to about £420 million. I have the right to draw under the letter of application which I tendered in December, but I have not yet drawn and I have no intention of drawing at present. Our further drawing rights, under the present extension of credit quotas to 45 per cent., will increase our total drawing rights by SDR 3,360 million.

Mr. Dalyell

On the question of a separate Scottish currency, will my right hon. Friend lose no opportunity of repeating the case so ably set out in my constituency by the Paymaster-General that that would mean a more serious employment situation in Scotland?

Mr. Healey

I am always happy to oblige my hon. Friend, particularly in this regard.

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