HC Deb 11 February 1982 vol 17 c1101
7. Mr. Craigen

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he expects to reply to the Treasury and Civil Service Committee report of 18 December 1981 on the Government's economic policy.

Sir Geoffrey Howe

The questions discussed in the Committee's report are matters for my forthcoming Budget.

Mr. Craigen

When the Chancellor responds to the Select Committee, will he have collected his thoughts and be able to say precisely what the Government's economic strategy is? Why do we hear so little nowadays about sterling M3?

Sir Geoffrey Howe

I am delighted by the hon. Gentleman's interest in the subject. He will hear more about it in my Budget Statement.

Mr. Eggar

Is my right hon. and learned Friend aware that there is now considerable confusion about whether the sterling M3 targets detailed in the medium-term financial strategy are indeed targets? Do we now have an exchange rate policy?

Sir Geoffrey Howe

As is explained in the Government's Green Paper on monetary policy, and as was fully explained in last year's Red Book and in my Budget Statement, we have regard to more monetary aggregates than the sterling M3 figure and, as I said last year, we take account of the sterling exchange rates.



Mr. Speaker

I shall call the hon. Member for Blackburn (Mr. Straw), but may I say that the Front Bench has spoken on every question except one.

Mr. Straw

In that case, Mr. Speaker, I forgo the question.

Mr. Speaker

Mr. Winnick.

Mr. Winnick

On the subject of the Government's economic policy, has the Chancellor had time to study the speech of his right hon. Friend the Member for Chesham and Amersham (Sir I. Gilmour), in which he called for urgent Government action to save large parts of Britain from economic destruction and spoke of Treasury half-truths? Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that when his right hon. Friend made those remarks he was reflecting the views of the vast majority of people in Britain, who reject with contempt the Government's economic policies, which have brought economic devastation to many parts of the country?

Sir Geoffrey Howe

The hon. Gentleman is wholly mistaken in his analysis of the situation. The Government's policies have been, are and will continue to be directed to laying the foundations of sustainable economic growth, maintaining the battle against inflation and reversing the tide of unemployment.