§ Before I turn to my proposals for changes in taxation, I have one other change of a specific nature to announce. In 1979, a few months after the present Government had first taken office, my predecessor announced the abolition of exchange controls, which had been in continuous operation ever since the outbreak of war in 1939. That bold action has, over the past seven and a half years, proved wholly beneficial to the British economy; and I am glad to note that other European countries are now moving in the same direction.
But the Exchange Control Act remains on the statute book. The time has come to repeal it. The necessary legislation will be contained in this year's Finance Bill.
I note that, in what was clearly intended to be a major speech in New York in September, the Deputy Leader of the Labour party declared that
The Labour Party has no intention of reintroducing statutory exchange controls".
I am confident, therefore, that the proposal I have just made will be welcomed on all sides of the House.