§ 2.33 p.m.
§ [The Question was as follows:
§ To ask Her Majesty's Government how far the £600 million extra burden on our balance of payments due to joining the Common Market will now be increased in sterling as a result of devaluation.]
§ LORD BESWICK
My Lords, in the spring of this year entry into the E.E.C. was estimated to call for a redeployment of our resources from present home use to exports, or to import substitution, of the order of about £100 million each year, over a period of perhaps five years after we have entered. The net effect of devaluation, on present information, is that no significant change in this estimate is called for.
§ LORD BLYTON
My Lords, is the Minister aware that the Prime Minister estimates that, due to devaluation, £500 million will be saved on the balance of payments? Will not that be wiped out by joining the Common Market, where we know that it will be £600 million against us? And if we join the Common 668 Market, may we not have to devalue again?
§ LORD BESWICK
My Lords, the figures the noble Lord quotes are accurate, but not the assumptions he draws from them. As the Prime Minister has said, it would cost us £100 million a year for the next five years if we entered the European Economic Community. On the other hand, advantages would accrue at the same time, which would leave us in a better position to achieve the £500 million advantage which we expect from devaluation.