HC Deb 04 March 1965 vol 707 cc276-7W
38. Mr. Wingfield Digby

asked the President of the Board of Trade what was the invisible trade balance on account of shipping, in 1952 and 1963, respectively; and what action he is taking to restore a surplus.

Mr. Jay

The shipping account of the balance of payments showed a surplus of £134 million in 1952 and a deficit of £11 million in 1963.

As the United Kingdom is a net exporter of shipping services, the deterioration in our shipping account largely reflects the change in the world shipping market from the boom of 1952 to the comparatively depressed condition of today. The maintenance of an efficient and flourishing merchant fleet will naturally benefit our balance of payments position and our shipping policies have this as their aim. Although a moderate increase in freight rates would probably put the account in surplus, there is no sign of the very favourable trading conditions that would be necessary to restore the 1952 position.

40. Mr. Ridley

asked the President of the Board of Trade what estimate he has made of the effect the new export credit arrangements will have upon the balance of payments.

Mr. Jay

There are too many uncertain factors to make an exact assessment possible.