HC Deb 24 May 1966 vol 729 cc63-4W
93. Mr. Marten

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will give an estimate of the extent to which, in conformity with Her Majesty's Government's policy expressed by the British delegation in the European Free Trade Association communiqué of 29th October, 1965, the balance of payments deficit will be eliminated in the course of 1966; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Callaghan

As I said in my Budget statement, it is still the Government's aim to achieve balance by the end of this year, but it is more important to achieve a trend of improvement which will carry us from deficit into surplus in a reasonable period than to show a balance in one particular quarter or half year, which may be affected by special factors.

Sir C. Osborne

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer by how much Great Britain's spending abroad contributed to the payments deficit last year; if he will revise his policy of depriving productive industry of the opportunity to expand abroad and so increase its export earnings, by reducing the high level of overseas financial spending; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Callaghan

Net Government expenditure abroad on current account last year was £454 million. As I made clear in my Budget speech we intend to reduce Government spending abroad and to limit the outflow of capital. Both will help to get us back into balance.