HC Deb 15 December 1967 vol 756 cc239-40W
Mr. Wall

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Affairs what additional proposals for the amendment of the "Tiger" constitution were put forward by Her Majesty's Government while he was in Salisbury.

Mr. George Thomson

None. In my talks with Mr. Smith in Salisbury I was concerned to explore the changes in the draft constitution worked out on board H.M.S. "Tiger" which he had told Lord Alport he wished to introduce.

Mr. Biggs-Davison

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Affairs whether he will give the most recent estimate of the budgetary costs, and the cost to the United Kingdom's balance of payments, of sanctions against Rhodesia; how much of these costs are attributable to naval and air expenditure and the increased cost of copper and tobacco imports, respectively; and what reductions in these costs are proposed.

Mr. George Thomson

The direct cost of payments by the Exchequer including aid to Zambia, was £27 million between I.D.I. and 30th November this year.

The cost to the United Kingdom balance of payments cannot be precisely estimated. The cost for 1967 will probably be similar to that of £40 million given for 1966 by the Prime Minister in the House on 16th March, 1967. Within this figure the additional cost of tobacco imports is estimated at about £10 million. In addition about £10 million of the additional cost of copper imports in 1967 might be attributed to the Rhodesian situation, amongst the many factors affecting copper prices.

Since I.D.I. the Royal Air Force has incurred additional budgetary expenditure on the deployment of the Javelin defence force and its supporting units, now withdrawn, of about £2.8 million and of £0.4 million on surveillance of the Mozambique Channel; additional costs have been incurred by the Royal Navy in respect of the latter of about £0.5 million.

As I said in the House on Tuesday, 12th December, failing a return to constitutional rule in Rhodesia we have no alternative but to pursue the policy of sanctions in conjunction with the United Nations. In view of the many factors involved I cannot forecast the likely future cost of this policy.

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