HC Deb 20 December 1974 vol 883 cc711-2W
Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop

asked the Prime Minister whether he will make it the practice of his administration that when Ministers employ the word "billion" in any official speeches, documents, or answers to Parliamentary Questions, they will, to avoid confusion, only do so in its British meaning of 1 million million and not in the sense in which it is used in the United States of America, which uses the term "billion" to mean 1,000 million.

The Prime Minister

No. The word "billion" is now used internationally to mean 1,000 million and it would be confusing if British Ministers were to use it in any other sense. I accept that it could still be interpreted in this country as 1 million million and I shall ask my colleagues to ensure that, if they do use it, there should be no ambiguity as to its meaning.

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