HC Deb 28 October 1976 vol 918 cc360-1W
Mr. Hooley

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what would be the additional charge on the balance of payments of an increase of $1.50 on the market price of Middle East crude oil in 1977, from 1st January 1977, assuming (a) the same volume of imports as in 1976 and (b) a reduction of 25 million tonnes in imports allowing for the balance to be made up by North Sea oil.

Mr. Robert Sheldon

Some £600 million under assumption (a) and some £400 million under assumption (b). These calculations are based on the level of oil imports in the first three-quarters of 1976 and on the current exchange rate of around $1.60. It is hoped in practice that flows of North Sea oil will rise by more than 25 million tonnes in 1977.

Mr. Gow

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the average rate of interest paid on the National Debt during each of the seven years ended 5th April 1976; and what is his estimate of the average rate of interest on the National Debt payable during the year ending 5th April 1977.

Mr. Joel Barnett

The interest paid expressed as a percentage of the National Debt is as follows:

Year ending 31st March Interest paid as percentage of National Debt
1970 4.3
1971 4.2
1972 4.5
1973 5.0
1974 5.7
1975 6.1
1976 6.2
1977 7.1*
* Estimate

Mr. Gow

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the average per head of the population of the United Kingdom of the National Debt on 5th April 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975 and 1976; and what were the equivalent figures, on the same debt, for each of the other eight members of the EEC.

Mr. Denzil Davies

I would refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Brentford and Isleworth (Mr. Hayhoe) on 12th July 1976.—[Vol. 915, c.114–16.] Figures for central Government debt per head in other EEC member countries, converted to sterling at market exchange rates, at 31st March 1975 are:

West Germany 390
France 190*
Italy 340
Netherlands 540
Belgium 1,080
Luxembourg 540
Denmark 50
Ireland 630†
* Based on United Nations population estimate.
† Refers to 31st December 1974 not 31st March 1975.

Insufficient information is available for all countries to make this calculation for 31st March 1976.