HC Deb 12 March 1980 vol 980 cc573-4W
Mr. Beaumont-Dark

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the Government's policy

"Ortoli" facility loans as less prosperous member States fully and effectively participating in the EMS exchange rate arrangement. These subsidies reduce the interest rate by 3 per cent., and their discounted value is limited to 200 meua per annum for five years on loans totalling no more than 1,000 meua per annum over the same period. These subsidies are not currently available to the United Kingdom.

Certain ECSC loans in the United Kingdom and other member States are subsidised. These subsidies are provided through the ECSC budget where a total provision of 30.3 meua and 47.0 meua was made in each of the last two years for which the schemes have been operating. There is also a scheme for heavily subsidised loans for coal and steelworkers' housing. The United Kingdom was allocated 11 meua out of 56 meua in the programme running from 1975–79.

in regard to join the European monetary system and any likely effect that joining would have on the target for the growth of the £ sterling.

Sir Geoffrey Howe

[pursuant to his reply, 11 March 1980]: On the first part of my hon. Friend's question, I have at present nothing to add to the reply I gave him on 10 December 1979—[Vol. 975, c. 402–3]. On the second part, any effect on our ability to achieve our monetary target would depend on the scale and direction of intervention needed to keep the exchange rate within EMS margins.