HC Deb 20 July 1982 vol 28 c114W
Mr. Austin Mitchell

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the trend of imports and exports of manufactures in the current year to date is the same as forecast at the time of the Budget; what is the extent of any deviation in each case; and what measures Her Majesty's Government are proposing to take to correct the situation.

Mr. Wakeham

The forecast published in the Financial Statement and Budget Report contained projections for exports and imports of goods and services in total, not for manufactures alone. Figures for 1982 are now available for January to May in respect of goods and for the first quarter in respect of services. Grossing up these figures to a half yearly rate offers some indication of how the outcome so far compares with the forecast, although it should be borne in mind that the monthly trade figures have been very volatile in recent months, and that the services figures are liable to substantial revision. The grossed up figures are:

Trade in Goods and Services
(£ million, 1975 prices)
Exports Imports
1982 HI on available information 16,335 17,980

These figures can be compared with the projections in table 14 of the Financial Statement and Budget Report.

A sustained improvement in United Kingdom trade performance can be achieved through domestic producers improving their competitiveness by restraining cost increases and increasing productivity. The Government seek to encourage them to do so.

Mr. Austin Mitchell

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the changes in the volume of exports and imports caused by a change of one point in the trade weighted depreciation of the £ sterling since December 1971; and whether he will publish it.

Mr. Bruce-Gardyne

The effect of changes in the exchange rate depend on a range of factors, including the response of domestic costs and prices. Estimates require the use of a detailed macroeconomic model, and would be subject to considerable uncertainty. It is not my practice to publish estimates of this sort.