I am glad to be able to tell the House that BSC's external financing limit for the current year has been reduced by £95 million from £146 million to £51 million. This reflects a revised view of the outlook for the year, taking account of recent changes in external conditions. Exchange rate developments and a reduced need for working capital to finance stocks have played a major part.
I am also able to announce an interim financial target for the corporation. In recent years BSC has had to work to annual rather than medium-term targets, and although I hope next year to establish a medium-term target, it has not proved practicable to do so at this stage. The Government have set a target for the financial year 1986–87 of a return of 5 per cent. before interest and exceptional items on BSC's total capital employed, including short-term borrowings, as at 29 March 1986.