Rhodesia (Sanctions)

Oral Answers to Questions — National Finance – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 7th March 1967.

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Photo of Mr Victor Goodhew Mr Victor Goodhew , St Albans 12:00 am, 7th March 1967

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what was the total cost to Great Britain, including loss of trade, loss of invisible earnings, loss of sterling balances, subsidies to Zambia, military and naval policing, and all other measurable effects, direct and indirect, of the Government's sanctions policy against Rhodesia, in the first full year;

(2) what he estimates will be the total cost to Great Britain, including loss of trade, loss of invisible earnings, loss of sterling balances, subsidies to Zambia, military and naval policing, and all other measurable effects, direct and indirect, of the Government's sanctions policy against Rhodesia for the first full year following the implementation of the United Nations resolution on mandatory sanctions.

Photo of Mr Patrick Wall Mr Patrick Wall , Haltemprice

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what has been the effect on the British economy of sanctions against Rhodesia.

Photo of Mr Hugh Fraser Mr Hugh Fraser , Stafford and Stone

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will now publish a White Paper showing the cost to this country of Rhodesian sanctions bearing in mind military costs, loss of trade and invisibles, emergency loans, and, taking 1964 as the norm, increased import prices and cost of foreign exchange for raw material substitutions.

Photo of Mr James Callaghan Mr James Callaghan The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee

I would refer the right hon. and hon. Gentlemen to the Answer which my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister gave to a Question by the right hon. Gentleman, the Member for Streatham (Mr. Sandys) on Tuesday, 21st February.—[Vol. 741, Cols. 1433–8.]

Photo of Mr Victor Goodhew Mr Victor Goodhew , St Albans

But is it not patently absurd for right hon. Gentlemen opposite to continue to try to pretend that they can separate the cost of the sanctions policy from their total attitude and policy against Rhodesia, and will they now come into the open with the House and say how much it is costing the country, instead of writing it up in the Commonwealth and trying to play it down here?

Photo of Mr James Callaghan Mr James Callaghan The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee

That seems to be largely a matter of opinion, but if the hon. Member reflects he will see that it is impossible to measure the effect on the balance of payments arising out of sanctions as distinct from the whole illegality of the action. I ask any Member who disputes this to reflect how it is possible to determine what effect there would have been on the cost of copper under certain alternative circumstances, and how one is supposed to enumerate that in the balance of payments. That is why I have consistently given the House of Commons the effect of the loss of exports and the direct effect on the Exchequer.

Photo of Mr Patrick Wall Mr Patrick Wall , Haltemprice

Surely the Chancellor must be able to make an estimate. He must have some idea of the cost of Rhodesian U.D.I., directly and indirectly, on the British economy. Cannot he give the House an approximate figure. Is it £100 million a year, or more?

Photo of Mr James Callaghan Mr James Callaghan The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee

On a number of occasions I have given the House the direct cost to the Exchequer. [Interruption.] The hon. Gentleman asks for both the direct and indirect cost. As to the indirect effect, there are so many alternative assumptions which can be made that in my view no reliable estimate can be made, but if I had to make a guess I would guess at a figure somewhere between £50 million and £100 million.

Photo of Mr Hugh Fraser Mr Hugh Fraser , Stafford and Stone

Surely whatever the Chancellor may say in this House, this sum has been worked out by his Department. Surely he can tell the House what that sum is. I have given details to him not of copper but of other things.

Photo of Mr James Callaghan Mr James Callaghan The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee

That is putting the same question in a different way. I have nothing to add to what I have already said.

Photo of Mr Benjamin Whitaker Mr Benjamin Whitaker , Hampstead

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind the possibility of suing the Rhodesia Front and its supporters for the cost of their action?

Photo of Mr Duncan Sandys Mr Duncan Sandys , Wandsworth Streatham

How is it that the Chancellor says that he cannot give an estimate, when the Prime Minister was able to give an estimate of about £100 million for the total cost to Britain, at the Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference last September?

Photo of Mr James Callaghan Mr James Callaghan The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee

I have already said that it is not possible to give a reliable estimate of that. If the right hon. Gentleman has any evidence perhaps he will produce it and tell us where he got it.