I would refer my hon. Friend to the Answer I gave to the hon. Member for Belfast, North (Mr. Stratton Mills) on 22nd February. —[Vol. 741, c. 319–20.]
Does that reply mean that there will be a saving of at least £100 million in 1968–69; that this will be the real net saving, and not be offset by increases elsewhere?
The figures that were published in the Defence White Paper, which I gave in my earlier reply, show that defence savings will build up to an annual rate of about £75 million by the end of 1967–68.
It is estimated that the exchange control measures taken in July, of which travel restrictions were one, will save about £50 million a year in foreign exchange. A decision about the next travel year will depend on the balance of payments prospects generally, and on experience of the present arrangements.
I had understood that this restriction was to last only 12 months. Does this reply mean that it could last longer? Is not my right hon. Friend aware that this restriction is giving a totally false impression of Britain abroad, and would he perhaps reconsider the Answer he has given?
No, Sir. I see no reason to reconsider the Answer I have given, which is that the decision for the next travel year will depend on how well we do on balance of payments generally.