I would refer the hon. Gentleman to my reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Newark (Mr. Bishop) on 4th July.—[Vol. 749, c. 217–8.]
Would the right hon. Gentleman say whether he still expects a massive surplus in 1968? Can he also confirm that his target of 3 per cent. growth rate year in year out has been postponed in the current year?
I have never used the word "massive" and so I see no reason to take responsibility for it. I still see the prospect of a substantial balance of payments surplus in 1968. [HON. MEMBERS: "Answer the question."] That is the question that I was asked. The hon. Gentleman asked me whether I could foresee a massive surplus in 1968. I am replying that I have never used the term "massive", but I can still see a substantial surplus in 1968. As to the question of growth rate, as far as I can see the growth rate will continue broadly on course as we expect.
Will the right hon. Gentleman deal with the point as to whether he expects, as he has already forecast, a surplus on balance of payments for 1967? Is he aware that he has got the forecast wrong for three different years and that overseas opinion has very little confidence in his forecasting accuracy?
I do not know that anybody has any confidence in forecasting the balance of payments. That is why, as is the case throughout the world, I do not publish forecasts. As to this year, we had a healthy surplus in the first quarter. The present position is made more complex by the Middle East situation, and I am not able to forecast how this is likely to develop in the coming months.