I beg to move,
That this House regrets the refusal of Her Majesty's Government to increase the £50 travel allowance.
It has taken some time and a considerable journey to reach this subject. I am afraid that our time now available for debate will be very much truncated. Therefore, I will try to compress my remarks and make them as brief and concise as I can, since I know many hon. Members on both sides wish to take part.
Our argument is that the present £50 travel allowance is absurd, unfair, humiliating and unjustified. It is absurd because it is the only remaining restriction virtually speaking on citizens of this country who want to spend their money on foreign goods and services. It is unfair because it is full of anomalies and falls in different ways on different individuals. It is humiliating because it means that the British traveller abroad is regarded either as a poor relation or as a wangler who gets round his own country's regulations. It is unjustified because the Government have never been able to produce any convincing figures at all to justify the continuation of the restriction.
I have had some personal experience in this matter as a tourist, and I must declare an interest as chairman of a group of companies one of which is engaged in selling packaged holidays on a large scale to the broad public in this country. I have also twice in the Treasury been engaged in the business of trying to make the exchange control work. I therefore know a good deal from various points of view about the realities of the situation.
We are not saying that there should be a total abolition of all exchange control. I hope that the time will come when that can happen, but at the moment there clearly is a continuing need for control on capital movements. But the £50 allowance has nothing whatever to do with the control of capital movements. It is feasible, as the Chancellor will know, and as was the case before the £50 restriction came in, in practice to allow a total freedom of current expenditure on holidays without allowing loopholes to occur in the capital movement control. One could go back to the old system of £250 or more if people could justify that they wanted to spend it on a holiday and not as a subterfuge to get capital out of the country.
We are not saying that there should now be complete abolition of exchange control, but a complete abolition of effective control of people in spending as much of their own money as they want to spend on holidays abroad. It is as simple as that.
I come to my first point as to why the present restriction is absurd. It is quite ridiculous, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer knows it. There is no other limit at all in practical terms on what people can spend on foreign goods and services, all of which cost foreign exchange. When something is on open general licence the foreign exchange must be provided automatically. One can order anything one likes from any country in the world and get the money from one's bank.
One can order a fleet of Mercedes 600s or fill a swimming pool with Bollinger, but one cannot spend more than £50 on visiting other countries. If one does, the Treasury will come down upon the individual and say that it is wrong, bad for the balance of payments and contrary to law. Apart from this one retricted area, everything else is free. Surely it is an absurd situation.
Those are the facts, and they certainly throw up a nonsense. Let us take an extreme example. Suppose a right hon. Gentleman opposite was on a visit to Paris and his wife wanted to buy herself a dress. He would have to say, "I am sorry, I cannot provide you with the finance to buy the dress now, but you can ring your bank in England, arrange for it to be imported there and then flown out on the next aircraft." That is perfectly legal and there is no objection to that at all. It is a foolish situation that the travel allowance is the only form of expenditure of foreign exchange by an individual that is now cut back by the law.
It is also completely unfair. It is unfair because it affects the man who chooses to spend his money on holidays and travel rather than other things. It affects the man who prefers to spend his money on French scenery rather than on French wine because the one is limited and the other is not. The restriction is an advantage to those who prefer group travel, which often can be cheaper. But many people do not prefer group travel. They prefer to go round on their own, to see things for themselves and to decide their own holiday. Why should they be penalised?
Then there are special concessions which give rise to anomalies. If one wants to go to see the World Cup football matches in Mexico one can take £150. But if one wants to see the remains of the Maya civilisation at Yucatan, one can take only £50. What is the rational and how could it be justified?
What about people who have friends and relatives abroad. Such people can go and stay abroad with them. You can stay with your aunt in the South of France and she can then stay with you in England. So long as it is a spontaneous agreement there is no objection, but if it is a "compensation deal" it becomes criminal. How can this make any sense?
I doubt whether even the Government understand some of the consequences of this restriction. I am sure that the public do not understand them. Suppose somebody wants to travel in America and Australia. If he goes direct to America he can take only £50, but if he goes to Australia he can take all the money he likes. I think I am right in saying that the Australian regulations allow a traveller to take about 3,000 dollars out of Australia to America. What is the British citizen to do in such circumstances?
What about the position of coins? Is it not a fact that, although the law controls notes abroad, there is no law to deal with the carrying of new 10s. pieces abroad. I can tell the right hon. Gentleman from experience, though not my personal experience, that casino chips, cashable in many places in France, are not currency and, therefore, are not subject to exchange control. That fact came out years ago when we tried to enforce exchange control in a particular case.
All these are examples of the absurdity of the system which, to some extent, is inherent in any exchange control but which becomes really damaging because of the limit imposed at present. The subterfuges to which people resort arise because of the limit, which is totally unjustified.
Then there is the fact, which must not be ignored, that it is a humiliation. Anyone who goes outside the sterling area and is in company with German, Belgian, Swedish, Finnish or Danish tourists—
I know that the French get only £70 at the moment, but I think that that is the only example of any substance which the Chief Secretary can quote.
The British tourist abroad is regarded by people from many other countries as an object of sympathy. I find nothing more galling in this life than the sympathy of one's foreign friends. I do not like to have their sympathy, especially in this instance. Either they say that the poor British cannot afford what anyone else can afford, or they say that if a British tourist appears to be affording it, he must be getting round his Government's restrictions.
No one will believe that the recovery of this country's balance of payments is soundly based so long as the Government maintain the control, quite contrary to the spirit of the International Monetary Fund and copied by so few other countries.
My fourth point is that it is unjustified. The figures quoted by the Government when they refer to a £25 million saving on the balance of payments are not substantial figures. In the first place, there is the technical point that they are gross and not net. They take no account of the amount that people would spend at home if they did not go abroad and the fact that a lot of it would go on imported goods.
Secondly, they ignore the reflex effects of it. The Minister will find that people in the tourist and hotel industry will assure him categorically that the maintenance of our £50 restriction limits the willingness of travel agents in other countries to encourage people to come here. I hat cuts down our ability to expand tourism into this country, which I am glad to see is rising fast but which could rise much faster.
Thirdly, the £50 limit leads to an artificial dislocation of investment in the tourist industry in that hotels are being built in the sterling area which may and the future very difficult when the limit is removed.
The figures are wholly unreliable because they are based on a sample. They cannot be based on anything else. How does the Treasury know how much people spend when they go abroad? Anyone going to a country in the sterling area does not have to declare it and can take as much as he likes. Incidentally, the Government are inconsistent on this. When they talk about investment or defence expenditures, it is the United Kingdom balance of payments which matters. When they talk about the travel allowance, it is the sterling area balance of payments which matters. A lot of people who might spend £100 in France spend £500 in the Bahamas. Are the Government concerned about the United Kingdom or the sterling area balance?
If a company wants to invest in Australia, very often it cannot do so. If a man wants to go to Australia for a holiday, he can do what he likes. That is another example of the absurdity arising from the present situation.
Coming to the other half of the expenditure, which is expenditure outside the sterling area, how can the Government have reliable figures? It is common knowledge that this is a control which is widely evaded. From sampling techniques asking people questions, how can the Government expect to get accurate answers about what people are spending? No one will admit that he is spending more than he should be. Therefore whenever the Government rely, as they do, on asking sample questions, they are not getting figures which can be regarded as reliable in any sense.
I hope that the Chief Secretary will deal with this in his reply and that, for the benefit of the House, he will say how these figures are compounded, where they come from, whether they are crosschecked and how accurate, in true statistical terms, they can be regarded.
Those, therefore, are my four points. I am truncating my argument because of the compression of time for the debate. The present travel allowance is absurd because it is the only remaining restriction on expenditure on foreign goods and services. It is wholly unfair in its incidence on different individuals. It is humiliating for Britons travelling abroad. It is unjustified by any economic considerations.
What are the excuses that the Government may give? I see in The Times that it is suggested that they may argue that the £50 limit is good because it makes cheaper travel available to the mass of the British people. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will not say that, because it is arrant nonsense. What has brought down the cost of package tours is the fiercely competitive conditions in the industry. The one thing which keeps up the price is the Government's regulations. If the Board of Trade realised this, cheap holidays could become even cheaper. The Government have done nothing to bring down prices. On the contrary, they are keeping up prices. I hope that we shall not hear the argument foreshadowed tentatively in The Times.
The other argument which is sometimes heard from the benches opposite is the pernicious one that the restriction does not matter because it affects only a few and that the average man does not want to spend more than £50 abroad. Leaving aside the fact that there are as many above as there are below an average, it is surely an iniquitous argument to say that people should be restricted in spending their own money simply because they are in the minority. I ask the Government to repudiate that argument, which is a favourite one among some of their colleagues below the Gangway.
How can it be argued that the restriction on an individual to spend foreign exchange in one way is justified because there are only a few who want to do it? There is no limit on anyone in this country spending as much as he likes on foreign motor cars, wine, food, or anything else. He has a complete call on the foreign exchange resources of the Bank of England. He is only restricted when he wants to go overseas and spend some of his money.
This is a restriction which stands out like a sore thumb as an absurdity. I hope that the Government will sweep it away.
I am grateful to the right hon. Member for Barnet (Mr. Maudling) for dealing with his argument so briefly in view of the short time at our disposal, and I shall endeavour to respond. However, he is asking me to make the case for the Government. I shall listen carefully to the points made in the debate and, with your permission, Mr. Deputy Speaker, and that of the House, at the end of the debate I shall reply shortly to the questions put to me.
Let me deal first with the right hon. Gentleman's fourth point. I accept that this restriction has to be justified, and it has to be justified both internationally and internally.
The international justification is that which has to be made both to the I.M.F. and the O.E.C.D., which have precise regulations about this kind of restriction. In both cases, the United Kingdom has complied scrupulously with the requirements, and both organisations have accepted the restrictions. E.F.T.A. does not require specific undertakings of this kind, but it is interesting to note that those E.F.T.A. countries which are members of the two organisations to which I have referred have not raised any objection. Nor has any other member country. It is accepted internationally that we have been perfectly justified in what we have been doing.
It is not correct to say that there is any danger of retaliation. As the right hon. Gentleman knows, retaliation is not a matter of individual proposals. It is a matter of a country satisfying the I.M.F. or the O.E.C.D., as France has done, that it is entitled to put a restric- tion on travel in this way, always assuming that most of its visitors come from countries which are members of the two organisations.
There is no doubt that in terms of international obligation we are fully justified in what we are doing. But the right hon. Gentleman concentrated more on the internal justification. I hope to satisfy him about that by comparing the hardship suffered by the individual with the benefit accruing to the community. I will deal with hardship first. I am alleging that there is no hardship at all. For illness, business and educational needs, a special allowance is given on a generous scale. We are really concerned about the effect of this limitation on holidaymaking. I know that these figures have been gone into before, but I should like to put them before the House in a commonsensical way.
Let us consider the average man with a wife and two children who is contemplating a holiday abroad. He will first have to take into account the cost of his journey. If he goes by air it will, on average, be £200 for the four of them. If he goes by rail and ship, it will probably be £100. Those figures are additional to the allowance. The allowance is £50, plus £15 in sterling notes which he is legally entitled to take out and to exchange abroad. So he will be entitled to spend four times £65—£260—plus £100 or £200, as the case may be. So an average man taking his family abroad will be contemplating whether he can spend either £360 or £460 before considering whether there is any limitation.
It must be within everybody's experience—I think it must be well within the experience of my hon. Friends—that spending £460 out of taxed income on a single summer holiday is something which many people would wish they were able to do but are totally incapable of doing. Therefore, I suggest that there is no hardship, because in the average case it is not a question of exchange limitation, but a question of the bank account which determines how much is spent.
The right hon. Gentleman was concerned with justification, and I am giving him the justification. I am saying that in the ordinary case the average individual is not in any difficulty concerning foreign exchange; the difficulty is providing the funds in his bank.
That this is the case and not conjecture on my part is demonstrated by the fact that for each of these years that we have had this restriction the full amount has not, on average, been spent. But I recognise immediately that there are people below and above the average. There are obviously those below who have not spent their full amount and there are those who would have wished to spend more had they been allowed to do so. Therefore, I want to concern myself with the situation, with which I am familiar, of a man who, for example, wants to go on a skiing holiday to Switzerland and finds the limitation on foreign currency the real difficulty. Having measured the difficulty, hardship or inconvenience to which the individual is put, my justification must be to set against that the benefit to the community. This is where I come to the figures with which the right hon. Gentleman asked me to deal.
Of course, exchange control affects the non-sterling area holiday, but we are equally concerned with the saving to the balance of payments, the saving on the reserves, which is the United Kingdom balance of payments. So I will deal with that first and see how we reconcile the effect of that on the second.
There is obviously no possibility, unless we scrap the whole of the sterling area system, of restricting control in the sterling area. The figures for the non-sterling area have been given before, but I will give them again. Comparing 1965 with 1968, there has been a reduction of £39 million in holiday expenditure. That is a reduction from £164 million to £125 million. The proportion is substantial— nearly a quarter. If there had been no restriction the expenditure would have risen, on the best estimate that I can put before the House, by about £20 million. I do not claim any precision for that figure. It is the best estimate. I am giving it to make clear that the figure with which we have to deal is not the £39 million, but what, in addition, would have been the increase. We are, therefore, dealing with a fall of probably £59 mil- lion or, in round figures, £60 million. So that the effect of the restriction has been a gross figure of £60 million, against which we have to set a number of things.
We have to set the switch from sterling area to non-sterling area—that is the point that the right hon. Gentleman asked me about—and we have to set our estimate of the money which has not come to official notice. We have to make a calculation for all these things, and the best calculation which I am advised can safely be relied upon is £25 million a year. I am advised—and the right hon. Gentleman knows exactly what I mean when I say "I am advised"—that that is the best calculation which can be made by my officers who he and I know go to enormous trouble and lean over backwards to be fair and objective when asked for figures to be put before the House. I rely on that not as a precise figure but as a safe minimum figure. My view is that the figure is likely to be more than that.
In the figures that the right hon. Gentleman has just given, can he say whether increases in requests for additional business allowances and other additional allowances, including health, which he has given to me in figures in HANSARD within the last few days, have been taken into account?
We have taken those fully into account. The hon. Gentleman will know, because he asked the Question himself—I cannot rely on my recollection for the precise figures—that business expenditure has gone up by the amount we would expect, and there is no reason to believe that it includes anything other than normal business expenditure. The increase is normal.
The other item is within £1 million— the same as before. Therefore, there is no reason to adjust the figure that I am giving for those other items. They were taken into account and examined before arriving at the conclusion that £25 million is a safe calculation. I believe that £25 million is a saving well worth having. Balancing against that saving, in the circumstances in which we find ourselves, the complete absence of hardship, although there may be inconvenience for some people, I think that anybody looking at the matter objectively would take the view that this is fully justified.
I know that the Chief Secretary wishes to help the House. He has referred to the possible increase of £20 million, had there been no restriction, and to the figure of £25 million, and said that these calculations were arrived at by members of his staff, and that the right hon. Member for Barnet (Mr. Maudling) would understand this. But may I ask him to explain how these calculations are arrived at?
If the hon. Gentleman wants full details about the £20 million, he must put his question to the Board of Trade, because it is that Department's officials who go to great lengths in arriving at these figures. There are a number of items of adjustment which are within the knowledge of officials and the bank officials who deal with this matter every day. All I am saying is that I accept that they have taken into account every possible adjustment that ought to be made, and that, knowing the way that Treasury officials prepare the figures, I am satisfied that the figures are on the safe side. They have given me this figure as one which can be relied on as a safe calculation, and I am putting it to the House in that way. There is nobody who can put a better calculation before us. There is nobody who has the experience of and access to all the facts who can put a better calculation before us. The right hon. Gentleman, as a matter of debate, can challenge them, but that will not carry any conviction, because he knows as well as I do where the authoritative sources lie.
There are a number of sources for the figures. They are based on returns, Bank of England figures, on Board of Trade collections, and on large samplings as well. They should include all those things. It is not possible to get a view of the whole position unless one does sampling as well.
We are fully justified in the view that we have taken, and I think that the vast majority of people in this country have understood that and accepted it, having regard to our difficulties. I do not imagine that any citizen has thought that the Government have done this as a matter of perverseness, because, as every- body knows, this kind of restriction is used by Governments of all parties. We have had these restrictions in force for three years. Our predecessors restricted the amount available for travel for eight consecutive years. The right hon. Gentleman spoke about how ridiculous all this is. It was just as ridiculous when his Government were in power. They had a similar situation. They took the view that one cannot restrict trade but that one can restrict foreign travel. They varied it up and down for eight consecutive years.
Whatever their view may have been, our view is that this is a restriction. We do not intend to keep it for a moment longer than is necessary, and it is bound to—
I hope that my hon. Friend will allow me to continue, because I am anxious not to curtail the debate even further than it has been by earlier events.
We are anxious to bring this restriction to an end as soon as it can safely be done. We delight and rejoice in the fact that the balance of payments situation has made a marked improvement, and that brings the matter very much into consideration. My right hon. Friend considered this and said as recently as 21st October:
I … hope to be able to abolish the restrictions before long."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 21st October, 1969; Vol. 788, c. 953.]
I shall tell the hon. Gentleman what it means. Abolishing means what it says, not what is on the Order Paper. What is on the Order Paper refers to increasing the £50 travel allowance. When hon. Gentlemen opposite were the Government they made a series of changes up and down compared with what we are proposing. They inherited a limit of £100. They proceeded to reduce it first to £50 and then to £25, then they raised it to £40, and ultimately they raised it to £100. There were different allowances for adults and children. There were different allowances for different countries. They revelled in the complexity of their restrictions. I shudder to think of how many officials must have been engaged unnecessarily in working out the complexities, and how much public money must have been wasted. The complexity was totally unnecessary.
The Chancellor is not attracted by a change which would lose most of the benefit to the reserves without any reduction in complexity of administration, and therefore the only question that remains is what is: meant by "how long", as the one silent Member on the Front Bench opposite asked me. I want to help the House as much as I can on that. We know that people are naturally anxious to plan their holidays well in advance and want to know where they stand with the travel allowance. We are anxious to avoid causing inconvenience to travel agents who also want to make their plans well in advance. It would be wrong to assume that there are no precedents for varying the travel allowance as from a date other than the commencement of the travel year, that is to say, at the beginning of November. There are a variety of precedents, mostly provided by the Government of right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite.
In 1952 an announcement was made at the end of January. In 1953 an announcement was made in March. In 1966, during our Administration, an announcement was made in July. I want to make it clear that I am not making any prophecy of any kind but simply making the point that there are precedents for dates other than the beginning of November. My right hon. Friend would not therefore feel compelled, on the ground of lack of precedents only, to continue the restriction longer than was necessary, but he has made it clear that it would be premature to take action immediately, and that it would be wrong to do so before it is certain that the improvement in our balance of payments is secure and can be maintained.
Our policies have been shown to be attended with a considerable measure of success, and my right hon. Friend's judgment in this matter has been shown to be right. The House can have full confidence in that judgment, and I can add my assurance that these restrictions will be kept under continuous review and will be removed as soon as it is safe to do so.
As my right hon. Friend the Member for Barnet (Mr. Maudling) will recall, Chief Secretaries to the Treasury sometimes have the experience of being put up to defend the indefensible, and we have had an extraordinarily good example of that in the very able speech of the Chief Secretary. The right hon. Gentleman did, however, overdo it, because he presented two arguments in favour of this restriction, either of which might have stood by itself, but which collapsed in company.
The right hon. Gentleman began by saying that the amount which is allowed at the moment, given air fares on top— and the right hon. Gentleman took a very high figure for that; a great deal more than is required to go to the north of France or to the Low Countries—was as much as the average family could afford anyway. That argument, so far as it went, was something, but the right hon. Gentleman then went on to demonstrate that, despite that fact, a quite substantial surplus to our balance of payments was achieved by the operation of this restriction. It was a very gallant attempt to have it both ways, but it simply does not stand up.
The right hon. Gentleman's argument about savings also does not stand up when one sees his assumption that but for this restriction expenditure would have risen a great deal more, and therefore he says that we have saved that. It seems to damage the average man's budget argument, and, taken by itself, it is absurd. The right hon. Gentleman compared 1965 with 1968. He of all people should recall the changes which occurred over that period, in particular the increases in personal direct taxation. Most people, when their taxation rises, cut back their holidays or cut them out altogether.
The right hon. Gentleman also ignored the fact that devaluation, by making it more expensive for people to go abroad, discouraged foreign travel anyway. Therefore, his assumption, on which this argument for a saving mostly rests, that this amount would have increased but for this provision, does not seem to match up to the normal Treasury standards. But even if one accepts it, one is involved next in the figure of £25 million a year. No one will say that that is negligible, but it is well within the corrections involved sometimes in one month's trade figures. Yet this is an annual expenditure. Against the sum total of the balance of payments, it is not of startling significance.
Yet the right hon. Gentleman does not seem to understand what damage this does abroad, not only as my right hon. Friend so well said, to individuals, but to this country's standing and, I suggest, to sterling. If the Englishman on holiday in Europe is conspicuously the poorest man in the hotel, if it is the Germans and the others who have the best rooms and the best tables and the Englishman has a special cheap rate arranged for him, does not that operate perpetually to remind foreigners that there is something wrong with the British economy and the British currency? Is it not a standing advertisement that the £ is perhaps a currency that people had better be cautious of?
I put this very point to the Chancellor when he made his statement on 21st October. Perhaps I might remind the House of my supplementary question to him:
Is it not a fact that the true value of the £50 allowance is reduced every year by inflation in this and other countries? How does the Chancellor expect confidence in sterling to be re-established when every British tourist is a walking advertisement for the fact that crisis measures are still in force in Britain?
The right hon. Gentleman replied:
It is, of course, the case that the value of the £50 allowance is less now than it was when it was introduced. It is, however, still a good deal more than the £25 which was in operation during quite a part of the period when the right hon. Member for Kingston-upon-Thames (Mr. Boyd-Carpenter) was Financial Secretary to the Treasury … as well as for a short period following a year's surplus in 1952."—[OFFICIAL RF.PORT, 21st October, 1969; Vol. 788, c. 958.]
The Chief Secretary himself went into this same argument. Regrettably we all know it—the argument of a Minister in trouble—"It may be a silly thing to do, but other people have been silly as well."
The Chancellor introduced it. The briefing in the Treasury is extremely good and never lets one down but it makes an interesting comparison. The Chief Secretary reintroduced it. I want to follow this up. As he knows, I did follow it up. I asked the Chancellor to circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT a table setting out the value of the travel allowance in cash terms and in terms of real value at 1969 United Kingdom prices for each year since 1951. The Financial Secretary, after, I think, the full week's permitted delay, which suggests that the occasion gave him some heart searching, replied on 4th November in Written Answers at columns 71 and 72.
Of course, that reply establishes that, for the year to which the Chancellor referred, although, in the quotation, he reduplicated 1952, the travel allowance was £25. But the Chief Secretary did not bring this, as is necessary for a fair comparison, up to mid-1969 prices, as I insisted in my Question. If he had, the figure would have been rather different; it would have been £42, not all that short of £50. But that was one year—
It was certainly a practice at that time, and to the best of my knowledge no attempt was made to interfere with a reasonable number being taken out. I will compare like with like. But even if I gave the right hon. Gentleman that point, it does not prove much, because, in the next year, it went up to £40, which, brought up to mid-1969 prices, is £63. The following year, it went up again to £50, equivalent to £80 in 1969, and the year after that, to £100, the equivalent of £155.
At that point, the right hon. Gentleman's personal argument collapses, because I left the Treasury, but the successive improvements year after year are the exact opposite of what has happened under the right hon. Gentleman's Government. The allowance was introduced at £50 in cash value in 1967, equivalent to £55 at mid-1969 prices, and, of course, has dropped marginally in the years thereafter. It has gone down, in fact, by 10 per cent.
So the picture is of a low figure in one year at the beginning of the Conservative Government. The right hon. Gentleman will, I hope, forgive the argument, but it was a Government which followed six years of war followed by six years of Socialism, and for whom some allowances should, therefore, be made. But the limit introduced at that bottom level in one year was steadily increased, whereas the picture under the right hon. Gentleman's Government is that it was introduced at a low figure which has been further eroded by inflation each year. Indeed, the figures favour the Government. I used, to get a fair comparison, British mid-1969 prices. The House knows how rapidly they have risen, but in view of devaluation the answer would have been even worse for the Government had I taken the price levels of most of the countries which tourists visit.
Then, the right hon. Gentleman went on to taunt my right hon. Friend the Member for Barnet with having done this. He should look at his own table. The Financial Secretary should have showed it to him before he published it. My right hon. Friend was Chancellor from 1962 to 1964, but over the whole period from 1960 to 1966 inclusive there was no limitation at all. Therefore, if the right hon. Gentleman wishes to shelter behind the practice of my right hon. Friend or of my right hon. and hon. Friends, he has the answer. It was the Chancellor who introduced this comparative league tabling. The fact is that we started at a low figure in a difficult situation, increased it and then abolished the limitations during the years which my right hon. Friend was in charge, whereas this Government have introduced it at a low figure and allowed it to be eroded each year.
I wonder whether the right hon. Gentleman really thinks that this is the way in which to prepare this country—if he wishes it—to enter Europe, if it is going to be made deliberately more difficult for British people to meet people in Europe. If he is going to think up just one limitation in the use of foreign exchange, as my right hon. Friend so well said, need it be using of it to go and meet foreigners in their own countries? Is that the way to make us good Europeans?
The right hon. Gentleman then finished with a very curious, but, from my study of the right hon. Gentleman I believe that it was meant to be, significant, observation. He said that it is not necessary to make these changes in the autumn. He said that there are precedents for making them at other times of the year. Indeed, there are. I venture this prophecy, that in the course of this year an increase will be made, and, by a happy coincidence, this will be shortly followed by the announcement of the dissolution of Parliament.
I should like to offer some praise to the right hon. Member for Barnet (Mr. Maudling) in setting an example on these occasions by keeping his speech very brief —something which is not often done by the Front Benches—especially when through no fault of his own he ran into time difficulties. That example was followed by the Chief Secretary. On the odd occasions when this happens, the back benches should at least show some appreciation of it.
I listened to the right hon. Member for Kingston-upon-Thames (Mr. Boyd-Carpenter) with interest, because, like him, I am not against foreign travel. Nor do I say that necessarily because some people cannot afford it in this country therefore it should be cut back. I like foreign travel as much as anyone. He was worried lest when he went abroad he would be conspicuously the poorest man in the hotel. If our economic destinies were controlled by what was thought by the head waiter of the Grand Hotel in Nice or Le Touquet, it would be a matter for concern. As we know, the economic destinies of Britain are not controlled by head waiters of tourist hotels or even by the friends one meets abroad. They are more under the control of financial ministries, bankers and city and financial journalists. Their opinions rather than those of the tourist industry are the ones to heed.
When one considers the effect on bankers, editors and financial ministries abroad, one realises that those people are less concerned with the poverty of British tourists, temporary though that is, than with our desire to make an efficient economic recovery as a nation.
My proposition is that in asking for the travel allowance to be increased or for the restriction to be abolished, we are risking inviting the man who has just had 'flu to get out of bed too early and to find that his recovery is not advanced but only postponed, simply by the fact that actions have been taken at too early a stage.
Naturally, the views of hotel waiters are only of interest to hotel waiters. The hon. Gentleman will agree, however, that for hundreds of thousands of people to advertise conspicuously by the way they go on that they come from a country which still has severe restrictions cannot be good either for the health of sterling or for confidence in the British economy.
One can put it another way. The people in Europe who make the decisions want to know if we are serious about getting out of our balance of payments difficulties. I therefore draw different conclusions than does the right hon. Gentleman from the same facts.
Hon. Gentlemen opposite have said that these Measures are ineffective. I am not so sure, because I do not know exactly by what standards one should judge these matters. However, it seems from the facts published by the Board of Trade that, whereas in 1968 £282 million was spent by 4·8 million foreigners and visitors to this country, Britons abroad spent £271 million, but they numbered 7·3 million. Prima facie that means that the restrictions have been reasonably effective, for the spending per capita has been much higher among those who come here than among Britons abroad. Have not the restrictions had something to do with that?
Again, on the question of effectiveness, the figures I have obtained show that in 1968 we spent £271 million abroad while in 1967 we spent £274 million. Thus, at a time when world spending on travel was rising, British expenditure was stabilised. Either we are serious about tackling the balance of payments or we are not.
One is provoked by the remarks of hon. Gentlemen opposite to raise the question of abuse. While undoubtedly there have been minor abuses of the controls, it is the nature of British travellers abroad to be reasonably law-abiding. I suggest, therefore, that the claims of hon. Gentlemen opposite are somewhat exaggerated. If we look for abuse, we should not look for it in only one direction. There may be others. What, for example, is the feeling of the Treasury about those who spend thousands of £s buying property in countries like Portugal? There are certain Treasury restrictions in this connection, but there is a feeling that these could be abused, and I hope that the Chief Secretary will raise the matter.
Still on the question of abuse, the right hon. Member for Barnet raised the issue of Australia. I had the good fortune to be on an official visit from this House to Japan and Indonesia at Whitsun, and I went on to Australia. The Chief Secretary can confirm this, but my experience was that each traveller's cheque taken to Australia was over-printed with the words, "Not valid in countries outside the sterling area".
Nowhere in the world have I seen passengers so carefully scrutinised and questioned as we were serutinised at Sydney Airport. It was the most rigorous Customs survey I have seen. Perhaps it was due to certain unusual circumstances or that it was purely accidental. I mention this merely to point out that the right hon. Member for Barnet was not right in his references to Australia.
My right hon. Friend the Member for Barnet (Mr. Maudling) was saying that when Australians go into non-sterling areas they are allowed to take a larger amount than we are allowed to take to Europe. Naturally, if one takes sterling cheques to Australia they can be cashed only in a sterling area, as it were. Australians coming to Europe, however, have a larger allowance than we have.
The facts can be checked. The allowance for Australians may be larger, but I believe that there are restrictions on the amount that Australians can take to the dollar area. Thus, this argument is open to question.
The right hon. Member for Barnet went on to say that this was the only restriction. I did not hear from the Chief Secretary a list of the restrictions that are imposed by Her Majesty's Government or that have been imposed by previous British Administrations in the sphere of foreign exchange. However, I am certain that the right hon. Gentleman was not correct when he spoke of this being the only control.
I think that my right hon. Friend said that it was the only restriction on personal spending. He clearly recognised, of course, that there were restrictions on the export of capital.
I accept that. Perhaps I misunderstood his point.
Reference has been made to the psychological effect of maintaining these controls. Have hon. Gentlemen opposite considered the psychological effect of abolishing them too soon? It would be foolish to reverse such policies as these so soon after moving into a substantial balance of payments surplus. We would be acting prematurely, to say the least.
I urge hon. Gentlemen opposite to leave matters of this sort to those who control the day-to-day management of the economy. On a matter like this— as the right hon. Member for Kingston-upon-Thames said so many nice things about Treasury officials and advisers— we should leave to them some of the decision-making, for we must accept that they and our Ministers know what they are doing.
The improvement in our balance of payments position must be secure and we must have a good prospect of maintaining it. It would be odd, to say the least, if, as we begin to show economic progress, the first concession we make is to those who wish to spend their holidays abroad. This would be regarded as very odd indeed by those whose opinions matter at home and abroad and I do not believe that the maintenance of this control is nearly as silly as the right hon. Member for Kingston-upon-Thames would have us believe.
The right hon. Member for Barnet said that the whole question of freedom was involved here. I will not detain the House with a philosophical discourse on the nature of freedom, except to say that our freedoms are so restricted in so many different ways, as they must be in a modern society, that it seems curious to pick out this, of all things, as an example of a limitation on freedom. There is freedom to and freedom not to be due to. To make the accusation against this side of the House as if in some way we are limiting freedom seems to be a distortion of the position.
I find it very strange that in a valuable three hours on a Supply day, when hon. Members opposite could have a three-line Whip, they chose this subject of all subjects. Would it not have been better to choose many of the urgent subjects about which the Leader of the House is questioned on Thursdays, such as Biafra, or abatement of pensions? I think this a very bogus Motion.
Tempted although I am to follow some of the observations of the hon. Member for West Lothian (Mr. Dalyell)—with virtually none of which I agree, and in which he was factually wrong in regard to Australia and elsewhere—I do not wish to do so.
I do not dispute one word said by my right hon. Friends this afternoon, but I want to devote a few minutes to another aspect—the validity of the figures.
I assure the Chief Secretary to the Treasury that I am not for a moment suggesting that a group of civil servants and Ministers have got together to compile bogus figures, but I do not think the material on which the figures were based give any ground for confidence. The right hon. Gentleman knows that from a succession of letters and Questions I have been trying to pursue this question ever since the Queen's Speech. I think he made a point which was not fair, that the business allowance had gone up only as one would have expected. I received a breakdown of these figures from the Treasury. They were first published including all money spent abroad for holidays, business and other purposes, including health. I then asked that they should be broken down into figures for the non-sterling area and the sterling area. It is agreed that this afternoon we are dealing primarily with the non-sterling area.
In the non-sterling area the figure has gone up for business from £30 million to £39 million in just under three years. It has gone up by a full 30 per cent, at the rate of 10 per cent, a year. The right hon. Gentleman regards that as a normal increase. Yet inside the sterling area, where we do just as much business as elsewhere, the figure for business claims has gone up barely at all, from £10 million to £11 million, yet in the non-sterling area from the moment the restriction was introduced it has gone up by 30 per cent. This requires more clarification than the right hon. Gentleman gave.
On the figures the right hon. Gentleman gave this £25 million or £30 million saving—I believe he said £25 million, but it is occasionally referred to as £30 million—but if we lump together the figures as they were given to me for the sterling area and the non-sterling area, the amount is only £19 million. I do not think even that is valid. After the Queen's Speech, in every way I could I tried to get some information on which Ministers had calculated these figures. Oddly enough, for a Government who, goodness knows, love to gather statistics on every aspect of our national life, I found that no attempt at all had been made to find how many travellers' cheques had been drawn upon the Treasury or Bank of England, or of what amounts, and no attempt to find how much foreign currency had been drawn by people going abroad.
After pursuing this question with the right hon. Gentleman's colleague, I asked: If the Treasury do not check this, how do they base this information? After a little trouble I received the last letter on this matter only this afternoon and discovered that they rely in obtaining the figures put before us today on the International Passenger Survey, of which I have a copy here. It is included in the Registrar-General's statistical review. As far as I know what the International Passenger Survey has computed is the only available evidence to arrive at the figure of £25 million.
I wish that I had time to read it all, but I will read only four short sentences.
This is how it is checked to see how much people are taking abroad in travellers' cheques and foreign currency. It says:
At London Airport and Prestwick: nearly 7 per cent. of outgoing and 4 per cent. of incoming passengers on the long air routes are interviewed; 2 per cent. in winter and 1 per cent. in summer of short air route passengers are also interviewed there. At smaller airports: the percentage sampled varies between half of 1 per cent. and 4 per cent. …
On short sea routes: about 1 per cent. of winter and half of 1 per cent. of summer traffic is interviewed.
On the long sea routes: … nearly 7 per cent. of the outgoing passengers and 7 per cent. and 4 per cent. of the incoming passengers are sampled.
But, of course, those going on long sea routes do not generally come into the category of people going away on holiday, but in the other groups we see what a minute sample is relied upon by the International Passenger Survey and the Government for the Minister to say how much is saved.
When we had a large allowance—when my right hon. Friend was in charge, up to £250—there was no statutory provision for taking £ notes abroad, but a discretion was given that £5 or £10 was not quarrelled with. I have done it dozens of times. One declared what one had and this was readily acceded to.
To help the House to get this clear I should say that there was no objection to taking the currency abroad. What one could not do was to exchange it abroad for foreign currency.
I did not expect the right hon. Gentleman to make that point. He is indeed naive if he thinks that people who take £5 or £10 abroad do so for the purpose of buying a Scotch while in an aeroplane. He knows that is nonsense. In addition to the £15 which people are now allowed to take, they can take an unlimited amount of silver. That did not matter so much in the old days, unless one carried it in a haversack, but now with the 50p piece one can take much more value in silver.
The right hon. Gentleman must know that tourists, almost without exception, regard the £15 as being added to their allowance for changing when they get to the country of their destination. The figures he gave are based on a £50 allowance, but if we take into account that all the travellers who have been going abroad since this restriction came in also have their £15 and spend that in addition to travellers' cheques and foreign currency, a very different figure appears. About an extra £30 million has gone abroad in this period. If we take that into account we see that there has been virtually no saving because when previously there was no particular reason to take £15 as one could take as much foreign currency as one liked, and no one in his senses would take £ notes when he could take travellers' cheques and foreign currency for he would get a better exchange.
A point which my right hon. Friend did not make about the prestige of the British economy abroad is that anyone who has been to travel offices abroad knows perfectly well that travellers' cheques are put on one side and £ notes on another. The £ notes are exchanged at a reduced rate compared with what can be obtained for travellers' cheques. This is certainly not a good thing for the image of the £ at present.
I do not think the right hon. Gentleman was fair in dealing with the question of loopholes. On the one hand he said that only a very few people would spend a great deal more than £50 if they had the chance. The average man, he said, would not be able to do so; but, of course, a richer, smaller number of people go to Bermuda and the Bahamas. Quite a lot, too, go to Malta.
The right hon. Gentleman knows full well that in Bermuda and in the Bahamas the dollar is freely interchangeable with the currency notes of those places. Therefore, any of the minority that he mentioned can go straight to the Bahamas and to Bermuda and when he is paid in a shop, a hotel or anywhere else in dollar notes, can use those dollar notes elsewhere for anything he wishes. The notes are in his pocket. Those figures do not appear in the right hon. Gentleman's statistics.
Anyone in Gibraltar—not merely a Gibraltar resident, but anyone who is staying there—can draw £15 worth of foreign currency to leave Gibraltar, either to go to Morocco, or, if he is lucky enough nowadays, to go into Spain. A person leaving Malta can get much more than £50 whether he is a United Kingdom resident or not since the banks there do not know whether a person is a resident of Malta or on holiday there.
It is this aspect that I find most intolerable about the Government's decision—not just the restriction itself, but because I believe that they are enforcing the restriction on thoroughly bogus grounds. If all the factors which I mentioned and other factors are taken into account, I do not believe that, in the face of all this nonsense which is being inflicted upon people, any real saving is being achieved. It is for this reason, above all others, that I urge the Government to drop the restriction.
The right hon. Member for Kingston-upon-Thames (Mr. Boyd-Carpenter) said that Britain had six years of Socialism following the war. If he would read the first 132 pages of John Strachey's book on the Theory and Practice of Socialism, he would realise that, although we had a Labour Government from 1945 to 1951, it was not anything like a Socialist Government. In fact, Britain has never had Socialism.
I was dealing, Sir, with a point raised by the right hon. Gentleman in your absence.
I have my regrets. I do not regret—in the terms of the Motion—Her Majesty's Government's refusal
to increase the £50 travel allowance".
What I regret is that the Government have found it necessary not to increase the £50 travel allowance. We must get our priorities right. We must put the interests of the nation before the interests of individuals.
I love going abroad, but if it is necessary in the national interest to restrict my allowance and that of other members of the community to £50, I am wholly with the Government. We must conserve our sterling balances. If people had put the national interest first in the past few years, things might have been different. Whether it is wild-cat strikes and unofficial strikes on the part of dissident members of trade unions, whether it is obstinate and pig-headed attitudes taken by management, or whether it is shopkeepers raising their prices far above the level to which it is necessary to raise them, it does not matter. People have placed their own interests first and the interest of the national last. That is why we have to keep this restriction on the allowance.
I urge the Government, however, not to strain at a gnat and swallow a camel. I refer to the question of evasion. It is often said that if a man steals £100 from the till he is guilty of larceny, but if he does it on a very large scale, involving hundreds of thousands of £s, or even millions of £s in companies that go bankrupt, that is called not larceny but high finance.
In this context a person who, in this country, evades the law and tries to take abroad a sum in excess of £50—say, £100 or £150—is brought to justice and will be prosecuted. If he does it on a very large scale, however, he might not be touched. In France, the situation is different. I quote from The Times of 25th November, dateline Paris:
People who have speculated against the franc since July, 1968, when exchange control regulations were introduced will be charged and brought to court if the alleged offences are serious. They risk fines of between … £170 and … £100,000 and terms of imprisonment ranging from one to five years, or both … Between November 25 1968, when a wave of speculative capital drained from France in the wake of the monetary crisis, and the end of September, the customs authorities had recorded 14,279 breaches of exchange control regulations covering a total amount of more than F.280 million.
We know full well that certain things are happening between Swiss banks and United Kingdom citizens. A few days ago my hon. Friend the Member for Heywood and Royton (Mr. Barnett) asked my right hon. Friend the Chancellor
what action he proposes to take on the collusion between Swiss banks and United Kingdom citizens for the purpose of evading exchange control … and if he will make a statement."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 25th November, 1969; Vol. 792, c. 189.]
The Minister of State gave a rather noncommittal reply.
Vast sums of money are being taken out. I urge my right hon. Friend, if he can catch the culprits, to have them prosecuted so that further breaches are discouraged and stopped. If it is not possible to prosecute them under present law, legislation should be passed quickly to enable them to be prosecuted so that they cannot continue with their nefarious actions.
I urge my right hon. Friend, while shutting one door so as to stop all petty evasions, not to leave another door open, through which people can take out hundreds of thousands, even millions, of £s.
I will follow the example set by previous speakers and speak briefly. Every responsible right hon. and hon. Member will agree that the first duty of the Chancellor of the Exchequer is to protect the present improvement in our balance of payments situation. Anything which happened to cause any decline in that improvement would be a matter of serious regret, and the Government would be guilty of irresponsible behaviour.
There is another factor to be taken into account. Whether we like it or not, there has been a hidden assistance to some British resort areas as the result of the imposition of a travel allowance. It may have been very small, but it has assisted at a difficult time hoteliers and others in constituencies like mine.
I believe that for these reasons the Motion is particularly well worded. It does not call for the abolition of the travel allowance. It regrets the refusal of the Government to increase it from £50. Although the right hon. Member for Barnet (Mr. Maudling) was arguing more for abolition than for an increase in the allowance, I believe that it is right that we should consider the possibility of an increase rather than the abolition of the restriction.
The cost of living has risen in virtually every country. Since the travel allowance was imposed, its value has declined both by virtue of that increase in the cost of living and by the effects of devaluation. As long ago as October of last year I asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he was
aware that the allowance was fixed before devaluation.
Will he consider increasing the allowance to compensate for the effects which devaluation has had on it?
The right hon. Gentleman gave this important reply:
It might possibly be said that such a case could be made out, but devaluation has involved certain other sacrifices. I do not think that it is unreasonable that the foreign travel allowance should bear a small measure of the sacrifice. Looking at the matter—and I assure the hon. Gentleman that I have looked at it closely—it seems that a small adjustment would be costly without giving any great benefit. I would, therefore, prefer to wait until it is safe to abolish the restriction altogether."— [OFFICIAL REPORT, 15th October, 1968; Vol. 770, c. 188.]
That seems to indicate, unless the Chancellor has considerably altered his point of view since he gave that answer, that we shall not see any increase in the allowance but, instead, we shall have to wait until it is abolished entirely. That would be very unfortunate. I do not— any more than the Motion does—call for abolition, but I hope that there will be a substantial increase, and that that increase will be followed at a much later date by abolition.
The value of the allowance has fallen considerably as a result of inflation and the effects of devaluation. Today—I have made my calculation as carefully as I can—the £50 which was worth £50 when the limit was first imposed is now worth a little less than £35, for example, in the United States of America. This gives added weight to the arguments already advanced for an increase, though not abolition of the restriction.
It is closely linked with something more important, the deeper problem of the business allowance. Many business men are compelled to use their £50 holiday allowance to augment the totally inadequate business allowance. If the right hon. Gentleman says that it is not inadequate, let him consider that the £20 a day business allowance is worth 48 dollars a day, which is completely inadequate to meet the minimal needs of any business man who has, for example, to seek to attract dollar investment to this country. I have worked out a sum, but I shall not waste the time of the House with it, although I shall be glad to submit it to the right hon. Gentleman privately. I assure him that I have found it necessary on my own business visits abroad to use the £50 holiday allowance for business purposes, and I am certainly not alone in that.
I promised to speak briefly, so I shall not continue the arguments so ably advanced already from this side of the House. I add one comment only on the question of evasion. Evasion must be looked into seriously. There is nothing worse than a law which causes evasion. It was said in one newspaper recently that it is known that ladies travel abroad with £100 in £5 notes tucked into their "bras", and that they can do this safely without fear of search. That is the kind of evasion which should be discouraged, and the best way of discouraging it would be by an increase in the allowance.
I hope, therefore, that the Government will take note of the Motion, and take early steps to improve the present limit.
Like other hon. Members, I was surprised to see this Motion put down. I cannot understand who it is the Opposition think they are representing. I have made inquiries in my own constituency, and I have not received a single complaint about the inadequacy of the travel allowance. This is so probably because most of my constituents, whom I try to represent, and, I hope, represent adequately, are not people with a great deal of wealth. The fact of the matter is that in the pages of the Sunday newspapers devoted to travel advertisements there are hundreds of good opportunities advertised which take into account the travel allowance, and these are taken advantage of by many people in my constituency. After a reasonable holiday abroad, they may, indeed, come back with a few pounds unspent.
I was interested to hear the right hon. Member for Barnet (Mr. Maudling) say that he is a director of a company dealing with package tours. I am, perhaps, a little out of date, but at one time I was in the travel business myself. I do not for a moment consider that an increase in the travel allowance would bring an improvement in the prices of package tours. On the contrary, the restriction—which I do not personally like—has resulted in extremely competitive and good value being given. In another context, we all know that reductions in taxation—they are too few and far between—are not followed by reductions in prices. Although, in theory, the removal of restrictive regulations should reduce prices, it has been my experience over the past few years that they do not. Reasons are always found either for maintaining the price or, sometimes, even for increasing it.
The package tour system has now become a matter of widespread interest to a much wider public. The initiative of restricting foreign expenditure has created a huge public for the package tour— and long may that interest continue. My experience is that miners and their wives and children who go abroad now are able to have an extremely good holiday in places and circumstances which would not have been open to them a number of years ago.
This seems, therefore, an extraordinary subject for the opposition to raise. They could have raised all sorts of matters about which, no doubt, there is political sensitivity. One hon. Member mentioned the question of the pensions scheme a few minutes ago, a matter which was pressed at the business question time today and which we could quite well have discussed. Whom do the Opposition think they are representing? I do not know, unless it be the rentier—the rentiers of Bournemouth, Torquay and places like that, I suspect. They are quite mistaken if they imagine that this restriction is resented by the broad mass of the people. In fact, people fully understand the reasons for it, and they have taken advantage of the good competitive prices which are offered for holidays. The Opposition have made fools of themselves.
It is a pity that the hon. Gentleman did, since we are trying to confine the debate within a brief period, and pure repetition of identical argument already advanced only wastes time.
I prefer the freedom of movement rather than the freedom to guzzle or the freedom to eat. I agree with my right hon. Friend the Member for Barnet (Mr. Maudling) when he says that freedom for people to travel is, perhaps, more important than being able to bathe in champagne or guzzle caviare. I regard the right, in the modern age, to move about the world freely as an important freedom. I believe that young people do, too.
It is idiotic to suggest that the £50 travel allowance is sufficient because it enables a family of husband, wife and two children to have one good holiday. Nowadays, the young people of the world —and a great many of us as well—want to be able to go abroad two or even three times a year on various objectives, and there is no earthly reason why they should not. When the Conservative Government were in power, there was a steady relaxation of the restriction, until it was finally abolished, and at all times in the later years people could go abroad as much as they wanted.
The sooner the present restriction is abolished the better. The situation is utterly absurd, not because evasion cannot be prosecuted or prevented but because the whole scheme is an evasion in itself. First, if one goes to any sterling area country, whether the Caribbean, South Africa, Hong Kong, Australia or many other parts of the world, one can convert one's money and obtain whatever currency is needed, so long as one has sufficient means to get there.
The particularly unfortunate aspect of this is that it deliberately hits the person of moderate means and allows the person of substantial means to do exactly what he pleased. For example, a car allowance can be obtained, and then not be taken up, so that the total amount is increased. It is very simple for people with friends overseas to make arrangements whereby they are looked after in each other's countries. People who have many friends abroad are usually people who have been abroad, and are therefore usually well-to-do. Those who are hard up do not have those arrangements, and cannot make them so easily.
We find today that a large number of people who are destitute are repatriated. There are many cases of money allegedly being lost overseas that is not really lost, and that enables those concerned to obtain more. There are a score of ways in which the whole scheme can be shot through from beginning to end. Therefore, evasion is something that requires not prosecution but just an end of this fruitless system.
I am saying that we need the abolition of the limit. I think that it is true that raising it to £75 would assist those of moderate means. It is for that reason, and that reason only, that I support an increased limit. I would rather have that if we cannot have abolition, because it would at least be fair to the pensioner, the retired person who wants to continue to be a resident in Great Britain and cannot go abroad more than once in the year. It is such people living on small fixed incomes who can spend up to about £75 to £100 abroad, and could have both a winter trip and a summer trip, who suffer most severely. That is the main reason for an increase in the limit.
With a certain amount of experience in this matter and of the travel trade, I can say that the essence of tourism is international. Its essence is to enable us to fly "back to back". When we send people to the United States those ambassadors that are our tourists bring Americans back in ever-increasing numbers. The same is true of other countries. The more we can use those ambassadors, the greater will be the increase in tourism in this country.
We have had a very curtailed debate, for reasons which we all appreciate, but it has provided an opportunity for an important matter to be given an airing.
I should perhaps deal straight away with the arguments of the hon. Members for West Lothian (Mr. Dalyell) and Lichfield and Tamworth (Mr. Snow). They sought to argue that the matter was of very little importance, and were perhaps echoing a line the Press was given in guidance two or three days ago, that that was the Government's view, although the Chief Secretary did not use the argument.
Nothing could illustrate more clearly the differences of principle and approach between the two sides of the House. Hon. Members opposite regard the limit as perhaps a rather convenient restriction. It appears to have little or no impact on those whom they believe to be their supporters, and they still nurture the fond illusion that it is of benefit to the balance of payments.
We on this side of the House regard it as an absurd and illogical curtailment of the individual's freedom of choice. The alleged benefits have never been proved. On the contrary, the existence of the control damages the position of sterling, and, because it is felt to be unjustified, it is subject to widespread evasion, leading to a contempt for the law. It is the sort of restriction which, if it is to be maintained, must be justified up to the hilt. If it is to be operated fairly, it must command a wide measure of support.
Having listened to the debate, I feel that neither condition has been met. Like other speakers, I do not intend to take long, because time is limited, and I shall not go over the arguments that have been rehearsed. But I would add one point to the telling speech and the telling figures quoted by my right hon. Friend the Member for Kingston-upon-Thames (Mr. Boyd-Carpenter) from the answer he had on 4th November. Those figures left wholly out of account the impact of devaluation on the £50 travel allowance, which knocked £50 down to £42, and inflation since then has reduced it to perhaps not more than £35.
Spain is perhaps an exception, because there was devaluation there. I take the point, but there are many other places to which people can go. Many hon. Members opposite are trying to encourage as many people as possible not to go to Spain.
I shall confine my arguments to three points, beginning with the alleged benefits. I dismiss the ludicrous argument, repeated by the hon. Member for Lichfield and Tamworth, which appeared in The Times the other day, again as a result of guidance, that:
… the sterling limit has kept down the cost of overseas package holidays for British working-class families at a time when prices would otherwise have risen steeply.
It is complete nonsense. My right hon. Friend the Member for Barnet (Mr. Maudling) made it clear that the prices have been kept down wholly as the result of intensified competition in package tours. Even if it were true that the restriction had had that effect, where does that lead us? The Prime Minister said on 20th July, 1966:
… direct action on the balance of payments is required.
After announcing cuts in defence, he went on:
Private overseas expenditure must also make its contribution."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 20th July, 1966; Vol. 732, c. 632–3.]
He then announced the limit of £50.
What would the reaction in the House have been if instead of justifying it by reference to the rising figures of overseas travel expenditure, the Prime Minister had said:
We believe that this restriction will reduce the cost of package tours, and so bring the advantages of foreign travel within the reach of still more working-class families."?
The House would rightly have thought that he had taken leave of his senses. It is astonishing that we should have heard that argument from the hon. Gentleman. It is typical Socialist logic. I hope that I am not straying out of order when I remind the House of the groundnuts scheme, in which nearly £40 million of expenditure was wasted, and the justification—
I am sorry, Mr. Speaker. I shall leave that topic straight away.
Now hon. Members opposite seek mainly to rely on the alleged figure of £25 million gain to the balance of payments. I said in the debate on this subject on 30th June:
It is remarkable that no Minister who has had to deal with the matter has ever been able to be any more specific, and no Chancellor, despite repeated questioning, has felt able to publish his calculations in arriving at this figure."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 30th June, 1969; Vol. 786, c. 91–92.]
That statement is as true now after the Chief Secretary's speech as it was when I made it.
In that debate I challenged the Government on a number of issues. What about the loss to the airlines? The nationalised airlines have been among the most vocal critics of the restriction. Has the right hon. Gentleman taken any account of the loss of income on the investments in foreign hotels made by British tour operators? Many of those hotels, particularly the more expensive ones, have been outside the range of the travel allowance. Yet, as a recent report of the European Travel Commission made clear, those items are both substantial.
We have not yet had a proper justification for the limit. Any Minister who seeks to satisfy his critics by justifying the figure must take those points into consideration, but the Chief Secretary has not even attempted to do so.
What about expenditure in the sterling area? My hon. Friend the Member for Torquay (Sir F. Bennett) made this telling point. Here the expenditure is rising sharply. I will quote a paragraph from an article by Alan Day in the Observer:
The truth is that the legal distinction between sterling area holidays and those in the rest of the world has had precious little justification since convertibility was re-established over a decade ago and now has practically no justification as a way of helping our balance of payments. Whether I spend my money in Sicily or in Malta, I am adding a deficit item to the British balance of payments which is liable to be paid out in gold or dollars. And these days, sterling area countries show no great reluctance to convert sterling into dollars if it suits their convenience.
Perhaps I could answer the right hon. Gentleman's jibes about the controls operated by my right hon. Friends by saying that that was before convertibility applied. Until 1958, when quotas were on imports and there was no general licence, it made sense to restrict all sorts of expenditure. But once the general licence came in, the restrictions were abolished and remained abolished until 1966, but this one form of personal current expenditure has been singled out for restrictions. This is what makes it so completely illogical.
My second point is that, because it has failed to be justified, there is undoubtedly widespread evasion. Many methods have been quoted. Some hon. Members opposite have tried to say that evasion is very limited, but I wonder whether they read the report in the Daily Mail by Vincent Mulchrone on 16th October, 1968, in which he said:
In Greece earlier this year, our travel editor, Peter Whelpton, questioned 40 English tourists. Four out of five admitted that they had brought extra cash.
That is only one stray poll, but it is some indication of the widespread nature of evasion. There are other devices, and, had there been time, I would have elaborated on this, but the way in which those firms controlling both hotels and airlines manage to have cross-sub-sidisation so as to reduce the amount of the V form which has to be allocated to the hotel, leaving the holidaymaker with more spending money, is apparently legal, because it is obviously sanctioned by the Bank of England.
But the real harm of this is the damage that it does to confidence. Here, perhaps, I can rely on a recent personal experience. When the Chancellor made his announcement, I was in America, and this was one item out of very few which made the columns of the Press in the Middle West. I was asked for an explanation of the introduction of this limit. I explained that the £50 tourist allowance was the equivalent of about 120 dollars. I can tell the right hon. Gentleman that that was greeted with cries of incredulity. The immediate assumption of my audience was that if British citizens were allowed to take out of the country only that much, the economy must still be in a critically dangerous state. I was trying to persuade my audiences, because I was speaking abroad, by quoting the figures, that the British economy seemed at long last to be beginning to turn the corner. But immediately, this very measure cast doubts on the veracity of my claims on behalf of my country.
This is the real damage, the damage which is done to confidence in the £. As The Guardian said on 22nd October:
… this is not the act of a country that has mastered its economic difficulties and recovered its nerve. It will confirm the impression that Britain is the poor relation of Europe, and still down on its uppers. The British abroad will continue to be known as the tourists who cannot afford to tip the waiter.
If the Government wanted to undermine confidence in the £, they could hardly have devised a more effective method than sending out millions of our people who have to count every centime, every pfennig, every peseta and every cent they spend.
Confidence always has been and a mains a critical weapon in the Chancellor's armoury. The sooner that this niggling, irksome and illiberal restriction is removed the better. I have rarely felt more justified in asking my right hon. and hon. Friends to support a Motion in the Lobby.
With the leave of the House, I should like to reply to the debate. I will come to the comment of the hon. Member for Wanstead and Woodford (Mr. Patrick Jenkin) about removing this restriction a little later. I should like first to answer the questions put to me.
The first was about the business allowance, and came from the hon. Member for Bodmin (Mr. Bessell). Twenty pounds a day, as he will recognise, is a reasonable allowance, apart from the United States, and in the United States or in any case in which a business allowance greater than £20 is required, a businessman has only to submit and justify an application and he will get more. This sounds a large figure, but the hon. Member and I both know that one sometimes needs more. We are anxious for exporters to go abroad, and we rely on their discretion in deciding on the best method of getting exports.
I turn to the suggestion about Australia. Australia and all other countries in the sterling area co-operate fully with these restrictions. My hon. Friend the Member for West Lothian (Mr. Dalyell) was absolutely right: a United Kingdom resident does not get more than the amount to which he is entitled here. We get that full cooperation.
I was asked about purchasing property in Portugal. It is true that purchases can be made legally, but they are made with property currency from a pool of money which is available for that purpose, and at no cost to the reserves. There have been illegal purchases and there have been prosecutions accordingly. On travel offences alone, on this same point of prosecutions, we of course follow up cases which we find out about. The Customs is very active about this, and in the past 12 months there have been 64 prosecutions, resulting in fines totalling over £12,000. In addition, the Customs has seized a total of £120,000.
Someone asked about the figures of visitors here and suggested that the present limitation of travel allowance was discouraging visits. The fact is that so far this year the number of visitors to the United Kingdom is up by 24 per cent. Those are the main points which were put to me.
Three main arguments have developed on this Motion. First, how right the hon. Member was to support his Motion by arguing for abolition. He and the right hon. Member for Barnet (Mr. Maudling) said the same thing. They both argued for abolition, and not a single speech— with the solitary exception of that of the hon. Member for Bodmin—contained an argument for an increase in the allowance. The case put to me is that the figures are bogus. Every hon. Member opposite has said that. What do they mean by that that the figure I gave of £25 million saving overstates the position and does not understate it?
Yet the Motion is for an increase. Of course, if the allowance were increased, this figure, which all hon. Members say is less than £25 million, would be even smaller, would it not? On the £100 which they maintained for five years, the saving would be negligible—a maximum, on my figures, which they may say are overstated, of £5 million a year, quite a ridiculous thing. As my right hon. Friend said, on any worth-while increase the saving becomes negligible and the Motion utterly fails on that ground alone.
The right hon. Member for Barnet said how ridiculous it was that one could import a string of Mercedes but could not spend more than £50 on a holiday. He proposed a Motion to increase the allowance. Of course, once one can spend £75, for example, abroad, it is perfectly justifiable to import as many Mercedes as one likes. It is only improper to do so when the allowance is £50.
The right hon. Gentleman must not distort my argument. I made it clear that one cannot totally abolish the allowance without giving complete freedom of capital movement. But the Government would not dream of allowing free capital movement.
There is certainly no intention in the foreseeable future of denying to the Government the safeguard which comes from control of capital movement. The Motion has nothing to do with that. It criticises us for not increasing the allowance. The hon. Member for Bodmin brought out that point, and another hon. Member made it clear that, although he was supporting the Motion for a limited reason, he wanted total abolition. All the other speeches were in favour of total abolition. I have made it clear that to increase the allowance would be pointless. It would cause difficulties would be of limited benefit and would save only a very small figure to the reserves. That is why we are not prepared to do it.
The hon. Member for Wanstead and Woodford made once more the excellent speech he delivered on a previous occasion about prestige. I think that is the only other argument which comes into this. I cannot quote what he has just said but I can quote his words on a previous occasion, since they were the same kind of words. On 30th June, in our previous debate, he said the following, quoting from his favourite author:
If the Government had wanted to set about undermining confidence in the £"—
the words he used again today—
if they wanted to blazen abroad to ordinary people like the French hotelier, the German restaurateur, the Italian taxi driver or the Swiss ski instructor, by giving the impression that our economy is in a dangerously parlous state, they could not have devised a more effective method than to send out millions of our people counting every centime, every pfennig, every lira or every cent they spend. If, as I believe is true, confidence is a critical weapon in the fight for prosperity, the sooner these niggling, irksome, illiberal and petty restrictions are abolished the better."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 30th June, 1969; Vol. 786, c. 97.]
It is good stuff. He was arguing that what was preventing confidence in the £ was the maintenance of this restriction.
I am happy to tell the hon. Gentleman —and I am sure that he and his right hon. and hon. Friends rejoice with me, although their rejoicing is in a somewhat minor key—that since that date confidence in the £, shown by what has been happening in the exchanges and with regard to the flow and generally throughout the world, has risen very substantially. We have seen a completely different aspect in our circumstances. There has not been one good argument for increasing
|Division No. 19.]||AYES||[7.6 p.m.|
|Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash)||Glover, Sir Douglas||Marten, Neil|
|Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead)||Glyn, Sir Richard||Maude, Angus|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Julian||Godber, Rt. Hn. J. B.||Maudling, Rt. Hn. Reginald|
|Astor, John||Goodhart, Phillp||Mawby, Ray|
|Atkins, Humphrey (M't'n & M'd'n)||Goodhew, Victor||Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.|
|Awdry, Daniel||Cower, Raymond||Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.|
|Baker, Kenneth (Acton)||Grant, Anthony||Mills, Peter (Torrington)|
|Baker, W. H. K. (Banff)||Grant-Ferris, Sir Robert||Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.)|
|Balniel, Lord||Gresham Cooke, R.||Miscampbell, Norman|
|Barber, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Grieve, Percy||Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)|
|Batsford, Brian||Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds)||Monro, Hector|
|Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton||Gurden, Harold||Montgomery, Fergus|
|Bell, Ronald||Hall, John (Wycombe)||Morgan, Geraint (Denbigh)|
|Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torquay)||Hall-Davis, A. G. F.||Morgan-Giles, Rear-Adm.|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gos. & Fhm)||Hamilton, Lord (Fermanagh)||Morrison, Charles (Devizos)|
|Berry, Hn. Anthony||Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)||Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles|
|Bessell, Peter||Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.)||Munro-Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh|
|Biffen, John||Harris, Reader (Heston)||Murton, Oscar|
|Biggs-Davison, John||Harrison, Brian (Maldon)||Neave, Airey|
|Birch, Rt. Hn. Nigel||Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)||Nicholls, Sir Harmar|
|Black, Sir Cyril||Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere||Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael|
|Blaker, Peter||Harvie Anderson, Miss||Nott, John|
|Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S.W.)||Hastings, Stephen||Onslow, Cranley|
|Body, Richard||Hawkins, Paul||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.|
|Bossom, Sir Clive||Hay, John||Orr-Ewing, Sir Ian|
|Boyd-Carponter, Rt. Hn. John||Heald, Rt. Hn. Sir Lionel||Osborn, John (Hallam)|
|Boyle, Rt. Hn. Sir Edward||Heath, Rt. Hn. Edward||Page, Graham (Crosby)|
|Brewis, John||Heseltine, Michael||Page, John (Harrow, W.)|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. Sir Walter||Higgins, Terence L.||Pardoe, John|
|Brown, Sir Edward (Bath)||Hiley, Joseph||Pearson, Sir Frank (Clitheroe)|
|Bruce-Gardyne, J.||Hill, J. E. B.||Percival, Ian|
|Bryan, Paul||Hirst, Geoffrey||Peyton, John|
|Buchanan-Smith, Alick(Angus,N&M)||Hogg, Rt. Hn. Quintin|
|Buck, Antony (Colchester)||Holland, Philip||Pike, Miss Mervyn|
|Bullus, Sir Eric||Hordem, Peter||Pink, R. Bonner|
|Burden, F- A.||Hornby, Richard||Pounder, Rafton|
|Campbell, B. (Oldham, W.)||Howell, David (Guildford)||Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch|
|Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn)||Hunt, John||Price, David (Eastleigh)|
|Carlisle, Mark||Hutchison, Michael Clark||Prior, J. M. L.|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Iremonger, T. L.||Pym, Francis|
|Channon, H. P. G.||Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)||Quennell, Miss J. M.|
|Chichester-Clark, R.||Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford)||Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James|
|Clark, Henry||Jennings, J. C. (Burton)||Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter|
|Cooke, Robert||Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead)||Rees-Davies, W. R,|
|Cordis, John||Joplig, Michael||Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David|
|Corfield, F. V.||Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir Keith||Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon|
|Costain, A. P.||Kaberry, Sir Donald||Ridley, Hn. Nicholas|
|Craddock, Sir Beresford (Spelthorne)||Kerby, Capt. Henry||Ridsdale, Julian|
|Crouch, David||Kershaw, Anthony||Rippon, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey|
|Cunningham, Sir Knox||Kimball, Marcus||Robson Brown, Sir William|
|Currie, G. B. H.||King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.)||Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Kitson, Timothy||Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)|
|Dance, James||Lambton, Viscount||Royle, Anthony|
|d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||Lancaster, Col. C. G.||Russell, Sir Ronald|
|Dean, Paul||Lane, David||St. John-Stevas, Norman|
|Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F. (Ashford)||Langford-Holt, Sir John||Scott, Nicholas|
|Digby, Simon Wingfield||Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry||Scott-Hopkins, James|
|Dodd-Parker, Douglas||Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)||Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)|
|Drayson, G. B.||Lloyd, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey (Sut'nC'dfield)||Silvester, Frederick|
|Eden, Sir John||Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone)||Sinclair, Sir George|
|Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)||Lloyd, Rt. Hn. Selwyn (Wirral)||Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington)|
|Emery, Peter||Longden, Gilbert|
|Errington, Sir Eric||McAdden, Sir Stephen||Smith, John (London & W'minster)|
|Farr, John||MacArthur, Ian||Speed, Keith|
|Fisher, Nigel||Maclean, Sir Fitzroy||Stainton, Keith|
|Fletcher-Cooke, Charles||McMaster, Stanley||Stodart, Anthony|
|Fortescue, Tim||McNalr-Wilson, Michael||Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M.|
|Foster, Sir John||McNair-Wilson, Patrick (New Forest)||Summers, Sir Spencer|
|Fraser, Rt. Hn. Hugh(St'fford & Stone)||Maddan, Martin||Tapsell, Peter|
|Gibson-Watt, David||Maginnis, John E.||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)|
|Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.)||Marples, Rt. Hn. Ernest||Taylor, Edward M.(G'gow,Cathcart)|
|Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)||Wall, Patrick||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick|
|Temple, John M.||Walters, Dennis||Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard|
|Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret||Ward, Christopher (Swindon)||Woodnutt, Mark|
|Tilney, John||Ward, Dame Irene||Worsley, Marcus|
|Turton, Rt. Hn. R. H.||Weatherill, Bernard||Wright, Esmond|
|van Straubenzee, W. R.||Wells, John (Maidstone)||Wylie, N. R.|
|Vaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hn. Sir John||Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William|
|Vickers, Dame Joan||Wiggin, A. W.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Waddington, David||Williams, Donald (Dudley)||Mr. Jasper More and|
|Walker, Peter (Worcester)||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)||Mr. Reginald Eyre.|
|Walter-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek|
|Abse, Leo||Edwards, Robert (Bilston)||Judd, Frank|
|Albu, Austen||Edwards, William (Merioneth)||Kelley, Richard|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||English, Michael||Kerr, Mrs. Anne (R'ter & Chatham)|
|Allen, Schotefield||Ensor, David||Kerr, Dr. David (W'worth, Central)|
|Anderson, Donald||Evans, Gwynfor (C'marthen)||Kerr, Russell (Feltham)|
|Ashley, Jack||Evans, loan L. (Birm'h'm, Yardley)||Latham, Arthur|
|Ashton, Joe (Bassetlaw)||Faulds, Andrew||Lawson, George|
|Atkins, Ronald (Preston, N.)||Fernyhough, E.||Leadbitter, Ted|
|Atkinson, Norman (Tottenham)||Finch, Harold||Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick (Newton)|
|Bacon, Rt. Hn. Alice||Fitch, Alan (Wigan)||Lee, John (Reading)|
|Bagier, Gordon A. T.||Fletcher, Rt. Hn. Sir Eric(lslington, E.)||Lestor, Miss Joan|
|Barnes, Michael||Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston)||Lever, Rt. Hn. Harold (Cheetham)|
|Barnett, Joel||Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)||Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham, N.)|
|Baxter, William||Foot, Rt. Hn. Sir Dingle (Ipswich)||Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)|
|Beaney, Alan||Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale)||Lipton, Marcus|
|Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood||Ford, Ben||Lomas, Kenneth|
|Bennett, James (G'gow, Bridge-ton)||Forrester, John||Loughlin, Charles|
|Bidwell, Sydney||Fowler, Gerry||Luard, Evan|
|Binns, John||Fraser, John (Norwood)||Lyon, Alexander W. (York)|
|Bishop, E. S.||Freeson, Reginald||Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.)|
|Blackburn, F.||Galpern, Sir Myer||McBride, Neil|
|Blenkinsop, Arthur||Gardner, Tony||McCann, John|
|Boardman, H. (Leigh)||Garrett, W. E.||MacColl, James|
|Booth, Albert||Ginsburg, David||MacDermot, Niall|
|Boston, Terence||Golding, John||Macdonald, A. H.|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hn. Arthur||Gordon Walker, Rt. Hn. P. C.||McElhone, Frank|
|Boyden, James||Gray, Dr. Hugh (Yarmouth)||McGuire, Michael|
|Bradley, Tom||Gregory, Arnold||McKay, Mrs. Margaret|
|Bray, Dr. Jeremy||Grey, Charles (Durham)||Mackenzie, Gregor (Rutherglen)|
|Brooks, Edwin||Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||Mackie, John|
|Broughton, Sir Alfred||Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside)||Mackintosh, John P.|
|Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan)||Griffiths, Wilt (Exchange)||Maclennan, Robert|
|Brown,Bob(N 'c'tle-upon-Tyne, W.)||Gunter, Rt. Hn. R. J.||McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.)|
|Brown, R. W. (Shoreditch & F'bury)||Hamilton, James (Bothwell)||MacPherson, Malcolm|
|Buchan, Norman||Hamilton, William (Fife, W.)||Mahon, Simon (Boot:?)|
|Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn)||Hamling, William||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)||Hannan, William||Mallalieu, J.P.W.(Huddersfield, E.)|
|Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Harper, Joseph||Manuel, Archie|
|Callaghan, Rt. Hn. James||Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)||Mapp, Charles|
|Carmichael, Neil||Haseldine, Norman||Marks, Kenneth|
|Carter-Jones, Lewis||Hazell, Bert||Marsh, Rt. Hn. Richard|
|Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara||Healey, Rt. Hn. Denis||Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy|
|Chapman, Donald||Henig, Stanley||Maxwell, Robert|
|Coe, Denis||Herbison, Rt. Hn. Margaret||Mayhew, Christopher|
|Coleman, David||Hilton, W. S.||Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert|
|Concannon, J. D.||Hobden, Dennis||Mendelson, John|
|Conlan, Bernard||Hooley, Frank||Mikardo, Ian|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Horner, John||Millan, Bruce|
|Crawshaw, Richard||Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas||Miller, Dr. M. S.|
|Cronin, John||Howarth, Robert (Bolton, E.)||Milne, Edward (Blyth)|
|Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Howell, Denis (Small Heath)||Mitchell, R. C. (S'th'pton, Test)|
|Dalyell, Tarn||Hoy, Rt. Hn. James||Moonman, Eric|
|Darling, Rt. Hn. George||Huckfield, Leslie||Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire)|
|Davidson, Arthur (Accrington)||Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)|
|Davies, Ednyfed Hudson (Conway)||Hughes, Roy (Newport)||Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)|
|Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)||Hunter, Adam||Morris, John (Aberavon)|
|Davies, Rt. Hn. Harold (Leek)||Hynd, John||Moyle, Roland|
|Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Jackson, Colin (B'h'se & Spenb'gh)||Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick|
|Delargy, Hugh||Jackson, Peter M. (High Peak)||Murray, Albert|
|Dell, Edmund||Janner, Sir Barnett||Neal, Harold|
|Dempsey, James||Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas||Newens, Stan|
|Dewar, Donald||Jeger, George (Goole)||Norwood, Christopher|
|Diamond, Rt. Hn. John||Jeger, Mrs. Lena(H'b'n&St.P'cras,S.)||Oakes, Gordon|
|Dickens, James||Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)||Ogden, Eric|
|Doig, Peter||Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford)||O'Haltoran, Michael|
|Dunn, James A.||Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)||O'Malley, Brian|
|Dunnett, Jack||Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.)||Oram, Albert E.|
|Dunwoody, Mrs. Gwyneth (Exeter)||Jones, Dan (Burnley)||Orbach, Maurice|
|Eadie, Alex||Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)||Orme, Stanley|
|Edelman, Maurice||Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, West)||Oswald, Thomas|
|Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, S'tn)||Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)||Tuck, Raphael|
|Owen, Will (Morpeth)||Rose, Paul||Urwin, T. W.|
|Padley, Walter||Ross, Rt. Hn. William||Varley, Eric G.|
|Page, Derek (King's Lynn)||Rowlands, E.||Walden, Brian (All Saints)|
|Paget, R. T.||Ryan, John||Walker, Harold (Doncaster)|
|Palmer, Arthur||Shaw, Arnold (Ilford, S.)||Wallace, George|
|Panned, Rt. Hn. Charles||Sheldon, Robert||Watkins, David (Consett)|
|Parker, John (Dagenham)||Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney)||Weitzman, David|
|Parkyn, Brian (Bedford)||Short, Rt. Hn. Edward (N'c'tle-u-Tyne)||Wellbeloved, James|
|Pavitt, Laurence||Short, Mrs. Renee(W'hampton,N.E.)||Wells, William (Walsall, N.)|
|Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)||Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)||White, Mrs. Eirene|
|Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred||Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)||Whitlock, William|
|Pentland, Norman||Silverman, Julius||Wilkine, W. A.|
|Perry, Ernest G. (Battersea, S.)||Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick|
|Perry, George H. (Nottingham, S.)||Skeffington, Arthur||Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)|
|Prentice, Rt. Hn. Reg.||Slater, Joseph||Williams, Clifford (Abertillery)|
|Price, William (Rugby)||Small, William||Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)|
|Probert, Arthur||Snow, Julian||Williams, W. T. (Warrington)|
|Pursey, Crndr. Harry||Spriggs, Leslie||Willis, Rt. Hn. George|
|Randall, Harry||Steele, Thomas (Dunbartonshire, W.)||Wilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)|
|Rankin, John||Stewart, Rt. Hn. Michael||Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)|
|Rees, Merlyn||Stonehouse, Rt. Hn. John||Winnick, David|
|Richard, Ivor||Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R.||Woodburn, Rt. Hn. A.|
|Roberts, Albert (Normanton)||Summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley||Woof, Robert|
|Roberts, Rt. Hn. Goronwy||Swain, Thomas||Wyatt, Woodrow|
|Roberts, Cwilym (Bedfordshire, S.)||Taverne, Dick|
|Robertson John (Paisley)||Thomas, Rt. Hn. George||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Robinson, Rt. Hn. Kenneth (St.P'cas)||Thornton, Ernest||Mr. Ernest Armstrong and|
|Rodgers, William (Stockton)||Tinn, James||Mr. R. F. H. Dobson.|
|Roebuck, Roy||Tomney, Frank|