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Orders of the Day — European Communities Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 13th July 1972.

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Photo of Mr Geoffrey Rippon Mr Geoffrey Rippon , Hexham 12:00 am, 13th July 1972

What I made quite clear to the right hon. Member for Stepney was that President Pompidou's remarks have been completely misrepresented. There remains no difference between us. We have said perfectly clearly that we shall return to the internationally agreed margins of fluctuation around parity as soon as conditions permit. As the right hon. Member for Cheetham pointed out, that applies to the IMF rules as well as to the EEC currency arrangements.

Finally, the right hon. Member for Stepney, with his gloomy countenance, portrayed a dangerous economic situation, a woeful balance of payments, and all the rest of it. The House should recognise that the Bill paves the way for very great opportunities for our industry. No only shall we have permanent unrestricted access to a market of over 300 million people, but those benefits will not be restricted to the current tariff cuts, important as they will be for industries producing all the products which are now subject to rates of tariff varying between 15 per cent. and well over 20 per cent.

In a larger market our companies will be able to plan ahead with much greater certainly. The high technological industries particularly will be able to take advantages of economies of scale and to participate in this bigger and faster growing market. It is perfectly clear for many of our great industries that projects of the scale which are required in the modern world are beyond the capacity of single countries because the proportion of national resources needed to support them is too great. The need is for collaboration not just project by project but in permanent international companies full integrated to use resources with maximum efficiency.