The most important single factor in determining the rate of inflation in 1975 is likely to be pay settlements. Maintaining employment will depend both on our international competitiveness and on avoiding a recession in world trade.
Is an interim Budget contemplated at this stage? On the crucial importance of pay settlements to which the Minister has referred, will he say whether there is any truth in the sugges- tion that the Government are delaying effective controls on wages until the miners' dispute is settled?
I have nothing further to say on the date of the Budget. The date will be announced in due course by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer. As pay settlements are at present the main contribution to the level of inflation, it is hoped that they will all be settled within the social contract. Any assistance that can be given in that respect will be welcomed in the light of our expectation regarding future inflation.