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Orders of the Day — International Monetary Arrangements Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:35 pm on 11th July 1983.

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Photo of Mr John Moore Mr John Moore , Croydon Central 3:35 pm, 11th July 1983

The hon. Gentleman is extremely well informed of the details. He is correct to inform every one that the Government's attitudes on the actual conditions are clear. As I said, my expectation is that if there were any such application for a waiver it would be refused.

I have set out the position in some detail because I am not clear that it has been fully understood by Opposition Members. It therefore seems useful to clarify the matter. I do not recall exception being taken by Opposition Members to the decision to move away from bilateral United Kingdom restrictions on the basis that I have described. I trust that they are not saying that it would be wrong for conditions to be laid down by the IMF; conditions incorporating understandings about the removal of restrictions and other matters. I cannot imagine that they would have preferred such questions to be decided between the United Kingdom and Argentina alone. I do not seriously believe that that could have been in their minds.

In short, therefore, this is a conditional pattern of support. I accept of course that programmes have been known to break down. Our hope must be that Argentina satisfies all the performance criteria and so makes manifest a return to normality. To the extent that Argentina is forced to give priority—this is the point that the hon. Member for Workington (Mr. Campbell-Savours) correctly raised —to paying its debts, controlling its public expenditure and its further domestic and external borrowing, its ability to buy arms is restrained.

It is to the credit of both sides of the House that they have made clear their concern for the developing world, the health of the international institutions and the maintenance and strengthening of capital flows to the Third world. It is to their credit also that they wish to see Argentina brought back, if that can properly be done, into normal economic and political circles and that they recognise, when the question is put in that way, that any other approach would have less positive implications for United Kingdom employment and the world financial system.

I conclude on the main thrust of today's Bill and debate. The House is asked to give its assent to legislation that will allow the United Kingdom to continue to play its full part in international efforts to stabilise the sovereign debt problem. I pay tribute to the full part which, in particular, my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs has played in these matters. With wise counsel such as his and continued partnership and good will among all those affected, none of the problems that we face need defeat us. I commend the Bill to the House.