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Orders of the Day — International Monetary Arrangements Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:04 pm on 11th July 1983.

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Photo of Mr Peter Shore Mr Peter Shore , Bethnal Green and Stepney 4:04 pm, 11th July 1983

Yes, they have that responsibility. I do not seek to put the whole responsibility on commercial banks. Frankly, the greatest responsibility has been the deliberate option at the highest level by the leading countries of the West for policies of international deflation.

Unless the Western world is able, once again, to resume its own expansion, the whole problem will become insoluble. The corrective measures imposed on the debt-ridden developing countries can work only if they reduce their imports from the West and expand their exports to it. That can happen only if the economies of the West are themselves expanding. If the economies of the West continue to stagnate, the forces of protectionism will become irresistible.

I conclude with the following three points. First, we should now be giving absolute priority to measures in the United Kingdom, and in co-operation with our Western partners, to expand our economies and world trade. Secondly, we should seek to work out new proposals to enable the IMF to perform its essential role and to deal with the massive problem of world indebtedness. Thirdly, we should join others in finding ways of lowering interest rates, which bear so cruelly on those who are already laden with debt.

The Bill and the order that follows later today will need to be followed, in my judgment, by far more substantial measures during the life of this Parliament. Meanwhile, we shall vote against this measure, for the reasons stated in our amendment.