Exchange Rate

Part of Prayers – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 16th June 1988.

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Photo of Mr John Smith Mr John Smith , Monklands East 12:00 am, 16th June 1988

Why did the Chancellor not answer that part of the question from my hon. Friend the Member for Carlisle (Mr. Martlew) that asked for his opinion on the effect of the exchange rate on British industry? Is not the exchange rate at its present level deeply harmful to the competitive prospects of British industry, as the leaders of industry constantly point out? Does the Chancellor recall that he once had a policy of shadowing the deutschmark at DM3 to the pound before the Prime Minister wrecked his policy? Has he seen the revision in the current account balance of payments figures, which shows that they were under-estimated for the first quarter by £900 million, showing a deficit of £2·8 billion, which, annualised, would be £11·2 billion as against a Budget prediction of £4 billion? What will he do about Britain's balance of payments crisis?