Mr Jack Diamond: The formula there used is an aid to understanding one aspect of economic development. No one suggests that it is the whole story. It is a valuable assistance to understanding economic development in one aspect.
Mr Jack Diamond: My right hon. Friend has no present proposals for changes in this field.
Mr Jack Diamond: The answer to the first question is "Yes", to the second one, "No".
Mr Jack Diamond: I have nothing to add to the Answer I gave to the hon. Member for South Angus (Mr. Bruce-Gardyne) on 14th October.—[Vol. 788, c. 60.]
Mr Jack Diamond: The right hon. Gentleman has made it clear that the companies know their position to the end of December with precision. For the period after that, I am not aware that there is any considerable inconvenience. I would be anxious to meet it if I knew of it.
Mr Jack Diamond: I will make my position perfectly clear and say that the Government will have an announcement to make at the earliest possible opportunity and trust that no major inconvenience will be caused in the meantime.
Mr Jack Diamond: With permission, my right hon. Friend will answer this Question together with Questions Nos. 14, 28, 29 and 40 at the end of Question Time.
Mr Jack Diamond: It is expected that Professor Reddaway's initial findings will be available before the end of the year. They will be published and my right hon. Friend will give very careful consideration to his findings.
Mr Jack Diamond: No, Sir. The inquiries which were made revealed irregularities by a small number of banks, each of which has given an assurance that these will not recur. My right hon. Friend does not propose to take any further action in respect of these particular irregularities but this area of foreign exchange operations is being kept under close scrutiny.
Mr Jack Diamond: On the latter part of the question, yes. As I have indicated, we are taking special steps to keep this area under constant review. On the first part of the question, these irregularities arose out of slackness of control which resulted in either an excess amount or too small an amount of foreign currency being held.
Mr Jack Diamond: My right hon. Friend keeps the whole tax system, including the possibility of changes like the introduction of value-added tax, under continuous review.
Mr Jack Diamond: The number of civil servants engaged will depend a great deal on the form and coverage of the tax. The cost of administration would be much greater than for purchase tax and selective employment tax. On the latter part of the question, I do not think that I am responsible for giving that kind of information.
Mr Jack Diamond: The right hon. Gentleman will be aware of recent developments in the Common Market.
Mr Jack Diamond: The report of the Committee set up by the National Economic Development Council to examine value-added taxation was discussed at the Council's meeting in November, 1968, which my right hon. Friend attended.
Mr Jack Diamond: My right hon. Friend will bear in mind the nature of the tax and the administrative difficulties associated with implementing it.
Mr Jack Diamond: One, Sir. Section 14 of the Finance Act, 1969, enabled local authorities to pay interest without deduction of tax on foreign currency borrowing, and we are prepared in suitable cases to provide relief for the exchange uncertainties involved but the terms and timing of such borrowings must have regard to conditions in the markets concerned and other demands on those markets.
Mr Jack Diamond: I am aware of the circumstances affecting the hon. Member's local authority, but the answer is as I have already given it to him, namely, that those demands, and other demands, have to be regulated, and note has to be taken of the condition of the market.
Mr Jack Diamond: We have our information, and we take such advice as is necessary to ascertain the state of the market and the likely demands upon it.
Mr Jack Diamond: While I am following my hon. Friend's speech with the greatest care, and as I have some responsibility in these matters, I wish to be sure just what his proposals mean. I have read the proposals in the report with great care and have listened to his remarks so far with equal care. Is he distinguishing between great policy matters which are discussed on the Floor of the House and small policy...
Mr Jack Diamond: My hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer) has just made an interesting and penetrating speech. He has indicated, if it were necessary, which it is not, that he and all who preceded him appreciated how valuable and essential it is on major matters of this kind to have a full and free-ranging debate in the House of Commons because the Chamber somehow produces the kind of...