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Imports (Cost)

Volume 649: debated on Tuesday 21 November 1961

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asked the President of the Board of Trade how much more United Kingdom imports for 1960 would have cost if the terms of trade had remained the same as in 1954.

If import prices had remained unchanged from 1954, the goods imported in 1960 would have cost £83,000,000 more.

I am staggered by that figure, because I have seen it calculated as nearer £500 million. Could the figure be checked once more? What proportion of the extra money would have gone to the poorer parts of the Commonwealth to help raise their standard of living?

I will gladly check my figures again. It might be best if I wrote to my hon. Friend and told him how I arrived at the figures given in my Answer. It does not follow that if the terms of trade were different there would necessarily have been a bigger surplus available for overseas investment.