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Balance Of Payments

Volume 929: debated on Tuesday 29 March 1977

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First, let me deal with our trading performance. We must not only eliminate our balance of payments deficit but earn substantial surpluses, so that we can start repaying our accumulated international debt while still maintaining adequate reserves. That is the pre-condition for restoring our economic independence and making ourselves less vulnerable to external shocks in future. With the help of North Sea oil, we should earn a surplus next year. But this will be when our economy is still operating well below capacity. Our aim must be to earn a balance of payments surplus in conditions of full employment.