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Volume 972: debated on Monday 22 October 1979

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asked the Secretary of State for Trade to what extent the rate of inflation will be ameliorated by the increase in the strengthening of the £ sterling on world markets.

A strong pound certainly helps to keep our import prices down and therefore to moderate inflationary pressures at home. This has been valuable this year when oil and other costs are rising. The pace at which the economy adjusts to a higher exchange rate depends on movements in pay rises and profit margins, and cannot be predicted with any precision.