§ Mr. Lawson
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish the text of the Financial Secretary's letter of 11th February to the hon. Member for Blaby on the subject of the United Kingdom's outstanding foreign currency debts in general and the debts due to be repaid by 1985 in particular.
§ Mr. Robert Sheldon
The text was as followsDuring the Committee Stage of the International Finance, Trade and Aid Bill you raised some points about the composition of the amounts of foreign currency debt now outstanding and of debt to be repaid by 1985. (Hansard Standing Committee A, 8th February Cols. 50–51). I am now writing to give you the information you requested.Confusion has I think arisen because the figures that I have given relate to debt already incurred whereas the figures used by the Governor and to which reference was made on 4th February (in my Written Answer, Col. 482) relate to repayments and include repayment of certain amounts which are available to us but not yet drawn.It might help if I set out the figures that I gave to the Committee for debt outstanding and amounts borrowed since 1st March 1974:
Source Outstanding on 8th Feb. 1977 IMF drawings $3.1 bn HMG Euro-dollar loan $2.5 bn Public Sector Borrowing $10.6 bn Long term debts $4.1 bn $20.3 bn
Source Borrowed since 1st March 1974 IMF drawings $3.1 bn HMG Euro-dollar loan $2.5 bn Public Sector Borrowing $7.3 bn Long term debts — $12.9 bn
The Governor gave a figure of $20 billion of medium term debt to be repaid by 1985. This figure includes the amounts agreed but not yet drawn on the recent IMF standby and 299W on the new $1.5 billion HMG Euro-dollar loan. These are not included in the table above. The Governor's figure does not, however, include repayments on our long term debts, which are to be spread evenly over the period to 2005. In addition, a small amount of borrowing by public sector bodies falls due for repayment after 1985. The break-down of the repayments on this basis is as follows:
Amount to be repaid IMF drawings … $6 bn HMG loans … $4 bn Public Sector borrowing … $10 bn $20 bn
Of which amount not yet drawn IMF drawings … $3 bn HMG loans … $1½ bn $4½ bn
The left hand column contains the information I gave in the Written Reply to John MacGregor (Hansard, 4th February, Col. 482) and to which you have referred.
As you will see, the confusion arose because two quite different sums coincidentally both give a total of some $20 billion. The IMF debt in both sets of figures was incurred wholly after 1st March 1974.
I hope you will find this information helpful."