1940s >> 1947 >> no-518-october-1947

Time’s Little Joke !

“First, the balance of payments. Here we have done very well so far, much better than most experts expected; and there is no prospect of any ‘crisis.’ As Hugh Dalton has said, controls would prevent this; and all that could happen at the worst would be a prolongation of austerity. If we do not export enough, we shall have less oranges, bananas, tobacco, sugar, limber, etc., to consume. That is all.
  “But the figures are encouraging. It was expected that in 1946 we should have a total deficit on the balance of our oversea payments (including Government expenditure abroad) of about £750,000,000. But in fact it has only turned out to be about £450,000,000.
  “Since only £300,000,000 of this was due to ordinary exporting and importing, our excess of imports over exports in 1916 (if we allow for the changed value of money) was scarcely greater than the average for the 1930’s. This is an incredible success, which has not been widely enough realized.
   “It is for this reason that the American Loan is being used up so slowly. Those who say that it is being used fast have evidently not examined the figures very carefully.
Hugh Dalton told us recently in Parliament that in the last six months of 1946 some 600,000,000 dollars of the American loan had been spent. This is a rate of spending of £300,000,000 a year. Since the effective part of the loan amounts to £937,000,000, it would last at this rate for rather over three years, i.e. till the autumn of 1949.”


 (Douglas Jay, Labour M.P., “Labour Press Service,” March 7th, 1947.)