Below is the text of Mr Major’s written Parliamentary Answer on the Trade Deficit on 12th December 1988.
Mr. Austin Mitchell To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his estimate of the loss of revenue to the Exchequer as a result of the deficit of £14 billion in trade in manufactures.
Mr. Major The effect of the deficit of trade in manufactures on Government revenues depends on what would otherwise have happened to a wide range of economic variables. Any estimates would be highly speculative and subject to wide margins of error. Even the direction of the effect is ambiguous. Revenues could be either higher or lower.