The Decade of Disillusion: British Politics in the Sixties by CHRIS COOK DAVID MCKIE


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Brown explained that he wanted their informal agreement to reassure the United States at what he believed to be a critical stage in negotiations for fresh international support for sterling. I. fell into line. The trade unions failed to agree. The Prime Minister was forced to acquiesce in a delay while the two sides consulted their parent organisations. On I September the Cabinet agreed to the new line. C. General Conncil meeting at Brighton, and after twelve hectic hours was able to annonnce the plan with official nnion blessing.

30 THE DECADE OF DISILLUSION Maudling had not banked on a simultaneous capital outflow of massive proportions, compounded as it was by the Montecatini oil deal, to which he could not refuse his consent. R. predicted a £5oO million deficit, and by September there was growing pressure on sterling, in part seasonal and aggravated by electoral uncertainty. Wilson remained publicly optimistic, unwilling to make the matter an election issue. The electorate were untroubled and the Government chiefly occupied with foreign affairs.

16 The economy itself seemed in reasonable shape, and THE RECORD 33 the deficit, so the Treasury forecast, would be halved without any change in policy. The 'Brown Paper' on the economy chose not to reveal this last fact, thus making its announcement much more alarming that it need have been: 'The Government ... have decided that on this occasion it is right that the most recent estimates should be given to the nation. It is expected when the accounts for 1964 as a whole are available, they will show a deficit on the balance of payments ...

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