Britain’s export evangelist
DOI link for Britain’s export evangelist
Britain’s export evangelist book
The Labour government organised the first-ever national referendum in the UK; an overwhelming majority accepted Harold Wilson's prognosis that being in the European Economic Community would improve Britain's BoP. First elected a member of parliament in 1945, Wilson's became the youngest ever President of the Board of Trade in 1947. He introduced the Export Guarantees Bill which is generally seen as the cradle of modern state export insurance. To the amazement of the House of Commons, Wilson – perhaps embarrassed by the give-away terms – refused to state any details, thus implicitly confirming the rumours of exceptionally low interest. Rumours had in the meantime circulated that the Russian payments for these proposed 'jumbo orders' would be spread over a lengthy period and that the interest might be as low as 7.1 per cent. The Chancellor of the Exchequer commended selective employment tax to parliament by citing the cryptic argument that it would help 'to achieve a healthy balance of payments'.