Large scale document archive

1981 Feb 27 Fr
Archive (Walters MSS)

Economy: Alan Walters diary (budget discussions) [“Middleton finding it very difficult”] [released 2012]

Document type: Declassified documents
Source: Walters MSS (Churchill Archives Centre): WTRS 3/1/1
Editorial comments: Entry written as Friday 13 February but date subsequently corrected. The full handwritten text of the 1981 diary can be read here. The document is 80MB, so may take time to download.
Importance ranking: Major
Word count: 1p
Themes: Monetary policy

Friday 27th February 1981

Biffen reported to give big hint in Press that MLR [Minimum lending rate] was to be cut by 3% (In rest of press reports of 4% are rampant). Middleton, writing budget speech, very surprised - argument whether it should be 1% or 2%. Middleton finding it very difficult with no Rooker Wise, a PSBR estimate rising by the hour, the Governor requiring no money targets but great emphasis on exchange rate - apparently GH [SirGeoffrey Howe] did not stand up to the Govr at all well. I told Middleton that I thought still that this budget had all the seeds of disaster, but a lot had been done on the macro level. But no RW [Rooker Wise] and Bank tax were not defensible. The objection to a standard rate increase is wholly political.

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