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Sir Geoffrey Howe : Among other things, electricity privatisation policies will be directed at maintaining and improving energy conservation. As I have said, for the last four years for which figures are available the United Kingdom's ratio of energy use to GDP has been improving at twice the average of EC countries.

Mr. Ian Bruce : Does my right hon. and learned Friend agree that privatisation of electricity will ensure that private companies will make profits by reducing the fuel that they burn and that energy conservation will be greatly improved by that means?

Sir Geoffrey Howe : My hon. Friend is right to remind the House that privatisation induces a much more commercial and cost-conscious attitude throughout all sections of industry, as it will do in the respect that he mentions.

Interest Rates and Inflation

Q9. Mr. Allen : To ask the Prime Minister which G7 country has (a) the highest interest and (b) the highest inflation rate.

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Sir Geoffrey Howe : I have been asked to reply.

Interest rates in the United Kingdom are higher than in other G7 countries. Italy has the highest underlying inflation rate. United Kingdom interest rates will stay as high as necessary for as long as necessary to bring inflation down.

Mr. Allen : In view of that reply, and in view of today's trade figures, I do not wish to ask a supplementary question.

Q10. Mr. Menzies Campbell : To ask the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 24 October.

Sir Geoffrey Howe : I have been asked to reply.

I refer the hon. and learned Gentleman to the reply that I gave some moments ago.

Mr. Campbell : I do not share the inability or unwillingness of the hon. Member for Nottingham, North (Mr. Allen) to ask a supplementary question. When the deputy Prime Minister meets the Prime Minister on her return from her triumph at the Commonwealth conference, will he encourage her to condemn the rebel cricket tour of South Africa?

Sir Geoffrey Howe : The Government will continue, as they have always done, to uphold the provisions of the Gleneagles agreement.

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