3 MAY 1975, Page 3

Floating pound

Sir: Having been one of the first and foremost to applaud Mr (as he then was) Barber for floating the pound, you can hardly complain now (April 26) that, in the absence of import controls, "the Government has left itself with only the floating or, perhaps better expressed, sinking pound — which it deliberately fails to support as the, country's last economic rampart."

Quite apart from the fact that an artificially supported pound cannot be a truly floating pound, and approximates more closely to what used to be known as a fixed (but adjustable) pound, it is, of course, our foreign creditors, rather than the Government, who have been doing most of the supporting of late — and, the Government must pray, long may they continue to do so. The only trouble is that for this, no less than for the sinking pound, a price has to be paid sooner or later. Shades of the days, not so long ago, when floating was hailed by some as the end of all our troubles and the beginning of a new golden age! , Not that one could fairly hold the floating fashion responsible for all our present discontents; as you observed, "the authorities, and no one else, are to blame." But to the extent that it has created a false' sense of security, and so encouraged the authorities, in successive governments, to delay, in dealing with the situation which had made floating necessary, if not desirable, in the first place, it bears at least part of the blame. Now that, for better or worse, we are stuck with it, the need for those measures — with or without additional prompting from Brussels — is greater than ever.

W. Grey 12 Arden Road, Finchley, London N3