HC Deb 09 March 1808 vol 10 cc992-3

The house went into a committee of ways and means.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer,

in pursuance of the notice he had given on a former day, was about to propose to the house, to fund a certain portion of the Exchequer Bills now outstanding. The object he had in view, was to fund four millions of these exchequer Bills; and as the five per cent. stock was that with respect to which the contractors for loans made most difficulty, being desirous, as much as possible, to exclude it from their bargains, and to make their biddings as much as possible in the three per cents. he thought a considerable facility and advantage towards the negotiation of the ensuing loan would be gained, if it could be so arranged as that these 4,000,000l. of exchequer bills should, as far as possible, be funded in five per cents. This would take off from the loan the weight of five per cent. stock, which was considered by the subscribers as a dead weight on the three per cents. and of course rendered the biddings less favourable than they would otherwise be. The loan would not be contracted for before Easter, and of course the sinking fund on this part would be free till that time. This arrangement would afford 4,000,000l. towards the supply, and would so far reduce the loan for the year. Though all the supplies for the year were not yet voted, and of course it was not possible exactly to determine the amount that would be wanted; yet there was reason to think, that the amount of loan of exchequer bills, out of the market, would not be more than 8,000,000l. for England. This sum being considerably under what the sinking fund for the year would be able to discharge, it was reasonable to conclude, that the loan may be negotiated under terms of extraordinary advantage, particularly when the present arrangement should be disconnected from the loan, and brought into the market at separate times. The facility which he hoped would be given by taking the five per cents. out of the loan, would also be a mutual advantage. He proposed to give an option to the holders of exchequer bills, to subscribe them either wholly in five per cents. or partly in five and partly in four per cents. As the advantage to the public from a subscription in five per cents. was so such greater, he proposed to allow an exchange of 105l. five per cents. for every 100l. exchequer bills, the interest to commence from the 5th of Jan. If the subscription should be made jointly in five and four per cents. the rate he proposed was, 50l. of the latter, and 63l. 4s. of the former: the interest to commence on the 5th of April. If the whole 4,000,000l. should be funded in five per cents. the capital to be provided for would be 4,200,000l. If the funding should take placed in mixed stock in the proportions he stated, the amount of capital would be in five per cents. 152,559l.; in four per cents. 100,000l.; making together 253,159l. He then made a statement of the charges of management and sinking fund, according to both arrangements. In a comparison of the relative advantage of the terms with an investment in the three per cents. he allowed that a fall of something about one per cent. had taken place in the five per cents. in consequence of the knowledge of the intention to make this addition to the amount of that stock. But a proportionate fall would take place in the three per cents. if it were-fixed that that stock should be the medium of the funding, and the capital to be provided for in that stock, according to a calculation on the most accurate principles, would be 4,253,657l. He then moved, that for every 100l. exchequer bills, funded on the 18th of March, there be allowed a capital stock of 105l. five per cents. bearing interest from the 1st of Jan.; or a joint stock of 63l. 4s. five per cents. and 50l. four per cents. bearing interest from the 5th of April next.

After a short conversation, the resolution was agreed to; and also another, limiting the amount of exchequer bills to be thus funded to 4,000,000l.