HC Deb 03 August 1869 vol 198 cc1146-7

(Mr. Dodson, Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr. Ayrton.)

Bill considered, in Committee.

(In the Committee.)


begged leave to call the attention of the House to an important alteration which had been introduced into one of the clauses of this Bill. In all previous Appropriation Bills there had been a power of borrowing on the part of the Government, but that power had been somewhat restricted. The power hitherto was expressed thus— "The Governor and Company of the Bank of England shall have power to lend to the Government." He believed that these words were in the draft of the Bill as it originally stood; but it had since been altered, and they now ran in this way—"The Commissioners of the Treasury may borrow on the credit of the same "—or, in other words, that the Commissioners of the Treasury should have a general borrowing power conferred upon them. Now, he had no objection to such a borrowing power; but this was a very important alteration, and he thought attention should be called to it, giving, as it did, great latitude to the Treasury. He conceived the Treasury was quite justified in obtaining for the service of the State such advances of money as might be required from any quarter they might think fit; and he wished the House clearly to understand that it was not at all in consequence of his connection with the Bank of England that he raised any objection to this change in the borrowing powers conferred on the Government. His only wish was that attention might be drawn to the fact, and that the people out-of-doors might know that this great change had been made in the borrowing powers of the Government. The only further observation by way of criticism he should like to make on the matter was this—that the change was of that important character that he thought the attention of the House ought to have been called to it by some one of those having charge of the Bill, and it should not have been left to any private Member to draw attention to the subject. He wished distinctly to repeat, standing there as the representative of the Bank of England, that no jealousy was felt at the enlargement of the powers of the Government, and he only made these observations on the subject because he thought it right that the people out-of-doors should be informed of the fact of the change which had been made. He was quite aware that the Chancellor of the Exchequer had pointed to a change of this kind on introducing his Budget; but the language of the right hon. Gentleman had hardly justified the expectation that his intention would so soon be carried into effect.

House resumed; Bill reported, without Amendment; to be read the third time To-morrow.