HC Deb 30 August 1880 vol 256 c641

asked the Secretary to the Treasury, If he would explain why, in the Annual National Debt Return made pursuant to the order of this House, dated 4th April, 1879, the valuation of terminable annuities differs from that given in the Finance Accounts; and if he could further explain why the £2,000,000 lent to India without interest is deducted as a good asset from the National Debt, when, in point of fact, it has been stated by the Secretary of State for India that there is a great deficit in Indian Finance, and consequently little hope of repayment of that £2,000,000?


The National Debt Return, dated April 4, 1879, was moved for by a private Member, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the City of London (Mr. J. G. Hubbard), and he desired the valuation of the Terminable Annuities to be made open the assumption that interest is at the rate of 3 per cent. The Finance Accounts give the valuation adopted by the Government, which assumes 3¼ as the rate of interest. That is the cause of difference between the two accounts. Private Members obtain Returns framed in accordance with their own views; and I am afraid that these Returns will frequently be found in apparent conflict with the former Official Returns, for which the Government is responsible. As regards the second part of the Question, the law as it now stands makes India responsible for the £2,000,000 loan, and it must therefore appear as an asset, until the Government shall have made a proposal affecting it. The account is the account of the National Debt as it stood on the 31st of March last, when there was no intention, expressed or implied, of remitting the debt.