§ SIR STAFFORD NORTHCOTE
asked Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Whether it is the intention of the Government to introduce a Public Works Loan Bill this year, and when he expects to do so; and, whether he will inform the House; either by means of a Return or otherwise, what has been the course of the advances and repayments to the Public Works Loan Fund in the last financial year; and how far it is pro- 1910 bable that the excess of repayments over advances, to which he referred in his Budget speech, will go?
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER (Mr. CHILDERS)
Sir, in reply to my right hon. Friend, I have to say it is my intention to introduce shortly a Public Works Loan Bill. I cannot name the day for its introduction at this moment. In reply to the second Question, I have to say that the advances out of the Exchequer for Public Works during the last financial year amounted to £630,567, and the repayments were £1,291,186. I presume that the passage in my Financial Statement to which my right hon. Friend refers is that in which I said that the balances being £1,000,000 more than at the same time in the previous year, I proposed to pay off £1,000,000 of the Indian Loan of £2,000,000. The Exchequer balance on the 31st of March, 1882, was £5,977,000, and on the 31st of March, 1883, £6,973,000, showing an increase as near as possible of £1,000,000. I propose to devote this £1,000,000, which had already accrued on the 31st of March, to paying off half the debt due on the Indian Loan; and I ask for the necessary powers in the National Debt Bill now before the House. I cannot at this moment form an approximate estimate of the excess of repayments over advances during the present financial year.