HC Deb 15 February 1894 vol 21 cc464-5
SIR D. MACFARLANE (Argyllshire)

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for India if the recent sales of drafts on India made by the Secretary of State were made after consultation with the Government of India and with its concurrence, or in opposition to its wishes?


The recent tales of drafts on India were made after the Government of India had given a public notice that the Secretary of State did not propose to maintain the minimum rate of l5¼d. for bills. The only point of difference was as to the exact date at which the proposed change should be made. I may, perhaps, take this opportunity of pointing out, with reference to the Chancellor of the Exchequer's statement on Tuesday last, that my right hon Friend, when he referred to a duty on the importation of silver, was speaking of it solely in relation to the Indian currency policy. The Government do not contemplate the imposition of a special duty on the importation of silver for the purpose of supporting that policy. As regards the general financial policy of the Government of India, it would, as I have already said in answer to a question in this House, be impossible, even if the financial arrangements of the year were already decided upon, to give any information which would have the effect of anticipating the statement to be made in India by the Finance Member of Council.


Are we to understand that the Imperial Government undertakes the responsibility for Indian finance? Is the Chancellor of the Exchequer prepared to take the responsibility of any deficit arising from that control?


I am not in a, position to say what responsibility the Chancellor of the Exchequer will undertake.


Are we to understand from the hon. Gentleman's answer that the Government do contemplate the imposition of an Import Duty for some other purpose?


The question is an extremely natural one; but I must adhere strictly to the letter of the answer I have given, which the right hon. Gentleman will see in the morning papers at length to-morrow.