§ MR. BRIGHT (Shropshire, Oswestry)
To ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the present amount of the Unfunded Debt; of what issues does it consist; what were the issues of the Unfunded Debt at the same date last year; and whether he now proposes to fund any portion of the present Unfunded Debt.
(Answered by Mr. Austen Chamberlain ) The figures for which the hon. Member asks are as follows:—
§ purpose of paying off an equivalent amount of the former bonds on their maturity.
§ The Exchequer bonds for £6,000,000, issued in October, 1904, under the Capital Expenditure (Money) Act, 1904, for the purposes of the Naval and Military Works Acts are not included in this total.253
§ The proposals which I thought necessary for dealing with the Unfunded Debt in the current year were explained in my Budget statement; they received the approval of Parliament, and are now in course of execution. Nearly £3,000,000 of the Exchequer bonds falling due in December next have already been redeemed. The balance of the £4,000,000, which I proposed to redeem this year, will be cancelled on or before the due date, and the remaining bonds issued under the War Loans Acts of 1900 will be replaced on that date by the Exchequer bonds, issued under the Finance Act of this year, which provides for their regular and early extinction. If His Majesty's Government think it desirable to undertake any further funding operations, their proposals will be laid before Parliament in the usual way and at the usual time, and I must decline to anticipate by any statement at this time the Budget proposals of next year. The hon. Member is mistaken if he supposes, as his Question appears to indicate, that I have power to fund floating debt without the authority of Parliament.