§ COLONEL KENYON-SLANEY (Shropshire, Newport)
I beg to ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer whether his attention has been called to the heavy fall in British local government stocks, British railway stocks, and British securities generally since the month of January, 1906, while Foreign and Colonial securities of a similar character have either maintained or increased their price; and what steps he proposes to take to remedy the position.
§ MR. ASQUITH
I am aware of the general fall in securities to which the right hon. and gallant Member draws attention. It appears to have affected many of the Foreign and Colonial securities as well as those of British domicile. I do not know that any general conclusion can be drawn from a comparison of Stock Exchange prices over a period of twelve months, in which, not only general causes, but also local and transient causes, have been variously at work. It should not, however, be for gotten that, during a period of active 1432 trade, when money is in great demand, the natural tendency is to depress the prices of securities which bear a fixed rate of interest, and that this effect is likely to be most felt by securities of the highest class, in which there is least of the speculative element.
§ COLONEL KENYON-SLANEY
May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether within his knowledge it would be a fair estimate to say that within the time mentioned the fall in British Government securities has not been less than £40,000,000 and in British railway securities not less than £100,000,000?
§ SIR F. BANBURY (City of London)
May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he is aware that all American railway securities have during that time risen considerably?
§ MR. MOORE (Armagh, N.)
May I ask whether the right hon. Gentleman is aware that Bank of Ireland stock has now touched its lowest point since the introduction of the last Home Rule Bill?
§ *MR. SPEAKER
The right hon. Gentleman, not being a member of the Stock Exchange, can hardly be expected to answer that.