§ MR. FELL (Great Yarmouth)
I bog to ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer if his attention has been called to the fact, that the list of representative bankers' securities now shows a depreciation in their value, since 1st January, 1906, amounting to more than the whole 487 cost to us of the Transvaal war; and whether, having regard to the uneasiness caused to investors by this fall in values and to the losses which the Revenue must ultimately sustain, he will consider the question of applying a larger portion of the sinking fund to the purchase of Consols than he did in the past year.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER (Mr. Asquith, Fifeshire, E.)
I am aware that a very considerable depreciation has taken place in securities generally during the period in question, but I doubt whether any useful conclusion can be based on statistics showing the precise sum by which an arbitrarily selected list of stocks may have fallen in value within an arbitrarily selected period, or by comparing that sum with the total cost of the South African, or any other war. On the question of the mode of application of the sinking fund during the current year, I am not prepared, for the reasons which I gave in reply to a Question by my hon. friend the Member for the Mile End division on 27th ultimo, † to make any definite pronouncement at the present time.
MR. GEORGE FABER
May I ask if any of the money falling into the fund has been temporarily loaned for the purpose of the issue of Irish Land Stock?
§ MR. ASQUITH
I should like notice of that Question.