HC Deb 13 June 1917 vol 94 cc954-5

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that passengers from South Africa and elsewhere on landing at Plymouth are compelled to hand over to the Customs authorities all gold coin in their possession and are given in exchange orders for refunds addressed to the Customs Department in London; whether he is aware that this procedure frequently causes inconvenience to passengers, and particularly those who are visiting this country from South Africa for the first time; and whether he will instruct the officials of the Customs Department to give Treasury notes in future in exchange for gold coin surrendered?


I am afraid it is inevitable that the prohibition against importing gold coin into the United Kingdom should have caused passengers some inconvenience; but the conditions obtaining at the Customs examination of passengers and their baggage, etc., do not admit of the inconvenience being mitigated in the particular way suggested in the question. I may, however, remind my hon. Friend that the Customs authorities at Plymouth and elsewhere have standing instructions not to deprive a passenger of all his gold coin if he would thereby be left without the means of providing for his immediate needs.


Do they get in return Bank of England notes exchangeable in London for gold?


Yes. That was the point of my hon. Friend's question, whether it could not be done at the port of disembarkation. That can be easily done and it is done now.