§ 67. Mr. BILLING
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the Government is anxious to purchase as much gold as possible; if so, can he account for the fact that this metal, which is in most demand throughout the world, has never risen in value since the War; whether he is aware that the price of silver, which before the War was so low in value and fluctuated so much that many mines had to close down, has risen enormously in value since the War; whether he will state how many members of His Majesty's Government are in any way connected with the purchase of raw silver; and whether, in view of the Secretary of State for India's visit to India, the Government will endeavour to fix a standard price for silver as is now done for gold, and so avoid these fluctuations, which are upsetting to the Indian native population?
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
The apparent stability in the value of gold is due to the fact that gold itself is the standard of value in most countries. Silver is not steadied by any similar cause; and as it is produced and used mainly outside this country, His Majesty's Government cannot control its world price. The Govern- 1642 ment Departments concerned with the purchase of silver are the Royal Mint, the India Office, and the West African Currency Board.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
My answer, if my hon. Friend heard it, was as to the "apparent" stability in the value of gold.
§ Mr. BILLING
Will the right hon. Gentleman answer that part of the question as to how many members of His Majesty's Government, directly or indirectly, are affected by the fluctuations of the silver market?