HC Deb 12 July 1918 vol 108 cc667-8

Order for Second Reading read.

The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER (Mr. Bonar Law)

I beg to move, "That the Bill be now read a second time."

Perhaps I may say a word or two in explanation of this Bill when asking the House to give it a Second Reading. It is a Bill in the same form which has been required every year since the War. The Treasury have no power to raise money by loans for a long period, except such power as is given by a Loan Bill. The form of the Bill has always been that power is given to raise whatever money may have been voted by this House for the expenditure of the whole year—that is to say, all our finance is treated on a yearly basis. Therefore, the power of issuing loans is asked only for the year in relation to which they apply. Some hon. Members may remember that last year there was some little discussion because, in addition to the terms I have now mentioned, the power was taken to raise by loan £250,000,000 beyond what had been previously voted. I think the House understood perfectly last year what the necessity for this was, and would hardly desire me to explain it now, but perhaps I may say, in a word, why this power is needed. It means that, without this power, we require to have a new Loans Bill the moment the financial year comes to an end, if we are borrowing money at that time. By this facility it is possible to arrange to make the loan at the time convenient to the House. This does not apply this year, because we are taking the money entirely by week-to-week borrowings, but if it were necessary to have loans on the conditions of previous loans, paid by instalments, some provision of this kind is required, because an instalment might come after the end of the financial year. In view of the fact that this Bill has been introduced every year, and there is nothing new in it, and the necessity of it is obvious to every Member of the House, I hope the House will agree not only to take the Second Beading now, but to allow the other stages also to proceed.


The other stages cannot be taken.

Question put, and agreed to.

Bill accordingly read a second time, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House for Monday next.—[Colonel Gibbs.]