HC Deb 16 April 1919 vol 114 cc2899-900
56 and 57. Major-General Sir N. MOORE

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) if he is aware that the gold production of the British Empire for the year 1918 amounted to £50,700,000 compared with £58,700,000 for 1915, equal to a drop of 13½ per cent.; that the world's production for 1918 is estimated at £77,600,000 as compared with £96,800,000 for the year 1915, thus showing a drop of 20 per cent.; and that the world's production for 1918 is estimated at the still lower figure of £72,000,000, which is equal to a decline of 23.1 per cent, since 1915; and whether, in view of this position, the probability of a further material decline of production in the future and the expansion of credit due to the War, he will reconsider the conclusions arrived at by Lord Inchcape's Committee; and (2) if he is aware that owing to the depreciation of our currency gold can be sold to materially better advantage abroad, and that imperial gold and silver coin commands in the Indian bazaars a higher premium; whether he is aware of the effect of an increased production of gold in re-establishing our depreciated currency on a gold basis; and whether, in. view of the danger of a further severe fall in the gold production of the Empire, he will consider the desirability of giving every encouragement to the gold-mining industry within the Empire to increase its output?

The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER (Mr. Chamberlain)

There is nothing in the report of Lord Inchcape's Committee to suggest that producers of gold are not entitled to obtain for their produce the best price available in the most favourable market, and I am now considering in what manner this can be secured, regard being had to the rise in the American exchange which has taken place since the Committee reported.