HC Deb 05 August 1919 vol 119 cc170-2
70. Mr. G. MURRAY

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, in order to attract investments from sources which have not been tapped by the Victory Loan, and with a view to reducing the floating debt, he will consider the desirability of issuing a long-term loan bearing interest at 1¾If per cent., and free of Income Tax, Super-tax, and Death Duties?

The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER (Mr. Chamberlain)

I shall naturally consider all suggestions for dealing with the debt, but, as at present advised, I do not think I could adopt the policy of a tax-free loan of the kind indicated.


asked what were the amounts of the currency note issues on the 1st April, 1918, the 1st April, 1919, and the 1st August, 1919; what were the Bank of England note issues for the same dates; and the amount of the gold reserve?


The nearest available figures are as follow:

Currency Notes. —3rd April, 1918, £230,851,192; 2nd April, 1919, £332,122,712; 30th July, 1919, £338,787,087. Bank of England Notes. —3rd April, 1918, £79,007,145; 2nd April, 1919, £101,943,655; 30th July, 1919, £104,681,285. The gold held in the Currency Note Reserve Account has been on all three dates £28,500,000, and that held by the Bank of England Issue Department at the dates named £60,557,145, £83,493,655, and £86,231,285 respectively.

78. Major O'NEILL

asked the exact amount of the floating debt which has been or will be liquidated as a result of the recent Government Loan and the amount which will remain outstanding after such liquidation?


Between the 12th July, the date on which the Loan closed, and the 2nd instant, there has been a net reduction in the floating debt of about £377,000,000, the total outstanding being reduced from £1,558,676,600 to £1,181,255,600. There are about £90,000,000 of the proceeds of the Loans still to be received. I give these figures with all reserve, since the extent to which it may be possible to make any further reduction or even to maintain the reduction already made must depend on how far the Budget estimates of receipts and expenditure can be made good.


In regard to the reduction of the floating debt, and the result of the Loan as it affects it, is the £250,000,000 which is to be borrowed for this year's current expenditure, referred to in the answer of the right hon. Gentleman, considered a reduction of the floating debt?


The hon. and gallant Member asks me what amount of floating debt has been or will be liquidated. I have told him the amount of the floating debt which has been liquidated. I have given these figures, subject to a caution as to the future which was indicated at the end of my answer. What the position of the floating debt will be at the end of the financial year depends upon the question of how far the estimate of receipts and expenditure given to the Budget Statement is realised.

79. Sir D. MACLEAN

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the amount of Treasury notes issued at the date of the Armistice, at 1st January, 1919, at 1st May,. 1919, and at 1st July, 1919?


The currency notes (including certificates) outstanding, as shown in the weekly Return published in the "London Gazette," have been as follow:

13th November, 1918 293,790,972
1st January, 1919 323,240,501
30th April, 1919 348,339,626
2nd July, 1919 342,952,149

I am glad to be able to add that on 31st July the amount had fallen to £338,787,087.


May I ask my right hon. Friend, in view of the very serious position disclosed by these figures, whether he has brought to the notice of the Prime Minister the very great urgency of a ruthless cutting down of unnecessary public expenditure'?


My right hon. Friend is as fully seised of the necessity for economy in every branch of public expenditure as I myself am; and I take this opportunity of expressing my gratitude to him for the assistance he has given me.


Am I correct in assuming that at the present moment the currency note issue is £40.000,000 larger than it was at the date of the Armistice?


I think my right hon. Friend can make the calculation in his head as rapidly as I can.


As the right hon. Gentleman has asked me to make the calculation, will he take my answer that my calculation is correct?

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