HC Deb 08 December 1927 vol 211 cc1572-3
68. Mr. B. SMITH

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what investments have been held by the Government since 1914, showing for each investment the Department concerned, the date and cost of acquiring the investment, the amount received as gross interest or dividend for each year since 1914, the date of and the amount received on disposal, and the present market value?


The information covering the whole of this period is not readily available, and I do not think the labour of examining into the War period would be justified. For information covering the years 1920 and 1921 I would refer the hon. Member to the answer given to a question by the hon. Member for Wigan (Mr. Parkinson) on the 20th February, 1922, of which I am sending him a copy. I will, if he desires, have the information in that answer brought up to date and circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT in due course.


Has not the House a right to know the total amount of investments in the years mentioned, and, if not, what is the reason for obscuring them from the country?


There is no reason for obscuring them from the country, but, when questions are asked which call for immense labour and expensive research, and very costly returns, it is very often legitimate for the Minister to point out to the House that it would probably not be in the public interest to make special researches. If the House considers that the matter is so important that the expense should be incurred, the Government would, of course, facilitate the wish of the House.

Colonel DAY

Does that apply to all questions and all answers given at the same time?


I never generalise unduly from the particular.

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