HC Deb 23 December 1929 vol 233 cc1880-1
26. Lieut.-Colonel Sir A. LAMBERT WARD

asked the Secretary to the Overseas Trade Department whether steps are being taken to prevent the export credits facilities afforded to British exporters selling goods to the Russian Government from developing, in aggregate, into facilities which will constitute the granting of a short-term loan to the Russian Government backed with the guarantee of the British Government?

Mr. GILLETT (Secretary, Overseas Trade Department)

As the hon. and gallant Member will see from the answer which I gave on the 9th instant, to a question by the hon. and gallant Member for Banffshire (Major Wood) and of which I am sending him a copy, the facilities given under the exports Credits Guarantee Scheme in respect of exports to Russia would not justify the description, of a short-term loan.


Is not the credit virtually a facility by way of a British Government guarantee to the Russian Government?


Will the hon. Gentleman see that the Advisory Committee operating the exports credits scheme favourably considers every proposal which will create employment in Britain?


In answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Lincoln (Mr. R. A. Taylor), the Advisory Committee will carefully consider every proposal that is put before them. In reply to the hon. Member for Farnham (Mr. A. M. Samuel), I do not know that any business done by the Exports Credit Committee is technically a loan. It is more in the form of a guarantee. Upon that guarantee money may be raised by the exporter, but technically it is not a loan.


I am much obliged to the hon. Gentleman for admitting that it is a guarantee. Is not this therefore a guarantee by the British Government to the Russian Government, and so offends against the declaration made by the Secretary of State?


No, I do not think so, because the hon. Member will see that it really is an advantage to the exporter, who gets the advantage of raising the money on the guarantee.


Is it not a fact that the exporter would not ask for a facility under the exports credit scheme if it were not that the exporter required the British Government's guarantee of the Russian buyers' bills?


Is it not a fact that the Russians have met every one of their obligations?