§ 67 and 68. Mr. THORNE
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) the dates of the funding of the Italian and French War Debts, respectively; the terms of the settlements; and whether any portion of the debts arising from the settlements was added permanently to the National War Debt of Great Britain;
(2) the amount of the French War Debt to Great Britain at the time of the funding of the debt; and the terms of the settlement?
The Agreements for the funding of the Italian and French War Debts were signed on 27th January, 1926, and 16th July, 1926, respectively. The net amounts of the Italian and French War Debts as at the date of funding were £560,000,000 and £600,000,000, respectively. The detailed terms of the settlements are given in Command Papers 2580 and 2692 of 1926. The sums advanced to France and Italy were, of course, borrowed by the British Government and constitute part of our War Debt. The average cost of borrowing during the War was over 5 per cent.; and on this basis, the funding agreements represent a remission of 62 per cent. of the French War Debt and of 86 per cent. of the Italian War Debt, 1244 and the British taxpayer has been left to bear an equivalent proportion of the charge involved by these war borrowings.
§ Mr. THORNE
Does that mean that in round figures we give Italy a sum of over £500,000,000, which is costing the taxpayer over £20,000,000 per annum; and that we give France over £400,000,000?
The hon. Member's figures are not quite accurate, but they are not very much above the actual figures.