HC Deb 07 March 1934 vol 286 cc1813-4
38. Captain CROOKSHANK

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how often the Treasury have obtained power to raise money under sub-section (1) of Section 1 of the War Loans Act, 1919, by means of subsequent Acts of Parliament; on what occasions that power has been used; and whether the Government are now prepared to restore to this House its pre-War control over the creation of securities other than those issued for the service of the current financial year?


Power to raise money in this manner has been granted to the Treasury by Parliament on five occasions since 1919, namely by Section 21 (2) of the Finance (No. 2) Act, 1931, to provide for capital payments on account of the American Debt and for payments to the National Debt Commissioners in respect of certain securities tendered in payment of death duties; by Section 17 (2) of the same Act, to provide for the expenses and cash bonus on the conversion of the 5 per cent. War Loan; by Section 24 of the Finance Act, 1932, and the Exchange Equalisation Act, 1933, to provide for the financing of the Exchange Equalisation Account; and by Section 35 (2) of the Finance Act, 1933, to provide for the contractual sinking fund payments in the current year. As regards the last part of the question, the essential safeguard of Parliamentary control is that the Government cannot borrow for any purpose other than the service of the current financial year or to replace maturing debt, without seeking the appropriate powers from Parliament, including Parliamentary sanction to the amount of the loan. This condition has always held good. As regards the form of the securities by which money is raised, I do not think it would have been practicable to define it more closely than in the terms of the War Loan Act.