39. Mr. WEST
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the total sum paid in interest and sinking fund on the National Debt since 1918?
§ The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER (Mr. Chamberlain)
The hon. Member will find particulars of interest and sinking fund payments in each of the years up to 31st March, 1933, in the National Debt Return (Command Paper 4415 of 1933). For the year ended 31st March, 1934, the amount paid in interest and new sinking fund was £224,000,000 and the surplus revenue devoted to debt redemption was £31,148,000.
§ Sir ARTHUR MICHAEL SAMUEL
In order that the hon. Member may draw no false deductions from the figures, will my right hon. Friend send him the other figures which show that the debt services have been provided by those who paid Income Tax, Surtax and Death Duties?
§ Mr. CHAMBERLAIN
I would refer the hon. Member to the particulars of the National Debt since 1914 given in the National Debt Return (Command Paper 4415 of 1933). The approximate figures for 31st March, 1934, are given in the Financial Statement (House of Commons Paper 67 of 1934). I would, however, remind him that a comparison of nominal totals of the deadweight debt is misleading for several reasons, of which the principal are as follow. First, during 1246 the War a large portion of the debt shown at par was redeemable at a premium. Secondly, the series of Conversion and replacement operations carried out between 1919 and April, 1934, has involved increases in the nominal amount of the debt, although large savings of annual interest have been effected thereby. Thirdly, the nominal debt at 31st March, 1934, includes £350,000,000 borrowed for issue to the Exchange Equalisation Account, and covered by assets. The figures for War Debt cannot be isolated.