§ 50 and 51. Sir Nicholas Grattan-Doyle
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer 194 (1) whether he is aware that the surfeit of gold coming to London can be redistributed throughout the world and British export trade greatly increased by allowing the public issue in London of loans to foreign borrowers, provided that British investors are prepared to lose their savings by uncreditworthy foreign borrowers defaulting again on their obligations as shown in the annual reports of the Council of Foreign Bondholders; and will he consider this aspect of the remedy for unwanted gold as a reply to the demand for raising the embargo on foreign lending;
(2) whether he will, for the guidance of public opinion on the gold surfeit problem, state how many non-British overseas creditworthy would-be borrowers have, during the past 12 months, been refused permission to float public loans in London owing to the embargo on foreign lending; and will he state, without giving names, the approximate total of loans which non-British overseas creditworthy, as distinguished from uncreditworthy, would-be borrowers have been prevented by the embargo from floating in London?
§ Sir J. Simon
Foreign lending on a large scale would no doubt tend to reduce the movement of gold towards this country, but the possible field for such lending is much restricted at the present time by the absence of creditworthy borrowers. I agree with my hon. Friend that the making of loans to uncreditworthy borrowers is not a process from which good can result. It is, however, the business of the lender to distinguish between creditworthy and uncreditworthy applicants for loans, and it is not a function of the Foreign Transactions Advisory Committee to settle that point. I am not, therefore, in a position to furnish the figures asked for in the second question.
§ Mr. Stephen
Will the right hon. Gentleman consider getting rid of the surfeit of gold by abolishing the means test and increasing old age pensions?
§ Mr. Emmott
Has the attention of the right hon. Gentleman been drawn to recent observations by Mr. Keynes in the Press on the question whether there is in fact in this country an excess of gold in relation to our requirements or our possible requirements?