HC Deb 25 June 1937 vol 325 cc1532-3
Mr. Attlee

(by Private Notice) asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he has any statement to make in regard to the Exchange Equalisation Account.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Sir John Simon)

Yes, Sir. I have come to the conclusion that it will be necessary to ask for power to make an addition to the resources of the Account. The necessary resolution in connection with the Bill to increase the Treasury's borrowing power for the purposes of the Account, at present £350,000,000, by a further £200,000,000 has been prepared and is being placed on the Order Paper to-day. I shall explain fully the circumstances of this proposal when the resolution is debated, and it will be sufficient if I confine myself for the moment to the following remarks. In addition to a recent dishoarding of gold there has been much financial disturbance abroad and a general tendency for capital funds to move to London. While I consider that there is no reason why the present conditions of unsettlement in connection with the international movement of capital should be permanent, the situation compels us to make further provision as an insurance against additional movements into sterling. This is essential for the purpose of maintaining our general financial policy, and in support of our undertakings and objectives under the Tripartite Monetary Agreement which have been so widely approved. The memorandum on the proposed resolution is now available in the Vote Office.

Mr. Thorne

May I ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether France and America are following in our footsteps by increasing equalisation funds?

Sir J. Simon

I would sooner deal with those matters, if I may, when we take the Resolution.

Mr. Bellenger

Is the right. hon. Gentleman aware that I quite recently put a similar Question to him as to whether the Exchange Equalisation Fund was sufficient, and he then said that it was? May I ask him what is the reason for the sudden change in the Government's policy?

Sir J. Simon

There is no sudden change. The policy is quite consistent, but circumstances may develop, and I really think the hon. Gentleman will agree with me that it would be better to deal with the matter when we disucuss the Resolution.

Mr. Maxton

Is it a matter of such an urgent nature that it has arisen between yesterday, when the week's business was announced, and to-day, and that we must rush into the consideration of this subject on Monday?

Sir J. Simon

The arrangement of business is a matter for the Leader of the House.

Mr. Maxton

But I have asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer as to the urgency of the matter.

Sir. J. Simon

I think the order of our business would be a matter for the Leader of the House, and I have no doubt that he will make a statement about it, but naturally I have made my statement with a great sense of responsibility, confident that the action which I propose to take should be taken.

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