§ 51. Sir Granville Gibson
asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury the amount standing to the credit of British firms in the Anglo-Spanish clearing account in London; the approximate amount in Spanish banks owing to British creditors; whether it is the intention of His Majesty's Government to make payments to British creditors from the funds in the Anglo-Spanish clearing account and, if so, at what date?
§ The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Lieut.-Colonel Colville)
Of the sterling amounts paid into the Anglo-Spanish Clearing Office in London in respect of debts due to Spanish creditors, the undistributed portion now standing in the Reserve Fund of the Anglo-Spanish Clearing Office is about £1,700,000. The outstanding deposits made by Spanish debtors with the Banco Exterior de Espana to the credit of United Kingdom firms for transfer through the Clearing and advised to the Anglo-Spanish Clearing Office is about 178 million pesetas; details of any other amounts which may have been deposited in Spanish banks owing to British creditors are not available but steps are being taken to collect particulars of them. As regards the third part of the question, I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade to the hon. Member for Tamworth (Sir J. Mellor) on 2nd November, of which I am sending him a copy.
§ Sir G. Gibson
In view of the very great financial hardship which is being borne to-day by many industrial concerns in this country, will the right hon. and gallant Gentleman endeavour to find some means of allocating payments out of the clearing account to those firms which are suffering such hardship?
§ Lieut.-Colonel Colville
As the hon. Gentleman knows, this matter was fully 1029 discussed at the advisory committee of which he is a member, and the difficulty of the situation was explained. The Government feel that it is in the best interests of British creditors to wait for a more comprehensive settlement when the situation is clearer.