HC Deb 07 November 1939 vol 353 cc31-2
53. Mr. Stokes

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will at an early date inform the House of the identity of the persons who are consulted when the question of changing or maintaining the Bank Rate is under consideration; whether he is satisfied that no individual concerned in the making of such decisions might normally be presumed to have a direct pecuniary interest which the decision might affect; and, in view of the far-reaching effect which such decisions must have on employment and general prosperity, he will endeavour to see that Parliament is consulted before they are made?

Sir J. Simon

The decision as to changing or maintaining the Bank Rate is made by the Court of the Bank of England. It would not be practicable nor, in my opinion, in the public interest to consult Parliament on a matter which requires prompt decision and calls for highly expert and technical knowledge. As to the second part of the question, I feel able, from my knowledge of the Bank, emphatically to repudiate any such insinuation.

Mr. Stokes

Can the Chancellor of the Exchequer assure the House that no director of any private bank is consulted in this matter, although he may be a director of the Bank of England?

Sir J. Simon

I can assure the House, from such knowledge as I have of the matter, and my predecessors will bear me out, that there is no ground for the suggestion that the Bank Rate is dealt with on any basis but that of the public interest.

Mr. Loftus

Does the answer of the Chancellor of the Exchequer mean that the Treasury disclaim all responsibility for the Bank Rate even to advising a modification?

Sir J. Simon

Matters of that kind are necessarily closely connected with the general study of the financial provisions made by the Treasury, and the hon. Member will find a passage in the Macmillan Report which discusses this topic at length.

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