HC Deb 18 June 1940 vol 362 cc27-8
57. Mr. Emery

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will consider the raising of a public loan, free of interest, for war purposes?

Sir K. Wood

Many public-spirited citizens and institutions have already made interest-free loans to the Exchequer for the prosecution of the war. The Government has gratefully accepted such loans, but has hitherto felt that such generosity should be left to the initiative of the individual citizen. It is clear, however, that there are many people who are anxious to show their patriotism in this form, and I feel that the time has now come when I should make a general appeal to all who are in a position to do so to follow the example of those who have already come forward in this way. It would be a great convenience if, so far as practicable, a uniform period could be adopted for the loan. I therefore put the appeal in this way: I ask any person or company willing to advance money to the country without interest for the term of the war to send it direct to me at the Treasury; a certificate will then be issued entitling the donor to receive repayment three months after the conclusion of a treaty of peace. An alternative procedure for persons who would find it more convenient, particularly those who wish to lend sums under £100, would be to make a deposit in a Post Office Savings Bank with instructions that the interest earned on the deposit is to be surrendered to the Exchequer. I hope that wherever possible those who respond to this appeal will adopt the uniform period which I have named, but persons and companies who are only able to make loans for a shorter period should write to the Treasury giving full particulars.

Mr. Stokes

Will the Chancellor assure the House that he will raise no further loans of an interest-bearing kind? Otherwise, does he not realise that in fact the free-interest loans will be used for the purpose of paying interest on the interest-bearing loans?

Sir K. Wood

I could not give such an undertaking.

Mr. Thorne

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that a union, the name of which I will not mention, was willing to lend £250,000 to the Government, but was advised that legally it could not do so?

Sir K. Wood

I should like to look into that.

Mr. Glenvil Hall

Will the right hon. Gentleman put this point to the Government to see whether they are willing to raise loans in this way?