HC Deb 22 October 1946 vol 427 cc1482-3
72. Mr. Osborne

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will inquire into the leakage of information regarding the repayment of three per cent. Local Loans and the offer of new two-and-a-half per cent. Treasury Stock to the London Stock Exchange some hours before the official announcement, to the detriment of holders who sold; and what action he proposes to take.

Mr. Dalton

I have no evidence that such a leakage took place. It was a reasonable guess that three per cent. local loans would be called one of these days, and I am not surprised that the idea that the announcement might conveniently be made on the day when I was addressing the bankers and merchants of the City of London at the Mansion House should have occurred to others besides myself.

Mr. Osborne

Is the Chancellor of the Exchequer aware that the tip went round the London Stock Exchange on that morning and it was telephoned round to most brokers and most of the purchasing houses in the country in the morning? In support of that statement may I ask the Chancellor whether he is not aware that Consols, which had been 97 and 9/16ths the night before went up to 98 and 3/8ths while the stock to be redeemed was down? Is that not evidence that the tip went round?

Mr. Dalton

I have naturally taken the trouble to make inquiries, this Question having been put on the Paper. Those whose opinion I respect and whose opinion I should consult say that they do not think there is any evidence of a leakage. If the hon. Gentleman has any evidence of a concrete character I shall, of course, give consideration to it. A rise in the price of Government securities has been going on for a long time now, and it rose much more sharply after my announcement than on any previous occasion.