HC Deb 28 January 1947 vol 432 cc767-9
56. Mr. Hurd

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what proportion of the U.S. loan so far expended has been used for the purchase of foodstuffs; and the separate values of the main categories.

50. Sir Ian Fraser

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the total amount of the U.S. loan spent to 31st December, 1946; and the amount so far spent on tobacco, films, food, feeding-stuffs, coal, oil and manufactured goods, distinguishing those manufactured goods required for the re-equipment of British industry.

59. Mr. M. Philips Price

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what percentage of the proceeds of the U.S. loan has been used to purchase plant and equipment for British industry; and what percentage on consumer goods.

Mr. Dalton

I am circulating in the OFFICIAL REPORT a table showing our payments from all our dollar resources, including the American credit, for supplies from U.S.A. in the second half of 1946. The total drawings on the credit to 31st December was 600 million dollars.

Mr. Hurd

Will the Chancellor give a reply to my Question and say what proportion of the loan has been used for the purchase of foodstuffs?

Mr. Dalton

I have more than once tried to explain that the question, as now put, does not admit of an answer, because the proceeds of the credit from the United States Government cannot be separated from dollars earned by us in the course of trade. I have tried, therefore, to meet the House and give the information the hon. Member wishes, which is not how the expenditure of the dollar loan, taken separately, is composed, but how the total expenditure, including dollars earned by British traders, is made up.

Lieut.-Colonel Sir Thomas Moore

Does it show the amount spent on American films, and how it compares with the amount spent on food?

Mr. Dalton

Yes, Sir, it is all there.

Mr. Price

Will the Chancellor of the Exchequer see, in view of the difficult position in regard to dollar exchange, that we shall spend as much as we reasonably can in re-equipping our industry, and as little as possible on consumer goods?

Mr. Dalton

I have given the figures, but they may of course give rise to comment and debate.

Mr. Jennings

In spite of the fact that the Chancellor of the Exchequer has made his answer as ambiguous as possible, is it not possible to give the proportion of the loan expended on foodstuffs? Surely there should be no difficulty about that?

Mr. Dalton

Let me try once more. Suppose that the hon. Member lends me a dollar, and suppose that I earn another dollar by some honest activity or other. There are then two dollars. Suppose I spend them on something or other, then i cannot usefully say which dollar I spent in one way and which in another way.

Mr. Osborne

If the loan continues to be used at the present rate, how long will it last?

Mr. Dalton

That is another question.

Following are the figures:

Expenditure in U.S.A. on U.K. civil imports and films
July—December 1946
£ million. per cent.
Food (1) 29.7 24
Raw materials 14.0 11
Oil 15.4 12
Tobacco (2) 39.2 32
Machinery 5.5 5
Other manufactured goods 7.9 6
Ships 3.5 3
Films 8.8 7
Total (3) (4) 124.0 100

(1) Cereals products £7.7 million; eggs £12 million; milk products £3.5 million; oils and fats £1.5 million; other £5 million. All the cereals for human consumption.

(2) Highly seasonal payments, corresponding with crop.

(3) There were no imports of coal. Expenditure on coal bunkers estimated at £400,000 txcluded from table.

(4) The table covers only supplies from U.S.A. There are substantial imports from other sources which are paid for in U.S. dollars.