HC Deb 03 July 1947 vol 439 cc1499-500
51. Mr. Arthur Lewis

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the numbers and particulars of all persons summoned by the Treasury for currency offences; and the amounts of fines and punishment in each case.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Dalton)

Thirty-six people have been prosecuted this year for illegal foreign currency deals or similar offences. They were all convicted, and fines totalling £85,304 were imposed. In one case three months imprisonment was also imposed. Other cases are pending.

Mr. Lewis

Could the Chancellor tell the House how many of those charged were miners, engineers or bricklayers?

Mr. Dalton

Not without rather complicated research, but my hon. Friend may make as good a guess as anybody else.

Lieut.-Colonel Dower

Could the Chancellor give any hope of a lightening of these restrictions so that bona fide travel can be undertaken?

Mr. Dalton

For bona fide travellers, and for all bona fide Britishers who are not out to cheat their country, there are proper facilities now. I take the most severe view of all these law-breakers running away with our scarce foreign exchange resources at a time of great difficulty.

Mr. Martin Lindsay

Does the right hon. Gentleman agree that this number of 36 represents only an infinitesimal fraction of the number of people who have been abroad?

Mr. Dalton

This represents prosecutions which have succeeded.

Mr. Lindsay

Yes, I know.

Mr. Dalton

Other cases are pending, as I have already said. I am sorry to say that this habit of cheating on foreign exchange abroad is pretty prevalent.

Mr. Nicholson

Can the Chancellor say that every case which is prosecutable has been undertaken; and if, not, on what basis are the cases selected?

Mr. Dalton

On the evidence we have as to whether the prosecution will succeed. So far, we have not got around to catching the lot.