HC Deb 06 April 1948 vol 449 c56

I propose to take powers this year similar to those taken last year, to apply the Budget surplus, as it accrues, to the reduction of maturing debt. No market operations will be required this year to deal with maturities of long-term Government debt. On the other hand, we shall, as usual, be borrowing during the year to meet certain payments of a capital or of a non-recurrent nature, which are charged on the Consolidated Fund and are dealt with "below the line" in the Exchequer accounts. These items are partly to liquidate war commitments, and partly to provide new capital investment.

Out of a total expenditure "below the line" in 1947–48 of £711 million gross and £692 million net, £280 million was for war damage payments; £56 million for Post-War Credits for the elderly; £28 million for E.P.T. refunds; new capital developments—coal, housing, cotton and overseas resources development—took a net sum of £103 million and advances to the Local Loans Fund £225 million net. This year, the expenditure on "below the line" items will be less. I put the net total at £473 million, of which £140 million is for war damage; £20 million for Post-War Credits; £20 million for E.P.T. refunds; £59 million for Exchequer advances for new capital development; and £234 million for loans to local authorities. Though the main transport and electricity stock operations have now gone through, there will be some further issues, this year, by, or on behalf of, the public boards. Except in the case of coal, these will not form part of the National Debt, but they will attract a Treasury guarantee, so as to make full use of the credit of the State.