HC Deb 13 April 1948 vol 449 cc787-9
39. Mr. Spearman

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer why intending travellers who declare currency in excess of the amount permitted and receive an official receipt, cannot obtain a refund on their return.

Sir S. Cripps

All intending travellers are warned before they begin their journey that only £5 in sterling notes can be taken out of this country. As I explained in this House on 10th February last, the exchange position does not admit of any laxity in the enforcement of this, or of the complementary prohibition on the import of sterling notes. Enforcement of these prohibitions can only be made effective if travellers realise that all notes in excess of the £5 limit will be seized, and that they will only be returned in exceptional circumstances.

Mr. Spearman

Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman explain what is the point of an official receipt, if it does not give the recipient any value?

Sir S. Cripps

The point of seizing the money is that if someone can take it, and knows that if it is found he will get it back, there is an inducement to try to get it through.

Mr. Erroll

Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman take steps to ensure that facilities for voluntary surrender are made available to all intending passengers?

Sir S. Cripps


Mr. Erroll

Why not?

Sir S. Cripps

Because they should not take it with them, as it is impossible to distinguish between someone who tries it on and takes the money, and someone who makes a genuine mistake.

Sir John Mellor

If the traveller voluntarily declares the money, what possible harm arises?

Sir S. Cripps

He may have thought he could get through with the money without declaring it.

Mr. Maclay

Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that I declared a sum and got it back?

Sir S. Cripps

That was an exceptional case, I should say.

Sir Hugh O'Neill

Can the right hon. and learned Gentleman say under what authority the Government seize this money?

Sir S. Cripps

That is another question, and I am afraid the right hon. Gentleman must put it on the Order Paper.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

In the circumstances, what is the use, or purpose, of giving a receipt?

Sir S. Cripps

It is in order to keep a record, for the purpose of seeing that the money is collected by the proper person.

Mr. John Lewis

If a person quite openly declares that he has an excess, and he does not hold anything back, why should the money not be refunded, as he may have made a mistake by having too much money on him?

Mr. N. Macpherson

Does the right hon. and learned Gentleman realise that many people start their journey not at the time when they make the declaration, but a good time before, when they cannot know exactly with what money they will finish?