HC Deb 20 June 1950 vol 476 cc1065-6
55. Sir W. Smithers

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer to state on an annual basis for each year since May, 1945, the amount of British currency authorised to be taken abroad by travellers and tourists, giving separate figures for hard and soft currency countries.

Sir S. Cripps

As the answer contains a number of figures I will, with permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Sir W. Smithers

When is the Chancellor of the Exchequer going to free currency, especially for those business men who are going abroad to get orders for the export trade while there is still something left in the "kitty"?

Sir S. Cripps

All such persons are freely provided with currency now.

Following is the answer:

Total amounts of currency approved for tourism and other forms of travel:

Dollar Area £ million Non-Dollar Area £ million
1945–46 2 2
1946–47 8 23
1947–48 9 32
1948–49 6 24
1949–50 5 40

Within the non-dollar area the division between hard and soft currency countries has not been constant over the period and only totals for the whole area, therefore, are given.

58. Mr. Donner

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he is now in a position to make a statement on the foreign currency allowances available to motorists in order to place them in approximately the same position as those who, preferring to travel by rail, can pay for the whole cost of their tickets for sterling in London.

Sir S. Cripps

I have decided that the allowance for motorists should be raised from £10 to £15 with effect from tomorrow.

Mr. Donner

Is the Chancellor aware that, while that concession is welcome, it does not eliminate the existing anomalies?

Sir S. Cripps

It is the best we can do.

Mr. Keeling

Can the Chancellor explain why anybody who travels by car abroad can only use £15 of foreign currency while anybody who travels by rail abroad can spend up to hundreds of pounds of foreign currency?

Sir S. Cripps

This is averaging out the probable user so as to get the two things in relation to one another.

Mr. Drayson

Does it mean that tourists who have already spent £10 of their motor car allowance can draw a further £5 if they go abroad again?

Sir S. Cripps

I had not thought of that one.

Mr. Erroll

Will this concession be extended to foreign-going yachts?

Sir S. Cripps

Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will put that question on the Order Paper.

Sir W. Smithers

Does the House realise, when the Chancellor says, "I have decided," to what extent he has become dictator of this country?

Sir H. Williams

Can the Chancellor say why it was that the answer which he has just given was in a lot of newspapers before he gave it here?

Sir S. Cripps

I really could not say.

Sir H. Williams

Then will the right hon. and learned Gentleman find out?