HC Deb 22 February 1955 vol 537 cc1062-3
43. Mr. Jay

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he is taking to discourage commodity shunting operations, based on transferable sterling, which may threaten the sterling area's gold and dollar reserve.

Mr. R. A. Butler

I keep a close watch on this.

Mr. Jay

In view of the weakness in the sterling area recently, and the decline in gold reserves since last summer, does not the Chancellor consider that he is taking the matter rather lightly?

Mr. Butler

No, Sir. I am not taking it lightly at all. It is clear that there is a certain degree of this going on. That is why I said that I am keeping a close watch on it.

Mr. Gaitskell

Can the right hon. Gentleman give the House any idea of the extent of the leakage?

Mr. Butler

I do not think that it is so exaggerated as some people make out. It has results only outside the sterling area and has no relation to our direct exports to the dollar area. It is mostly concerned with European and Continental and other foreign operators, so that it is strictly limited to that area. But there is a certain degree of it going on.