HC Deb 14 February 1956 vol 548 cc2157-8
28. Mr. Freeth

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the amount of Treasury Bills outstanding at the latest available date; and the amount outstanding at the nearest equivalent date last year.

Mr. H. Brooke

The figures are published weekly in the Exchequer Return.

Mr. Freeth

Will not my right hon. Friend agree that in fact the figures, or at any rate the latest figures that I have seen, show a very considerable increase over the equivalent figure at the same time a year ago? Would not he agree that after a year of credit restriction this increase in Treasury Bills is most regret-able? Can he give some assurance that the Treasury will cease to finance long-term loans by further issues of Treasury Bills?

Mr. Brooke

My hon. Friend has raised some large questions which are more suitable for debate. In fact, the rise in the number of Treasury Bills issued is not in itself inflationary.

Mr. Stokes

What about Sir Oliver Franks?

Mr. Wade

Does the Minister regard this substantial increase in outstanding Treasury Bills as a cause or a symptom of the present inflationary condition?

Mr. Brooke

That again is a question suitable for debate and is not capable of a short answer at Question Time.

Mr, Jay

Do not the figures also show a figure of about £200 million a year in interest bills over and above the figure of four years ago, and does the Financial Secretary really think that that huge rise in Government expenditure is justifiable?

Mr. Brooke

I am not committing myself to any figure as to the rise in the interest bills, which is a separate issue from that raised in my hon. Friend's Question.