HC Deb 21 February 1956 vol 549 cc180-1
28. Mr. Osborne

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the estimated loss in capital value on all British Government securities since 2½ per cent. Treasury Stock was issued at par in 1947, and today's prices.

Mr. H. Macmillan

In view of the changes in the volume and composition of the National Debt, no estimate can be given of the total change in the market value of all British Government securities since the date mentioned. My hon. Friend will find figures for the average prices of representative British Government securities in Table 145 of the Monthly Digest of Statistics.

Mr. Osborne

May I ask my right hon. Friend to try to give this figure, since it has been said very many times from the benches opposite that investors made such enormous profits in the last few years? Does not the fact that this 2½ per cent. stock, issued by a Socialist Chancellor at 100, is now about 55, show that investors have not made the huge profits that have been alleged?

Mr. Macmillan

Yes, Sir, but I would prefer my hon. Friend to draw his own conclusions and then present them to us. I do not think I can make this calculation myself—it is complicated—but the broad effect of it is also very apparent to all who study these matters.

Mr. Wade

Arising out of that reply, is the right hon. Gentleman giving any consideration to the unfortunate plight of trustees, who are limited to gilt-edged securities such as this and who, during the last 10 years, have found so-called trustee investments to be some of the riskiest in the whole field of investment?

Mr. Macmillan

Of course, those are matters of concern to trustees. At one point equities seem to be the best to buy and at other times gilt-edged—it changes. I did not want unduly to emphasise the unhappy plight of those who invested in what were popularly known as "Daltons."