HC Deb 30 April 1957 vol 569 cc8-9
14. Mr. Cronin

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the Government's policy as to the Bank Rate in view of the present level to which the Treasury Bill rate has fallen.

Mr. P. Thorneycroft

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given on 7th February to the right hon. Member for Huyton (Mr. H. Wilson).

Mr. Cronin

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that since February countless millions of pounds have been lost to the balance of payments by these high interest rates? Is he also aware that the taxpayers have carried a heavy additional burden since February on account of the high interest rates for the servicing of the floating debt? Does not his Answer suggest that there is a certain amount of somnolence in the Treasury, and that since his accession to his present office it has become like the palace of the Sleeping Beauty?

Mr. Thorneycroft

Some of these supplementary questions seem to be in the nature of commentaries rather than of inquiries.

Mr. Osborne

May I ask my right hon. Friend to look at this question rather seriously, in view of the fact that the high Bank Rate is no longer a real deterrent to borrowing and yet does increase the cost of local government? Would he look into it again from that point of view?

Mr. Thorneycroft

I look at it constantly from every point of view, but I do not think that either my hon. Friend or the hon. Member for Loughborough (Mr. Cronin) would expect me to comment upon the Bank Rate.

Mr. Gordon Walker

But the right hon. Gentleman will not forget, will he, his own powerful attacks on the monetary policy of his predecessors, in support of the supplementary question put to him by his hon. Friend the Member for Louth (Mr. Osborne)?