HC Deb 04 February 1958 vol 581 cc954-5
9. Mr. C. Hughes

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if, in view of the progressive depreciation in the value of the £ sterling, he will recommend that post war credits should carry the appropriate rate of interest.

Mr. Amory

No, Sir.

Mr. Hughes

Does not the Chancellor agree that it is grossly unjust to hold on to other people's money in this fashion without paying any interest and without making any allowance for the discount in the value of the £, and will he before his Budget statement look at the matter from this point of view?

Mr. Amory

In answer to the first part of that supplementary question, we must remember the origin of post-war credits. As regards the second part, I gave an assurance last week that this, with all other matters connected with taxation, will be reviewed formally before the Budget.

Mr. Ede

But was not the origin of these moneys income which people had received?

Mr. Amory

Yes, that it true, but as the right hon. Gentleman will remember, there was a direct connection with taxation involved at the time.

Dame Irene Ward

May I ask my right hon. Friend whether his statement that he will look at this matter really means that he will look as this more than formally? It is not just a "passing-the-buck" answer today, is it? Will there really be an examination?

Mr. Amory

I find it difficult to comment on my hon. Friend's suggestion. I think I should hesitate to give any further definition of the words I have used. It is likely that I may repeat them many times over the course of the next two months or so.

32. Mr. Awbery

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he is aware that £100 put into National Savings Certificates in 1942 is now worth £166, that £100 put in the Post Office at the same time is now worth £140, but that the purchasing power of £100 worth of post-war credits has been reduced to £60; and, in view of the hardship suffered by the holders of post-war credits, if he will now accelerate the repayment of such credits to avoid a further depreciation in their purchasing power.

Mr. Amory

The hon. Member is not using comparable figures, and I cannot endorse the calculations in the first part of his Question. The answer to the second part is that I cannot anticipate my Budget statement.

Mr. Awbery

I did not ask the Minister to anticipate his Budget, but is he not aware that the holders of post-war credits are suffering a grave injustice? The right hon. Member for Monmouth (Mr. P. Thorneycroft) told us last week that the value of the £ had dropped to 12s. and that £100 worth of post-war credits had fallen in value to below £60. Will the Minister do something in his Budget, or before, to remove this anomaly.

Mr. Amory

I shall certainly take note of and think over all that the hon. Member has said.

Viscount Hinchingbrooke

Will my right hon. Friend take into consideration the possibility of floating a special Exchequer loan to discharge all outstanding post-war credits? That would be unlikely to have a net inflationary effect.

Mr. Amory

That is a typically bold suggestion from my noble Friend.