HC Deb 28 January 1958 vol 581 cc190-1
27. Mr. Shepherd

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much of his estimate of £125 millions as the annual earnings of the City of London depends upon the use of sterling as a world currency.

Mr. Amory

I regret that it is impossible to assess exactly what proportion of the estimated overseas earnings of £125 million, given in the Economic Secretary's reply of 12th December, 1957, to the hon. Member for Edmonton (Mr. Albu), depends upon the use of sterling as a world currency. It is reasonable to say, however, that the international use of sterling has been a major factor in bringing those earnings into existence.

Mr. Shepherd

Could not my right hon. Friend list the headings under which the earnings are made up, so that we may form our own judgment as to the indispensability of sterling as a world currency?

Mr. Amory

I think that would be extremely difficult. What I think is beyond dispute is that sterling plays a vital part in the mechanism of British and world trade.

Mr. Roy Jenkins

Can the Chancellor at any rate tell us what proportion of the £125 million is attributable to insurance payments, which, broadly speaking, continued unimpaired throughout the war years under very strict control?

Mr. Amory

I think that, from the information I have at present, that would be extremely difficult, but I will look into that point.