§ 18. Mr. Maurice Macmillan
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in view of the fact that nationalised industries are allowed to borrow long term from 1204 abroad, what steps he is taking to reduce the Government's short-term debt.
§ The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Harold Lever)
I am well aware of the desirability of funding our external short-term debt over a longer period. Long-term borrowing in foreign currencies by nationalised industries has a useful part to play in this process.
§ Mr. Macmillan
Can the Financial Secretary give an idea of the extent to which he hopes to use this process and the rapidity with which he hopes to develop it?
§ Mr. Lever
The point raised by the right hon. Gentleman does not hit me with a shock of novelty. The state of the currency markets is one of the factors which is taken into account when borrowing money; and, of course, the rate of interest and the length of the loan are other factors which play a part in judging whether it is dear or cheap money. The right hon. Gentleman's view is by no means final and conclusive in this matter.