HL Deb 06 July 1955 vol 193 cc453-4

2.35 p.m.


My Lords, I beg to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

[The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government if they will state the amount of dollar exchange absorbed to date arising from the requirements for support—(a) to the price spread on sterling dollar exchange; (b) to the policy for transferable sterling; or both together.]


My Lords, the information which the noble Lord is seeking relates to certain operations of the Exchange Equalisation Account. The noble Lord is, I think, aware that whilst my right honourable friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer has a general responsibility for the policy under which that Account operates, the day-to-day dealings in exchanges, which are of a highly specialised and technical character, are undertaken by the Bank of England. We publish regularly figures of movements of gold and dollar reserves, but for a number of reasons it is not in the public interest to disclose the particulars of the operations of the Exchange Equalisation Account. I very much hope that the noble Lord will not press me for further information


My Lords, I naturally accept the grounds on which my noble friend states why an Answer cannot be given to my Question. May I, however, ask whether, in view of the official denial made last week of any imminence of devaluation, and having regard to the reports widely current in North America that there is imminent a change in the spread of the dollar-sterling exchange rate, he will make representation in the proper quarter that a supplementary statement would be advantageous?


My Lords, think the noble Lord's supplementary question goes a long way further than the factual Question which I was asked in the first place. The noble Lord is aware of the statement made by the Economic Secretary last week. I do not think it necessary for me to remind him that it was categorical in character and authoritative in force. I would only say that there has already been an improvement in the sterling-dollar exchange rate.