HL Deb 04 June 1957 vol 204 cc216-7

3.38 p.m.


My Lords, by leave of the House I will interrupt Business to make the following statement on travel in the dollar area. My right honourable friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer has decided that the ordinary travel allowance, at present £100 a year, will be available in future for travel to the dollar area in the same manner as for travel in the transferable account area. For the present travel year, from November to October, the whole £100, or such balance as may not have been spent already, can be used in the dollar area from now to the end of October. Dollars have not been made available for travel to North America, including Canada, for the last ten years. This has erected an unnatural barrier between the English-speaking peoples which should not be allowed to continue any longer than is necessary.


My Lords, we on this side of the House have listened with interest to the statement made by the noble Viscount, and we support the proposal that is being made. We think it was quite right that in the last ten years, owing to the exceptional circumstances which prevailed during that time, there should have been this special selection of the dollar area as one in which travel allowances were not available. Now that the Treasury and the Chancellor of the Exchequer are satisfied that this change can be made, we think it will be to the advantage of the friendship of the English-speaking world on the two sides of the Atlantic.


My Lords, as your Lordships may know, I put down a Starred Question on this subject last week, when the noble Viscount said that the Treasury had the matter under continuous review. I am glad that this continuous review has brought forth such a bonny child in such a very short time.


My Lords, I wonder whether the noble Viscount could tell me whether actual travelling expenses will be permitted to be spent in London as, for example, is the case in regard to Europe, over and above the £100 worth of dollars which one can take with one?


My Lords, I should not like to commit my right honourable friend without consulting him, but my understanding of the statement which I have just made is that the same arrangement mutatis mutandis will apply to the dollar area as applies to the transferable account area.


My Lords, perhaps I may add that it has always been the case, even with no dollar allowance to spend, that one could pay one's travelling expenses in sterling in this country.