§ Sir C. Osborne
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) if he is aware that the long-dated Treasury 6¾ per cent. Stock 1995–98 is quoted at 87⅜ per cent., which is seven points lower than its immediate post-devaluation price; and what new action he proposes to take which will have the effect of restoring confidence in British Government Stocks;
(2) if he is aware that 3½ per cent. War Loan is quoted at 44¾ per cent., the lowest on record, against 104 per cent. in June 1945 and that the purchasing power of the £ sterling has fallen from 20s. to 8s. in the same time; and if he will take immediate action in order to prevent this premier Government Stock from further loss of value.
§ Mr. Taverne
The answer to the first parts of both these Questions is Yes. The market values of Government stock reflect the general level of interest rates, and world interest rates continue at very high levels. The best action which the Government can take is to pursue policies designed to improve our balance of payments, maintain our competitiveness in world markets, and restore the strength of the British economy; and that is what we are doing.317W