§ Mr. Wrigglesworth
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what studies he has established into alternative means of financing the Government's borrowing requirements; when he expects them to be complete; and if he will report them to the House.
§ Mr. Healey
A number of changes affecting the way financial markets operate, and Government debt is sold, have been made during the past 18 months. For example, the first issues of 57W variable rate gilt-edged stocks have been made; certain new issues have been offered with the total amount of the subscriptions staged over a period of several weeks; and the Bank of England's minimum lending rate is now set directly by the authorities instead of depending automatically on the Treasury Bill discount rate at each Friday's tender. My officials, in consultation with the Bank of England, keep constantly under review the possibility of further changes to improve the functioning of financial markets and facilitate the economical funding of Government borrowing needs. In view of the continuing need to respond to changes to financial markets and in the economy more generally, I see this work as an ongoing process rather than as one which will reach a final conclusion at a particular time. I shall be ready to give the House full details of future changes as and when it seems appropriate to make them.