HL Deb 26 July 1999 vol 604 c141WA
Lord Steel of Aikwood

asked Her Majesty's Government:

In view of the Bank of England's announcement in May that gold sales would be conducted in an orderly manner so as not to disrupt markets, what assurances were given by them in the letter delivered to President Mbeki in June concerning the adverse effects on jobs in South Africa and neighbouring countries caused by the fall in gold prices. [HL3699]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

As the Prime Minister said in a Written Answer today, the Government announced on 7 May that we were undertaking the sale of gold to produce a better balance in the portfolio of UK reserves. We have carried out the sale on a clear and transparent basis in order to minimise market uncertainty. The Prime Minister wrote to the South African President on 11 June to set out these reasons in some detail and to follow up discussions we had already had with his Government.