§ Mr. Blunt
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to his answer of 13 February 2003, to the hon. Member for Chesham and Amersham (Mrs. Gillan),Official Report, column 861W, on gold sales, what the precise proceeds were in US dollars of the sale of 395 tonnes of gold; and what the proceeds would have been at the afternoon fix on 31 October 2003. 
§ Ruth Kelly
The total proceeds from the sale of 395 tonnes of gold were US$3,496 million. At the afternoon fix on 31 October 2003, the total value of this gold was US$4,908 million. The gold sales between July 1999 and March 2002 reflected a prudent decision to reduce overexposure to a single asset in the net reserves portfolio. Thus, the difference between these two figures quoted do not represent the real financial impact of the sales, as the proceeds from the gold sales were invested in euro, dollar and yen interest-bearing assets that have also increased in value over this period. The gold sales reduced risk by around 30 per cent. (as measured by value-at-risk) and are not expected to deliver a loss in return when measured over the medium to long-term; the appropriate time horizon for such a decision.
Number of returns issued Period of return 1998–99 1999–2000 2000–01 2001–02 2002–03 Bulk annual issue 7,424,907 7,267,592 7,237,749 7,309,336 7,130,076 Notices to file 791,647 1,249,819 1,417,120 1,488,130 1,834,610 In year issue 1,129,446 806,589 591,131 633,534 1575,345 Total 9,346,000 9,324,000 9,246,000 9,431,000 29.7 1 To date 2 Million estimated.