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Gold Transference

Volume 345: debated on Thursday 30 March 1939

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asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, in view of the fact that our reserve of gold is liable to be dissipated in operations offsetting the transference of money by individuals and companies from British to foreign securities, and that this transference serves no useful purpose from the national point of view; will he take immediate steps to use the major part of this gold to purchase stores of commodities of vital need in time of war?

Is it not a fact that the proposal contained in the question is a policy which is being carried out at present, and is not the credit of this country too good for such a brake on progress to be adopted?

Is it not a fact that the gold reserve and the Equalisation Account are standing in a grave position, having regard to the international situation, and would it not be better to have a big supply of commodities and foodstuffs in this country rather than gold?

Those are very difficult and technical questions. I have considered the hon. Gentleman's suggestion with my advisers very carefully, and I think my answer is right.

Would the right hon. Gentleman consider passing some of the gold reserve to the old-age pensioners?


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he has any information as to the amount of gold recently shipped by States neighbours of Germany to the United States of America; and to what extent Great Britain has adopted similar steps?

I have no information regarding gold shipments to the United States from continental countries, other than what has been reported in the Press. Shipments from this country appear in the regular Customs returns but, of course, include shipments in respect of gold held in this country on foreign account.

Is it not the case that the flight of gold from Europe was greater last week than during the crisis week in September? Can the Chancellor give any information?