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Sterling Balances

Volume 416: debated on Thursday 12 April 1945

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58 and 60.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer (I) whether he will take steps to discriminate between imperial and foreign sterling balances acquired during the war and those acquired since the war in favour of holders of the latter, so as to secure them a prior claim on our limited supplies of goods available for export; and

(2) whether he is aware that payment for the large orders of goods placed in this country by Egyptian firms, will be paid for out of sterling balances accumulated by Egypt during the war; and, in view of the necessity for securing foreign exchange through our exports, he will take steps to prevent such use of wartime blocked balances.

Any action on these lines would be a matter for negotiations with the Governments concerned.


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer by what amounts the sterling balances held by countries of the British Empire, other countries within the sterling area and countries outside the sterling area, have increased since the cessation of hostilities with Japan; and how much of these balances have been used to pay for exports from this country.

The figures are only available at quarterly intervals. The total net increase between 30th June and 30th September, 1945, was about £100 millions. It is not possible to say how much was paid out during the quarter for exports from the United Kingdom.