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Bank Of England Money

Volume 415: debated on Wednesday 31 October 1945

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Considered in Committee. [ Progress 29th October.]

[Mr. HUBERT BEAUMONT in the Chair]

Question again proposed,

"That for the purposes of any Act of the present Session to bring the capital stock of the Bank of England into public ownership and bring the Bank under public control, to make provision with respect to the relations between the Treasury, the Bank of England, and other banks and for purposes connected with the matters aforesaid, it is expedient—
  • (a) to authorise the Treasury to issue to holders of capital stock of the Bank of Eng land (hereinafter referred to as 'Bank stock'), in exchange for Bank stock held by them, such an amount of stock (hereinafter referred to as 'Government stock') bearing interest at the rate of three per cent. per annum that the sum payable annually by way of interest thereon will be equal to the average annual gross dividend declared during the period of twenty years immediately preceding the thirty-first day of March, nineteen hundred and forty-five, upon the amount of Bank stock held;
  • (b) to authorise the charge on the Consolidated Fund of the principal of and interest on the Government stock, and any expenses incurred in connection with its issue or redemption and any remuneration payable in respect of its management;
  • (c) to authorise the Treasury, for the purpose of providing any sums required to redeem the Government stock, to raise money in any manner in which they are authorised to raise money under the National Loans Act, 1939;
  • (d) to authorise the payment into the Exchequer of sums paid by the Bank of England to the Treasury in lieu of dividends on Bank stock, and to authorise the issue out of the Consolidated Fund of sums so paid into the Exchequer and the application of sums so issued in payment of interest otherwise payable out of the permanent annual charge for the national debt."
  • 9.0 p.m.

    On Tuesday last we had a discussion on the First Reading of the Bank of England Bill and in the course of the speech which I had the privilege of making to the House I asked if the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, when he was replying to the Debate, would state the amount of the reserves of the Bank of England. It was quite clear at the conclusion of his speech that he was not going to reply to that question, and therefore I venture to intervene. I asked:

    "Would the Minister be good enough to answer the question which I asked him earlier this evening? What is the amount of the Reserve Fund of the Bank of England?"
    The hon. Gentleman replied:
    "The answer is that that question is quite irrelevant."
    which I am afraid caused a considerable amount of amusement to the other side of the House. However we did get one statement afterwards when he said that the price to be paid had been based on the market price of the present stock, but that did not answer the question I put to him. My right hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Gainsborough (Captain Crookshank) subsequently joined in this Debate, together with others on this side of the House, with the result that the Chancellor got up and immediately showed himself to be very annoyed and very bad tempered. He said:
    "If hon. Members want the answer, I will give it; if not, we will take the vote."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 29th October, 1945; Vol. 415, c. 189–195.]

    I would remind the hon. Member that we are now in Committee, this is not the Second Reading. Will he kindy relate his remarks to the Motion that has been made?

    That is what I am endeavouring to do, Mr. Beaumont. I thought I was able to give the reason why, when this Motion, now in Committee, came before the House as unopposed business on Tuesday night, I should object and carry it forward so that we might debate the matter further tonight. The reason was because the Chancellor himself had not given an answer to the question, which was, what are the reserves of the Bank of England? After all, although the Chancellor uses the word "I" all the time—he did in his Budget speech and he has done so in various speeches tonight—

    The hon. Member is again wandering away from the matter under discussion. Would he kindly relate his remarks to the Motion?

    I wanted to point out that this is a matter—if you will allow me to go two sentences further, Mr. Beaumont—which concerns the House of Commons. However often the Chancellor of the Exchequer may say, "I am giving this allowance," "I have made this bargain," it is not he who is doing so, it is the nation who are doing it. We want to know, therefore, whether a good and fair bargain has been made in the purchase of these Bank of England shares. There are Members on the opposite side of the House who spoke in the Debate on Tuesday, and who said that in their opinion the price was too high. But there are those on this side who think that the price is too low. [Hon. Members: "Oh."] If Members will examine what every responsible man in the Labour Party has said in the past about nationalising industry they will find that it has always been said that compensation shall be at a fair price.

    It depends upon what the hon. Member means by "fair."

    I quite agree. The hon. Member's idea and my idea as to what is fair are the same.

    At the moment, nobody, because nobody knows the facts. If there is £14,000,000 worth of stock in the Bank of England at the moment the stockholders are being paid £58,000,000 for it. I have reason to believe that the reserve funds of the Bank of England are sufficient to enable the stockholders, if they wound up the company, to obtain a far greater sum than £58,000,000. There can be no business in this country that could be more easily liquidated than that Bank. Theyhave their investments, which could be realised, and their loans to the joint stock banks and to others, all of which could easily be called in. I believe that if the stockholders called a meeting and put the Bank into liquidation they would obtain for themselves a division, pari passu with their stock holdings, of considerably more than £100,000,000, as compared with the £58,000,000 which they are now being offered by the Chancellor.

    Why is the Chancellor keeping this dark? Why does he not tell us? I am sure he is not going to tell us that he made a bargain with the directors of the Bank of England to buy their stock for £58,000,000 without seeing the balance sheet, the list of investments, and particulars of the whole of the assets. He must know what are the reserve funds of the Bank and the value of the net assets—that is, the difference between the value of the gross assets, less the liabilities of the Bank—compared with the amount which he is paying to the stockholders. So, I ask him now, as I asked the Financial Secretary the other night, and as my right hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Gainsborough asked the Chancellor, to tell us what are the reserve funds of the Bank of England.

    I make no apology for opposing this Financial Resolution. Yesterday, after Question Time, the Leader of the House said he understood that it had been agreed officially with the Opposition that this Resolution should go through. I do not know exactly what he had in mind, but I should imagine that at any rate any understanding there might have been was no longer binding after the Chief Government Whip moved the closure before the end of the time available for Business on Monday. If any one should, none the less, criticise me for opposing this Resolution now, I would pray in aid what Mr. Speaker said on the occasion when he was called to the Chair, at the beginning of this Parliament:

    "I have been a back bencher for a long time, and when we saw the two Front Benches, Government and Opposition, putting their heads together, we always used to say, 'well, the back bencher is going to get a dirty deal'."[OFFICIAL REPORT, 1st August, 1945; Vol. 413, c. 8.]
    The reason why I oppose the Financial Resolution is that it is drawn much too tight. The particular part of it with which I am concerned are the words which deal with the question of compensation. I perhaps may be permitted to quote them, leaving out the unnecessary words:
    "…it is expedient (a) to authorise the Treasury to issue to holders of capital stock of the Bank of England…in exchange for Bank stock held by them, such an amount of stock…bearing interest at the rate of three per cent. per annum that the sum payable annually by way of interest…will be equal to the average annual gross dividend declared during the period of twenty years immediately preceding the Thirty-first day of March, Nineteen Hundred and Forty Five, upon the amount of Bank stock held."
    These terms are so tight that they will prevent in Committee, if I am right in my view, any Amendment whatsoever of the compensation provisions, except one. The only respect in which the Committee would have any discretion to amend the Bill would be in respect of the terms of redemption. I think that is really a very drastic proposition, which we have to face. What would be the use of a Select Committee hearing evidence presented on behalf of the petitioners, who themselves would be represented by counsel, who would argue their case upon the issue of compensation, if the Committee were quite incapable of introducing any Amendment into the Bill? I think it probable that the Select Committee would take the view that it was no use their hearing any evidence at all on the question of compensation, except upon the terms of redemption which should be attached to the Government stock. Not only the Select Committee, but, for the same reason, I submit, on the issue of compensation, all other stages of this Bill in this House would be reduced to a farce.

    The hon. Member for Harwich (Sir Stanley Holmes) made out a strong case why we should be told, at this stage, what is the value of the assets of the Bank of England. I wish we could be told that now, because it has a real bearing upon the question of compensation, and upon the question whether this Clause is drawn too tightly or not. What would be the use of that information being supplied to the Committee, if they have no discretion, whatsoever, after considering that information, to amend the provisions of the Bill. This is a question which was discussed in more general terms, in a most interesting Debate which took place in 1937, when the present Prime Minister, at that time Leader of the Opposition, made a very important speech. Hesaid this:
    "I deemed it to be my duty, as Leader of the Opposition, to call attention to what I consider to be the danger of Members losing their privileges in this House. There is no party issue raised…"
    He proceeded:
    "Look at what is happening today. Members get indignant. It is found, when a Bill comes forward in which they are interested, that the whole matter is dealt with in the Financial Resolution. With great care they draft Amendments, but those Amendments are out of Order. They find it is no good waiting for the Bill because the Bill is governed by the Financial Resolution, and the Financial Resolution having been passed, they cannot get their Amendments called. That is not fair to this House."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 8th March, 1937; Vol. 321, c. 815, 819–20.]
    9.15 p.m.

    Those are the words of the present Prime Minister. In consequence of that Debate a Select Committee was appointed to consider procedure relating to Money Resolutions, and in the course of their Report these words appear. They recommend
    "that any detailed provisions which define or limit the objects and conditions of expenditure contained in a Bill should, if and so far as they are set out in a Financial Resolution, be expressed in wider terms than in the Bill, so as to permit amendments to the Bill, which have for their object the extension or relaxation of such provisions, and which do not materially increase the charge."
    This is an admirable case in point. This Committee should scrutinise very carefully the terms of this Financial Resolution, and if they come to the same conclusion as I do, namely, that it will leave no scope for Amendment of the Bill in respect of the compensation terms, they should reject the Resolution, and the Resolution should be redrafted and re-presented by the Government to this House.

    9.17 p.m.

    It might be for the convenience of the Committee if I said a few words on the two points that have been raised. If I may take, first, the second point raised by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Sutton Coldfield (Sir J. Mellor), I would say two things on the form of the Money Resolution. In the first place, there has been dispute, and the hon. Member has been citing examples of dispute in the past, as to what is the proper form of such a Resolution. This Resolution is in line with many which, in the past, the House has accepted on other Bills. This is a Hybrid Bill and, therefore, a new stage is interposed between the proceedings on the Second Reading, with the Money Resolution, and the resumption of consideration of the Bill in its Committee stage here. The Select Committee stage is introduced expressly with a view to enabling full consideration to be given to questions of finance, and in particular, to compensation in regard to this Bill. About half an hour ago the House passed a Resolution in which it was laid down that a Select Committee shall hear petitions through counsel and so forth; so that, in this regard, an additional stage is put in, which will enable the matter which the hon. Gentleman has in mind to be very fully considered by Members of this House, sitting as a Select Committee.

    That being so, I think we are justified in drawing this Money Resolution in the form in which it is drawn, and which is in line, as I have said, with the form of many similar Resolutions in the past. Had no Select Committee stage been interposed, it might strongly and powerfully have been argued that the Money Resolution was too narrowly drawn; but because there is the Select Committee stage, and we will be able to go into the matter more fully and to much greater length man this House would wish to do here in Committee, it appears to me that the form of the Resolution, in these circumstances, is appropriate. If the Select Committee should reach the conclusion that the terms of compensation contained in the Bill ought to be substantially amended, I do not commit the Government to accept the recommendations of the Select Committee, but I am prepared to give the undertaking that, if they did so report, we would, if necessary, bring in a fresh Resolution to enable their recommendations to be considered by the House, whether or not the Government would, at the time, accept them. I hope that undertaking will satisfy the hon. Gentleman that there will be no difficulty if the Select Committee recommend that some change should be made.

    While I am obliged for what the right hon. Gentleman has said, I would point out that that, of course, applies only to the Select Committee; but when the question comes back again to the House, Amendments to enlarge the compensation will not be in Order, having regard to the terms of the Financial Resolution. We could not even get our Amendments called.

    No. I am anxious to meet the Committee, and the undertaking I have given is that if the Select Committee, who will be free to discuss the matter, recommend that the compensation terms should be altered in any direction, either up or down, we will, if necessary, bring in afresh Money Resolution so that it can be discussed by the House. You cannot go on having a lot of bites at one cherry, and, in view of the fact that this is a Hybrid Bill, if the Select Committee do recommend that the compensation terms are right and should not be altered, either up or down, I do not think this Money Resolution can be held to be too narrowly drawn. At any rate, I have made my offer to the Committee and I hope they will think it is reasonable.

    I appreciate what the right hon. Gentleman has said, but assuming the Select Committee do not recommend any change in the provisions for compensation, some hon. Members may take a different view and after carefully studying the Report of the Select Committee may still wish to move Amendments. Hon. Members surely should not be prevented by the terms of the Financial Resolution from moving Amendments. I submit that the passages I have read indicate that a Financial Resolution should not be used for that purpose.

    That did not apply to Hybrid Bills. This I repeat is a Hybrid Bill. A Hybrid Bill is a Bill in respect of which a new stage is interposed. Because there is interposed this new stage, whereby much more elaborate and lengthy discussion on this matter can take place, than is possible in a Committee of, this House, I suggest that if the Select Committee consider that the terms of compensation are fair, this Resolution, according as it does with many Resolutions accepted in the past, will have provided sufficient opportunity for discussion.

    I pass to another point. An hon. Member was anxious that I should name a figure to cover the value of the Bank's reserves, as he called them, although I think what he really wants to know is the value of the total assets of the Bank. He spoke rather gloomily about liquidation. It is not part of the policy of His Majesty's Government to liquidate the Bank. It will not be done under this Government. I am not thinking of it in terms of liquidation, nor are any of us thinking of it in that light. What the hon. Gentleman wished to know was the total value of the assets of the Bank, I think, and the answer to that is that it would not be right for me at this stage, before the Select Committee has considered the matter, to name a figure here. [Hon. Members: "Why?"] I will say why. One reason is that it is not my business to provide evidence in advance for petitioners before the Select Committee. We understand that there may be petitioners who will appear before the Select Committee, as they are perfectly entitled to do, and adduce evidence through counsel that they should receive more. It is not the duty of any Member of the Government to provide evidence which may be used in this connection. With regard to this matter, we may be able, at a later date, to express our views upon some of the evidence which may be advanced in the Select Committee. Once again I venture to emphasise that this is a Hybrid Bill, with an additional stage provided with a Select Committee, before which people who object to the Bill have quite exceptional facilities. In the ordinary way, it is not possible for people who object to a Bill passing through this House to appear by counsel, and require the House to hear their arguments. I think the proper course is to let the next stage, that of the Select Committee, follow, and to let any case which there may be against the Bill, be stated there. That is a sufficient reason why I should not name a figure.

    I will add a further reason why I should not name a figure now. I do not consider that a number of the assets of the Bank are capable of exact valuation, and any valuation attached to certain of the assets of the Bank would be nothing more than a guess. I will take only one case, that of the central building of the Bank itself in Threadneedle Street and the land on which it stands. I would be very sorry to attach any credence to the estimate of any person as to the value to be attached to that asset. There are certain other assets on which it would be difficult to put a figure with any verisimilitude at all. I must ask the hon. Gentleman and the House to excuse me at this stage from answering the questions which have been put. At a later stage, when the Bill has passed through the Select Committee and has been brought back here, I will endeavour to provide, for the information of the House, a statement of what the views of the Government are, and whether or not we agree with any recommendation which has been made. I think the proper course is that the Select Committee should be empowered to go forward with their work, and I have no doubt that they will have much evidence placed before them to enable them to make their recommendations.

    In spite of the eloquence of the right hon. Gentleman, I still think that he is putting the Committee into a rather false position, because this Resolution is very tightly drawn. It is true that the House has decided to send the Bill to a Select Committee under the procedure in relation to Hybrid Bills, as is only right and proper, in a case of this sort. When a Bill is partly public and partly affects private interests, it would be very wrong if it were not examined by such a Com mittee. The Chancellor did not mention the point, which is still true, that the Select Committee will not be able to alter this Bill. It can make a report.

    The Select Committee could not, in any case, alter the Bill, no matter how this Resolution was drawn. All that the Select Committee can do is to make a report and to suggest Amendments. They cannot make Amendments in the sense that a Standing Committee of this House can make Amendments. They can only make recommendations for Amendments for the consideration of the House.

    9.30 p.m.

    That is right, and that is the point I want to emphasise. The Committee will have to hear counsel on both sides. No doubt the Government will be represented, if it comes to that stage. Having heard the evidence, the Committee will be in a position, if they so desire, to make one or more reports to this House suggesting what they consider should be changed in the Bill. The crux of the matter is that if the Government have in the meanwhile got the passage of this Resolution, and if the Select Committee have recommended alterations, they cannot be made on the Resolution. It is so tightly drawn that the actual amount of compensation is set down, and the Bill can only deal with what is in the Resolution. Therefore, the assurance that we would desire to have is whether, supposing the Select Committee send a report to the House asking that this should be altered in some way or other, the right hon. Gentleman is now prepared to say that the Government would ask for the Resolution to be withdrawn and a new one brought in and discussed before the subsequent stages of the Bill. It seems to me that the right hon. Gentleman must say "Yes," because otherwise—[Interruption]. What is the good of having a Select Committee and empowering, as the House did a quarter of an hour ago, this question to be discussed by counsel, if, at the end of the day, they are to be told, "You have had all this expenditure and argument, but nothing in the world can happen as a result"?

    I thought I had made it clear, but, if not, I will endeavour to make it clear beyond any question or ambiguity. What I sought to convey was that if the Select Committee reached the conclusion that the payment of compensation should be changed, either upwards or downwards, I do not commit His Majesty's Government to accept their recommendations. I do commit His Majesty's Government to provide facilities for these recommendations to be discussed in the House. I think that that is what the right hon. and gallant Gentleman was asking me to do. The House will then be able to express a view on the recommendations, but I do not commit the Government to accept the recommendations of the Select Committee to vary the compensation either up or down.

    I think the right hon. Gentleman has made that point quite clear. I take it that if there were majority and minority reports, they would be discussable. I am not clear whether the right hon. Gentleman means discussable in a Debate on the Report of this Committee or discussable on an Amendment to the Bill. If the right hon. Gentleman, as he put it, will see that the matter is discussed, that is one thing; but the next stage is to see if it is possible, as a result of that discussion, for Amendments to be made. That, however, cannot be done under the Financial Resolution as it is so tightly drawn.

    I will try once more to make it clear. I am not keeping anything back or using any catch phrases. I am seeking to make it as clear as words can. If the Select Committee recommend any change in the terms of compensation, I undertake that the Government will take such steps as are necessary to see that the House has an opportunity of discussing the proposed variations. That, of course, implies that it may be necessary to amend the Money Resolution. I give the pledge;how the pledge will need to be implemented will depend on the situation. It may be that we shall find it necessary to amend the Money Resolution if such circumstances arise. If that be necessary in order that the thing shall be discussed here, that shall be done. I hope I have now succeeded in making the matter clear.

    When some hon. Members have been here a little longer, they will know that it is very important to get these matters quite clear, because they do affect very great issues, as the House has admitted by sending the matter to a Select Committee. It is well that everybody should understand what is the effect of the procedure. I am sure that my hon. and right, hon. Friends will entirely accept with great satisfaction the very definite pledge which the right hon. Gentleman has made. I hope that at any rate answers the case that was so very well opened on this aspect of the question by my hon. Friend the Member for Sutton Coldfield (Sir J. Mellor). Having said that we are grateful for the pledge and the way the matter is to be handled, we do not for one moment say that we approve of the Resolution to a Bill with which we thoroughly disagree.

    (Twickenham)

    I do not think the Committee should pass this Resolution without having further explanations from the Chancellor. The right hon. Gentleman said he was keeping nothing back. I think he is keeping a hell of a lot back.

    I must ask the hon. Member to withdraw that phrase.

    If it offends you, Mr. Beaumont, or any hon. Members, I will substitute "quite a lot." The Chancellor gave two reasons why he could not say any more. The first reason was that he did not want to supply evidence for the Select Committee. How can anything which the Chancellor says in this Committee be brought in as evidence before the Select Committee? The second reason he gave was that he did not know what the Bank's assets were worth. Will he tell us what is the value of the liquid reserves? He said he did not know what the value of the Bank of England premises is. I presume they are rated, and he might at any rate estimate the value of the premises. What the Committee ought to realise—and I think they do realise it—is that they are now being asked to put a limit to the price which is to be paid to the Bank of England for all its assets. If the figures given by my hon. Friend the Member for Harwich (Sir J. Stanley Holmes) as to the value of those assets are correct, what it amounts to is that in return for £58,000,000 worth of stock the Government are going to get the Bank of England as a profit-making concern, and are going to get £40,000,000 or £50,000,000 of reserves in addition; in other words they are practically going to get the Bank of England as a going concern for next to nothing. It might almost be said that they are paying for the Bank of England with the shareholders' own money. We are not now being asked to say that the payment to be made to the Bank of England should be £X—the value of X to be settled by the Select Committee. We are being asked to say that the payment to be made shall be £58,000,000. I ask the Committee again to press the Chancellor for some further information.

    I am very apologetic—[Interruption]—hon. Gentlemen opposite may frequently find it convenient to be apologetic in the future—I am very apologetic if I have not fully understood the Chancellor of the Exchequer, but I am bound to say that I am still left in some dubiety. As far as I understood the right hon. Gentleman, his argument, or rather his pledge, was that if the Select Committee reports that the sum indicated in the Financial Resolution is inappropriate for any reason, and if it appears that any change in that sum would be outside the Financial Resolution, then His Majesty's Government will see that the Financial Resolution is amended. I think I have got the pledge straight. [Hon. Members: "No."] If I am incorrect, the Chancellor of the Exchequer will correct me, and noises below the Gangway opposite will not affect the situation at all. I think that was the pledge from the Government. The question I wish to put is whether that pledge does not come a stage too late. If I understand this procedure on Hybrid Bills aright—[Laughter]—I am not sure that I do, but I must say I think I understand it better than the hon. Members who laugh—the purpose of the Select Committee is that individuals or corporate persons who may conceive themselves to be aggrieved by the proposed legislation should have an opportunity of appearing by counsel. I think that is right.

    What I do not understand about the Financial Resolution is this. As the Financial Resolution is drawn, what is the proposition which counsel can appear to advocate, in order that they should get the benefit of the Chancellor's pledge? As far as I can see it, under the Resolution as it stands, the compensation is to be—then follow the words on the Paper, very tightly drafted, and that is the end of the matter for the Select Committee. It is there on the Paper. If we let this Resolution go, this Committee has settled that, until it has the business back before it again. Therefore, at that stage what good is the pledge of my right hon. Friend—I should say the right hon. Gentleman; I am sorry he is no friend of mine. Of what use is the pledge of the right hon. Gentleman at that stage? How would the Chairman of the Select Committee be able to rule that it was in order for counsel to appear before him to argue a proposition which is not, as far as I can see, debateable, because it is already decided by the Financial Resolution ex hypothesi—[Interruption.] To rise to move such a proposition, or endeavour to call witnesses to buttress such a proposition, would seem out of Order from the first, and what is the right view seems to me to be the question which it is necessary for the Front Bench opposite to explain to us before we ought to let this Resolution go

    9.45 p.m.

    Two-thirds of the Members of the House are new Members and many of us are either ignorant or innocent. There is much we ought quite properly to learn. Two-thirds of the Members know nothing about hybrids and have never heard of a Hybrid Bill until to-night. It is part of the business of the Government to educate democracy, and democracy does not consist of those well-trained levies which sit behind the Government with smiles and grins upon their faces. It consists of rather dense-minded persons among whom I am not ashamed to include myself, and I do not think the Chancellor has made the position clear to us to-night. We would not want this monstrous change to take place in our social economy without complete understanding of its full implication. I believe I speak for every Member of the House of Commons, and I speak for the people of this country who have a right to know what plans the right hon. Gentleman has in his mind. We learned from the hon. Member for Harwich (Sir J. Stanley Holmes) that the amount of money required to purchase the Bank of England is £58,000,000. I ask hon. Gentlemen sitting behind the Treasury Bench whether they know, or can they tell me—the Chancellor cannot tell us—what we are getting for that £58,000,000. If hon. Members opposite were told that the price was to be £580,000,000 they would have accepted that figure as a reasonable price. I submit that hon. Members who are sitting on the benches behind His Majesty's Government have not done their duty. They need to explain to their constituents what they are getting for their money. I am not concerned with whether it is too much or too little, but I am concerned to know whether it is a just price that the Government and country are to pay for this State enterprise. On justice they stand or fall.

    The right hon. Gentleman opposite knows that the Bank of England is an old institution, but within the last 20 years it has sold certain of its branches. The Bank of England has branches not only in the City of London; it has branches throughout the country and it is matter of public knowledge that it has sold some of these branches, and that they were sold for a price. Can he tell me what price was received for those branches, and can be tell me what price they will expect for the central building. There are facts in this field which, I humbly suggest, hon. Members would like to know. I would not like to explain to myconstituents, many of whom are houseless and possibly jobless, that the Government spent £58,000,000 on the Bank of England and did not know what they got for it. This is a matter in which the Government must help Members of the House of Commons. Two-thirds of us are new Members; we are ignorant and we ask the right hon. Gentleman to make an explanation for the benefit of the public of this country. We have not had these explanations and I submit that the Chancellor should give us further information.

    On a point of Order. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Cambridge University (Mr. Pickthorn) who was not extended the courtesy of a proper hearing, made a very serious speech and made some very relevant points.

    I thought that the hon. and gallant Member was going to raise a point of Order but instead he is making a speech.

    The point of Order that I wish to put to you, Mr. Beaumont, is that, if a substantial, carefully argued and thought-out speech is made by an hon. Member of this House, surely we are entitled to a reply from His Majesty's Government.

    Division No. 14.]

    AYES.

    [9.50 p.m.

    Adams, W. T. (Hammersmith, South)Guest, Dr. L. HadenPritt, D. N.
    Allen, A. C. (Bosforth)Gunter, Capt. R. J.Proctor, W. T.
    Anderson, F. (Whitehaven)Guy, W. H.Pursey, Cmdr. H
    Attewell, H. C.Hall, W. G. (Colne Valley)Randall, H. E.
    Awbery, S. S.Hamilton, Lieut.-Col. R.Rankin, J.
    Bacon, Miss A.Hardman, D. RReid, T. (Swindon)
    Baird, Capt. J.Hardy, E. A.Roberts, Sqn.-Ldr. E. O. (Merioneth)
    Balfour, A.Hastings, Dr. SomervilleRoberts, G. O. (Caernarvonshire)
    Bechervaise, A. E.Henderson, J. (Ardwick)Robertson, J. J. (Berwick)
    Belcher, J. W.Holman, P.Royle, C.
    Benson, G.Hoy, J.Sargood, R.
    Beswick, Flt.-Lieut. F.Hubbard, T.Scollan, T.
    Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale)Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)Scott-Elliot, W.
    Bevin, Rt. Hon. E. (Wandsworth, C.)Hughes, Lt. H. D. (W'lhampton, W.)Segal, Sq. Ldr. S.
    Bing, Capt. G. H. C.Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.Sharp, Lt.-Col. G. M.
    Blenkinsop, Capt. A.Janner, B.Shawcross, Cmdr. C. N. (Widnes)
    Blyton, W. R.Jones, D. T. (Hartlepools)Shurmer, P.
    Bowden, Flg.-Offr. H. W.Jones, J. H. (Bolton)Silkin, Rt. Hon. L.
    Brook, D. (Halifax)Kenyon, C.Silverman, J. (Erdington)
    Brooks, T. J. (Rothwell)Kirkwood, D.Silverman, S. S. (Nelson)
    Brown, T. J. (Ince)Lang, G.Simmons, C. J.
    Buchanan, G.Lavers, S.Skinnard, F. W.
    Burke, W. A.Lee, F. (Hulme)Smith, Rt. Hon. Sir B. (Rotherhithe)
    Byers, Lt.-Col. F.Lee, Miss J. (Cannock)Smith, Capt. C. (Colchester)
    Callaghan, James.Levy, B. W.Smith, Ellis (Stoke)
    Champion, A. J.Lewis, T. (Southampton)Smith, Norman (Nottingham, S.)
    Chetwynd, Capt. G. R.Lindgren, G. S.Smith, S. H. (Hull, S.W.)
    Clitherow, R.McAdam, W.Snow, Capt. J. W.
    Cobb, F. A.McEntee, V. La T.Solley, L. J.
    Cocks, F. S.McGovern, J.Soskice, Maj. Sir F.
    Collick, P.McKay, J. (Wallsend)Stamford, W.
    Collindridge, F.McKinlay, A. S.Stewart, Capt. M. (Fulham)
    Collins, V. J.Maclean, N. (Govan)Sunderland, J. W.
    Colman, Miss G. M.McLeavy, F.Taylor, H. B. (Mansfield)
    Corlett, Dr. J.MacMillan, M. K.Taylor, Dr. S. (Barnet)
    Daggar, G.McNeil, H.Thomas, I. O. (Wrekin)
    Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.Macpherson, T. (Romford)Thomas, John R. (Dover)
    Davies, Edward (Burslem)Mallalieu, J. P. W.Thomson, Rt. Hon. G. R. (E'b'gh, E.)
    Davies, Clement (Montgomery)Mann, Mrs. J.Tiffany, S.
    Davies, Ernest (Enfield)Manning, Mrs. L. (Epping)Tomlinson, Rt. Hon. G.
    Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)Marshall, F. (Brightside)Ungood-Thomas, Maj. L.
    Deer, G.Mayhew, Maj. C. P.Vernon, Maj. W. F.
    Dobbie, W.Middleton, Mrs. L.Webb, M. (Bradford, C.)
    Donovan, T.Monslow, W.Wells, Maj. W. T. (Walsall)
    Driberg, T. E. N.Morgan, Dr. H. B.White, C. F. (Derbyshire, W.)
    Dumpleton, C. W.Morris, P. (Swansea, W.)Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.
    Dye, S.Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Lewisham, E.)Whittaker, J. E.
    Edwards, W. J. (Whitechapel)Mort, D. L.Wigg, G. E. C.
    Evans. S. N. (Wednesbury)Murray, J. D.Wilkes, Maj. L.
    Farthing, W. J.Nally, W.Wilkinson, Rt. Hon. Ellen
    Foot, M. M.Neal, H. (Claycross)Williams, D. J. (Neath)
    Foster, W. (Wigan)Nichol, Mrs. M. E. (Bradford, N.)Williams, J. L. (Ke'vingrove)
    Freeman, Maj. J. (Watford)Oldfield, W. H.Williams, W. R. (Heston)
    Freeman, P. (Newport)Oliver, G. H.Willis, E.
    Gaitskell, H. T. N.Paget, R. T.Wills, Mrs. E. A.
    Gallacher, W.Paling, Rt. Hon. Wilfred (Wentworth)Woodburn, A.
    Gibson, C. W.Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)Woods, G. S.
    Gilzean, A.Palmer, A. M. F.Wyatt, Maj. W.
    Glanville, J. E. (Consett)Parkin, Flt.-Lieut. B. T.Yates, V. F.
    Gordon-Walker, P. G.Pearson, A.Young, Sir R. (Newton)
    Grenfell, D. R.Peart, Capt. T. F.Younger, Maj. Hon. K. G.
    Grierson, E.Perrins, W.Zilliacus, K.
    Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley)Porter, E. (Warrington)
    Griffiths, Rt. Hon. J. (Llanelly)Porter, G. (Leeds)TELLERS FOR THE AYES:—
    Mr. Mathers and Mr. R. J. Taylor.

    gallant Gentleman the Member for Basingstoke (Squadron-Leader Donner), is entitled to a Ruling on that point?

    Question put.

    The Committee divided: Ayes, 190; Noes, 86.

    NOES.

    Aitken, Hon. M.Headlam, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir G.Pickthorn, K.
    Baldwin, A. E.Hinchingbrooke, ViscountPitman, I. J.
    Bennett, Sir P.Hogg, Hon. Q.Prescott, Capt. W. R. S.
    Bower, N.Holmes, Sir J. StanleyReid, Rt. Hon. J. S. C. (Hillhead)
    Boyd-Carpenter, Maj. J. A.Howard, Hon. A.Renton, D.
    Braithwaite, Lt.-Comdr. J. G.Hudson, Rt. Hon. R. S. (Southport)Robinson, Wing-Comdr. J. R.
    Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.Hulbert, Wing Comdr. N. J.Ropner, Col. L.
    Bullock, Capt. M.Jeffreys, General Sir G.Sanderson, Sir F.
    Butcher, H. W.Jennings, R.Scott, Lord W.
    Clifton-Brown, Lt.-Col. G.Keeling, E. H.Shephard, S. (Newark)
    Cooper-Key, E. M.Lambert, G.Smith, E. P. (Ashford)
    Corbett, Lieut.-Col. U. (Ludlow)Lancaster, Col. C. G.Spearman, A. C. M.
    Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. GLegge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.Stanley, Col. Rt. Hon. O.
    Crowder, Capt. J. F. E.Lindsay, Lt.-Col. M. (Solihull)Stoddart-Scott, Lt.-Col. M.
    Darling, Sir W. Y.Linstead, H. N.Stuart. Rt. Hon. J.
    Digby, Maj. S. WingfieldLloyd, Maj. Guy (Renfrew, E.)Sutcliffe, H.
    Dodds-Parker, Col. A. D.Lucas, Major Sir J.Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)
    Donner, Sqn.-Ldr. P. W.Lucas-Tooth, Sir H.Taylor, Vice-Adm. E. A. (P'dd't'n, S.)
    Dower, Lt.-Col. A. V. G. (Penrith)McKie, J. H. (Galloway)Thorp, Lt.-Col. R. A. F.
    Dower, E. L. G. (Caithness)Maclay, Hon. J. S.Touche, G. C.
    Drayson, Capt. G. B.Manningham-Buller, R. E.Turton, R. H.
    Duthie, W. S.Marlowe, A. A. H.Vane, Lt.-Col. W. M. T.
    Erroll, Col. F. J.Marples, Capt. A. E.White, Sir D. (Fareham)
    Fox, Sqn.-Ldr. Sir G.Maude, J. C.Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
    Gage, Lt.-Col. C.Mellor, Sir J.York, C.
    Gates, Maj. E. E.Molson, A. H. E.Young, Maj. Sir A. S. L. (Partick)
    Glossop, C. W. H.Neven-Spence, Major Sir B.
    Grimston, R. V.Nutting, AnthonyTELLERS FOR THE NOES:—
    Hannon, Sir P. (Moseley)Orr-Ewing, I. L.Major Mott-Radclyffe and Mr. Drewe.
    Haughton, Maj. S. G.Osborne, C.

    Resolution to be reported Tomorow.