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National Finance

Volume 436: debated on Tuesday 15 April 1947

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British Films (Dollar Proceeds)


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what dollar income was produced by British films sold or rented in the U.S.A. as a set-off to the expenditure of dollar credit for the hire of U.S. films to be shown in Britain.

I am glad to say that this income is increasing, though it is still substantially less than the cost of American films shown here. I should not like to commit myself to a firm figure at present.

Has the Chancellor, in conjunction with the President of the Board of Trade, any plan for further increasing income from this source?

Yes, Sir. My right hon. and learned Friend the President of the Board of Trade and I are in close touch on this matter, and we are, of course, very anxious that British films should have a full opportunity of being displayed, not only in this country, but abroad. We feel that the standard of British films is now rising, and that there is every reason to hope that that will come about in the near future.

What is approximately the difference between the sterling income produced by United States films here and the dollar income produced by the sale of British films in the United States of America?

I would be glad to give an answer a little later, but it is a little early to do so yet, because, as the hon. Member will appreciate, there are gross takings and net takings after the deduction of certain expenses in the United States. I do not wish to conceal anything but, as I say, I should not like to commit myself to a firm figure now. Perhaps, later on.

might be able to give an estimate.

British-Owned Railways, Argentina (Sale)


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what are the terms of the recently concluded agreement for the sale of British-owned railways to the Argentine Government; and, in particular, what are the arrangements for the purchasers obtaining their supplies from the United Kingdom.

The terms have already been fully published in the Press, for example, in the "Financial Times" of 13th February. Arrangements for future supplies are now under discussion

Exchequer Returns (Publication)


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that particulars of revenue and expenditure for the year 1946–47 appeared in the daily Press on 1st April but were not available in the form of a White Paper in the Vote Office; and whether he will arrange that important documents of this kind are available to Members as well as to the Press.

Copies of the quarterly Exchequer Return are held by the Vote Office and may be obtained by hon Members at any time.

Is my right hon. Friend satisfied that they are available to Members as soon as the Press receives the information?

We always try to arrange for that to be so. I think that my hon. Friend will find that he will have no difficulty in getting these papers as soon as they are out. In fact, it has always been the practice to issue them, not as a White Paper, but as a Paper which can be obtained by any hon Member who desires it, at the Vote Office.

Industrial And Commercial Finance Corporation


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will give an assurance that he will not interfere, directly or indirectly, in the operations of the Industrial and Commercial Finance Corporation, Limited, except in accordance with the authority granted to him by Parliament in respect of financial operations generally.

This Corporation is doing admirable work, and I should only intervene if I could thereby help it to do even better.

With regard to the Chancellor's statement on 1st April that he reserves the right to change any arrangements, will he now agree, upon reflection, that no such right exists?

Imported American Toys


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much has been spent over the last six months on the importation of toys from the U.S.A.; and how much of this was spent on Blow Bubbles?

£11,373 for the six months ending 28th February last. Blow Bubbles are not separately recorded by the Customs.

Will the Chancellor agree that this £11,000 was a waste of dollars, or are we to understand that the song in his heart is "I am forever blowing bubbles"?

No, Sir. I gather that these particular toys were imported for the benefit of some Members of the Opposition.

Is the Chancellor aware that many manufacturers who wish to start business as toy makers in this country are not being given encouragement by his right hon. and learned colleague the President of the Board of Trade? Will the Chancellor see if he can contact the President of the Board of Trade with a view to our manufacturing these toys instead of importing them?

It sounds to me as though that question should be addressed, not to me, but to my right hon. and learned Friend.

Sterling Balances (Italy)


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer why he has agreed to exchange some of the sterling balances held by Italy in this country for U.S. dollars.

I would ask my hon. Friend to await the publication, within the next few days, of the Financial and Payments Agreements with Italy.