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National Finance

Volume 437: debated on Tuesday 20 May 1947

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Government Dollar Expenditure Abroad


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what proportion of the £300,000,000, shown in Cmd. 7099 as Government expenditure abroad during 1946, represents an expenditure of dollars.

Allowing for relevant dollar receipts, 9 per cent.

Export Credit Guarantees


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what arrangements are in force between his Department and the Export Credits Guarantee Department to ensure that money allocated to its use is not employed to finance unrequited exports.

The Export Credits Guarantee Department will only guarantee credits approved by our exchange control.

Stamped Cheques


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer to what extent the shortage of stamped cheques is due to labour difficulties at the stamping office; and whether he will consider authorising the printers to impress the stamp in their own works under Treasury supervision.

These difficulties have now been settled, and arrears are being overtaken. I do not, therefore, think that the hon. Member's suggestion need be considered at present.

Would not the Chancellor like to save a little of the labour which is involved in the present procedure whereby cheques are printed in one place, sent in parcels to a stamping office where they are stamped, sent back in parcels to the printers and then sent out in other parcels to the banks?

I would like to save unnecessary labour everywhere, but I am advised that the hon. Member's suggestion would not have that effect. I have gone into the question, but the impressing of the cheque stamp is like the creation of money. It has to be subject to rather careful control against fraud, and I do rot think it would be practicable for the Revenue to provide controlling staff in all these various contractors' printing works to see that nothing went wrong. I have already looked at the matter from the point of view of the hon. Member's suggestion.

Us Loan Drawings


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much of the U.S. Loan to the United Kingdom was used during the first three months of 1947; what approximate amounts of this and other dollar credits were used to pay for U.S. exports to the United Kingdom and the British zone in Germany, respectively; and for what other main purposes and to what extent other dollar credits were used.

Drawings were 500 million dollars, supplies from the United States for ourselves 320 million dollars, and for Germany 70 million dollars. Other supplies and services also cost us dollars, but a detailed analysis of these items in this recent period is not yet available.

Sterling Balances


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will consider taking steps to prevent, after July of this year, sterling balances held by foreigners in this country from being, under certain circumstances, converted into dollars, thereby prejudicing our financial position.

I would refer my hon. Friend to my replies to the hon. and gallant Member for the New Forest and Christchurch (Colonel Crosthwaite-Eyre) and to the hon. Member for Bodmin (Mr. D. Marshall) on 13th May.