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.