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National Finance

Volume 462: debated on Thursday 3 March 1949

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Anglo-Swiss Agreement

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, in view of the breaking off of trade negotiations by the Swiss Government, he will give favourable consideration to varying tourists' allowances in favour of soft currency countries.

As my hon. Friend will be aware, we have now concluded a satisfactory agreement with the Swiss Government. An announcement will be made very soon on the arrangements for holiday travel abroad in the travel year beginning 1st May.

While welcoming the agreement, which has been made since this Question was put on the Order Paper, may I ask whether the Chancellor subscribes to the suggestion that we should differentiate between hard and soft currency countries in order to encourage people to take their holidays in soft currency countries?

The agreement with Switzerland, which, of course, is a hard currency country, already provides an absolute ceiling for the amount of Swiss francs to be spent in this way.

Does that agreement mean that there will be more foreign currency available for the treatment of people who cannot get treatment in this country for their condition, and who wish to go to Switzerland for their treatment?

Cable And Wireless Award (Interest)


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what rate of interest will be paid as from 1st January, 1947, on the portion of the Cable and Wireless award payable to non-governmental bodies, namely, £32,195,000.

Three percent. per annum.

Can my hon. Friend say why, after this very lavish and extravagant award of £32 million, which has delighted the City, he should follow it up with a further award of £1,148,000 in interest after payment of tax, which has made the City delirious with joy?

Because it is in accordance with the Act. This interest goes back to 1st January, 1947.

Although it is in accordance with the Act the rate of interest was decided by the Treasury. Is not this wrong treatment of the national finances?

The rate of interest was decided by the Treasury in accordance with the terms of the Act.

State Industry Employees (Elections)


asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if he will state the policy of the National Coal Board and the British Electricity Authority in relation to their officers and other employees who wish to offer themselves for election to the Commons House of Parliament and local authorities.

I am assured by the National Coal Board and the British Electricity Authority that they fully accept the broad principles to which my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister referred in a statement which he made on 1st May, 1947, in reply to a Question by my hon. Friend the Member for Colchester (Mr. Charles Smith).