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Sterling Area (Dollar Losses)

Volume 466: debated on Thursday 23 June 1949

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asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many United States dollars have been lost to the sterling bloc in the six months ended 31st May through sales of wool, hides and skins, rubber and diamonds, respectively, made by countries outside the sterling bloc who purchased these commodities in sterling and resold them in dollars.

I am not able to give any reliable figure for these losses but I take a serious view of them.

In view of the fact that it is probable that this loss will run into some tens of millions of dollars and owing to the very serious position in regard to the dollar, would the hon. Gentleman take some more drastic and effective action than he has done up to date in view of the fact that the leakage has been known and put before him for well over a year?

As the hon. Gentleman knows, we have been taking very drastic steps for a long time past, as my right hon. and learned Friend said only the day before yesterday in this House, and we are taking further steps now, including consultation with the Governments concerned.

Is the Minister aware that I received 30 United States dollars yesterday for royalties on a book entitled "The Case for Communism," and will the hon. Gentleman encourage the sale of this book so that it will be a real dollar earner?

Will the Economic Secretary realise that consultations have gone on for over a year without having the slightest effect, and that they must now be replaced by action?