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National Debt

Volume 466: debated on Tuesday 28 June 1949

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asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much of the National Debt relates to the cost of previous wars in which Great Britain was engaged; how much to the compensation payable to the former owners of nationalised undertakings; and for tax purposes what sum these amounts separately represent per head of the population.

The portion of the National Debt attributable to past wars cannot be isolated and the calculations suggested in the third part of the Question cannot therefore be made.The following issues of Government Stock have so far been made by way of compensation to former owners of nationalised undertakings: Under the Bank of England Act, 1946—£58.2 million; under the Coal Industry Nationalisation Act, 1946—£78.5 million; under the Cable and Wireless Act, 1946—£31.4 million. Further amounts of Government stock will be issued under the Coal Act when the valuation proceedings have been completed. Compensation paid under other nationalisation measures does not form part of the National Debt. The interest on the first two amounts of Stock shown above is recovered by the Exchequer from the Bank of England and the National Coal Board respectively. Interest on the third amount of stock represents roughly 4.8d. per head of population.