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Nationalised Industries (Bank Advances)

Volume 499: debated on Thursday 24 April 1952

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asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what Treasury control is exercised over bank advances to the nationalised industries; what further sums will be permitted over and above the present total of such advances at approximately £140 million; when refinancing of these industries is to be carried out; and what methods he proposes to sanction.

Before approving temporary borrowing from the banks, the Treasury, in consultation with the Minister concerned, satisfies itself that the advances are necessary to enable the nationalised industries to carry out their approved capital programmes and generally to discharge their functions as defined in the relevant Acts. Borrowings by the British Electricity Authority, which account for a very large part of the present total of bank advances to the nationalised industries, are about to be funded by a public stock issue. As regards the other industries, it is not possible to forecast what further bank advances will be necessary, and it would not be in the public interest to disclose the intentions in regard to either the timing or the method of refinancing existing advances.

Could my hon. Friend give the House an assurance that, quite apart from the legitimate needs for capital expenditure and expansion by the nationalised industries, due discretion and control are exercised over further loans to them in accordance with the policy of restriction exercised by the joint stock banks over private industry?

As my hon. Friend will, I think, appreciate, when he reads the terms of my answer in the OFFICIAL REPORT, full control is envisaged.

Will the hon. Gentleman do everything he possibly can to prevent some of his hon. Friends sabotaging these nationalised industries?

That is not a dispute into which I should like to enter with the right hon. Gentleman.

At the end of Questions