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National Debt

Volume 526: debated on Tuesday 6 April 1954

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This sum has, of course, had to be met by Exchequer borrowing. The National Debt at 31st March last stood at a total of £26,583 million, an increase of £531 million over the year. The main factors contributing to the increase are, first, the net Exchequer outgoings, which I have already mentioned, and, second, the transfer to the Treasury, under the Iron and Steel Act, 1953, of liability for £244 million of British Iron and Steel 3½ per cent. Guaranteed Stock. The Committee will, of course, also remember that the Act transferred the securities of the nationalised companies to the Holding and Realisation Agency. The Debt was also increased by the issue of £47 million of Coal Compensation Stock, which is likewise balanced by the corresponding liability of the National Coal Board to the Exchequer.

The state of the Debt reflects also, of course, our satisfactory progress in dealing with our obligations which matured during the year. We converted no less than …552 million of 1¾ per cent, serial Funding Stock, 1953, and £738 million of 2½per cent. National War Bonds, 1952–54, into securities maturing in later years. No more than £96 million of the £1,386 million of the two original loans remained to be paid off on maturity. New issues in the year consisted of a second tranche of £100 million of 3 per cent. Exchequer Stock, 1960, and £341 million of a new 3 per cent. Exchequer Stock, 1962–63. I will not detain the Committee further with details of the Debt. The other changes in its composition will be seen in the Financial Statement.