War Loans.

Oral Answers to Questions — Government Departments. – in the House of Commons on 2nd March 1922.

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Photo of Mr William Thorne Mr William Thorne , West Ham Plaistow

50.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that at the end of December, 1921, the 5 per cent. War Loan was quoted at 91½ and now it is about 96; that there is nearly £2,000,000,000 of this loan in existence and that the rise in price represents an increase of value of £90,000,000; that some section of the community benefit by the rise in stock prices, whilst the community as a whole tends to lose in so far as it represents inflation and tends to a higher cost of living; and does he intend converting some of the floating indebtedness into a long-dated debt bearing a lower rate of interest?

Photo of Sir Robert Horne Sir Robert Horne , Glasgow Hillhead

The answer to the first two parts of the question is in the affirmative. In regard to the third, the hon. Member does not, I hope, begrudge to those who subscribed to War loans during the War the advantage which, after long patience and discouragement, the recent rise in the price of Government stocks has brought, especially as this rise has been accompanied by, and is, indeed, a sign of a certain amount of deflation, and a fall in the cost of living, just the opposite of what the hon. Member seems to suggest. I can assure the hon. Member that the question of converting the floating debt into long-term debt on terms satisfactory to the taxpayer has my constant attention, and no suitable opportunity of so doing will be neglected.

Photo of Mr William Thorne Mr William Thorne , West Ham Plaistow

Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that, in consequence of the reduction in the cost of living, those who have invested money in days gone by will have a great advantage now?

Photo of Sir Wilfred Sugden Sir Wilfred Sugden , Royton

What about those who sold at 86?

Lieut-Colonel W. GUINNESS:

Is it not a fact that the holders of these securities have lost far more by depreciation?