Oral Answers to Questions — War Loans.

– in the House of Commons on 14th March 1922.

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Photo of Mr Neil Maclean Mr Neil Maclean , Glasgow Govan

59.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the various categories of the War Loan; the rates of interest paid on each; and the price at which they have to be redeemed?

Photo of Sir Robert Horne Sir Robert Horne , Glasgow Hillhead

I would refer the hon. Member to the Annual Finance Accounts and also to Command Paper 1438 and House of Commons Papers 142 and 249 of 1921.

Photo of Mr Neil Maclean Mr Neil Maclean , Glasgow Govan

60.

asked whether the Chancellor of the Exchequer was aware that an Act was passed in 1749 authorising the Government to reduce the rate of interest from 4 per cent, to 3½ per cent., and later to 3 per cent.; that a time limit was fixed in the Act for the holders of 4 per cent, stock to subscribe their consent to accept the reduced rate; that an Act was passed in the following year extending the time limit, and giving the Government power to borrow money at the reduced rate of pay off those holders of stock who would not consent; that the scheme was so successful that only £3,000,000 of stock had to be paid off; and that a reduction of the interest on the present War Loan by one per cent, would effect a saving equal to the amount proposed in the Geddes cuts; and whether he is prepared to bring in legislation in this Session on the lines of Pelham's precedent?

Photo of Sir Robert Horne Sir Robert Horne , Glasgow Hillhead

I am fully aware of the conversion scheme to which the hon. Member refers. The advantages of conversion are obvious; but its practicability at any particular moment depends not on Acts of Parliament but on market conditions and on the terms of the contracts made with subscribers to outstanding Government loans.

Photo of Mr Neil Maclean Mr Neil Maclean , Glasgow Govan

Considering that the Bank rate has now fallen by 3½ per cent., is the right hon. Gentleman now prepared to put this particular scheme into operation to-day, as it worked so successfully 150 years ago?

Photo of Sir Robert Horne Sir Robert Horne , Glasgow Hillhead

I shall attempt a conversion scheme when I think the moment favourable.