Oral Answers to Questions — National Debt.

– in the House of Commons on 14th July 1931.

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Photo of Mr Arthur Samuel Mr Arthur Samuel , Farnham


asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury if he will state the actual amount of National Debt borrowed in each of the years 1914 to 1924, inclusive, but exclusive of conversion of Debt previously borrowed; the average cost-of-living index (1913 equals 100) for each of those years; and the nominal total of the National Debt at January, 1920, 1924 and 1931?

Photo of Mr Frederick Pethick-Lawrence Mr Frederick Pethick-Lawrence , Leicester West

As the reply is rather long, I will, with the hon. Member's permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

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

May I ask whether that return will say the amount of money paid for every £100 borrowed?

Following is the reply:

Changes in the amount of the National Debt can be expressed in terms of either

  1. (a) cash (i.e., surplus or deficit of cash applied to paying off debt over cash raised by fresh borrowing); or
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  3. (b) nominal amount (i.e., increase or decrease in the total nominal deadweight debt).

The two methods necessarily differ on account of the issue of stock at a discount below par and for other reasons.

Whichever method is preferred, the figures are given in Command Paper 3821 for each financial year since 1914, the cash figures on page 9, column 13, and the nominal amount figures on page 11, column 8.

The average cost-of-living figure for the financial years mentioned in the question was as follows:

Financial year ending 31st March: Average of Ministry of Labour cost-of-living index (July, 1914 = 100).

* Average for period from outbreak of War to the 31st March, 1915.

In reply to the last part of the question it is difficult to give figures except for the last day of the financial year and perhaps the hon. Member's purpose would be served by the particulars given on page 11, column 9, of the Command Paper referred to above.