Debts Clearing Offices and Import Restrictions Act, 1934.

– in the House of Commons on 30th July 1942.

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Motion made, and Question proposed, That the Clearing Office (Spain) Amendment Order, 1942, dated 17th July, 1942, made by the Treasury under Sections 1 and 3 of the Debts Clearing Offices and Import Restrictions Act, 1934, a copy of which was presented to this House on 22nd July, be approved."—[Captain Crookshank.]

Photo of Mr Frederick Pethick-Lawrence Mr Frederick Pethick-Lawrence , Edinburgh East

Would the Financial Secretary to the Treasury give us, in a very few words, the object and the purpose of this clearing Order?

Photo of Captain Harry Crookshank Captain Harry Crookshank , Gainsborough

Certainly, Sir. The House will know that, under the existing agreements, the sterling sums, which were paid into the Anglo-Spanish clearing house, allocated in fixed proportions the various sub-accounts to be used for specific purposes, such as the payment for current imports into Spain from the sterling area, the transfer from Spain of items of current revenue, repayment of arrears of debt which had accumulated before the outbreak of the civil war, and amortisation and service of the British Government loan. During war-time my right hon. Friend would be the first to see that it is difficult sometimes to make these payments according to the specific allocations. Therefore this Order makes certain modifications in the existing Orders so that there is some fluidity as between these various funds. It is not a matter of any very great consequence. It is important that there should be some fluidity of sterling balances in order to enable them to pay the liabilities to be met, as they mature.

Photo of Mr Frederick Pethick-Lawrence Mr Frederick Pethick-Lawrence , Edinburgh East

With regard to that fluidity, I understand that it does not remove from our control the divergence between the different payments. We retain our powers in the matter. It is not a matter of our parting with our powers to the Spanish Government?

Question put, and agreed to.

Resolved, That the Clearing Office (Spain) Amendment Order, 1942, dated 17th July, 1942, made by the Treasury under Sections 1 and 3 of the Debts Clearing Offices and Import Restrictions Act, 1934, a copy of which was presented to this House on 22nd July, be approved.