Clause 2. — (Power for the Treasury to borrow.)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons on 5th August 1942.

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Photo of Mr Richard Stokes Mr Richard Stokes , Ipswich

I fully appreciate how narrow the limits are, and I will endeavour not to stray. I was only mentioning that matter in passing. I would, however, call the attention of the Committee to this point. The alteration which we suggest, the reduction from 3 per cent. to 2 per cent., would have a very substantial effect on the cost of the war when you consider the sums involved. For instance, at the rate at which the National Debt is now' increasing this proposal would represent a saving of something of the order of£20,000,000 a year. We do suggest that there is no reason for this high rate of interest. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has it in his power to control the Bank rate. He can put it down to 1 per cent. and make money cheap, and it is outrageous in our view that a 3 per cent. rate of interest on any borrowings should be included in this Bill at this stage of the war. I do not wish to detain the Committee, in view of, the fact that I shall not be allowed to cover the whole of the range which I had wished to cover, but unless we get some promise from the Financial Secretary to the Treasury that an alteration will be made in this respect, my hon. Friend and I feel disposed to divide the Committee on this Amendment.