Borrowing in 1943–44

Financial Statement – in the House of Commons on 25th April 1944.

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After allowing for certain capital receipts, the net sum we had to borrow during the year was £2,750,000,000, or £54,000,000 less than in the previous year. The manner in which that large sum was raised may, I think, be considered satisfactory, and, indeed, it made a somewhat better showing than in the previous year. I am pleased to be able to ask the Committee to note that the proportion if our borrowings represented by sales of National War Bonds and Savings Bonds to non-official holders, that is, the longer-term securities, increased from 31 per cent. to 34 per cent. I hope that this support of our longer loans may go on increasing. As has often been pointed out before, it would be of great advantage to the State after the war if as much as possible of our war borrowings had been for medium and long-term loans, with definite dates of maturity, rather than in forms repayable at short notice and having to be very frequently renewed.

I am also glad to say that the proportion we have been able to borrow in the form of small savings rose from 21 per cent. in 1942–43 to 25 per cent. last year. That is a result of which all concerned with the National Savings Movement have good reason to be proud, and I am sure I speak for all Members in saying that we are very grateful for all the efforts of the large army of voluntary workers in the Movement, and I hope that past achievement may be a spur to still greater efforts and further success in the future, for the need will be no less than it is now. Small osavings are usually firm savings. Experience has shown that once the habit of putting something by has been started, the old Victorian virtue of thrift comes into its own again.