Yes, Sir. The present issue of 2½ per cent. National War Bonds 1952–54, which was originally placed on sale on the 1st September, 1943, has already reached a total of about £690,000,000 and, in accordance with normal practice, the time has come to consider whether it should be replaced by a new issue. The various issues of National War Bonds, which have been on sale for more than four years, have raised altogether no less than £2,800,000,000 and have obviously been a great success. Nevertheless, I think that we might with advantage give this type of issue a short rest, and accordingly the sale of National War Bonds will be discontinued after Monday next, the 6th November.
I have also decided that this period of suspension should be used to offer a new type of bond to those who have funds available for investment but who do not wish to invest for so long a period as that of National War Bonds. On the 7th November, and until further notice, a new security will be on sale and will be known as "1¾ per cent. Exchequer Bonds, 1950." The bonds will be issued at par and will be repayable at par on the 15th February, 1950. The rate of interest, 1¾per cent. per annum, is the lowest which the Government has offered on a Stock Exchange security during the war, and that fact is, of course, due to the short period of the Bonds. The rate may be compared with the rate of 2 per cent. payable on the Conversion Loan issued in 1940 with a currency of five years. The interest will be payable on the 15th February and 15th August each year. Subscriptions will be accepted in any amount not being less than £50.
It is contemplated that the new issue will remain on tap for a few months only and that we shall in due course revert to an issue of the type of National War Bonds. No change is proposed in the current issue of 3 per cent. Savings Bonds 1965–75. I confidently appeal for support for the new issue both by financial institutions and by all other businesses and individuals who have funds to subscribe. Our borrowing programme continues to be very heavy and it is most important that the State should be able to borrow for a period of years not only savings out of income but also as much as possible of whatever capital sums are available for investment.
Should not the policy of the Government be more in the region of longer-dated loans, because it seems to me the Government will have to fund some of this debt? Why has the Chancellor made this change to a shorter-dated security other than to satisfy large capitalists?