Silver Coinage

Oral Answers to Questions — National Finance – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 20th January 1948.

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Photo of Mr Harold Davies Mr Harold Davies , Leek 12:00 am, 20th January 1948

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he is aware of the shortage of silver in the North Staffordshire area; that large firms are finding it difficult to make up wages; why this is so; and if he will rectify it.

Photo of Mr Edward Evans Mr Edward Evans , Lowestoft

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware of the shortage of silver coinage in Suffolk and that inconvenience is caused thereby; what are the reasons for the shortage; and what steps he is taking to remedy the condition.

Photo of Sir Stafford Cripps Sir Stafford Cripps , Bristol East

While I am aware that seasonal demands have continued longer than is usual over the turn of the year, I have no reason to believe that the position is worse in the areas mentioned by my hon. Friends than in other populous areas. Every endeavour is, however, being made to meet genuine demand for coin, and generally there are indications of a slight improvement.

Photo of Mr Harold Davies Mr Harold Davies , Leek

Has this position anything to do with the hoarding of silver by black marketeers; secondly, is the Minister aware that large firms are experiencing a real difficulty in North Staffordshire in paying out wages at the weekend?

Photo of Sir Stafford Cripps Sir Stafford Cripps , Bristol East

As regards the first supplementary question, I should hardly think that anybody who wants to hoard large sums of money would hoard silver, or the substitute for it.

Photo of Mr Harold Davies Mr Harold Davies , Leek

They are doing that.

Photo of Sir Stafford Cripps Sir Stafford Cripps , Bristol East

There is no evidence of that. If the hon. Member will let me have the names and addresses of the people, I will see to it. Secondly, the position is probably difficult in North Staffordshire at present, but it is getting better.

Photo of Hon. Oliver Stanley Hon. Oliver Stanley , Bristol West

Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman satisfied that there are nothing but seasonal influences at work? Certainly, the shortage would seem to be far more acute than it has been in previous years.

Photo of Sir Stafford Cripps Sir Stafford Cripps , Bristol East

It is more acute. We cannot find any other except seasonal reasons. We are watching the position very carefully, and if there is anything further we can do we will do it.

Photo of Mr Peter Bennett Mr Peter Bennett , Birmingham, Edgbaston

Is the Chancellor aware that in some cases the only way to pay wages in large establishments is by the purchase of postal orders, and some firms have been purchasing them by the thousand pounds' worth recently? Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman take steps to see that they are made legal tender, as they were during the war? Great inconvenience is caused when they are not accepted as currency.

Photo of Sir Stafford Cripps Sir Stafford Cripps , Bristol East

I quite appreciate the inconvenience. If people will be sensible about this coinage and put it into circulation—somebody has got it; the money is there—then other people will get out of their difficulties.