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.
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.
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.
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.
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.