American and Canadian Loan Payments

Oral Answers to Questions — National Finance – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 19th December 1957.

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Photo of Mr Douglas Jay Mr Douglas Jay , Battersea North 12:00 am, 19th December 1957

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he can now state the Government's intentions on the American and Canadian loan payments due at the end of this month.

Photo of Mr Nigel Birch Mr Nigel Birch , Flintshire West

I would refer the right hon. Member to the reply given by my right hon. Friend to the right hon. Member for Blackpool, North (Sir T. Low), on 17th December.

Photo of Mr Douglas Jay Mr Douglas Jay , Battersea North

As the Chancellor of the Exchequer has been making optimistic speeches about the economic situation in the last week or two, is the Economic Secretary really satisfied that the dollar situation is so bad that we cannot make payments which were made even in 1955 and 1951? If it is as bad as this, should we not be taking some constructive action to improve the position?

Photo of Mr Nigel Birch Mr Nigel Birch , Flintshire West

I think that the right hon. Gentleman misunderstands the position. Under the loan agreements, as re-negotiated, we have the right to have seven bisques, as they are called, when we can postpone the repayment of the loan and pay the amounts at the end of the period. It seemed, in all the circumstances, that this was a reasonable year to do so.