§ The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER (Mr. Chamberlain)
This brings me to the amount of the National Debt. The National Debt proper, that is exclusive of what we call Other Capital Liabilities, was at the outbreak of the War approximately £645,000,000. On the 31st March of last year the total was in round figures £5,872,000,000, and on the 31st March this year the total was £7,435,000,000, as against the estimate a year ago of £7,980,000,000. Of the Capital Debt incurred, internal debt accounts for approximately £6,085,000,000 and external debt for approximately £1,350,000,000. A considerable part of the debt is represented by National War Bonds repayable at a premium, and the premiums on those Bonds represent a further liability of £51,716,000. Further, the War Savings Certificates are allowed for at 15s. 6d. each and if they are all held for five years they will be repayable at a £1, which would then involve an additional obligation of £65,000,000. Finally, our Foreign Debt is largely repayable in foreign currency, and the sterling equivalent of the debt must necessarily vary according to the state of the exchanges at the time when repayment becomes due.