§ As the Committee knows, the power to make advances from the Exchequer to the nationalised industries—other than the National Coal Board—was first given in the Finance Act of 1956. That power expired on 31st March of this year, but was extended to 31st August by the Nationalised Industries Loans Act, which received the Royal Assent last month.
§ Parliament passed that Act on the understanding that I would make substantive proposals in this Budget either to abandon or to continue the practice of using the Exchequer as the source of capital finance for these bodies. I have decided to recommend that the practice should continue, at any rate for another year. The reasons which led my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister to propose this course in 1956 hold good in the market conditions today. They were set out cogently in his Budget statement and I will not repeat them.
§ It is still the case that these industries cannot, in practice, borrow on their own credit. If they borrow on Government credit there are decisive reasons of credit and market management for centralising the raising of the money in the Exchequer. The renewed powers, for which I propose to move a procedure Resolution, will, however, expire at 31st August, 1959, so that the matter may be reviewed again in next year's Budget.