§ Mr. RENNIE SMITH
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the amount of the National Debt which was accumulated during, and as a direct consequence of, the World War; and what is the present real worth of this debt after making allowance for the appreciation of the pound since the debt was contracted?
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
Between 31st March, 1914, and 31st March, 1920, the Deadweight Debt increased in nominal value from £650 millions to £7,829 millions, or by £7,179 millions, nominal value. I do not think it would be practicable to make any reliable calculation of the kind indicated in the second part of the question. There have been so many conversions of one loan into another, of Floating Debt into Permanent Debt, of External Debt into Internal Debt, that it is practically impossible to say with accuracy at what particular level of purchasing power particular fractions of the total debt now existing were raised. Some of it was raised when the purchasing power of the £ was less than it is now, but a great deal was raised when the £ was worth (in commodities) much more than it is now. The hon. Member will find some information on the point in the answer I gave on the 26th May to the hon. Member for Peckham (Mr. Dalton), of which I am sending him a copy.