§ 50 and 51. Mr. Joynson-Hicks
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how many applications for Swiss currency for travel under the regulations which came into force on 1st May were received through banks, private travel agencies and co-operative agencies, respectively; and, in each category, how many were refused;
(2) whether he is aware that private travel agencies were being refused currency for parties who had booked reservations to Switzerland weeks before 1st May when the co-operative travel service was advertising it had Swiss currency available throughout May; upon what basis the allocations of currency were made; and if he will make a statement.
§ Sir S. Cripps
The total amount of Swiss francs available for tourist travel to Switzerland for the summer season ending 31st October, 1948, has been divided into monthly quotas. Out of these monthly quotas, an allocation of currency has been made to each travel agency, or group of travel agents, who handle bookings to Switzerland. These allocations were determined after consultation with representatives of the agencies and are based on the volume of Swiss business handled last year. At present only 60 per cent. of the allocations to agencies and independent travellers is being released; the 187W remaining 40 per cent. will be released a fortnight before the beginning of the month in which the applicant is travelling. This will give those who were not able to make arrangements far ahead a chance of obtaining an authorisation.
It is understood that certain travel agencies accepted advance bookings for Switzerland in anticipation of the granting of currency quotas. The Authorisation Office for Travel to Switzerland was not, however, in a position to accept applications for currency either from agencies or from private individuals before 5th April, the date on which the London Office re-opened. Private agencies have not been refused currency except in so far as their allocations within the preliminary quotas of 60 per cent. for any particular month were exhausted.
Applications for authorisation to travel to Switzerland are not made through Banks. I do not feel that I could call upon the Authorisation Office for Travel to Switzerland to undertake the labour involved in furnishing the number of applications made by private travel agencies and co-operative agencies, respectively. According to information supplied by the Authorisation Office, however, the total number of applications for currency received by them between 5th April and 5th May was approximately 85,000. Of these, 5,700 had to be rejected owing to the preliminary quotas having been exhausted.