English Public Finance from the Revolution of 1688: With Chapters on the Bank of England

By Harvey E. Fisk | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IV
The War Debt
(1914-1920)

TO return to the subject of the debt. The method pursued was, in the first instance, to secure advances from the Bank of England by book credits--called "Ways and Means Advances"--or to sell Treasury Bills. The sales of Treasury Bills have far exceeded the advances. They have been sold to mature at various periods ranging from three months to a year. At first the Government sold them directly to the Bank of England, then it asked for tenders, then it put them on sale over the counter. When tenders were asked, the bidder stated the rates of interest he was willing to accept. As a rule it has apparently been found more satisfactory to offer the bills at a fixed rate of discount. This discount rate has varied with the market rates for money. The rates offered from time to time may be found by consulting the table printed on page 226.


The First War Loans

The second step in the process of debt financing was to make, at convenient intervals, issues of long dated bonds from the proceeds of which the Treasury Bills outstanding were reduced or retired, new issues being made again as funds were needed.

It would be tedious to burden our pages with a detailed description of each series of bonds issued. The issues now outstanding will be found described in the National Debt Statement to be found on page 208. However, it will be quite worth

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