Increased Interest Rates (Hansard, 27 November 1951)
HC Deb 27 November 1951 vol 494 cc1101-3
22. Mr. Austen Albu

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government whether he has considered the effect of the increase of the rate of interest on loans to local authorities by the Public Works Loan Board on the operation of the Small Dwellings Acquisition Acts.

42. Mr. Michael Foot

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government whether he has considered the effect of the increase of interest rates upon the operation of the Small Dwellings Acquisition Acts; and whether he will amend the Acts in order to overcome the disadvantages from which would-be purchasers under the Acts may not suffer.

Mr. H. Macmillan

I trust that the adverse effect of increased rates on borrowings under these Acts will be balanced by the general benefit to credit and the value of money. I am glad that the hon. Gentlemen are so keen on the purchase of houses by individuals.

Mr. Albu

In view of the answer that the right hon. Gentleman gave to Question 19, does he think the policy of making more houses available for sale at increased loan charges will encourage the giving of houses to those most in need of them?

Mr. Macmillan

This is really not the moment when the hon. Gentleman would expect me to debate the question of the loan charges. There will be a later opportunity for that, and I am quite prepared to discuss it then.

30. Mr. Blenkinsop

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government what additional subsidies will be made available to housing authorities to meet the recent increase in loan charges.

Mr. H. Macmillan

This question will be considered as part of the review of subsidy now taking place.

Mr. Blenkinsop

How soon does the right hon. Gentleman hope to be able to make a statement about this matter? It is most important that we should hear about it before the House has slipped away for the Christmas Recess.

Mr. Macmillan

The hon. Gentleman will appreciate from his personal experience that it is not wise to make statements before entering into negotiation.

Mr. T. Driberg

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that one rural district council—at Braintree, Essex—has already put up its rents by 3s. a week as a direct result of this policy? Will he therefore appreciate the urgency of this matter?

Mr. Macmillan

The hon. Gentleman has made a statement, and he asks me to make a statement on the matter. If he will give me the information I will, of course, look into it.

Mr. Jay

Does not the right hon. Gentleman agree that the decision he has announced means a heavy reduction in the number of houses available.

Hon. Members

No.

Mr. Macmillan

If the hon. Gentleman thinks that, he is entitled to do so. I do not agree with him.

Mr. Jay

Did he not say that he was heavily reducing the number of houses which local authorities could build?

Mr. Macmillan

I must clear up a misapprehension which is perhaps in the hon. Gentleman's mind. I say that I have raised the maximum rate. It is left absolutely to the local authortiy to say whether in its view it shall allow no private building or 50 per cent. In some cases the proportion will be one-in-four, in others one-in-three, in some others one-in-two or one-in-ten, and in some it will be none at all. I want to give flexibility of decision to the local authority.

Sir Herbert Williams

On a point of order. Is it in order on Question No. 30 to ask supplementary questions on Question No. 19?

Mr. Speaker

I took it that the Minister's answer was not to the Question but to the supplementary question addressed to him by the hon. Member for Battersea, North (Mr. Jay).

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