Interest Rates to Agricultural Borrowers.

Oral Answers to Questions — Agriculture. – in the House of Commons on 2nd April 1941.

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Mr. De la Bère:

asked the Prime Minister whether he will find time for a debate on the Motion standing in the name of the hon. Member for Evesham relating to interest rates to agricultural borrowers?

[That this House notes with approval the recent action of the Government in lifting the ban, so enabling local authorities to proceed with conversion schemes covering approximately £30,000,000 of outstanding loans carrying over 4 percent. interest, when a repayment option is now exercisable; and is of opinion that this rational method of tackling a problem, a solution of which has been so long overdue, should be extended without further delay to the agricultural lending by the banks to borrowers who have been paying 5 percent, or more for this accommodation, as the House notes with concern that the total amount of advances to agriculturalists by the clearing banks which, from 1934 to February, 1940, remained at over £50,000,000, has sincethat date decreased, which cannot be attributed to the fact that the need for credit is less, but is unquestionably due to the fact that, owing to the high interest charges, would-be borrowers dare not increase their indebtedness further to the banks.]

Photo of Mr Clement Attlee Mr Clement Attlee , Stepney Limehouse

No, Sir. I fear I can hold out no hope of special facilities being given for the discussion of the Motion standing in the name of my hon. Friend.

Mr. De la Bère:

Is it not an unassailable fact that the real cause of the trouble is that the Government put first and foremost the interests of a dominating group and completely ignore the interest of securing the national larder by a reduction in the rate of bank loans from 5 to 3 percent.? Why is it that they allow this dominating group to go on without bringing about a reduction of interest, which would assist production for the national larder?

Photo of Mr Irving Albery Mr Irving Albery , Gravesend

Can the right hon. Gentleman say what are the highest and the lowest interest rates at present charged by the banks upon agricultural loans?

Photo of Mr Clement Attlee Mr Clement Attlee , Stepney Limehouse

I must have notice of that question.

Photo of Mr Irving Albery Mr Irving Albery , Gravesend

May I ask whether the right hon. Gentleman should not have supplied himself with that information before answering this Question?