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Interest Rates

Oral Answers to Questions — Housing – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 19th November 1957.

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Photo of Mr Norman Dodds Mr Norman Dodds , Erith and Crayford 12:00 am, 19th November 1957

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government if he is aware of the concern of local authorities at the high rates of repayment now being asked for loans for house building; what steps have been taken to ascertain the effect this will have on the building of council houses when present contracts have been completed; and what are the prospects for the future.

Photo of Mr Henry Brooke Mr Henry Brooke , Hampstead

I would refer the hon. Member to the Answer I gave the hon. Member for Bristol, Central (Mr. Awbery) on 12th November.

Photo of Mr Norman Dodds Mr Norman Dodds , Erith and Crayford

Is that the best Answer the right hon. Gentleman can give? Is he not ashamed of himself?

Photo of Mr Henry Brooke Mr Henry Brooke , Hampstead

It was a first-class Answer.

Mr. H. Wilson:

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government if he is aware of the decision of the Middlesex County Council to suspend the granting of loans for house-purchase, even where tenants have had to leave rented property; and, in so far as this and similar decisions by other local authorities are due to the recent increase in the Bank Rate, what action he proposes to take in the matter.

Mrs. Butler:

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government whether he is aware that a number of local authorities have suspended home mortgage advances since the increase in the Bank Rate to 7 per cent.; and what action he proposes to enable them to resume these functions so as to assist those who are compelled to purchase their homes because of the decontrol provisions of the Rent Act, 1957.

Photo of Dr Donald Johnson Dr Donald Johnson , Carlisle

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government if he will take steps to ensure that the cost of loans under the Small Dwellings Acquisition Act does not exceed the present rate of interest on these loans.

Photo of Mr Henry Brooke Mr Henry Brooke , Hampstead

I would refer the right hon. and hon. Members to the Answer I gave to the hon. Member for Bristol, Central (Mr. Awbery) on 12th November.

Mr. Wilson:

In what we understood was to be a property-owning democracy, is it not most regrettable that these local authorities, because of the Government's financial policy, now find themselves, or state that they find themselves, unable to help in the matter of loans for private house purchase?

Photo of Mr Henry Brooke Mr Henry Brooke , Hampstead

I think a number of the local authorities might reconsider the matter after my statement last week that I should be ready to consider new or revised schemes which provided for varying the rates of interest to borrowers.

Mrs. Butler:

Does not the Minister realise the real dilemma of local authorities who either have to refuse loans to people who are threatened with eviction under the Rent Act, or, if they make advances, land themselves in great financial difficulty and face the fact that they are hanging a millstone of high interest rates round the necks of the people who are forced to borrow or else find themselves homeless?

Photo of Mr Henry Brooke Mr Henry Brooke , Hampstead

I would ask the hon. Lady again to read the announcement which I made last week, which creates a new situation which I am sure all local authorities will wish to examine.