Housing Accounts

Oral Answers to Questions — Scotland – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 24th May 1972.

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Photo of Mr Robert Hughes Mr Robert Hughes , Aberdeen North 12:00 am, 24th May 1972

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what sums of money have been paid in interest payments, and how much money has been paid in capital redemption on the housing accounts by the small burghs, large burghs, counties and cities, respectively from the period 1945 until and including the current year.

Photo of Mr George Younger Mr George Younger , Ayr

Some of the information sought is not available, and some would involve a disproportionate effort to extract. I am circulating the readily available information in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Photo of Mr Robert Hughes Mr Robert Hughes , Aberdeen North

Does the Minister agree with my assessment that the amount of money spent on interest charges over the past 25 years is likely to have exceeded £1,000 million and that the money paid in interest charges is five times that which is paid as capital repayment? This immense sum has not bought a brick, a plank of wood or a tile towards the building of houses. Therefore will the hon. Gentleman institute an urgent inquiry into alternative methods of financing council house building?

Photo of Mr George Younger Mr George Younger , Ayr

I would not accept all the hon. Gentleman's figures, and in due course he will see the figures that I have given in the OFFICIAL REPORT. One of the major aims of the Housing (Financial Provisions) Bill is that the payment of interest, where it has fallen on the housing revenue account, will qualify as housing expenditure and will be eligible for subsidy. The subsidy will be responsive to changes in interest rate, which has not been the case up to now.

Photo of Mr Jock Bruce-Gardyne Mr Jock Bruce-Gardyne , South Angus

Are the interest charges now being paid higher or lower than those paid under the Labour Government?

Photo of Mr George Younger Mr George Younger , Ayr

I thank my hon. Friend for reminding me of that. They are already considerably lower than they were under the Labour Government.

Photo of Mr Donald Stewart Mr Donald Stewart , Na h-Eileanan an Iar

Since the right hon. Member for Manchester, Cheatham (Mr Harold Lever) during the term of the Labour Government said that there was about £1,000 million of Scottish money in National Savings, on which there is a very meagre return of interest, will the Under-Secretary of State encourage the Scottish people to cease paying into National Savings and to use the money for building houses at a reasonable rate of interest?

Photo of Mr George Younger Mr George Younger , Ayr

National Savings is not a matter for my Department but all of us in Scotland are very proud of the way in which Scots are to the fore in the provision of National Savings. They would not put their money there if they did not want to do so.

Following is the information:

Loan charges on the housing revenue account 1949–50 to 1960–61.
All authorities £245·4 million.
1961–62 to 1970–71.£million
InterestRepayments
Small Burghs91·424·0
Large Burghs109·130·3
Counties126·640·2
Cities184·234·3
Scotland511·3128·8

NOTE.—Repayments include sinking fund provision.