§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
said, he wished to take notice of a statement that appeared in the news- 1034 papers yesterday, which, coming from the hon. Member for Reading (Mr. Shaw Lefevre), might cause some misapprehension, if unexplained, with regard to the position in which matters were left by the Public Works Loans Act. The hon. Member for Reading said, in the statement referred to, that matters would be left substantially the same as hitherto, That, however, was not the case. The effect of the Bill as passed had been to empower the Treasury to provide that loans granted at less than 5 per cent were to carry such a rate of interest as would, in the judgment of the Treasury, prevent any loss to the Exchequer. The Treasury would find it their duty to issue a Minute stating what the rates of interest would be, and they would be the same substantially as were provided in the Bill.
§ MR. SHAW LEFEVRE
thought he had not made any mistake in the matter. What he had ventured to point out was, that all the existing Acts gave the same power to the Public Works Loans Commissioners, and the only change made by the Bill was to transfer that power from the Commissioners to the Treasury; but he pointed out that no change would be practically effected this year, inasmuch as one of the Public Works Loans Commissioners—the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the City of London (Mr. J. G. Hubbard)—stated that all loans for the present year had been practically arranged already, and he understood that these would be excepted under an Amendment adopted by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Therefore, practically, no change would be made until next year, when the Government had promised a Committee on the subject, and to those who objected to the Bill that was so far a satisfactory result.