§ MR. J. STUART (Shoreditch, Hoxton)
I beg to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the Treasury have recently refused to sanction a loan by the London County Council to the Holborn Board of Guardians, for a period of 30 years, repayable on the annuity system, and have stated that, unless the system of repayment by equal annual instalments of principal be adopted, the period of the loan must be reduced to 25 years; what other cases there have been in the last six years in which the Treasury have refused to sanction a loan by the Metropolitan Board of Works, or by the County Council, to a Board of Guardians, for buildings, or the acquisition of freehold sites, repayable in 30 years on the annuity system; whether it is the case that, during the three years of office of the late London County Council, 22 such loans were sanctioned by the Treasury for sums amounting in all to £201,200; and what is the reason for which the Treasury have made a new departure in the present instance, in connection with loans to Boards of Guardians?
§ MR. GOSCHEN
The facts stated in the first paragraph of the question are correct. It is the case that a certain number of loans to Boards of Guardians on the annuity system for 30 years were sanctioned by the Treasury during the terms of office of the late London County Council; and I am not aware that any such loans were refused. The action of the 593 County Council, in endeavouring to adopt generally the annuity system, called the attention of the Treasury to the matter; and, upon careful consideration of the two systems, the Treasury came to the conclusion that, under similar conditions, repayment by annuity should extend over a shorter period of years than repayment by instalment, inasmuch as the annuity system throws a heavier burden on posterity, and, until the whole loan is repaid, affords no relief to future ratepayers concurrently with the imposition of the fresh burden which they will undoubtedly have to bear. The new departure to which the hon Member alludes was made in accordance with this conclusion.