§ MR. PATRICK M'HUGH (Leitrim, N.)
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury will he explain why, when the Corporation of Sligo expressed a desire to pay off, at the rate of 20s. in the pound, all loans contracted by them with the Board of Works, the Treasury refused to accept 20s. in the pound for the outstanding principal of the loans, the Corporation in consequence being unable to accept offers made to them from private sources of loans at a much cheaper rate than that charged by the Treasury; and will he consider the advisability of relieving heavily-taxed public bodies in Ireland by reducing the present rates of interest charged by the Treasury on loans, or by accepting on behalf of the Treasury the repayment of such loans at par?
§ MR. HANBURY
From the correspondence which took place on this subject last year the hon. Member must, I think, understand that, so long as the market price of Local Loans stock is considerably above par as at present, the solvency of the Local Loans Fund might be seriously affected by premature repayments of Local Loans at par only; and as I then explained, if the Government lends money on condition that it is to be repaid in a given number of years, it is obviously justified in refusing prepayment unless there was a specific stipulation that the loan might be repaid earlier. As regards the question of reducing the rates of interest on Local Loans generally, I can only refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer to a question put by the hon. Member for North Louth on the 22nd instant.