§ MR. C. J. MURRAY (Coventry)
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury whether the authorities in November last raised by one-quarter per cent. the annual rate of interest on loans incurred by Volunteers for purchase of land and for buildings for military purposes; whether they have now again raised this interest by another quarter per cent. in the past month; whether the rate of interest laid down in A. O. 72 in some cases reaches three and three-quarters per cent., exclusive of instalments of capital; and whether, as such increase in the rate charged may tend to discourage Volunteer battalions in their efforts to attain increased efficiency by the provision of proper drill halls and storage for equipment, he will take steps for a reduction in the rate of interest.
§ MR. ANSTRUTHER (St. Andrews Burghs)
(for Mr. HANBURY): The rates for these loans have been raised in the manner described in order to preserve the solvency of the Local Loans Fund. The highest rate of interest now charged amounts to 3¾ per cent., but this only applies to cases in which the repayment is spread over a period of fifty years. To reduce the rates to such a point that the Government would be a loser by these loans would be equivalent to making a grant to Volunteer corps under the disguise of a loan—a course to which there would be serious financial objections.