HC Deb 21 June 1906 vol 159 cc374-5

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware that urban authorities who want to borrow money for the building of aritsans' dwellings have to pay interest at the rate of 4 per cent. for forty years, and 4¼ for fifty years, exclusive of sinking fund, with the result that it is impossible for urban authorities in Ireland, without overburdening the rates, to effect any large improvement in the housing accommodation for the artisan and working classes; and whether, seeing that while land has been relieved of a portion of its local taxation under the Act of 1898, the whole of the landlords' share, no relief † See (4) Debates, clviii., 1157. has been given in towns, and in view of the rates paid in Irish towns, the need for better and cheaper housing accommodation, steps will be taken to enable urban authorities to borrow money for housing at the same rate as it is proposed to be loaned for the building of agricultural labourers' cottages.


I understand that the rates now charged for loans to local bodies are such as are necessary to keep the local Loans Fund self supporting, and these rates have not been found so high as to deter local bodies from embarking on extensive schemes for new artisans' dwellings. I am informed that the Board of Works are still making loans for the purpose both to local authorities and private companies, and although the Board impose a limit on the rents which may be charged for the houses, they are aware that the schemes promoted by the latter class have proved remunerative. I have already indicated that it is the intention of the Government at a convenient opportunity to consider whether any Amendments of the law relating to the housing of the working classes in the towns of Ireland may be necessary. I cannot at present, as I have already told other hon. Members, make any more definite statement on the subject.


Would it not be possible by a Departmental arrangement to reduce the rate of interest to 3 per cent.


I could not answer that Question without first communicating with the Board of Works and the Treasury.