§ MR. BARRIE (Londonderry, N.)
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury whether, in view of the importance of encouraging urban councils in Ireland to proceed with the building of workmen's houses, he will immediately authorise the granting of Irish loans for this purpose, at the lowest possible rate consistent with involving no loss to the Treasury; whether, on this basis, the present state of the market would permit him to grant loans at 3 per cent, interest per annum; and whether he will also agree to extend the period for repayment to sixty-eight years, being the terms granted in the Irish Land Act, 1903.
§ THE FINANCIAL SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY (Mr. MCKENNA, Monmouthshire, N.)
The Commissioners of Public Works are empowered to make loans to urban district councils in Ireland under the Housing of the Working Classes Acts. The rates of interest chargeable on such loans are the same as apply to all loans to local authorities out of the Local Loans Fund. These rates are fixed by the Treasury under statutory direction, so as to secure the solvency of the Local Loans Fund. It would not be possible, in the present state of the market, to reduce the rate of interest to 3 per cent, without loss to the Fund. The statutory maximum period for repayment of the loans is fifty years.