§ MR. BARRIE
To ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether, in order to encourage urban authorities in Ireland to proceed with the building of workmen's houses in towns, in many cases urgently required, he is prepared to recommend the advancing of the necessary funds at the rate for interest of 3¼ per cent. per annum, instead of the 3¾ per cent. at present asked; and whether he will instruct the Local Government Board to modify their architectural requirements for such houses, their requirements in the past adding much to the cost of the schemes put forward by urban authorities.
(Answered by Mr. Bryce.) The rates of interest for loans obtained by local authorities from public funds are fixed from time to time by the Treasury, regard being had to the state of the money market. There is, however, nothing to prevent such authorities from borrowing in the open market if by so doing they can secure better terms. I am advised that the architectural requirements of the Local Government Board have been framed 356 with due regard to economy, and are only such as are necessary to secure healthy and well-constructed dwellings.