§ Mr. GINNELL
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether his attention has been directed to the fact that the boards of guardians and district councils in Ireland which availed of the earlier Labourers Acts to ameliorate the condition of labourers are now paying on the outstanding debts thereby incurred interest higher by 1 per cent. or more than is paid by councils which did nothing for labourers until the latest Act, with its low rate, was passed, although the term of repayment has been equalised; will he state the aggregate amount of this excessive interest or clear profit to the Treasury; and whether he proposes to reduce the interest in all cases to the new standard, or to apply the money in any way to the benefit of the districts paying the excess?
§ The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER (Mr. Lloyd-George)
The rate of interest under the Labourers Act, 1906, is 2¾ per cent., but the hon. Member is no doubt aware that the Government cannot borrow money at that rate. It is not correct to state that the rates of interest on loans under the Acts previous to the Labourers Act, 1906 (which are the rates for Local Loans current at the time of borrowing, and range from 2¾ per cent. to 4¼ per cent.), represent excessive interest or clear profit to the Treasury. The rates of interest on loans from the Local Loans Fund are fixed at such a level as will secure the Local Loans Fund from loss. There is no intention of reducing the interest on outstanding loans made to local authorities for housing purposes.