HC Deb 29 November 1920 vol 135 cc1067-8

Order for Second Reading read.


I beg to move, "That the Bill be now read a Second time.

This is another Bill which it has been my lot for some years past to bring up annually and present to the House of Commons. A word or two of explanation, I think, may be necessary. The Public Works Loans Commissioners, who examine applications for loans and re commend to whom the loans should be granted, are appointed and re-appointed for five years, and this year another period of five years begins, and we have, according to custom, to insert the names of the existing Commissioners in the first Clause of our Bill. The names in this first Clause are those of the gentlemen who perform these functions. I need hardly remind the House, perhaps, of the care which they give to this work; it is very responsible, onerous work, for which they get no remuneration of any kind. The other point in this Bill is to name the amount beyond which in the aggregate loans shall not be granted until the next Public Works Loans Bill is brought in. It is not always an easy matter to settle this amount, and the policy of the Government is always to name in the Bill as small a figure as hey believe will serve the purpose. Last year the amount inserted in the Bill was the same as the figure we insert this year, £40,000,000. It does not at all follow that the whole amount will be allotted. Indeed, up to the present date, speaking from memory, the amount which has been allotted out of last year's Act is roughly about £12,000,000 out of a total of £10,000,000. The reason why the amount last year and the amount this year, is substantially larger than it has been for some years is that it is to this fund that the smaller housing authorities look to obtain their loans. I am in hopes that the figure we have inserted here will carry us on until the next Public Works Loans Bill is due to be brought forward, and I can assure the House I have looked into these figures very closely, and I have cut them down to what I believe to be a minimum figure. I hope with that explanation the House will be willing to give me the Second Reading of this Bill to-night.

Question, That the Bill be now read a Second time, put, and agreed-to.