§ 30. Mr. GEORGE GRIFFITHS
asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury the total sum of outstanding loans from the Public Works Loans Board to local authorities where the rate of interest is in excess of 5 per cent.; and whether, in view of the conversion of national loans from 5 per cent. to 3½ per cent., he has considered similar relief for local authorities?
§ Mr. COOPER
The liability of the State to ensure the payment of interest on local loans stock is a continuing one and is not affected by the current rate of interest on gilt-edged stocks. Concessions to borrowers could only be made by asking the taxpayer to provide a direct subsidy and the Government are not prepared to take that course. The total of loans outstanding where the rate of interest exceeds 5 per cent. is about £89 millions, but a very large proportion of that sum relates to loans under the Housing, Town Planning, etc., Act, 1919, under which any annual loss incurred by a local authority in excess of the produce of a penny rate is borne by the Exchequer.