61. Mr. De la Bère
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will now consider introducing legislation to make it illegal for the banks to charge more than 3 per cent. or 1 per cent. above the existing Bank Rate, on all overdrafts and advances made to agriculturalists and other industries engaged on work of national importance?
§ Sir K. Wood
I consider that the charges at present made by the banks in respect of the credit facilities referred to in the Question are not higher than is 31 necessary to maintain the banking structure of this country on a sound basis. I do not think, therefore, that there is any case for proposing legislation on the lines suggested.
Mr. De la Bère
Is my right hon. Friend aware that in regard to advances made by the banks for agricultural purposes, the rate is usually 5 per cent. whereas the Bank Rate is only at 2 per cent? What possible justification is there for this? Is he further aware that the main excuse of the banks is that some of these advances might be in respect of bad or doubtful debts, but, surely, on the other hand, the banks must realise the importance of attaining the maximum amount of food during war-time?