HC Deb 18 March 1952 vol 497 cc2100-1
53. Mr. A. Blenkinsop

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will make a statement about the effect of the increase in the Bank rate on the future rate of interest on advances made by the Public Works Loan Board.

Mr. R. A. Butler

No, Sir. I do not see that there is anything I can usefully add to what I said in the debate yesterday.

Mr. Blenkinsop

Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that he left the future position completely vague and that this puts the local authorities in a very unsatisfactory position, particularly because to the Public Works Loan Board they have to pay rate of interest operating at the time when the loan is advanced and not when it is agreed to?

Mr. Butler

I should be very surprised if the local authorities are not satisfied with the arrangements left for the time being.

Mr. Blenkinsop

But does the right hon. Gentleman not agree that it is essential to give local authorities some understanding of their future position such as they had in the previous five years under Labour administration?

Mr. Hugh Gaitskell

Will not the right hon. Gentleman reassure local authorities by giving an undertaking that the rate will not go up on Public Works Loan Board advances? He does not appear to think they will. Would it not be better for him now to say so?

Mr. Butler

If the right hon. Gentleman did me the honour, as I believe he did, to listen to my speech last night, he will recall that I said it is far too early to see the effect of the increased Bank rate on the market and on long-term rates, and therefore I did not propose to make any prophecy about future rates.