Motion made, and Question proposed.
That it is expedient to authorise any increase in the sums which, under the Armed Forces (Housing Loans) Act, 1949,—
being an increase attributable to amending the said Act of 1949 by extending the period during which sums may be issued out of the Consolidated Fund to be applied as appropriations in aid as aforesaid until the end of the financial year ending on the thirty-first day of March, nineteen hundred and sixty, and by increasing the aggregate amount of the sums which may be so issued to seventy-five million pounds.—[Mr. Boyd-Carpenter.]
§ 9.14 p.m.
§ Mr. Walter Edwards (Stepney)
Before we agree to the Motion, are we not to hear from the Government some reason for its introduction?
§ The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. John Boyd-Carpenter)
Certainly, I shall be only too glad to respond to that kindly invitation.
This Resolution is a necessary preliminary to the introduction of a new Army Housing Loans Bill. The procedure followed in this Resolution is the same as that adopted in the present Act of 1949, and the purpose of the Resolution is to authorise a new Bill to increase the amount of money which may be borrowed by the Service Departments for the building of houses for the Armed Forces, from £40 million, the sum provided in the Act of 1949, to £75 million, and at the same time to extend the period within which it may be borrowed from 31st March. 1955, to 31st March, 1960.
The Bill will, no doubt, be debated in the ordinary way, and I do not think the House will want me at this stage to enter into the merits of the matter. My hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Defence will, no doubt, when the Bill is introduced in the normal way, offer certain observations in the course of the Second Reading.
This Resolution is a necessary preliminary to the Bill for procedural reasons, inasmuch as the Bill, like its predecessor, is a Ways and Means Bill; that is to say, its sole object is to do something which needs authorising in Committee of Ways and Means—that is the borrowing of money in aid of Service Votes for expenditure on housing. The money borrowed must be applied as appropriations in aid of Service Votes, and the loans are serviced by provision in the appropriate Service Votes from year to year, so that full Parliamentary control is maintained at all stages.
§ Mr. Edwards
I certainly do not wish to object to the Resolution. I am very glad indeed to see that the present Government are following the good example which was set by their predecessors in the provision of married quarters for persons serving in the Armed Forces. I merely thought that the Committee were entitled to know exactly 1678 what was intended, and it is for that reason that I asked the Financial Secretary to speak. I certainly welcome the decision of the Government.
§ Resolution to be reported Tomorrow.
§ Committee to sit again Tomorrow.