HC Deb 14 November 1955 vol 546 cc47-8

Motion made, and Question proposed, That the Clause stand part of the Bill.

4.15 p.m.

Mr. C. R. Hobson (Keighley)

I wish to raise again a point which I raised on Second Reading. Perhaps through lack of time, the Assistant Postmaster-General did not reply to this somewhat important point, and, much to my amazement, the right hon. Gentleman did not refer to it in moving the Second Reading. Clause 1 (2) states that the £175 million referred to in subsection (1) will be raised

  1. "(a) by means of terminable annuities for a term not exceeding twenty years; or
  2. (b) in any other manner in which they are authorised to raise money under the National Loans Act, 1939 …"
What my hon. Friends and I are particularly concerned about is the rate of interest to be paid under the Consolidated Fund and under the National Loans Board. We should like to be given that figure. We consider it to be of the greatest importance, particularly in view of the upward tendency in interest rates since Her Majesty's present advisers came into power.

The Postmaster-General (Dr. Charles Hill)

The figure for the current rate of interest being charged—clearly, the rate has varied over the years—is 5 per cent.

Mr. Ness Edwards (Caerphilly)

Do I understand from that answer that the figure to be charged on the National Loans fund will be the same as the figure which will be charged on the 20-year annuities and on the Consolidated Fund? Is there any variation in these rates? Will the periods be different? Will the period be 20 years or 50 years, or what will it be? Can the right hon. Gentleman tell us?

Dr. Hill

At the moment, the figure is the same in both cases. With regard to the point about the 20-year annuities, it will be appreciated that that has no effect on the commercial accounts, and, therefore, no effect on what is charged to the public.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses 2 and 3 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Bill reported, without Amendment; read the Third time and passed.