HC Deb 01 August 1957 vol 574 c1492
16. Mr. Champion

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will take the further increase in interest rates on money borrowed from the Agricultural Mortgage Corporation into consideration in the Annual Review and determination of guarantees; and if he will devise some means of lessening the effects of increased interest charges on those applying for grants for long-term improvements of agricultural land.

Mr. Godber

Increases in interest rates on borrowings for long-term purposes affect the owner of land directly, and they would be only taken into account at Annual Reviews in so far as their indirect effect might be to increase the level of farm rents. My right hon. Friend has no power under the Farm Improvement Scheme to have regard to interest charges payable by owners borrowing money in order to make long-term improvements.

Mr. Champion

Is it not the case that what happens in effect is that the taxpayer gives the farmers money largely so that they can hand it over to the moneylenders?

Mr. Godber

I do not accept that entirely. The money goes mainly to landlords for capital improvement. Interest rates affect Government policy as a whole, but it would not be right for me to discuss them here.