I would refer the right hon. Member to my reply of 2nd December to the hon. Lady the Member for Liverpool. Exchange (Mrs. Braddock).
§ Mr. Jay
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that he told me in an Answer on 20th November that, through the Public Works Loan Board, he charges a rate of 5⅞ per cent. for 20 years on a loan for house purchase to local authorities, and that in the White Paper he proposes to charge only 5½ per cent. for the same purpose to building societies? How does the right hon. Gentleman justify that difference?
It is difficult to compare loans which are raised on fixed interest terms and loans where the interest rate is variable. It is difficult to say how this proposed scheme would work out over the years. We do not know the current rates that will be charged under the Public Works Loan Board system, nor the current rates to be charged in respect of building societies.
§ Mr. Osborne
Can my right hon. Friend hold out reasonable hopes that both rates will come down in the near future?
My hon. Friend knows that the Public Works Loan Board rate is linked with the current rate in the market for local authority borrowing and 191 so is dependent upon the current rate in the market.
Mr. H. Wilson
Is the implication of the Chancellor's argument about fixed rates and variable rates that the prospect over the years is of rates even higher than these? Is that what he is looking to?