HC Deb 07 April 1964 vol 692 cc775-7
5. Mr. Spriggs

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the interest rate charged by the Public Works Loan Board to local council authorities in 1950 and 1960, respectively; and what effect the changed interest rates have had on rents and the cost-of-living index.

Mr. M. Macmillan

The rate of interest on Public Works Loan Board loans to local authorities in 1950–51 and 1960–61 was 3 per cent. and 6⅛ per cent.

there has been an increase of nearly 100 per cent. in personal incomes, and it is the progressive nature of the Income Tax which results in these higher incomes paying in aggregate more tax.

Mr. Houghton

I am sorry to intervene in this cosy exchange of spurious comparisons, but may I ask the hon. Gentleman whether in circulating these figures he will make adjustments for the fall in the value of money? If he does, he will discover, for example, that a married man with no children, getting £750 a year, in 1951 was paying 18 per cent. of his income in taxation, and that after adjustment for the fall in the value of money he is paying exactly the same proportion in real terms now.

Mr. Macmillan

I think that the hon. Gentleman will find the figures complete. I would point out that the reduction for a single man was 100 per cent. over this period if his income was £250; 33 per cent. if it was £1,000; 26 per cent. if it was £2,000; while in the highest incomes the reduction was less than 8 per cent.

Following is the table:

respectively. The effect of the increase on rents and the cost of living index cannot be quantified.

Mr. Spriggs

What is the good of making political broadcasts about housing people if interest rates make it almost impossible for people to borrow money to build houses for themselves while interest rates are put before housing the people?

Mr. Macmillan

Although it is difficult to quantify these matters, the hon. Member for West Ham, North (Mr. A. Lewis) asked a Question as a result of which it was found that comparing interest rates over the period 1952–53 to 1956–57, the difference between what was in fact paid and what would have been paid had the rate of interest remained at the 1951 level, was about £3,000 a year, which can hardly be said to be a crippling addition in the way the hon. Gentleman has implied.

Mr. Doig

Is not the hon. Gentleman aware that the difference between 3 per cent. and 5¾ per cent. is equivalent to £1 a week in rent, and therefore the figures which he has given amount to substantially more than £1 a week in rent on the value of the house?

Mr. Macmillan

That is not shown by the figures which I have been able to find for houses in county boroughs and in the L.C.C. area. A rent of 10s. 2d. in 1950–51 was equivalent to 19s. 3d. in 1960–61, an increase of 9s. 0d.

Mr. A. Lewis

The hon. Gentleman referred to the Answer to my Question. Is he aware that in that Answer he mentioned the period 1956–57? It appears that the hon. Gentleman can give figures when they are favourable to the Government, but that when I ask for up-to-date figures he cannot provide them. Why cannot the hon. Gentleman give up-to-date figures for rents? Why pick out only the favourable ones?

Mr. Macmillan

I am not aware that the hon. Gentleman put down a Question to that effect.

Mr. Lewis

The hon. Gentleman referred to my Question.