HC Deb 15 April 1965 vol 710 cc1662-3
Q5. Mr. Peter Walker

asked the Prime Minister whether the public speech made by the Patronage Secretary on 13th March at the annual dinner of Vickers-Armstrong shop stewards in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, about housing, represents the policy of Her Majesty's Government.

Mr. Bowden

I would refer the hon. Member to the Answer given by my right hon. Friend on the 25th of March to a Question by my hon. Friend the Member for West Ham, North (Mr. Arthur Lewis).

Mr. Walker

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that we fully understand the reluctance of "Mr. 3 Per Cent.", the First Secretary, in not answering a Question on cheaper mortgage rates? In view of the fact that mortgage interest rates are now higher than at any time in our history and mortgages are more difficult to obtain than ever before, will the Government realise that this causes real human unhappiness and will they take some action?

Mr. Bowden

I have already said on two occasions in the House that my right hon. Friend the Minister of Housing and Local Government is conducting a review of housing subsidies with local authority associations and will be discussing with representatives of building societies the best way in which help can be given.

Mr. Maudling

As I understand that in the speech in question it was said that legislation was in preparation to bring down interest rates "for people buying their own homes", can the right hon. Gentleman say whether that phrase means people taking out new mortgages or does it cover the whole corpus of existing borrowers?

Mr. Bowden

I think that we should await the end of the review which will be laid before Parliament.

Mr. A. Boyle

Will the right hon. Gentleman look at this matter again? Is he aware that his words are cold corn-fort to those people who are trying to set up house, in view of the grandiose promises made by his party during the election campaign?

Mr. Bowden

I fully understand that home owners may feel somewhat disturbed by the fact that mortgage rates have increased, but they have felt disturbed for a very long time. The Government have been in power six months, and this is a matter which we propose to deal with.

Mr. Hunt

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that many young people voted for his party at the last election solely on the strength of this promise to lower mortgage interest? Is he aware that there is now widespread resentment throughout the country at the cynical way in which they were treated? Is this one of the election promises which the First Secretary told us the other day we might have to wait ten years to see fulfilled?

Mr Bowden

I do not think that those who voted for the Labour Party at the last election solely on this promise are quite so naive as the hon. Member. They realise that it takes time.

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