HC Deb 01 December 1966 vol 737 cc608-9
44. Mr. J. H. Osborn

asked the President of the Board of Trade what is the present outstanding hire-purchase debt; and what has been the value of hire-purchase sales in each of the last three months.

Mr. Jay

Hire-purchase and other instalment credit debt due to finance houses and retailers (other than clothing and footwear shops and a few other kinds of business) was £1,307 million at the end of September, 1966. Instalment credit sales by retailers averaged £15 million, £13 million and £15 million weekly in July, August and September, respectively; new instalment credit extended by finance houses was £67 million, £37 million and £35 million in these calendar months.

Mr. Osborn

Does not the President of the Board of Trade feel that this is a remarkable down-turn? What will he now do to stimulate retail sales by encouraging hire-purchase payments?

Mr. Jay

The Government have made it perfectly clear throughout the last five months that, in our view, consumer spending last December was running at a too high level for the balance of payments to be brought into surplus. It was, therefore, intended that there should be some check of this kind.

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