HC Deb 24 July 1969 vol 787 cc2196-7

Lords Amendment No. 5: In page 37, line 42, at end insert new Clause "A": A. At the end of section 2 of the Act of 1968 (aggregate cost contributions) there shall be inserted the following subsection— (6) For the purposes of the construction of subsections (2) and (3) of this section after 31st March. 1969, "financial year" means a period of twelve months beginning on 1st April, and in any order made under this section which comes into operation after 31st March, 1969. "financial year" shall be construed accordingly.".

Dr. Dickson Mahon

I beg to move, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment.

I suggest that with this Amendment we take Amendment No. 11.

This Amendment seeks to make a change of procedure regarding the calculation and application of the representative rate of interest. Local authorities have been content to keep to the financial year as presently prescribed, but the suggestion is that matters should be put in order in this regard, and that we should not have the old swings and roundabouts position. The local authorities wish this change, and we are grateful to another place for the proposal.

Mr. Alec Buchanan-Smith (North Angus and Mearns)

We discussed this subject the other evening in respect to the subsidy order. Could the Minister now say how the Amendment affects housing associations, which are also affected by the dates? Does it have any influence on their position in relation to the subsidy rate of interest?

Dr. Mabon

I could not, without notice, give any figures, but the influence is only marginal, I am advised. The primary concern is that local authorities which have been content to accept the balance of the gain on one year with the loss in another, which I have referred to as the swings and roundabouts position, now feel that six weeks is rather long for them to be affected by the lower or higher rates of interest prevailing in one particular year. They wish this change, and the Government think it only fair to make it. The influence on housing associations is important, but marginal. I will later seek to give the hon. Gentleman the figures he wants.

Question put and agreed to. [Special Entry.]

Subsequent Lords Amendments agreed to.

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