§ Mr. Ifor Davies
I beg to move Amendment No. 114, in page 43, line 17, leave out 'of not more than twenty years'.
In the light of the earlier comments by the hon. Member for Worcester (Mr. Peter Walker), I am tempted to move the Amendment in Welsh, as a Welsh-speaking Welshman, but as I have some good news for the hon. Member for Hove (Mr. Maddan) and I want him to understand me, I had better stick to the English language, which I equally respect.
This Amendment will remove from Clause 74(4) the specific mention of a 20-year period as the maximum period at the end of which a standing loan made by a local authority should in normal circumstances be repaid by a borrower. Subsection (4) as drafted provides that a local authority is to fix a period not exceeding 20 years for repayment of the loan and may extend the period of a loan beyond that period if it thinks it appropriate to do so.
The hon. Member for Hove, who moved this Amendment in Standing Committee, suggested that since local 1863 authorities were to be free to make loans for periods either shorter or longer than 20 years, there was little point in appearing to restrict local authorities to a 20-year period by mentioning that period in the subsection. My hon. Friend the Joint Parliamentary Secretary agreed that the arguments were finely balanced and undertook to consider whether advice might not be given more appropriately by circular.
It is now felt that it would be better if the reference to the 20-year period were omitted and advice given by circular. It is possible that in some cases local authorities might find their discretion inconveniently restricted by the Bill's mention of a 20-year maximum period. In a circular it will be possible to make it clear that 20 years is recommended only as a typical period for such a loan and also to give authorities some idea of the circumstances in which it would be appropriate for them to fix either a shorter or a longer period.
§ Mr. Maddan
We welcome not only the hon. Member's decision, but the felicitous way in which he has conveyed it to the House. I am rapidly becoming a believer in Welsh home rule.
§ Amendment agreed to.