HC Deb 11 March 1969 vol 779 cc1161-2
31. Mr. Chichester-Clark

asked the Minister of Public Buildings and Works what will be the effect on construction of the latest monetary measures; and whether he will make a statement.

Mr. Mellish

I assume that the hon. Member is referring to the recent rise in Bank Rate. It is too early to say how costs might be affected by this measure.

Mr. Chichester-Clark

May not this have a serious effect on the liquidity of small firms which may, if they are able to borrow at all, have to pay 10 per cent. interest, and will not it affect the private house building programme by making bridging loans even more difficult to get than they are now?

Mr. Mellish

I have no doubt that it will create problems for many of the smaller builders, and I understand that. I am advised that if the present Bank Rate were to remain unchanged for as long as a year the extra cost for a private house builder, for example, would be just over ½ per cent. I take the implication of the other problems and realise that a high Bank Rate will necessarily hurt many people in a small way of business.

Mr. Edward M. Taylor

As the Prime Minister has said that house building should come first, is not there a strong case for transferring private house builders to the priority class for bank loans, and will the Minister make representations along these lines?

Mr. Mellish

I take note of what the hon. Gentleman has said. He referred to the Prime Minister; he could ask the Prime Minister a further Question.