HC Deb 06 July 1971 vol 820 cc1114-5
14. Sir G. Nabarro

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer, having regard to the personal loans schemes of the banks and other financial institutions which obviate hire purchase statutory restrictions, what estimate he has made of the economic, financial, fiscal and personal savings effects of total removal of all statutory hire purchase restrictions, as recommended by the Crowther Report, for reflation of the economy; and whether he will now make a statement.

Mr. Patrick Jenkin

It is not the practice to give estimates of the economic effects of individual instruments of demand management. On the general question of hire purchase terms control. I have nothing to add to the reply my right hon. Friend gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Horsham (Mr. Hordern) on 15th June.—[Vol. 819, c. 224.]

Sir G. Nabarro

Would not my hon. Friend perceive that the great weekly growth of the personal loans schemes of the joint stock banks, which now evidently have unlimited sums to lend entirely free from statutory restrictions as to term of repayment or interest rate or otherwise, absolutely negatives the whole of the hire-purchase restrictions? Cannot the Government bring themselves up to date and study contemporaneous circumstances with a view to getting rid of archiaic devices that serve no valuable economic or financial purpose?

Mr. Jenkin

I am not sure whether my hon. Friend would describe himself as a contemporaneous circumstance or an archaic device, but I assure him that the Government are always up to date and that we are fully aware of all the factors affecting the recommendations of the Crowther Committee.

Mr. Taverne

I recognise that the hon. Gentleman cannot anticipate the review which is taking place, but consumption does not appear to be rising as estimated. A relaxation of hire-purchase controls would be a particularly suitable form of action, as it would be quick-acting.

Mr. Jenkin

The House must not get itself into confusion. Either the controls are working, in which case the case for their removal on that account is a bad one, or they are not working, in which case their removal would have little effect. It seems to me that hon. Members on both sides must make up their minds which case they are going to argue.

Sir G. Nabarro

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. In view of that horrible answer, I beg to give notice that I shall seek to raise the matter on the Adjournment at the appropriate opportunity.