HC Deb 18 June 1973 vol 858 cc33-4

(1) The rate of interest fixed by subsection (2) below shall be substituted for the rate or, as the case may be, the maximum rate of interest determined by or under the following enactments (which relate among other things to the interest payable to local authorities on certain sums due to them), that is to say:

(2) The said rate shall be one-quarter per cent. above the relevant rate determined by the Treasury in relation to loans made for a period of fifteen years under section 3 of the National Loans Act 1968 (local loans by the Loan Commissioners); and in this subsection the "relevant rate" means the rate applying on whichever of the following dates, namely 16th May or 16th November or such other date as may be prescribed by regulations under section 111 of this Act, most closely precedes the date from which interest first becomes payable in relation to the sum in question, or, where more than one rate has been so determined, such one of those rates as the Treasury may from time to time direct either generally or with respect to any particular enactment.

(3) As soon as may be after giving a direction under subsection (2) above the Treasury shall cause it to be published in the Edinburgh Gazette.—[Mr. Younger.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

The Under-Secretary of State for Development, Scottish Office (Mr. George Younger)

I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

The clause secures that certain rates of interest chargeable by local authorities which the Secretary of State is empowered to determine are put into a fixed relationship with the 15-year Public Works Loan Board rates. The clause follows the lines of similar provision made in Section 171 of the Local Government Act 1972.

Under the statutes listed in subsection (1) of the clause the Secretary of State has power to prescribe the rates of interest, or the maximum rates of interest, charged by local authorities on sums due to them for various purposes. In each case the power is exercised by statutory instrument. But over recent years rates of interest have been subject to frequent change and, to keep pace, a steady and sometimes rapid flow of new orders would have been required. The new clause will simplify administrative procedures for those concerned in local government and in central Government by providing that the relevant rates of interest, or maximum rates of interest, are in effect determined by the fixed relationship with the Treasury Loans Commissioners' Public Works Loans Board interest rates.

I hope that this will be generally welcomed as bringing simplicity in local government.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill.

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