§ The Economic Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Anthony Nelson)
The halving of the mortgage rate since October 1990 has reduced interest payments on a typical £33,000 mortgage by about £160 a month.
§ Mr. Nelson
It does, indeed. My hon. Friend is on to a good point because it is not only the reduction in mortgage interest rates that has delivered higher net disposable income. Total disposable income for the average family with an average mortgage has increased by considerably more than the saving on mortgage payments—indeed, it has gone up £270 a month or 33 per cent. in just over three years.
§ Mr. Sheldon
I welcome the disclosure of the minutes of the meetings between the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Governor of the Bank of England. Is the Minister aware that those minutes disclose what is always a fact—in general terms, there will always be that difference between a Governor who wants high interest rates and a Chancellor of the Exchequer who we hope wants interest rates at a level that can sustain manufacturing industry? It is up to the Chancellor to keep pursuing that point.
§ Mr. Nelson
Decisions on monetary policy lie firmly and safely in the hands of my right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor. That is and will remain the position. As the Government conducting monetary policy, we have nothing to fear from transparency and clarity. Indeed, it is an act of some courage to be able occasionally to show that there are slight differences of opinion. That is a matter about which the markets will make their own decisions anyway. We have nothing to fear and everything to gain from greater clarity.