HC Deb 13 May 1909 vol 4 cc2149-50W

asked the Secretary to the Treasury why the Treasury, despite the provision of the Public Health (Ireland) Act, 1878, that loans for the purposes of that Act may be repaid by, amongst other methods, the annuity or Sinking Fund system, has refused to sanction that system in the case of housing and other loans, and compelled the local authorities in Ireland to adopt instead the instalment system of repayment; whether the effect of the latter system is to cast a much heavier burden on the present generation than would be thrown upon it by the annuity system; and whether, in view of the urgency of the housing problem in the cities and towns of Ireland, and of the high rate of local taxation which prevails there, the Treasury will give directions that any urban authority in Ireland, which henceforth prefers to repay housing loans by the annuity or Sinking Fund system, shall be at liberty to do so?


It is the case that the Treasury requires the instalment system of repayment of loans. That system has the advantage over the constant-annuity system from the point of view of the borrower that it involves a smaller payment for interest in the aggregate. Moreover, it secures to future ratepayers some relief concurrently with the fresh burdens which the growing needs of local authorities are certain to entail by securing a diminishing charge in respect of old liabilities. It would not, in my opinion, be to the advantage of local authorities to allow the annuity system in respect of housing loans, and I regret, therefore, to be unable to accede to the hon. Member's suggestion.