asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether his attention has been called to the fact that the Borough of Brentford and Chiswick is anxious to repay the sum of £75,353 borrowed from the Public Works Loan Board over the period of 1926–28, but is unable to do so in view of the fact that a premium of £27,633 has been demanded on account of such premature repayment; and whether, in view of the large number of local authorities who would similarly like to repay such loans were it not for the excessive 1785W premium asked, he will consider the possibility of offering to the holders of Local Loans stock some alternative form of investment which will enable sufficient interest-saving to be effected to permit of the reduction of these premiums without loss to the Exchequer?
§ Mr. COOPER
As explained in the answer which I gave to the hon. Member for Hemsworth (Mr. G. Griffiths) on 5th July, concessions of the character1786W suggested could only be granted by asking the taxpayer to provide a direct subsidy for the relief of borrowers, a course which the Government is not prepared to take. The conditions under which Local Loans 3 per cent. stock is issued do not permit the Government to redeem the stock below par, and an offer of voluntary conversion would clearly be useless. As long as the price is below par, therefore, the suggestion made in the last part of the question is riot practicable.