§ Sir J. Wardlaw-Milne
asked the Minister of Health whether the Government is aware of the serious results on the cost of certain working-class dwellings owing to the high rate of interest on some of the earlier housing loans secured from the Local Loans Board; and whether he is considering any arrangements for relief in these cases and for the provision of money over a considerable period at a cheap rate of interest for future schemes?2170W
§ Lieut.-Colonel Colville
The earlier housing loans obtained from the Local Loans Fund were for the most part raised in connection with the assisted schemes under the Housing Act, 1919, on which the Exchequer bears any loss in excess of the produce of a 1d. rate, so that the comparatively high rates of interest could hardly have had the serious results suggested. Since that time the great bulk of the money required has been raised at less than 5 per cent. and the rate has even fallen as low as 3¼ per cent.; moreover subsidies have been provided in respect of houses built by local authorities, and in fixing these regard has been had to the cost of money for the time being. A concession in the matter of the rate of interest on outstanding loans would, as has often been stated, involve an additional direct subsidy which the Government are not prepared to ask the taxpayer to provide. As regards future schemes, the rate must depend upon the cost to the Government of raising the money. The present rate of 3⅝ per cent. is the lowest rate that in present conditions will allow of the provision of the money without loss to the fund.