§ Mr. Mathers
asked the President of the Board of Trade why a margin up to 20 per cent: in excess of the cash price in 538W respect of furniture and other articles paid for by instalments is permitted, while the poundage charges on trading checks is being prohibited; and whether it is his intention to alter the instalment position by prohibiting the margin now allowed?
§ Mr. Dalton
When a trader sells furniture under a hire purchase agreement he may add to the maximum price a charge which must not exceed 20 per cent. of the balance after payment of a deposit of at least £5 or 12½ per cent of the cash price. I made this provision because the cost of furniture is such that many people cannot be expected to pay cash for it and I was satisfied that in the circumstances a limited addition to the maximum price to allow of hire purchase was justified. The arrangement will be reviewed as necessary in the light of experience. The cost of clothing and other goods commonly bought with checks is much less than the cost of furniture, and there are alternative methods of buying them on credit or instalment terms which do not involve the payment of any charge in excess of the maximum price. I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer which I gave to Questions on this subject on Tuesday last.