§ 19. Mr. Norman Atkinson
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received from industrialists in regard to the current rate of interest; and if he has assessed the effects it will have on plant renewal.
§ Mr. Biffen
I have in recent weeks received a number of representations from business men on the current levels of interest rates. High interest rates reflect the need to bring money supply under 285W control. The impact of this policy on investment will depend on how quickly people realise that, if pay bargains are reasonable, then inflation, and with it interest rates, can be brought down with no substantial loss of output and jobs.
§ 22. Mr. James Hamilton
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he proposes to take steps to alleviate the effects of the level of interest rates charged by building societies.
§ Mr. Peter Rees
The effects will be alleviated, to some extent, by the tax relief on mortgage interest, and the subsidy on option mortgages. I am sure the building societies will also do what they can to help borrowers who are hard pressed. However, home owners cannot be totally insulated from the general level of interest rates in the economy.
§ 39. Mr. Michael Brown
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he hopes that economic circumstances will permit a reduction in minimum lending rate.
§ Sir Geoffrey Howe
I refer my hon. Friend to the reply which I gave today to the hon. Member for Walsall, North (Mr. Winnick).
44. Mr. Heller
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he is taking to bring down interest rates; and what plans he has to reintroduce Government intervention in economic matters to assist in solving the problems of the economy.
§ Sir Geoffrey Howe
On interest rates I refer the hon. Gentleman to the reply which I gave today to the hon. Member for Walsall, North (Mr. Winnick). As regards the second part of the question, the needed improvement in industrial performance—which is at the root of our economic problems—will necessarily have to come mainly from action by both sides of industry.