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Volume 496: debated on Tuesday 26 February 1952

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asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government what is the amount of loan sanctioned for housing development by local authorities since 7th November, 1951; what is the estimated increase in the total amount of interest repayments to be made as a result of the rise in the interest rate from 3 per cent.; and what is the increased cost per average dwelling disregarding all subsidies.

The amount is £79,198,200. All these loans have, however, not yet been taken up from the Public Works Loan Board, and I am not able, therefore, to give the information asked for in the second and third parts of the Question.

Will the right hon. Gentleman give an assurance to the House that the increases in interest rates to be borne by local authorities will, in fact, be refunded by him in the shape of increased subsidies; and secondly, would it not be a better administrative economy, instead of one Government Department increasing the rate of interest to local authorities and another one refunding that rate of interest to the local authorities, if the Public Works Loan Board was requested to advance housing loans at the original rate of interest? Would it not save a lot of time and effort?

We shall have an opportunity of debating this whole matter in the near future, and perhaps it would be better to wait until the Bill is introduced.