§ 49. Mr. J. Griffiths
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether any form of relief is available or is contemplated for those public utility societies which contracted loans in connection with the Housing Acts, 1919, repayable over periods of 30 or 50 years at the abnormally high rate of interest then prevailing, on the basis of explicit Government assurance of equitable treatment and consideration?
§ The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Sir John Simon)
I am unable to agree with the implication in the question that these societies have not received equitable treatment and consideration. The State already grants assistance to these societies on a not ungenerous scale. The subsidy originally provided towards loan charges was increased by the Housing Act of 1923, and now stands in most cases at 40 per cent. for the remainder of the period of the loan, and specially favourable arrangements are in force for dealing with the sale of subsidised houses. The good work done by the societies is gladly recognised, but I do not feel that at the present time the State should be expected to grant them further assistance.
§ Mr. Bellenger
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the rate of interest paid by many of these societies on their loans, which were raised at a time when interest rates were exceedingly high, is now very much in excess of the normal rate?
§ Sir J. Simon
That may be so, but, looking at the matter as a whole, I do not think it is possible to say more than I have said in the very carefully considered answer which I have given.