Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Public Health Works Advances.

asked the Minister for Finance if he is yet in a position to reduce the interest on moneys advanced from the Local Loans Fund for the purposes of carrying out necessary public health works.

As I informed the Deputy in reply to the question which he addressed to me on the 8th March last, it will not be possible to undertake a revision of the interest rates on advances from the Local Loans Fund until such time as the terms on which the Government itself can obtain long-term loans have been ascertained. I have already indicated in my Budget speech that it is anticipated that a new loan will be floated this year.

Perhaps I should add, as regards loans for housing purposes, that the amount of the State contributions under the Act of last year, which enables houses to be let at half their economic rent, was fixed having regard to an interest rate of 5¾ per cent. In the event of it being found possible to reduce the interest rate below that figure, it would, of course, be necessary to consider the question of making an adjustment in the State contribution to the loan charges.

Is the Minister not aware that the fact of 5¾ per cent. being charged for loans for such things as the relaying of water mains and sewerage works has the effect of preventing people from carrying out very useful and necessary works?

I must say I am not aware that that is so. I am aware, however, that under the various Unemployment Relief Grants very generous assistance has been given to the local authorities to induce them to undertake public health works.