HC Deb 25 May 1843 vol 69 cc848-9
Mr. Redington

wished to know whether it were true that communication had been made to the Board of Public Works in Ireland, stating that the government could not sanction any further grants of public money for the purpose of public works in Ireland?

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

said, a sum of 50,000l. had been appropriated in the reign of her present Majesty, to be applied either as grants or loans, according to the discretion of the Treasury, to the Board of Public Works in Ireland. In a minute subsequently issued by the Treasury, a strong opinion was expressed that the system of loans was the least advisable to be carried into effect. It so happened that in the execution of the Act the Commissioners of Public Works of Ireland did not revert to that minute, but appropriated 46,000l. out of the 50,000l. as loans, instead of appropriating it as grants. On his accession to office he found things in this situation, and he communicated to the Board of Works that, under the existing circumstances, all the Treasury was empowered to do was to advance the 4,000l. remaining of the whole sum for the grants, for which the board might have made engagements. He was about to introduce a bill for the purpose of making the grants for the public works of Ireland analogous to those of England, but giving to Ireland this advantage, that there should be a fund in that country to be distributed by the commissioners, at the same time preserving to Ireland the claim she had upon the fund in this country. Intimation had been made to the parties that means were being taken to correct the error into which the commissioners had fallen, and that 21,000l., which had been appropriated as loans instead of grants, should be re-transferred to grants, instead of loans. At the same time he expressed his opinion to the commissioners that they were not, under the circumstances, to give encouragement to the system of loans.

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