HC Deb 14 April 1851 vol 116 cc147-8

wished to put a question to the noble Lord at the head of this Commission. He found, from a Parliamentary paper recently issued, that the Metropolitan Commissioners of Sewers had, during the last year, received no less than 91,000l., and that they had expended in works 57,635l., while the management and superintendence had cost 21,164l., or 40 per cent upon the cost of the works executed. He begged to ask the noble Lord whether he could hold out hopes that any reduction in the cost of the management of that Commission was likely to take place? He also wished to know when the report upon the Victoria-street sewer would be ready.


would answer the last question first. The Commissioners did not altogether acquiesce in the representations contained in the report that had been prepared upon the Victoria-street sewer. It had been made by a subordinate officer; and one of the most distinguished of his (Viscount Ebrington's) Colleagues being of opinion that it was not a correct report, the chief engineer had been directed to investigate and report upon the subject. When the two should he ready, he would lay them upon the table of the House. With regard to the expense of management, he had to state that, though under that general head 21,164l. appeared to have boon expended, it must be remembered that the Commission of Sewers was not only a body for expending but also for collecting money, and that they comprised very extensive and complicated arrangements for collecting the rates from the vast number of householders within the metropolitan districts. He had carefully-gone through those expenses himself, and he had ascertained that of the 21,164l. upwards of 3,500l. was directly traceable not to the expenditure of the Commission, but to the collection of the ways and means which enabled them to carry on their works. It was further necessary that he should observe that the expenses of the Commission with regard to works had been only on account of works already executed, whereas the surveyors and engineers that they had paid had prepared in the course of last year the fullest specifications ready for contracts to be undertaken to the extent of 170,000l. Those contracts would have been accepted if Parliament had so worded its Acts as to enable parties to consider that they would be justified in lending money upon them. As it was, all those works were entirely suspended at present.