§ MR. CRAWFORD
said, he would beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade, In what manner it is intended to deal with the large balance in hand and annual surplus which, as appeared by the Accounts of the Mercantile Marine Fund annually laid before Parliament, now stood to the credit of the fund?
§ MR. MILNER GIBSON
replied that the revenue from the Light Dues in 1860 was £282,300. Taking the average of the last seven years the expenditure for the maintenance of Lights was £207,900, leaving a surplus of £74,400. From that surplus must be deducted the expenditure for life-boats, for rewards for saving life and so forth, amounting to the sum of £6,000, leaving an annual surplus of £68,400. It was proposed to apply this annual surplus to the redemption of the Light Dues in this way. It was proposed to take 15 per cent off coasting voyages, which would cost £12,856 per annum, and 10 per cent additional off both coasting and oversea-voyages, making £54,120, the two sums together making £66,976; in fact, giving a relief to the shipowner of nearly £70,000 a year. Perhaps he might be allowed to show the effect by a few short figures.
623 After these reductions had had full effect, a shipowner who paid £100 for a single ship in 1854, and who now paid for over sea-voyages £50, and for coasting voyages £65, would pay in future only £40. In this way it was intended to dispose of the surplus of income over expenditure. With regard to the balance in hand, arising from the accumulation of the surplus, it was thought it might be employed, and that it would not be more than sufficient for the erection of new buildings and new Lights, which from time to time were rendered necessary by the requirements of the trade.