HC Deb 23 February 1866 vol 181 cc1054-5

asked Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Whether it does not appear by a Parliamentary Return of July 1864, No. 557, that between the 31st day of May 1830, and the 31st day of May 1864, the Surplus Fees of the Registry of Deeds Office (Ireland), lodged to the credit of the Consolidated Fund, amount to £41,710 8a. 7d., of which sum (as appears by the same Return) only £800 has been allocated by the Treasury for the purposes of the Office, leaving a balance of £'40,910 8s. 7d.; whether, having regard to the 35th section of 2 & 3 Will. 4 c. 87, the above mentioned appropriation of such Surplus Fees is not contrary to law; and, whether there is any objection to lay upon the table Copies of any Memorials addressed, during the last three years, by the Corporation of Dublin, or by any other public bodies or individuals in Ireland, to the Lords of the Treasury, in relation to the Surplus Fees of said Office, and the application thereof? He said, he respectfully submitted that this sum of £40,000, Irish money, had strayed away into the Consolidated Fund, and was now appropriated contrary to law, and ought to be restored to Ireland.


said, the statement of the hon. Gentleman was, on the whole, correct. During the last thirty-three years the difference between the amount of fees received in the Registry Office and the expenses of that office somewhat exceeded £40,000—that is to say, the fees had amounted to more than £13,000, while the expenses were about £12,000 per annum. Now, on an average of thirty-three years, a little more than £1,000 a year was not a very large sum, and would not be enough to make it prudent or practicable for the Treasury to reduce the fees. If they did so, there would not be enough in many years to pay the salaries of the officers of the court. Further, though on the average there had been a surplus for the last thirty-three years, latterly that surplus had ceased, and if the hon. Gentleman would refer to the Estimates of last year and of this he would find that the fees at present were not sufficient to meet the expenses of the court. Meanwhile, an Act of Parliament had been passed, under which the whole of the fees went into the Exchequer, and the expenses of the court were defrayed in the usual way by the Votes of that House. When the hon. Member talked over the surplus having strayed away from Ireland into the Consolidated Fund, he forgot that it was paid into the Consolidated Fund of Great Britain and Ireland; and he (Mr. Childers) feared that if an account were taken on this basis Ireland would be found largely indebted to the Consolidated Fund for deficiencies, and for repayments excused.