HC Deb 04 July 1878 vol 241 c762

asked the Paymaster General, Whether, as Chairman of the Municipal Corporations Commission, his attention has been drawn to an abstract of accounts dated 31st December 1877, from which it appears that the Corporation of Lostwithiel have charged—out of a total expenditure for the year, amounting to £413 19s. 4d., and largely in excess of their net income—a sum of £114 7s. 6d. for "Expenses relative to inquiries of the Royal Commissioners on Unreformed Corporations;" and, whether the Commissioners have repaid to the witnesses who attended before them from Lostwithiel to give evidence on behalf of the Corporation the expenses of their attendance, as no such repayments are mentioned on the corresponding side of the above-mentioned abstract of accounts?


No, Sir; I knew nothing of this abstract before the hon. Baronet gave me Notice of his Question, because the evidence with respect to Lostwithiel was taken last year, and the Commissioners have, throughout their inquiry into these Corporations, examined, as far as possible, for obvious reasons, the accounts issued before the appointment of the Commission. This Lostwithiel balance-sheet shows that had it not been for expenses caused by our inquiry, the expenditure would have been considerably within the income. The Commissioners have paid the witnesses from Lostwithiel according to the Treasury scale, which allows only for travelling expenses and loss of time. There must have been heavy charges incurred in the preparation of the voluminous accounts and papers furnished by the solicitor of the Corporation. Such charges would be distinct from the personal expenses of witnesses, and unless included in the £114 7s. 6d., which does not seem probable, would, of course, not be entered on the other side.