§ Resolutions [March 8] reported.
§ MR. RAMSAY
complained of the small amount of the grant for medical relief to Scotland as compared with the allowance to England. He thought that the matter should really be re-considered; indeed, his contention was that it had never, in the proper sense of the 772 word, been considered at all. What he complained of was that while they were asked to vote some £280,000 for medical relief in aid of the ratepayers of England, they in Scotland only received a grant of some £10,600. He maintained that everyone who had at all considered the circumstances—the proportion that Scotland bore to England, either in respect of population or taxation—must admit that the grant for Scotland was very inadequate. Such a system imposed a burden on the poorer ratepayers of Scotland from which the richer ratepayers of England were relieved. The ground on which justice was refused to Scotland in this matter was that the Scotch people were not willing to conform to the same rules as were laid down in England in regard to medical relief; but that was an entire misapprehension. Except the power which the Medical Boards had of dismissing their medical officers, there was no condition attached to the grant in England other than those attached to the grant in Scotland.
§ SIR HENRY SELWIN-IBBETSON
said, that the subject, so far as he was concerned, would not be lost sight of. He could not promise, even if he happened to be in his present position next Parliament, that he would consent to all that had been laid down. The difficulty under which they had always laboured had reference to Scotland being placed under identical positions with regard to the grant as England. The subject, however, would recur in the next Parliament.
§ GENERAL SIR GEORGE BALFOUR
also maintained that the ratepayers had great reason to complain with regard to the grant. He submitted that Scotland had complied with all the requirements of the Treasury in regard to medical officers, except as to their removal. That, however, could be easily settled if there was a feeling on the part of the Treasury to place Scotland, in regard to medical allowances, on equal terms with England. The fact was, a large body of men in Scotland were deprived of a fair remuneration for their services because a bad Poor Law would not be accepted for Scotland. The conditions thus exacted from them were of a character that the Government ought to be ashamed of, and when the Scotch Members went back to tkeir own country 773 they would not fail to make known to the people of Scotland the manner in which they were treated. The truth was, he was not surprised to find Irishmen anxious for Home Rule. England seemed to feel a total indifference with regard to the neighbouring countries, whose interests were neglected because the Members who represented England were far more numerous and influential than the Members who represented Scotland and Ireland. It was thus that bad feeling sprang up, and that a certain movement of the Irish Members which had been denounced by the Prime Minister had been brought about—he referred to the existing system of partiality and entire want of consideration for the neighbouring country Scotland which at present obtained. He was very sorry to find that the Secretary to the Treasury, instead of listening to him, was carrying on a private conversation, and totally disregarding all he was saying; but that was only of a piece with the rest of the proceedings of the Government. ["Oh, oh!"] If the hon. Gentleman who shouted "Oh, oh!" was an Irish or a Scotch Member, he would feel the iron entering his soul at such treatment. It made the Scotch and Irish Members indignant when they found they could not get justice.
§ MR. C. S. PARKER
observed, that the hon. Members who cheered ironically would have done better to draw the attention of the hon. Gentleman (Sir Henry Selwin-Ibbetson) to the discourtesy he was committing by turning his back upon his hon. and gallant Friend while he was speaking, and engaging in a private conversation. He did hope that they would have some assurance that the Government intended to increase the grant, otherwise the Scotch Members would be under the necessity of representing to their constituents that they were quite unable to obtain anything like justice.
§ SIR HENRY SELWIN-IBBETSON
asked the indulgence of the House while he explained that he had intended no discourtesy to the hon. and gallant Member for Kincardineshire (Sir George Balfour); but that, having already exhausted his own right to speak on this particular Vote, he had taken advantage of the opportunity to discuss an important Scotch question with another Scotch Member. If, however, he had 774 known the hon. and gallant Member was so touchy he would have been more careful.
§ Mr. VANS AGNEW
wished also to explain that the conversation in which, he had engaged with the Secretary to the Treasury while the hon. and gallant Member for Kincardineshire (Sir George Balfour) was speaking simply amounted to this—that he had been privately expressing to the hon. Baronet, whose ear he had obtained, the same views in regard to this Scotch question which his hon. and gallant Friend had been expressing publicly.
§ Resolutions agreed to.
§ Ordered, That the Resolution which, upon the 2nd day of this instant March, was reported from the Committee of Supply, and then agreed to by the House, he read, as followeth:—"That a number of Land Forces, not exceeding 131,859, all ranks, be maintained for the service of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, at Home and Abroad, excluding Her Majesty's Indian Possessions, during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1881."
§ Ordered, That leave be given to bring in a Bill to provide during twelve months for the Discipline and Regulation of the Army.
§ Bill ordered to be brought in by Colonel STANLEY, Mr. WILLIAM HENRY SMITH, and The JUDGE ADVOCATE GENERAL.
§ Bill presented, and read the first time. [Bill 106.]