HC Deb 18 July 1881 vol 263 cc1220-5
England:— £
Colonial Office
Privy Council Office and Subordinate Departments
Privy Seal Office 500
Board of Trade and Subordinate Departments 20,000
Charity Commission (including Endowed Schools Department) 5,000
Civil Service Commission 5,000
Copyhold, Inclosure, and Tithe Commission 2,000
Inclosure and Drainage Acts Expenses
Exchequer and Audit Department 5,000
Friendly Societies, Registry 1,000
Local Government Board 25,000
Lunacy Commission 2,000
Mint (including Coinage) 15,000
National Debt Office 2,000
Patent Office 3,000
Paymaster General's Office 2,000
Public Works Loan Commission 1,500
Record Office 3,000
Registrar General's Office (including Census) 10,000
Stationery and Printing 40,000
Woods, Forests, &c., Office of 2,000
Works and Public Buildings, Office of Secret Service 5,000
Exchequer and other Office 500
Fishery Board 1,000
Lunacy Commission 500
Registrar General's Office (including Census) 2,000
Board of Supervision 10,000
Lord Lieutenant's Household 1,500
Chief Secretary's Office 7,000
Charitable Donations and Bequests Office 300
Local Government Board 30,000
Public Works Office 10,000
Record Office 1,000
Registrar General's Office (including Census) 2,000
Valuation and Boundary Survey 5,000

said, after the discussion that had taken place, he did not wish to occupy time beyond saying that he unwillingly assented to taking Votes on Account, and always had objected to a course that gave the possibility of Supply being put off to the very end of the Session. He hoped the Government would not make use of this power. He was aware that the Government on this occasion were not to blame for the delay in Supply, and that the circumstances were altogether exceptional; but he could not avoid expressing his opinion that if Supply were taken in a more business-like manner the necessity for Votes on Account would not arise.


said, he would not divide the Committee on the Vote; but if any other hon. Member had felt it his duty to do so, he would have supported him. He endorsed the remarks of the hon. Member for Swansea, and protested against a system that relegated to the last week of the Session Votes which the Committee were then not in a position to scrutinize. The Prime Minister had said Votes did not obtain the scrutiny they deserved; and he (Mr. Arthur O'Connor) was convinced that a needless burden was thrown on the public by the fact that details of the expenditure by Public Departments were not investigated as they ought to be by the Committee. He thought he might lay claim to moderation when he abstained from a detailed criticism, for he had very strong feelings with regard to the Votes he had already mentioned. He would put aside the Irish Votes, which he thought he should be justified in challenging in any case, and refer only to one Vote. When the Party opposite were in Opposition they were prepared to do away with the Office of Privy Seal, and it was only retained by a majority of 32. It was this Vote that he sought the opportunity of challenging, and he thought it was hardly reasonable for the Government to refuse the postponement of the five Votes he had asked for.


said, he recognized the moderation with which the hon. Member had urged his request, and he should have been glad if, without inconvenience to the Public Service, he could have acceded to the postponement. But he reminded the hon. Member that he would, in a short time, have the opportunity of raising the discussion he desired.


said, as there had been a lengthened discussion on Supply, his remarks should be few. There was a Vote for Secret Service, and he wished to know how it was possible to make any practical use of this, seeing the unskilful manner in which those who were set to do the work of spies went about their business. It was usual to set spies on the houses of Irish Members; but this was done in such an unskilful manner that it was perfectly obvious to those concerned that they were being watched. How was it possible for the detectives, and those who got blood-money, to be of any use in hunting up murderers of the Lefroy description when they carried on their system in such a manner that the objects of their attention were perfectly conscious of what was going on? He did not so much complain that the Home Office should have an interest in watching his movements, and perhaps Irish Members might find interest in setting a watch on the private habits of Members of the Government; but he could not think the detective system was efficient, when even such unsuspecting persons as Irish Members knew exactly when the spying was carried on. But when the time arrived he would refer to this—his point now was this. The other night they had a discussion on the Public Works (Ireland) Department, and the burden thrown upon it by the Land Bill; and he asked the noble Lord whether they should have any opportunity of discussing the Board of Works and the proposed scheme of reform, and the noble Lord told him they would not.


said, the discussion would be on the Vote, not on the scheme of reform.


said, he was told there was no scheme of reform. Now, he complained that they were induced to pass a certain class of Bills on the representation that reforms would be carried out in the Board; that changes, at all events, would be made in the Office. The noble Lord's answer was that the Board would be strengthened; but he now understood that the strengthening was merely the addition of another Commissioner, and this appointment was absolutely necessary to bring matters within the legal provisions of an Act of Parliament. The Board had actually been below its legal strength. When the subject came on for discussion he should offer a few remarks upon it, when, perhaps, the noble Lord would be better prepared. There was another feature he desired to mention in connection with the Registrar General's Department, which was concerned in the preparation of the Census Returns. It was astonishing that the English Department issued their Abstract so much earlier than the Irish Abstract was issued. It was much to the credit of the English Department that they did this, considering the amount of work in each case. In connection with the Census of 1871, he had occasion to speak with a gentleman in the Irish Census Department, and asked him when he thought all the Returns would be out? His reply was characteristic. He said, with judicious management, he thought they might be made to last four or five years more, and this was two years after the Census.


said, he might be allowed to remark that this year the Irish Abstract was out first.


said, if that were so, he was glad to hear it. All he could say was that he had had the English Census delivered among his Parliamentary Papers, but not the Irish. Another point he desired to question was the Irish Law Charges and costs for prosecutions. There was no information as to the cost of the State Trials, and he would like to know from the Attorney General for Ireland if any statement could yet be given, before the matter came on for discussion? It was seven or eight months since the trials, and it was not too much to ask now for some idea of the cost.

House resumed.

Resolution to be reported To-morrow, at Two of the clock.

Committee to sit again upon Wednesday.