§ MR. ANDERSON
asked Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Whether, under the scheme for creating a graduated surplus on the Irish Church Fund, showing 1265 £85,597 in 1882, and £24,288 in 1918, he proposes to consider the first of the sums, or the last, or what intermediate sum, a safe basis for the further loan to pay land arrears; whether that new loan is to be a sum on which the surplus from the Church Fund is to pay both the interest and a sinking fund; or, if it is to pay only the interest, leaving the repayment to begin after 1918, when £6,674,000 of present liabilities will be extinguished; and, whether, considering that it is only by postponing liabilities, and spreading over thirty-five years annuities and debts to the National Debt Commissioners intended to be paid much sooner, that any surplus at all can be shown or created, he would endeavour, by some extension of the period, to make the surplus sufficient to pay the whole liability under the Arrears Bill, so as to avoid throwing any part of the burden on the British taxpayer?
§ MR. W. H. SMITH
asked Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, If he will state the financial arrangements he proposes to make in order to procure the sum of one million five hundred thousand pounds from the Irish Church Fund for the purposes of the Arrears of Bent (Ireland) Bill, seeing that the charges on the Church Fund under existing arrangements (including the repayment of debt) are in excess of the gross yearly income of the fund for many years to come, and that income is liable to serious reduction from the heavy arrears which are accumulating?
THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER (Mr. GLADSTONE)
Sir, I suppose the first of these Questions is suggested by the Return lately laid on the Table, moved for by the junior Member for the University of Dublin (Mr. Gibson). It has naturally been supposed that the Return gave information that I intended to lay before the House as the basis of the Arrears Bill, so far as the Church Surplus Fund is concerned; but that is not the case. The Return was moved for without the smallest reference to the Arrears Bill. We are preparing information that will be more relevant to the case; and I suggest that it would be more convenient, especially considering the difficulty of giving a clear answer on a subject of this kind, that we should wait for the further Return, which I hope will be in the hands of Members on Monday next.