HC Deb 19 March 1886 vol 303 cc1350-1
MR. SEALE-HAYNE (Devon, Ashburton)

asked the President of the Board of Trade, Whether, having regard to the cases of the Rosina and the Triumph, recently decided in the Law Courts, imposing unforeseen liabilities on Harbour Commissions, which have already had the effect of placing the revenues of two such Commissions in the hands of receivers, the Board of Trade will take legislative or other steps to prevent the losses of individual shipowners from becoming a charge upon Harbour Dues levied upon ships in general; and, if not, will the Board of Trade consent to increased rating and borrowing powers for Harbour Commissions in the hands of receivers, in order that they may discharge such liabilities?


(who replied) said: The Board of Trade are quite alive to the hardship imposed on harbour authorities, and through them on the shipping using their harbours, by such liabilities as those incurred in the cases of the Rosina and the Triumph; and while they see great difficulty in altering a general rule of law which makes public authorities liable for damage caused to individuals by the negligence of their officers, they will be prepared to consider, when opportunity offers, whether the enforcement of such liabilities ought not to be postponed and limited as not to interfere with the due maintenance and improvement of the harbour. The Board of Trade can only help to increase rating and borrowing powers by means of Provisional Orders, prepared and submitted to them by harbour authorities. Any such Orders they will carefully consider, and will view with favour any proposals made to them for assisting the funds derived from the dues on shipping. I would direct the attention of my hon. Friend to the Provisional Order for St. Ives, which will very shortly be laid before Parliament, by which the Corporation of St. Ives will be enabled to tax the ratepayers for the assistance of their otherwise insolvent harbour. A Report on the subject will be found in Parliamentary Paper No. 57 of the present Session.