§ MR. CREMER (Shoreditch, Haggerston)
asked the hon. Member for the Knutsford Division of Cheshire, How many contracts the Metropolitan Board of Works have entered into since the introduction of the Local Government Bill; the period for which such contracts have been entered into; the amount of 600 the liabilities to which the ratepayers of the Metropolis have been committed by such contracts; and, whether, taking into consideration the proposal contained in the Local Government Bill for the establishment of another form of government for the Metropolis, the Metropolitan Board of Works will, pending the decision of Parliament upon the Local Government Bill, refrain from entering into any contracts for a longer period than one year, and will not commit the ratepayers to any further liabilities than are absolutely necessary for the pressing needs of the Board?
§ MR. TATTON EGERTON (Cheshire, Knutsford)
The Metropolitan Board of Works has entered into about a dozen contracts since the introduction of the Local Government Bill. Most of these are for special works or supplies, the only one of them which extends over a period being that for maintaining and cleansing the thoroughfare of the Victoria Embankment, which is for three years. The liabilities to which the ratepayers have been committed by these contracts amount to about £73,000; the largest amount, which is £42,567, being for the machinery for the sewage purification works at Barking. The Board must continue to perform the duties which devolve upon it by Statute, until it pleases Parliament to relieve it of those duties by transferring them to some other authority. It will neither go beyond, nor fall short of, its obligations; and it may be relied upon to act with judgment and discretion in incurring liabilities on behalf of the ratepayers.