HC Deb 03 July 1888 vol 328 cc191-2
SIR HENRY ROSCOE (Manchester, S.)

asked Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Whether he is aware that, on July 7, 1887, an agreement was entered into between the Lord President of the Council, as representing the Science and Art Department, on the one hand, and the Executors of the late Sir Joseph Whitworth on the other, by which payment of the sum of £100,000 of Three per Cent Consols by the Executive to the Department was accepted, this being the amount, as the Department admitted and agreed, sufficient to raise and pay an annuity or yearly sum of £3,000 per annum, free from all deductions and abatements whatsoever, to be used as the foundation of the Annual Whitworth Scholarships, which amount, up to his death, had been paid annually by Sir Joseph Whitworth; whether he is aware that, since the above date, the capital sum has been converted from Three per Cent into £2 15s. Consols, under "The National Debt (Conversion) Act, 1888," that, in consequence, the Testator's Foundation, which the Department of Science and Art expressly undertook to keep up, is thereby practically diminished by 1–12th (£250 per annum); and, whether, if this be so, he will undertake that this difference shall be paid to the Foundation from public sources, so that the original sum of £3,000 per annum, agreed upon between the Science and Art Department and the Executors, shall be made up from year to year?


The facts are as stated by the hon. Member. An application for the grant from public funds of the amount required annually to make the Scholarship Fund up to £3,000 has been received by the Treasury; but I regret that I cannot consent to comply with it. If the difference were made up in the case of this Endowment, it would open the flood-gates to an ocean of similar claims on the part of other Trusts, educational and otherwise, whose income has been diminished by the reduction of interest on the National Debt, and such a prospect cannot be lightly contemplated.