HC Deb 05 July 1889 vol 337 cc1666-8

Considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)

Clauses 1 and 2 agreed to.

Clause 3.

* MR. TOMLINSON (Preston)

The Amendment I have to propose is one that I moved in the Committee upstairs. The class of investments involved in the Amendment comprises a speculative element, and though in another part of the clause we have excluded the ordinary stock of English railways, it is here proposed to include the guaranteed ordinary stock of Indian railways, and it is this ordinary stock which my Amendment proposes to exclude. It is true that this Indian stock has a guaranteed interest, but the interest guaranteed by the Indian Government is only a minimum dividend, and there are railways the ordinary guaranteed stock of which is quoted in the market at rates far beyond what would arise from the guaranteed interest, the difference representing the value of the excess of income earned above the guaranteed minimum. Whatever reasons exist for the exclusion of the ordinary stock of English railways on the ground of its speculative character apply to Indian stock, and, therefore, I move my Amendment.

Amendment proposed, page 2, line 20, leave out from the first "In," to "India," in line 22, inclusive.

Question proposed, "That the word proposed to be left out, stands part of the Question."

MR. COZENS-HARDY (Norfolk, N.)

I hope the hon. Member will not think it necessary to press this. The matter was most carefully considered in Committee upstairs, when the hon. Member found himself in a minority of one. It was considered that railway stock guaranteed by the Government of India was fit for trustees to invest in.

Question put, and agreed to.

MR. SEXTON (Belfast, W.)

I beg to move the Amendment standing in the name of the hon. Member for North Belfast (Sir William Ewart). The Standing Committee unanimously recommended that trustees, unless forbidden by the terms of the trust, should be allowed to invest in the normal stocks of Muncipal Corporations, and we claim that the stock of Commissioners established for the purposes of water supply stands in precisely the same position when secured by Parliamentary authority for the levying of rates. I mention this with particular reference to the Corporation of Belfast, whose stock is open for investment by trustees, but the stock of the Commissioners for water supply resting on the same security, the local rate is excluded. I am not aware of any reason for this unless it is that the power of levying rates is limited, and it may be that the full power is exercised without profit to the undertaking. To meet this the Amendment provides that this stock shall not be included unless for ten years before the investment, the rates levied shall be within 80 per cent of the authorized limit of rating. In such a case I think with 20 per cent of the authority not exercised the margin of security cannot be questioned, and public policy justifies the suggestion made.

Amendment proposed, page 2, line 29, after "stock," insert— Or in the mortgages or stock of any Board of Commissioners or Corporation established by Act of Parliament for the purpose of supplying water, and having a compulsory power of levying rates, provided that for ten years past before the date of investment the rates levied shall not have exceeded eighty per centum of the amount authorized by Law to be levied.

Questioned proposed, "That those words be there inserted."

* THE SECRETARY of STATE FOR WAR (Mr. E. STANHOPE,) Lincolnshire, Horncastle

This point was not raised before the Committee upstairs. The Committee examined closely into all these questions of investment in the stock of water companies, but this goes outside those questions. We are not, however, prepared to accept it without more consideration. I admit, on the face of it the Amendment suggests a new form of investment that does not seem open to any special objection in itself. It certainly is worthy of consideration, and I would suggest to the right hon. Gentleman that he should give this opportunity for consideration by withdrawing the Amendment now raising it again on Report. We will consider whether we can, consistently with the other parts of the Clause, incorporate this proposal, though perhaps not exactly in these words.


I accept that suggestion.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clauses agreed to.

Remaining Clauses and Schedule agreed to.

Bill reported, without Amendment.

To be read the Third Time upon Monday next.

Notice taken that 40 Members were not present; House counted, and 40 Members not being present—

House adjourned at Twelve o'clock till Monday next.