HC Deb 28 April 1890 vol 343 c1513
MR. THORBURN (Peebles and Selkirk)

I beg to ask the Lord Advocate whether, at the Union between England and Scotland, the sum of £2,000 was set apart for the encouragement of woollen manufacturing in the shires of Scotland: whether he will consent to furnish a Report from those who administer the fund as to what has been done with it during the century; what is the present position of the fund, and by what authority has a part, if not the whole, of the fund been diverted from its original purpose; whether he will consent to a Representative Body, in touch with manufacturers, being appointed, who would administer the fund more successfully than a permanent Board in Edinburgh; and whether he will promise that, until the matter has been fully investigated, no step will be taken to dispense the fund in a different direction from what was originally intended?


The sum named was set apart under the Treaty of Union for "promoting the manufacture of coarse wool within those shires which produce it." This provision was declared to be for seven years, after which the sum was to be wholly applied towards "encouraging and promoting the fisheries and such other manufactures as should most conduce to the general good of the United Kingdom." A Report for the period named would not only be costly, but very troublesome to prepare, and I am unable to consent to furnish it. The authority for the present use of the funds is to be found in the Act 10 and 11 Vict., c. 91, by which Statute power is given to the Treasury (now the Secretary for Scotland) to appropriate such part of the fund as they shall think lit towards education in art generally, including taste and design in manufacture. I am unable to consent to either of the suggestions contained in the last two paragraphs of the question, as the present Board appear to administer the fund in accordance with the Statute, and have recognised the manufacturing interest by the encouragement they give to a largely attended School of Design in Manufacture, which they established many years ago.