§ (7.35.) Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."
§ * MR. DUFF (Banffshire)
I do not quite understand the limitations of this Bill. I observe that a sum not exceeding only £10,000 is to be lent to the Scotch Fishery Board. Last year they had £20,000. Will this limitation prevent other applications from Scotland being-entertained by the Public Works Loan Commissioners?
§ (7.36.) MR. GOSCHEN
My hon. Friend will understand that the sums named in the Bill are quoted by Acts of Parliament. Under those Acts of Parliament we are bound to say what is necessary for each of these purposes. I am bound to say that in the case of the Fishery Board the result of the loans which have been made is that the sums reclaimed in some cases have been so small that we have not thought it right to issue the £80,000, and the amount has been reduced to £10,000. It would be misleading the House if we issued as loans what really turned out to be sub sidies.
§ (7.38.) MR. SEXTON
This Bill proposes to nominate and appoint persons for five years. It proposes to confer upon them very important functions, and to administer the loans made from the Public Revenues for local works in various parts of the Kingdom. I have looked with curiosity through the list to see what districts are represented.
§ MR. SEXTON
Are there no loans to Ireland? I see by the 4th clause that a loan in Ireland is named.
§ *(7.40.) MR. JACKSON
I might explain to the hon. Member that the Public Works Loan Commissioners no longer make loans to Ireland. That is done by the Board of Works in Dublin, who grant the whole of the loans on public works in Ireland. The House will, therefore, see that the names of the Commissioners apply to England and Scotland and Wales. Section 4 is necessary for this reason. It refers to an old debt for money lent for the repair of Killeany Pier, which amount was written off in former years from the Local Loan Account, but that writing off did not exonerate the locality from payment. But representations were recently made that this debt still stood against the Local Authorities, and it is withdrawn as against them. It is necessary to do that by a clause in this Bill. That has been written off so far as the Local Loan Account is concerned; but it still stands as a liability against the locality.
§ (7.43.) MR. SEXTON
I am much obliged for the explanation as regards that point. Although the disbursement of loans with regard to Ireland is conducted by the Board in Dublin, I would point out that this is an Imperial Department connected with the Imperial Revenues, and it is not expedient that this important Imperial Department should be constituted without any representation whatever of Irish interests. This Commission is constituted as if the United Kingdom were composed of England, Scotland, and Wales, and that Ireland had no place in it. I find there are four Peers, who are not connected with Ireland, and nine other English and Scotch gentlemen. I should like the Chancellor of the Exchequer to explain why a Department constituted for the administration of Imperial Revenues should be established without any reference to Ireland. I believe Ireland has as much interest in the outgoings from the Imperial Revenue as she has, in one sense, in a disbursement made for her benefit. It is not a proper thing that an Imperial Department should be constituted with reference to England and Scotland, as if 555 Ireland was not included in the United Kingdom. I do not know upon what qualifications these gentlemen have been selected, but I would suggest that two Representatives of Ireland might very properly be appointed. I respectfully submit that course to the Government.
§ (7.44.) MR. GOSCHEN
The point which the hon. Member has raised comes upon us by surprise. The hon. Member will be aware that the gentlemen appointed are not salaried officials. It is an honorary office. If, in future cases, Ireland desires representation from the point of view put by the hon. Member, I can only say that we are glad that hon. Members opposite do not wish to dissociate themselves from matters of Imperial concern.
§ MR. SEXTON
I had intended to divide on the Second Reading. I will not take that course, but I give notice that unless the Government themselves nominate two persons representative of Ireland, the Irish Members themselves will bring forward an Amendment.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ Bill read a second time, and committed for Thursday.