I beg to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if it is mainly on the Return 144, of 24th April, 1890, on which he has based the proportion of the relative grants for free education to England and Ireland; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that this Return 144 is in continuation of Return 36, Session 1884, on which is the note, "This Return cannot be properly quoted for purposes of comparison," this note being signed "Leonard Courtney"; and that there is on the very Return 144 a somewhat 409 similar note, signed "W. L. Jackson"; whether Return 144 has been made up under specific and special instructions as to how credit should be given to each country, and if these instructions result in only £5,050,000 being credited to Ireland under Excise and Customs, while in Return 92, Session 1884, as to which no instructions were given as to how the Treasury should credit each country, the Treasury returned the amount of £6,435,249 as credited under these heads to Ireland; and if the amounts under Stamps and Income Tax, in Return 144, are below the real amounts collected in Ireland, owing to the specific instructions given for the preparation of Return 144?
§ *MR. GOSCHEN
In my answer to the hon. Member on Friday last I referred him to Return 144 for an indication of the manner in which the percentages 80, 11, and 9 were originally arrived at, though I did not imply that they were based on that Return, which was not then issued. In adopting the same percentages for the distribution of the Education Grant we have been guided not only by the calculations from which the original percentages were derived, but also by recent Returns, which confirm the accuracy of those figures. In particular, I may refer the hon. Member to Return 163, 1890, and I may again remind him that the whole question will shortly be examined by the Committee on Financial Relations. Return 92, Session 1884, which was moved for by the hon. and gallant Member, gives the amount of Revenue collected in Ireland. But a large amount of spirit is exported from Ireland to England, and the duty upon this amount, though collected in Ireland, is ultimately paid by the English consumer. The hon. Member will see, from a note in his own Return, that the amount to be deducted on this account was estimated at £1,030,374. In Return 144,1890 (which is a continuation of Mr. M'Laren's Return 36, 1884), the figures show, in accordance with the terms in which the Return was moved for, the amount of revenue derived from the three parts of the United Kingdom, and the Excise on spirits is apportioned in accordance with the quantity retained for consumption in England, Scotland, and Ireland. The Return 144, 1890, signed 410 "W. L. Jackson," is prepared on exactly the same principle as the Return 36, 1884, signed "Leonard Courtney."
Does the right hon. Gentleman intend to assign the proportions between England and Ireland, or does he mix up the two systems together, unfavourably to Ireland, as is done in Return No. 144.
§ *MR. GOSCHEN
The systems are certainly not mixed up in any sense unfavourable to Ireland. The Government desire that, as far as possible, everything shall be ascertained and appear in the Return.