HC Deb 23 March 1891 vol 351 cc1651-2
MR. STANLEY LEIGHTON (Shropshire, Oswestry)

I beg to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he can inform the House whether it is true that the interest in arrear upon the various public loans in connection with the Local Loans Fund is in England over £400,000, and in Ireland over £200,000?


The situation is as follows:—In the Report of the Controller and Auditor General on the Local Loans Fund the arrears of interest are given, but a great portion of that interest has already been written off as lost, and is kept on the account merely as against the debtor. As regards England, the amounts advanced by the Public Works Loan Commissioners applied not only to English loans, but to loans made by them in Ireland in old times; the arrears are the accumulations of a long period. Such items as the following are included in the account:—The Ulster Canal, £227,000; Rosslare Harbour, £25,000: Pulteney Harbour, £19,000; and Carlingford Lough, £20,000. The only other considerable item on this account is "Battersea Park," where the arrears of interest were £74,000. In this case the property, consisting of lands adjacent to the park, is in the hands of the Office of Works, who pay over all available receipts to the credit of the loan. In Ireland the list of arrears comprises a large number of relatively small items, of which the largest represents Clare Slob. Railways show arrears of £123,000, and each individual case is now annually examined by the Treasury and the Board of Works.


Have any of these arrears been written off?


I think it will be found that some of the items have been written off.