§ MR. BRODRICK (Surrey, Guildford)
I beg to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the Parliamentary Paper issued yesterday reduces the estimated receipts of the Irish Exchequer by £365,000; what are the sums estimated respectively for the special pensions to Constabulary, Judges, and Civil Servants authorised by the Government of Ireland Bill; what provision has been made for the staff and up-keep of the Irish Parliament, and the salaries of Ministers and Members; what amount of the estimated surplus of £500,000 will be left after these services are provided for; and when the Government propose to submit a revised scheme relating to the finances of the Irish Government?
§ MR. BARTLEY (Islington, N.)
I also wish to ask the First Lord of the Treasury when he will lay upon the Table the revised Financial Clauses of the Government of Ireland Bill?
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. W. E. GLADSTONE,) Edinburgh, Midlothian
As to the first paragraph of the question, the sum of £365,000 is correctly stated as the reduction in the amount contributed for Excise Duties upon spirits; but it would not be correct to take it as the amount by which the basis of the proposals is disturbed. As to the second question, the sums estimated respectively for the special pensions to Constabulary, Judges, and Civil Servants, it would not be possible to form an estimate of those sums. They will depend, in a great measure, upon the proceedings that may take place, especially as to the police, between the Irish Government and those who now form the Constabulary. I do not think 901 there is any probability that the Government will be able to form an estimate upon that subject. With regard to the third question, the provision for the staff and up-keep of the Irish Parliament and the salaries of Ministers and Members, I observe it settles a serious question in respect to the payment of Members, from which I infer that the hon. Member will in future be a warm supporter of that principle at home; but it is not possible for us to make an estimate upon these matters. On the ground of practicability, and also on the ground of propriety, these are matters for the Irish Legislature to determine for itself with the means which it possesses. Fourthly, what amount of the estimated surplus of £500,000 will be left after these services are provided for? It is obvious from what I have stated that the charges cannot be computed; neither can the residuary amount be computed. These are proceedings which depend upon the views and actions of the new Irish Parliament. Lastly, when the Government propose to submit a revised scheme relating to the finances of the Irish Government (and here I may answer the question put by another hon. Gentleman opposite). I hope to submit that scheme, with the information necessary in regard to figures, in the course of a few days, probably in the course of this week.
§ MR. BRODRICK
The right hon. Gentleman says that the estimated receipts of the Irish Exchequer will not be reduced by £365,000. Will he kindly tell the House by what amount that will be reduced by the error which has been discovered?
§ MR. W. E. GLADSTONE
By an amount materially smaller, but the particulars will be produced shortly and laid before the House.
§ MR. BARTLEY
Are we to understand that there is another mistake in the statement which has been issued, because that distinctly states that there is a mistake to the extent of £365,000?
§ MR. W. E. GLADSTONE
Not that the balance is affected to that amount, but that there has been discovered, in point of fact, a very defective method of computation of the Excise Duties upon spirits, which—as far as we can form either an opinion or a conjecture, though our information is at present imperfect—appears very possibly to date from the 902 time of the equalisation of the Spirit Duties—an error which has now happily been discovered, and which is correctly stated in the question of the hon. Gentleman; but there are other items which have undergone adjustment by the latest information, and the balance presented must be affected to that extent.