§ The Treasury may, subject to the terms and conditions contained in the agreement dated the tenth day of March one thousand eight hundred and ninety-six, between William Hayes Fisher, Esquire, and Edward George Villiers Stanley (commonly called Lord Stanley), two of the Lords Commissioners of Her Majesty's Treasury, and the West Highland Railway Company, being the agreement in the schedule to this Act, guarantee for a period of thirty years from the date of the opening for passenger traffic of the railway, the payment of interest or dividend at the rate of three pounds per centum per annum on two hundred and sixty thousand pounds of the share capital to be raised under the West Highland Railway Act, 1894, and may on the completion of the said pier, breakwater, and other works, pay to the company the said sum of thirty thousand pounds, and the sums required for the purposes of this section shall be paid out of moneys provided by Parliament, and if those moneys are insufficient shall be charged on and paid out of the Consolidated Fund or the growing produce thereof. During the said period of thirty years the Board of Trade shall make an annual report to Parliament as to the condition and working of the railway and the receipts and expenditure of the company with regard to the railway.
§ *THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER (Sir MICHAEL HICKS BEACH, Bristol, W.),
moved to leave out the words "and the receipts and expenditure of the company with regard to the railway," in order to insertthe rates end charges for traffic and the receipts and expenditure of any company in working the railway.He had thought it necessary, he said, to state in the Act that the Board of Trade should make a report, not only on the condition and working of the railway, but also the rates and charges upon it, and he had substituted "any company" for "the company," because the company referred to the West Highland Company, 452 and the railway, he understood, was to be worked by the North British Railway Company.
§ MR. J. H. DALZIEL (Kirkcaldy Burghs)
asked whether the Report was to be made separately from the ordinary Board of Trade Report?
§ *MR. EDWARD STRACHEY (Somerset, S.)
asked whether the Amendment covered the tolls that might be charged for using the harbour and the pier, as well as the railway rates?
*MR. J. MCLEOD (Sutherland)
asked whether it was the intention to introduce some condition into the agreement between the West Highland Railway and the Treasury, similar to the arrangement intoduced into the Highland Railway Bill of 1892, by which rates leviable upon open boats were not to be charged in respect of this particular pier?
§ *THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
thought the best time to consider the point would be when the Board of Trade Report was laid before Parliament.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ *MR. STRACHEY
moved, at the end of the clause, to insert:—Provided that the Treasury shall not give any such guarantee or make any such grant—453 He said he had no intention to move any Amendment on Report, but the Chancellor of the Exchequer had thought it necessary to prevent free discussion of the Amendment in Committee. The Amendment divided itself into three heads, and each followed the lines of the Light Railways Bill. He could not see why the Government should refuse to apply to Scotland provisions which they thought good enough for England.
- (a) Unless it shall be certified to them by the Secretary for Scotland that the making of the railway would benefit agriculture in the district traversed by the railway, and that such railway is necessary for the development of the fishing industry;
- (b) Unless they are satisfied, after local inquiry, that the said railway, pier, breakwater and other works would not be constructed without special assistance from the State, and that the same if constructed would not unduly compete with any existing railway undertaking;
- (c) Unless they are satisfied that landowners, local authorities, and other persons locally interested have, by the free grant of land, given all reasonable assistance and facilities in their power for the construction of the said railway, pier, breakwater and other works."
§ *THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
said he could only reply to the hon. Member as he had replied on several previous occasions—[cheers]—that his proposal was taken from an enactment in the Light Railways Act, which applied to cases which might in future come under the consideration of the Treasury for their decision. It was impossible to apply it to this Act, which simply confirmed an agreement already made by the Treasury.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted."
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 37; Noes, 158.—(Division List, No. 404.)
§ *MR. STRACHEY
said the usual practice was that, in the case of a Bill imposing taxation, the Third reading could not be taken at the same sitting as the Report.
§ Bill read a Third time, and passed.