HC Deb 30 July 1896 vol 43 cc1142-3

On the motion "That the Bill be now read a Second time,"


asked if there was any additional money given under this Bill?


said his experience of these Bills was that they covered a job of some sort. He instanced the case of a railway in Ireland which had been "sold for a song," whereas if they; had known what was going on, a little syndicate could have been formed and the money of the taxpayers saved. They were unable to get information from the Board of Works, which operated behind. If he was inaccurate in his statement, why should they not be supplied with the papers and all the facts in connection with this transaction. The late Government had been utterly remiss in its eon-duct of this transaction. They had given away a most valuable railway to another railway company, and had thereby prevented public competition, and they had defrauded the unfortunate solicitor (who had since died) who had a lien for his charge of the amount that he was entitled to get for advancing money to the railway company out of his own pocket.


said that without expressing any opinion upon the transaction himself, he thought that at any rate, in future, none of these sales should take place without public competition. Since he had been at the Treasury he had insisted very strictly on that condition, one or two cases having arisen. But they had to deal with facts as they were; it was utterly impossible for them to recover their loan, and this Bill simply accepted the facts and wiped off a loan which they could not recover. In the schedule of the Bill there were what appeared to be certain remissions, but they did not forfeit any right to recover the money. All that was done was to cease to treat the loans as assets of the Local Loans Fund. The general purport of the Bill was to enable the National Debt Commissioners to issue certain moneys to the Public Works Board in Ireland and the Public Works Loan Commissioners.


asked whether the canals in Ireland would come under the operation of the Bill?


said that under the Bill the Public Works and Loans Commissioners would have authority to loan money to canals in England, but in Ireland that power was vested in the Board of Works.


said something ought to be done with the Royal Canal in Ireland, which was in a shocking and dangerous condition for want of dredging.


asked why, if the rate of interest for loans was reduced in connection with the Scotch fisheries, the same advantage was not extended to Ireland?


said that what the Bill really did was to put the Scotch Fishery Board in the position of a Harbour Board to which money could be loaned under the Harbours and Passing Tolls Act at 3¼ per cent. He did not think that was below the rate current in Ireland for loans under that Act.

Bill read a Second time.