§ MR. KNOX
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, what is estimated as the probable yield of the licences collected for the local authorities in England, under the Local Government Act of 1888, for the financial year 1896–7; what is the difference between this sum and the amount of the grants which were withdrawn by the Act of 1888; and whether he will propose a grant in aid of local taxation for labourers' cottages, or other purposes, in Ireland, 416 sufficient, together with the £40,000 appropriated by the Land Purchase Act of 1891, to make 9/80ths of such difference between the amount of the licences and the amount of the grants withdrawn?
§ * MR. HANBURY
The amount which the licences collected for local authorities in England are expected to yield in 1896–7 is £3,220,000. The amount of grants which were withdrawn from England under the Local Government Act of 1888 was then put at £2,582,000; and the difference between that sum and the estimated yield of licences in 1896–7 is, therefore, £638,000. But the withdrawn grants were annually increasing at the rate of about £50,000 a year. On that assumption the grants would, during the last eight years, have increased by about £400,000, whereas the licences have increased by about £250,000 only. Accordingly, England's net gain by the financial change in 1888 is now barely £240,000. If Ireland now received 9/80ths of the present estimated English gain, she would thus only be credited with about £27,000, instead of £40,000. Moreover, the Pauper Lunatic Grant, which was retained in Ireland and discontinued in England, has increased by £20,000 a year, while in Ireland the licences, which were not transferred in that country, have remained stationary, so that Ireland has been doubly fortunate.
§ MR. KNOX
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, whether he will cause the £40,000 which, under the Land Purchase Act of 1891, will come in course of payment during the present financial year for the purpose of labourers' cottages in Ireland, to be immediately allocated between the various local authorities; and whether, in the case of those Unions where schemes under the Labourers' Acts are actually in progress, he will cause the sums allocated to be paid over without waiting for the passing of the Land Bill of this year?
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
I have already explained to the hon. and learned Member that under the law as it at present stands any allocation of the Exchequer contribution of £40,000 a year for the purpose of defraying the cost of labourers' cottages could only be applied in respect of cottages to be hereafter provided. This limitation would, 417 I think, bear hardly upon those Boards of Guardians which have already put the Labourers Acts into operation and provided cottages; and in order, therefore, to enable these boards to participate in the relief from their financial burdens which the grant was designed to afford, it is proposed in the Land Bill to amend the Act of 1891 by authorising the Government to apply the grant towards defraying any costs heretofore as well as hereafter incurred on this account. The immediate allocation of the grant is, therefore, undesirable; as, if the money were allocated now, the effect would be to deprive the unions in which the Labourers Acts have been put into force of the share to which they would become entitled if Clause 33 of the Land Bill were passed into law.