HC Deb 22 March 1897 vol 47 cc1136-7

(1.) Such sum as is shown by the account certified by the Comptroller and Auditor-General under section four of the Sinking Fund Act, 1875, to be the surplus of income above expenditure for the financial year ending the thirty-first day of March one thousand eight hundred and ninety-seven shall, instead of being applied as provided by the above-mentioned. Act, be set apart in the Exchequer account and applied by the Treasury at such times as they direct in paying any sums authorised by this Act to be issued out of the Consolidated Fund.

(2.) The amount which the Treasury may borrow under this Act shall be reduced by the amount set apart in the Exchequer account in pursuance of this section.


said that he desired to ask the meaning of this clause. Why was the Sinking Fund Act of 1875 dragged in? He was constantly suspicious that works would be carried out without the sanction of Parliament being previously obtained; and, at least, he claimed that when the works were done there should be an account of them within the year, so that they might know how the money had been expended.


said the clause was a copy of a similar clause in the Naval Works Act of last year, under which the amount to be raised by loans would be reduced, and the surplus of the year would be available in relief of loans for the future under this Bill. That was the object of the clause, and it was one which should commend itself to hon. Gentlemen opposite.


saw the point precisely. If this clause were not accepted, then any surplus would go to the reduction of the National Debt, and the effect of the clause was to intercept the money. But what the Government were proposing to do here was that out of the balance of the different accounts, instead of applying the money to the reduction of past debt, they were going to appropriate it to the purposes of future expenditure.


No. The object of the clause is really to avoid paying off debt with one hand and borrowing with the other.


thought the assurance that this was exactly the same clause as was in the Act of 1895 went a long way to meet his objection.

Clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 4,—

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