MR C. J. ENGLEDEW (Kildare, N.)
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether he will take steps to have the Treasury grant for the support of Irish pauper lunatics increased, as, for some years past, it has 383 not been able to defray one-half of the cost of such patients, which, on its initiation, it was supposed to do, the rate-in-aid amounting to 4s. per week; and whether he is aware that the rate-in-aid allowed to Scotch asylums was increased last year to 4s. 3d. per week?
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY TO THE LORD LIEUTENANT OF IRELAND (Mr. GERALD BALFOUR,) Leeds, Central
It is not correct to say that the Parliamentary grant in aid of the cost of maintenance of Irish pauper lunatics was supposed, or calculated, to defray one-half of the cost of maintenance. The grant has always been a contribution in aid of the local cost of maintenance at the maximum rate of 4s. a head per week. The contribution has been limited to this maximum rate, irrespective of what the local cost may be, and it is not proposed to increase the rate. The honourable Member is also under a misapprehension in regard to the Scotch grant. The contribution in aid of pauper lunatics in Scotland is fixed by an Act of 1892 at £115,500 per annum, and is paid out of the Local Taxation Account for Scotland. It is true that this grant in the year 1896–7 was equivalent to a rate of about 4s. 3d. for each lunatic whose maintenance cost 8s. per week, or upwards. Where the cost of maintenance was less than 8s. per week, the rate was proportionately less. For the year 1897–8 the grant was equivalent to a rate of 4s. 2d. per week in cases where the cost was 8s. per week or upwards. No grant is allowed in Scotland in respect of any expenditure in excess of 8s. per week. The Irish grant, as the honourable Member is aware, has hitherto been borne on the votes, and a sum of £143,653 is provided in the Estimates for the current financial year.