§ MR. DALY
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, whether he is aware that the Local Government Board (Ireland) have issued a Circular to boards of guardians in Ireland offering potato sprayers to farmers of £15 Poor Law valuation or under at 23s. each; whether he is aware that there are thousands of farmers in. Ireland who, owing to their poverty, could not give 10s. for a sprayer, even if they could get it for this sum; and whether, seeing that spraying has become a decided 846 success in preventing potato blight, he will advise the Government to send free to every union in Ireland potato sprayers to be lent by the guardians to farmers who are unable to purchase a machine?
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
The Circular referred to was issued with my approval, though its terms have not been quite accurately stated in the Question. If the honourable Member will read the Circular he will observe that not only are the prices quoted in it considerably less than the retail prices of the machines, but that the Government have also authorised the Local Government Board to allow a further abatement of ten per cent. to cash purchasers. It will be possible, therefore, for the guardians to sell a machine for 19s. 6d., either to an individual occupier, or to one occupier making application on behalf of himself and other occupiers jointly. The guardians are also authorised to let the machines out on hire to occupiers, and where a number of persons agree to hire a machine, the hiring rates would be almost nominal. The answer to the third paragraph is in the negative.