HC Deb 26 October 1899 vol 77 cc746-7

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware that in the opinion of the law advisers to the Cork Corporation and the Cork County Council, the present arrangement for the payment of the grant-in-aid towards the maintenance of the pauper lunatics in the Cork Lunatic Asylum will saddle the local taxation fund with expenditure incurred prior to the date upon which the Local Government Act came into force; and whether, in view of this fact, he will cause further inquiries to be made in the matter.


The hon. Member has been good enough to send me an extract from the opinion of the law advisers to the Cork Corporation, from which their contention appears to be that the making up of the accounts of the lunatic asylum from March to March, instead of for the calendar year as heretofore, will lay upon the ratepayers a burden equivalent to the grant-in-aid in respect of the three months ending the 31st of March in this year, unless the grant-in-aid for this period is paid by the Treasury. This, however, will not be the practical effect of the arrangement. The grant in aid of the rates in each financial year has hitherto always been in respect of an annual period commencing fifteen months before the beginning of such financial year. From this point of view, it may, no doubt, be said that at the time payment is made the grant has always been fifteen months in arrear. But in practice this only means that the expenditure during the first twelve months of the period of fifteen months is taken as the measure of the grant-in-aid for the financial year in which it is paid. In future the measure of the grant will be a period of twelve months as before, but these twelve months will be the twelvemonths immediately preceding. The ratepayers are in no way injured by the change, and no extra charge falls upon the Local Taxation Account by reason of it.