§ MR. M'LAREN (Leicestershire, Bosworth)
I beg to ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer if there is any reason founded on public advantage why the Government should adhere, for Government payments, and in the case of Crown leases for receipt of rent, to the ancient quarter days of 5th January, 5th April, 5th July, and 5th October, seeing that the Gregorian Calendar was adopted by Act of Parliament in the reign of George II., under which the quarter days universally recognised by Her Majesty's subjects fall twelve days earlier in each case; whether he is aware that there is always at the end of June and December a demand for money in London, and that the market in order to tide over the turn of the half year has to borrow from the Bank of England until the Consol dividends are paid on the 5th July and 5th January; and whether he can see his way to modify the present system so that money arising from dividends on Government securities may be available for market purposes just before the close of each commercial half year, and so diminish the stringency that now prevails at these periods.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER (Sir M. HICKS BEACH,) Bristol, W.
I do not think the proposed change would be desirable. It could not be introduced without legislation, as the dividend days are fixed by Act of Parliament, and it would give rise to a great deal of trouble and complication. One of the results would be the imposition of a very heavy charge on the finances of the year of change, as in that year there would practically be, roughly speaking, five quarterly payments to be made.