MR. GIBSON BOWLES (Lynn Regis)
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, is he aware that in 1878 the average cost for the agency exorcised by the Crown Agents for the Colonies in making purchases for Colonial Governments amounted to less than one-quarter per cent. on the sum disbursed by the Crown Agents; is this the same rate of percentage as is still paid by Colonial Governments to the Crown Agents for making such purchases; and, if so, can he explain why Her Majesty's Government have agreed to pay to the Crown Agents a commission of 1 per cent. on all stores ordered by them for the Uganda Railway.
§ * MR. BRODRICK
The average cost of agency to which the hon. Member refers does not accrue merely from making purchases for Colonial Governments. It represents the average cost of the agency business of all kinds transacted by the Crown Agents, such as the issue and management of colonial loans, the control of sinking funds, general financial business, the supervision of public works, and the purchase of stores and materials. The Departmental charges which have been authorised by the Secretary of State for the Colonies for these services vary, but that for the supply of stores is 1 per cent. to all Colonial Governments and the Uganda Railway pays at the same rate.