HC Deb 31 July 1903 vol 126 cc1141-2

(Considered in Committee.)

(In the Committee.)

[Mr. J. W. LOWTHER (Cumberland, Penrith,) in the Chair.]

* SIR. A. HAYTER (Walsall)

called attention to an item of £14,000,000 for the purchase of the Transvaal and Orange River Railways. He pointed out that a sum of £1,000,000 was advanced to these railways during the war for the purpose of obtaining rolling stock, but when the question came up in the Public Accounts Committee they found au additional sum of £577,000 had been advanced by the military authorities, of which £161,000 had also been used for the purchase of rolling stock. He desired to know whether this additional sum had been considered in considering the terms for the purchase of these railways.

* SIR CHARLES DILKE (Gloucestershire, Forest of Dean)

called attention to the statements published in a book just published, written by Sir Woodhouse Richardson, who was at the head of the Supply Department of the Army Service Corps during the war in South Africa, as to the frightful amount of waste that had taken place, and the extent to which accounts had been paid twice over. The revelations in that book were of a frightful nature, and he merely desired to call attention to it.


said he had not yet made himself acquainted with the book referred to by the right hon. Baronet.


It is only just published.


said the Government expected shortly to be able to come to terns with both shareholders and debenture-holders in the settlement of South African railway claims. The £14,000,000 mentioned in the schedule of the Bill was only an estimate of what the Government expected to pay for the acquisition of the railways. There was no doubt that the £1,000,000 advanced for the purchase of rolling stock would be received back. With regard to the additional sum expended on rolling stock, to which the right hon. Baronet called attention in reference to the report of the Committee on Public Accounts, he was now in communication with the Colonial Office, and he would endeavour to give information on a subsequent stage of the Bill. He was unable to do so at present.

Bill reported, without Amendment; to be read the third time upon Monday next.