HC Deb 09 May 1904 vol 134 cc746-7

To ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer whether his attention has been called to the letters addressed by various of the joint stock banks of Ireland to the Under-Secretary of Ireland protesting against the disabilities under which these banks will be placed by the Land Purchase Act of 1903 as compared with the Bank of Ireland; and whether arrangements could be made so as to ensure a fair distribution amongst all the joint stock banks of Ireland, including the Bank of Ireland, of all the accounts connected with the working of that Act, and, in particular, that the Public Trustee should be authorised to keep the accounts of any estate with any bank he may think fit to select, having due regard to a fair distribution of the business, and that for that purpose the deposit receipts of the joint stock banks of Ireland should be considered authorised securities; and further, that all the joint stock banks of Ireland should be authorised to receive the annuity instalments, collecting them free, and accounting for same periodically to the Treasury, but being permitted to retain same for a period to recoup them for the expense and trouble of collection.

(Answered by Mr. Austen Chamberlain.) I am aware that representations have been made by the Irish joint stock banks. It would not be possible to make arrangements for putting the other banks on the same footing as the Bank of Ireland. The Bank of Ireland is the Government Bank in Ireland; its special relations with Government have existed ever since its foundation, and have been recognised and confirmed by numerous Acts of Parliament. To distribute the accounts of the Public Trustee or other accounts under the Land Act in the manner suggested would cause inconvenience and confusion without any compensatory advantage. As regards the instalments of purchase annuities, it has been arranged that they can be paid in through any bank for remittance to the Land Commission Account at the Bank of Ireland in Dublin. I see no reason for allowing any delay in the remittance of moneys so received; such delay would merely tend to increase the cost of working the provisions of the Land Act.