§ MR. BRIGHT (Shropshire, Oswestry)
To ask the Secretary of State for India what approximate margin will be left out of the proposed loan of £20,000,000 after the purchase of the Bengal Central Railway and the Bombay, Baroda, and Central India Railway.
§ MR. BRIGHT
To ask the Secretary of State for India whether the balance of the proposed loan for £20,000,000 after the purchase of the Bengal Central Railway and the Bombay, Baroda, and Central India Railway will be used solely for the construction of new railways; and, if so, what is the estimated annual capital expenditure; or, if not, to what purpose such balance, or portion of balance, will be applied.
§ MR. BRIGHT
To ask the Secretary of State for India whether any provision is made in the proposed loan of £20,000,000 for the purchase in 1907 of the Southern Mahratta Railway, the Madras Railway, or any other railway; and, if so, the amount of such provision.
(Answered by Mr. Secretary Brodrick.) These three Questions can be most conveniently dealt with in one Answer. The Bill now before the House proposes to give power to borrow £20,000,000, "as and when necessary," for certain specified purposes or to issue stock for some of those purposes instead of borrowing direct. It is extremely improbable that any one loan for the whole £20,000,000 will at any time be issued uuder the proposed powers; there is certainly no present intention of issuing such a loan. As I explained in my reply to my hon. Member for East Perthshire on 5th June, ‡ the practice had been to give to the Secretary of State for India in Council borrowing power sufficient to enable him to borrow for some time the sums that may be required for capital expenditure and other purposes without applying to Parliament on each separate occasion. As regards the purposes for which it is intended to use the proposed powers, I am able to give the following information:—The Bengal Central Railway has already‡ See (4) Debates, cxlvii., 701.67 been purchased, so that its purchase price cannot be provided out of loans raised under the present Bill. The purchase price payable to the shareholders of the Bombay, Baroda, and Central India Railway (which may possibly be provided under the powers proposed in the Bill) will exceed £10,000,000. It has not yet been decided whether the Southern Mahratta Railway and the Madras Railway shall be purchased, nor in what manner purchase (if decided on) shall be effected. The text of the Bill shows clearly that money borrowed under it may be applied to (1) the construction of new railways, (2) the improvement of existing railways, (3) the discharge of bonds, etc., of guaranteed railway companies, (4) payments required to be made by the Secretary of State in Council on taking over railways from companies. It is contemplated that the powers under the Bill will, in various years, be used for all these purposes. The capital expenditure on State and guaranteed railways is now at the rate of about £8,000,000 a year, but only a portion of the money is provided by direct sterling borrowing by the Secretary of State in Council such as is proposed to be authorised by the present Bill.