HC Deb 15 April 1907 vol 172 cc571-2

To ask the Secretary to the Treasury whether he is aware that the total sum provided in the Estimates for Law and Justice is £2,454,886 for the United Kingdom and England, £2,405,374 for Ireland, with one-tenth the population, and £388,699 for Scotland, with a population equal to that of Ireland; that the total cost of local government is £284,884 for England, £102,524 for Ireland, and £18,359 for Scotland; that the Departments of the Lord Lieutenant and Chief Secretary for Ireland cost £83,084, and that of the Secretary for Scotland £42,792; that the office of the Registrar-General costs £9,062 in Scotland and £17,543 in Ireland; that the Board of Agriculture for England receives £199,633, and the Department of Agriculture for Ireland £238,979 a year; and whether, in view of complaints of the scale of expenditure in other Government Departments in Ireland, he proposes to take any action in the matter.

(Answered by Mr. Runciman.) The figures quoted in the Question would require much adjustment before they could be made the basis of comparison. For instance, in Ireland the cost of police is borne on the Votes of Parliament, while in Great Britain it is paid for out of local funds; many of the services borne upon the Vote for the Department of Agriculture, &c, Ireland, in the case of England form a charge on the Vote for Education, and, similarly, the Vote for the Lord-Lieutenant has to bear expenditure of a kind met in England out of the Civil List, and entirely unlike anything that is provided for in the Vote for the Secretary of Scotland. These are examples only, but there are many respects in which the sums set down for comparison do not represent analogous services. I do not know whether the hon. Member's object is to suggest a reduction of the voted provision for Ireland, but in any case I do not consider a discussion of this kind suitable for treatment by Question and. Answer.