§ MR. FETHERSTONHAUGH (Fermanagh, N.)
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether any, and, if so, how many, of the purchasers of land, under the Purchase Acts of 1891 and 1896, have availed themselves of the power given by Section 2 of the Act of 1891 of paying their instalments and redeeming in whole or in part their annuities by transferring to the National Debt Commissioners, through the post office, guaranteed land stock instead of paying 617 cash; and will he consider the advisability of calling the attention of purchasers to the fact that, at the present price of Guaranteed Land Stock (£85 to £86), they could obtain a reduction of almost 3s. in the pound on their instalments, or in redemption in whole or in part of their annuities.
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Mr. BIRRELL,) Bristol, N.
The Land Commission inform me that there has been no transaction of the nature referred to under Section 2 of the Act of 1891. The publicity given to the hon. and learned Member's Question will doubtless have the effect of calling the attention of tenant purchasers to the fact that, having regard to the present low price of Guaranteed Land Stock, a considerable advantage may be derived from the redemption of their annuities or the payment of their instalments in the manner provided by the section quoted.
MR, BARRIE (Londonderry, N.)
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware that a purchaser of land, under the Purchase Acts of 1885 and 1887, who has obtained an advance of (say) £750 for the purchase of his holding, has to pay £30 a year for the first ten years, £27 a year for the second ten years, and £24 7s. 6d. for the last forty-nine years, while a purchaser under the Wyndham Act, obtaining the same advance, only pays £247s. 6d. for sixty-eight and a half years; that the difference, with interest at 2¾ per cent., amounts to £93 10s. 0d. to the disadvantage of the first purchaser; and will the Government consider the justice of assimilating the rates of repayment of the purchasers under the different Purchase Acts.
§ MR. BIRRELL
The figures quoted in the Question are only approximately accurate. There is admittedly a difference in favour of a purchaser under the Act of 1903, in the total repayments made in respect of any given advance. This difference is due to the fact that under the Act of 1903 the rate of interest is 2¾ per cent., while under the former Acts it is 3⅛ per cent. I cannot hold out any hope of legislation for reducing the rate of interest payable under the former Acts.