§ MR. FETHERSTONHAUGH (Fermanagh, N.)
I beg to ask the Postmaster-General if he will direct the attention of the proper official to the necessity for prescribing the manner in which purchasers under the Purchase of Land (Ireland) Act, 1891, may avail themselves of the benefit of Section 2 of that Act by transferring through the Post Office Savings Bank Guaranteed Land Stock in payment of one-fourth of their annuities; is he aware that at the current price of the stock purchasers would gain about 3s. in the pound by paying instalments in that mode of payment instead of in cash.
I beg also to ask the Secretary to the Treasury what is the amount of Guaranteed Land Stock under The Purchase of Land (Ireland) Act, 1891, at present outstanding; is the whole of the outstanding stock, or how much of it, registered at and transferable at the Bank of Ireland; is the stock regularly 1843 quoted and dealt in on the Dublin Stock Exchange; and what was the number of transfers registered in 190C at the Bank of Ireland.
I beg further to ask the Secretary to the Treasury if his attention has been called to the provisions of Section 2 of The Land Purchase (Ireland) Act, 1891. and particularly to that part of the section which provides that one-fourth of the tenant purchasers' annuity instalments may be discharged by transfer to the National Debt Commissioners of an equal nominal amount of Guaranteed Land Stock, and that such transfer may be made through the medium of a Post Office Savings Bank in the prescribed manner; has the manner of such transfer been prescribed by any rules; whose duty is it to make such rules; and why has the duty imposed by the section not been fulfilled.
§ MR. RUNCIMAN
As regards the main subject of this Question, to which my right hon. friend has asked me to reply, and of those which the hon. Member has addressed to me, I have nothing to add to the answers which I have already given. As I have pointed out in answer to a previous Question, the tenant purchaser who benefited by paying the one-quarter of his annuity in stock would obtain that benefit at the expense of other tenant purchasers who paid in cash. The amount of stock obtainable is too small to enable all tenant purchasers to pay the one quarter in stock, and it would not be fair to allow the advantage to only a few. I have ascertained that the amount of Guaranteed Land Stock at present existing is £12,698,231. Of this £12,684,491 is inscribed in the books of the Bank of Ireland, and the balance £13,740 in those of the Bank of England. I understand that the stock is quoted daily on the Dublin Stock Exchange, and that during 1900 the number of transfers in the books of the Bank of Ireland was 1,767.