HC Deb 13 August 1907 vol 180 cc1066-7

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury if he will state in what way the payment of part of his annuity in Guaranteed Land Stock, by a purchaser under the Purchase of Land (Ireland) Act, 1891, would be unfair to other purchasers who did not choose to avail themselves of this mode of payment; who is, or are, the person or persons whose duty it is to make the rules, under Section 2 of the Act of 1891, to enable payments to be made in Guaranteed Land Stock; and is the £13,900,000 of existing Guaranteed Land Stock only very little, and how much, less than the total outstanding advances under the Act of 1891.


(i). The Sinking Fund instalments payable under the Act of 1891 have to-be accumulated by the National Debt Commissioners until such time as the amount so accumulated will redeem the original advance in Guaranteed Land Stock. The National Debt Commissioners apply all receipts on the accumulation account to the purchase of Guaranteed Land Stock at the prices obtaining from time to time, and when the Stock is below par the Stock credited to the tenant purchasers is in excess of the cash invested, and the benefit of such purchases accrues to the tenant purchasers as a whole, the period for which the annuity is payable being reduced accordingly. Owing to the large number of purchasers under the Act, about 46,000, the only practicable way of accumulating the Sinking Fund is to deal with the payments as a whole so that any advantage arising from the Stock being procurable below par may be equitably distributed. If one section of the tenant purchasers were to pay their instalments in Stock the progress of the accumulation would be retarded by the action of that section of tenant purchasers, whereas they would share equally with the rest in the benefit arising from payments in cash although they would have contributed nothing to produce that benefit, and those who paid in cash would suffer to a corresponding extent, (ii.) It is, of course, the Treasury who were given power to make a rule under the section referred to. (iii.) The existing Guaranteed Land Stock at 31st March last was £12,741,000, which amount has to be redeemed by the accumulation of the Sinking Fund instalments. Up to the same date the accumulation account had acquired £966,000 Stock, but of the remaining £11,775,000 only a small proportion was in the hands of the public.