§ SIR HOWARD VINCENT (Sheffield, Central)
To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he can state what was the total market value of the stock of the railways under the control of the Board of Trade upon 1st August, 1905, and the same day in 1907; and what was the average dividend paid on the ordinary stock of the railways of the United Kingdom for the first half-year in 1905 and 1907, respectively.
(Answered by Mr. Lloyd-George.) I have no official information as to the market value of all the railway stocks of the United Kingdom, and to obtain such particulars would entail a very elaborate and difficult inquiry. As regards the second part of the Question, complete half-yearly accounts for all the railways are not yet available for the first half-year of 1907, the accounts of the Scottish companies in particular not having been yet received at the Board of Trade. I have, however, had the accounts of twenty-four of the principal English, 382 Welsh, and Irish companies examined, whose ordinary capital amounts to about three-quarters of the ordinary capital of the railways of the United Kingdom, and I find that the average dividend on such capital amounted to 3.22 per cent. for the first half of 1907 as against 2.99 per cent. for the first half of 1905.