HC Deb 17 June 1907 vol 176 cc128-9
MR. HAROLD COX (Preston)

To ask the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies what is the indebtedness of the Uganda Railway on account of the sums borrowed upon the credit of the United Kingdom; at what rate of interest those borrowings were made, whether any portion of that interest has ever been paid out of the earnings of the railway; if not, what would be the addition to the indebtedness. of the railway up to 31st March, 1907, if compound interest had been charged upon all interest not paid out of the earnings of the railway; what would be the sum due this year from the railway by way of interest upon its total indebtedness; and how much of that sum he hopes to be able to pay to the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

(Answered by Mr. Churchill.) The total sum borrowed for the construction of the Uganda Railway is £5,502,592, of which £2,466,000 was borrowed at 2??? per cent interest per annum and the balance at 3 per cent. As the hon. Member was informed on the 28th of February, the debt is being repaid by means of annuities of which the last payment will fall due on the 15th of November, 1925, but no portion of the payments of principal and interest in connection with these annuities has been drawn from the railway. If no part of the principal sums had been paid off, and the interest had been allowed to accumulate, the additional debt in respect of arrears of interest would have amounted to about £1,177,000 on the 31st of March, 1907, and the interest due this year on the whole debt would have been £192,683. The revenue of the railway is merged in the general revenue of the Protectorate, and as that revenue requires a considerable grant from the Exchequer in order to balance the expenditure, there is at present no prospect of meeting the charges on the debt out of such revenue.