HC Deb 27 March 1907 vol 171 c1770

To ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware that both landlords and tenants in Ireland have suffered loss by reason of the delay which is taking place in dealing with properties under The Land Purchase Act, 1903, landlords by reason of their having to pay in full all interest and charges on mortgages, while they receive no interest on the bonus, and tenants by reason of their having to pay interest until the completion of the sale; and whether he will, at an early date, make such alterations in the administrative machinery as to cause these applications to be dealt with with greater expedition.

(Answered by Mr. Birrell.) The total advances applied for amount to £47,193,803. Of this amount the sum of £16,320,422 has already been advanced, and the Commissioners have themselves entered into agreements for purchase up to the sum of £635,373. There is at present a sum of £261,031 available for further advances, and it is expected that this amount will be advanced by the end of this month. As I have already stated, further issues of stock will be made from time to time as necessity arises. The sum of £28,500,000 represents the advances applied for and not yet made in cases of direct sale by landlord to tenant. The losses referred to in the Question by landlords in having to pay interest on charges pending completion of sale, and by tenants in having to pay interest instead of instalments, are unavoidable unless £30,000,000 of stock were immediately floated and the Estates Commissioners' staff enormously increased, both of which conditions are impracticable. It is to be remembered that landlords and tenants when entering into agreements were aware that money would not be available for some years to come. The question of the amount of money to be provided for land purchase in the coming financial year is now engaging serious attention. The Goverment have every desire that land purchase should be accelerated as much as possible.