HC Deb 15 July 1910 vol 19 cc820-1

Whereas it is expedient that the principal of the several local loans specified in the Schedule of this Act should, to the extent specified in the last column of that Schedule, not be reckoned as assets of the local loans fund established under the National Debt and Local Loans Act, 1887; therefore, the principal of the said loans shall to that extent be written off from the assets of the local loans fund, and the provisions of Section 15 of the said Act shall, so far as applicable, apply thereto.


I would like to call the attention of the Committee to what is proposed under this Clause. Although the rubric phrases it in somewhat stately terms, virtually the object appears to be to settle certain bad debts by writing them off. Surely that hardly supports the contention of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury as to the constant exercise of discretion on the part of the Public Works Loan Commissioners. I wish to call attention to the fact that a large amount of indebtedness may be written off by the method indicated in the Schedule to the Bill. I observe that all the names of these insolvent debtors are Irish. Is this the sort of security we have for the large advances which we have made and for which we have pledged British credit? I observe that one of the names is Thomas Kelly, Pollanagh, Kiltimagh, county Mayo, whose loan of £25 is to be written off except 14s. Is this to be taken as the amount which we are to be repaid in respect of the advances made to small proprietors in Ireland? If that is the case on a large scale, in spite of the discretion exercised by the Commissioners, it would appear that we are indulging a vain hope if we expect that the money will be repaid. How far is this to go? Is this to be taken as an indication of the general amount of solvency among these creditors?


If the hon. Gentleman will turn to Parliamentary Paper 194 he will find full particulars of all these debts set out at length. I do not think I need weary the Committee by stating them now.

Clause 3 added to the Bill.

Clauses 4, 5, and 6, and the Schedule added to the Bill.

Bill reported without Amendment.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read the third time."

Question put, and agreed to; Bill read the third time, and passed.