HC Deb 01 August 1912 vol 41 cc2486-8

2. Whereas it is expedient that the principal of the several local loans specified in the Schedule to 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 fifteen of the said Act shall, so far as applicable, apply thereto.

Question proposed, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."


I see that the parties who owe the money set forth in the first column of the Schedule are to be released of the sums set forth in the second column, I would like to ask how is it that all these gentlemen are Irishmen. There is not a single person or institution in England who is going to have a present of sixpence, whereas some gentleman in Scotland, the Eyemouth Harbour Trustees, are to get £200. All this money seems to be going to Ireland.


Irish Tories.


I have not been able to go into the question of the political faith of these gentlemen, but I think it is a curious thing to pass a Bill to make a present to twenty-seven different people in Ireland and not to give sixpence in the way of release to anybody in this country. I would like to know from the representative of the Government whether any people in England have applied for remissions of this description and have been refused. It would also be interesting to hear how it is that all these moneys are going to be given to the Irish Gentlemen who are named.


As I have already explained on the Second Reading, Clause 2 gives no remission at all to anyone. The debts which remain in the Schedule, if they are debts to the Crown or to public bodies, remain as debts to the Crown or public bodies; if they can be recovered they will be recovered. All that Clause 2 does is to take them out of the scope of the local loans fund, and they will be repaid next year out of the Consolidated Fund by a Vote given by Parliament. The only remission given is given by Clause 3, and the White Paper which has been issued supplies the fullest possible particulars in each case. It is quite a normal condition, which occurs year after year, and year after year it includes persons and authorities from all four nations.


It appears that there is a regular series of bad debts. Ireland apparently can make these bad debts with impunity, and there is not a single bad debt by England. May I call attention to what the White Papar says of one of these cases: "The borrower emigrated in 1886, leaving the land derelict and owing over £200 for rent," The Irish party—all praise to them—know the procedure of this House and how to extract the maximum advantages they are entitled to better than any section in the House of Commons. If they are able to get the money—


Not at all; it was never asked for.


You have had large amounts out of the Exchequer for the Irish landlords.


Not half as much as we are robbed of.


What I want to point out is this: that when poor Englishmen want to borrow money for the housing of the working classes we are told by the Commissioners that the security is not good enough, whereas Ireland can get all it wanted.

Clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Bill reported, without amendment; to be read the third time to-morrow (Friday).