§ 55. Mr. ROWLANDS
asked the Secretary to the Local Government Board whether his attention has been called to the increased expenditure of the Metropolitan Water Board; is he aware that the precepts of some local authorities for their share of the deficiency to the water fund, as compared with the previous years' represents an extra 1d. rate; and can he make any inquiry whether every reason- 30 able economy is being effected by the Metropolitan Water Board in the interest of the ratepayers?
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD (Mr. Hayes Fisher)
I am informed on inquiry that the deficiency in the revenue account of the Water Board for 1915–16, in respect of which precepts have recently been issued to the local authorities, is £129,280 in excess of the deficiency for the previous year, and that this is more than covered by the increases in wages, cost of coal, and interest on loans. This excess is equivalent to a rate of 1d. in the £ over the whole area liable to be charged. I understand that the business of the Water Board is now being carried on with sixty officers less than before the War, after taking into account the temporary assistants engaged owing to the War, but any saving on the salary of the staff is more than absorbed by the payments to officers who are on military service. I may add that the expenditure of the Water Board is kept under continuous review by the Local Government Board's auditor.