HC Deb 07 July 1932 vol 268 cc610-1

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury what was the total amount of the National Debt for which the Irish Free State agreed to become responsible in 1921; how much of this sum has since been remitted by Great Britain; and what has been the total cost of that remission, in interest and sinking fund, to the British taxpayer?


No figure for the Irish Free State liability under Article 5 of the Treaty had been agreed by both parties before the Irish Free State was released from that liability under the Boundary Agreement of 1925. The British Govern- ment's preliminary claim had been that the Irish Free State should assume a capital liability in respect of the public debt and War pensions of £130,000,000, to which was to be added accrued interest amounting to £27,000,000. These figures were subject to any just claims on the part of the Irish Free State by way of set-off or counterclaim. In default of agreement there was to be arbitration by one or more independent persons being citizens of the British Empire. It is thus not possible to say what has been the cost to the taxpayer of the release of the Irish Free State from its original liabilities.


Is not that remission upon our part a greater act of generosity than has been performed by any other creditor country?

The following statement shows the amounts provided on the Votes of the Ministry and other Departments in connection with the administration of the Agricultural Wages (Regulation) Act, 1924, together with the actual expenditure in this connection, in each year from the passing of the Act to 31st March, 1932.
Year. Vote. Expenditure. More than granted. Less than granted.
£ £ £ £
1924 (part year only) 19,070 17,409 1,661
1925 47,493 36,828 10,665
1926 41,561 34,998 6,563
1927 37,545 36,233 1,312
1928 36,870 35,669 1,201
1929 36,834 40,719 3,885
1930 42,458 43,933 1,475
1931 42,906 41,959(Approx.) 947
Note.—Section 11 of the Act prescribes £70,000 as the limit of the annual expenditure which may be incurred. The figures given in the expenditure column above represent the total expenditure incurred under the Act, and are inclusive of overhead charges, e.g., rent, rates, furniture, fuel, light, repairs, postages, stationery, printing, washing, carriage, telegrams and telephones, superannuation, etc.