HL Deb 18 July 1890 vol 347 cc193-5

Order of the Day for the Second Reading, read.


In moving the Second Reading of this Bill I shall trouble your Lordships with very few remarks. The 2nd clause is the principal clause in the Bill, and it has reference to any surplus which may arise from the free grant from Government. A surplus may arise in two ways, either through indifference or by design. It may arise through a contract being taken for a smaller amount than the Board of Works may have estimated. That has been the case in reference to railways which have been partly guaranteed, notably one railway in the County Leitrim, in which the Railway Company were able to construct their line within the amount estimated by their own contractors, and £10,000 under the capital expenditure estimated by the Board of Works. Therefore, in that case undoubtedly a surplus would have arisen. Then, again, it may arise by design. It may arise through the Treasury deliberately arranging that in certain cases a surplus shall be at the disposal of certain Railway Companies; for instance, arranging to subsidise, as it were, its working expenses. At the present moment these light railways running through congested districts are all upon the same footing. If this Bill were to become law, the Treasury would be able to judge between one and another as to which it would be the more desirable to assist in the matter of working expenses. My Lords, there are, I believe, technical difficulties in the way of this Bill, so that, practically, it cannot be read a second time. It is a Money Bill, and therefore, I believe, cannot be read a second time in your Lordships' House without having passed the House of Commons; but I wish to point out to the Government the advantages which, it seems to me, would arise if this Bill were passed. I should mention that in Clause 6 there is a printer's error in the drafting: it should read, "in case the limited owner of any property or land," instead of "absolute owner." That would enable limited owners to give free grants in these cases. That would be a reasonable and proper thing to do; of course, it would not be compulsory, and I do not think Trustees of an estate could reasonably object to a limited owner giving free grants of lands where there was a free grant on the part of the nation towards the construction of railways through his property. Again, therefore, from that point of view it seems to me desirable.

Moved, "That the Bill be now read 2a"—(The Earl of Leitrim.)


My noble Friend has already pointed out the technical difficulty which exists with regard to this Bill, namely, that it is a Bill almost entirely proposing to deal with the surplus monies that may be derived from a free grant made by Parliament. I need hardly remind your Lordships that such free grant will be made under the authority of the other House, and, therefore, it is impossible that the noble Lord should be able to pass through your Lordships' House a Bill proposing to deal with a surplus before the surplus has arisen. Under those circumstances, though I was prepared to point out to my noble Friend various objections which we entertain to the Bill, it is hardly necessary for me to do so; and I would ask him not to press it, as he himself seems to see the objection.

Motion (by leave of the House) withdrawn: Then Bill (by leave of the House) withdrawn.