HL Deb 06 July 1896 vol 42 cc747-9

The members of the Water Board shall be appointed as follows:—

*THE EARL OF DENBIGH moved an Amendment, the object of which was to entitle the Common Council of the City of London to have four representatives on the Water Board, instead of two as proposed in the Bill,


said he was sorry he could not accept the Amendment. It would involve a readjustment which he was unable to make, and the two Conservancy Boards had expressed indignation at the proposal.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.


moved, as an alternative Amendment, to add at the end of the clause the words— and the Chamberlain of the City of London as trustee of the sinking fund applicable to portions of the capitals of the metropolitan water companies. He asked the noble and learned Lord whether he could allow the addition of one more member to the Water Board, in the person of the Chamberlain of the City of London. That gentleman was the trustee of the sinking fund, which had been brought into existence two years ago, owing largely to the action of the Corporation. In 1886 the Water Companies asked for powers to raise money by borrowing at 4 per cent., which they intended to employ in matters that would return 7 per cent., leaving them a clear profit of 3 per cent., on the amount borrowed. The Corporation felt that if they assented to this proposal on the part of the companies, the burden would be cast upon the ratepayers of paying the companies a largely-increased price when the undertakings of those bodies came to be purchased. The result of the action of the Corporation was that a clause was inserted in the Bill giving the companies additional powers, but by which a portion of the margin of profit that would accrue to the companies was practically handed over to the Corporation. In consequence, the amount received by the Corporation under the clause to which he referred would be £20,000 this year, and would be £50,000 next year. The amount of invested capital now affected by the Sinking Fund clauses was £2,890,000, and eventually it would amount to a much larger sum. It was anticipated that before very long some £267,600 per annum would be paid into the coffers of the Corporation from the source he had indicated. The aggregate sum so received would ultimately go towards the purchase of the companies' undertakings. When the Sinking Fund was established, it was deemed expedient to appoint a trustee to take charge of it, and the Chamberlain of the City of London was accordingly appointed the trustee. He now asked the noble and learned Lord, in consideration of the fact that the Corporation had saved for the ratepayers this large sum by their action 10 years ago, to give the City exceptional treatment by appointing their Chamberlain an additional Member of the Water Board set up by the Bill. Inasmuch as the Chamberlain of the City would practically have the command of this very large sum, which was to be used for the purpose of buying out the Water Companies he had a right to a seat on the Board, which would have the control of the undertaking. He hoped that the noble and learned Lord would see his way to adopting the Amendment which he had moved.


said that he was sorry he had again to refuse to accept an Amendment moved by the noble Lord. The present Amendment had certainly taken him by surprise, and if adopted it would entirely upset the arrangement that had been entered into under which the Board was to be a representative body. In these circumstances he could not assent to the noble Lord's proposals that an official of the Corporation of London should be made a member of the Board.


said that in the circumstances he begged leave to withdraw his Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn. Clause 5,—