THE SECRETARY FOR SCOTLAND (Lord BALFOUR)
, in moving the Second Reading of this Bill, explained that the Bill proposed to amend the Act of 1887, which gave power to trustees of landed estates to reduce agricultural or pastoral rents if in their judgment it was for the interests of the estate to do so. But that Act gave no power to trustees to reduce mineral rents or royalties. The object of the Bill, therefore, was to place trustees in estates which produced minerals to reduce the mineral rents or royalties, in the same manner as regarded agricultural rents, if they were of opinion such reduction should be made. It had been brought to the knowledge of the Government that there were some estates in the west of Scotland upon which the mineral royalties, which were fixed when the prices for minerals were high, were now so high as to interfere with the mineral works, and consequently men were liable to be thrown out of employment, and industry to suffer. The simple object of this Measure, therefore, was to give the same power to trustees of mineral estates which trustees of agriculture and pastoral estates now enjoyed.
Read 2a (according to Order); and committed to a Committee of the Whole House on Thursday next.