§ Mr. HAYDEN
asked the Secretary to the Treasury what sum represents the total amount allocated by the Road Board for expenditure in Ireland up to the 31st March, 1913; what amount per annum since inception of the funds does this represent; what sum exclusive of loans represents the total amounts actually granted and accepted out of this allocation; what is the minimum sum the Road Board deem necessary to cover the contingency of so-called indicated Grants being taken up before the end of the financial year, the 31st March, 1913; what sum represents the maximum amount which, not having been utilised for Grants nor being reserved for indicated Grants, is, in effect, unpledged, and therefore open to application in Ireland up to the 31st March, 1913; how many Irish 997W county or county borough councils have refused Grants in whole or part on the ground that they cannot see their way to treat on the Road Board's terms; what is the aggregate of indicated Grants which have been so refused; if a number of county and county borough councils have refused Grants, has the Board invited, or does it propose to invite, other county and county borough councils to participate in the surplus accrued thereby; in what Irish counties has the Board declined to contribute half the cost of the proposed steam-rolling work, and in what counties has the Board proposed to contribute, or does contribute, more than half that cost; in what manner does the Board deal with moneys received from county and county borough councils in repayment of loans, and is the aggregate of repayments placed for redistribution to the reedit of that part of the United Kingdom from whose allocation the money was made; and will the Board (cœteris paribus) give special terms in cases where good stone is particularly difficult to obtain?
§ Mr. MASTERMAN
The following statement shows the payments and commitments of the Road Board in regard to Irish Grants:—
Grants made £79,792 Additional Grants indicated 60,284 £140,076 Amount requisitioned by high way authorities in respect of work done and actually paid under Grants £37,572
The Board have no means of estimating what amount of the indicated Grants will be taken up before 31st March, 1913, but they have no doubt that the whole of the indicated Grants will be taken up as soon as the highway authorities concerned have completed the preparation of their preliminary arrangements for proceeding with the works towards which Grants have been indicated. The Board do not insist upon indicated Grants being taken up within the limits of the financial year, but are prepared to make the Grants indicated as soon as the highway authority is ready to proceed with the work. The Road Board are prepared to make Grants to highway authorities in Ireland to an aggregate amount of £100,000 in addition to the amount of £140,000 already indicated, and they are now engaged in selecting and obtaining particulars of the works of road improvement in respect of which applica- 998W tions for Grants out of the above-mentioned sum will be entertained.
The allocation of £240,000 to Ireland works out at £80,000 per annum for three years (approximately) since inception of the fund to 31st March, 1913. No Irish county or county borough has refused a Grant on account of its terms, either in whole or part, except the county of Kildare, to whom a Grant of £1,045 towards a net improvement cost of £l,393. was offered and the county replied to the Board that all the district councils affected, except one, "disapproved of the proposals for steam rolling on the terms offered." The Board have not in any case refused to make a Grant on the ground that a county council was not prepared to spend more than half the total cost. As regards contributions exceeding half the cost of proposed work, the Board have in two counties indicated their willingness to make special Grants, and plans and specifications are being prepared for the proposed work in these counties, namely: In county Kerry work is being prepared to an aggregate of about £18,000 towards which the Board are to contribute 90 per cent., and in county Mayo work is being prepared to an aggregate amount not yet definitely settled, towards which the Board are to contribute 90 per cent. In both these cases the Board considered that it was in the public interest that the work should be proceeded with although the counties concerned were not able to contribute more than a nominal percentage. The question of dealing with moneys received from county and county borough councils in repayment of loans has not arisen for consideration as no such repayments have been made or become due. The Board are not prepared to pledge themselves to give special treatment in all cases where good stone is particularly difficult to obtain. They consider every application on its' merits and take into account all the circumstances relating to each case.