§ Sir A. MARKHAM
asked the Prime Minister whether he will state what is the total amount, either at present or up to a recent date, of the fund arising from the capture and condemnation of prizes taken at sea; and whether this fund has been paid, as public money, under the Exchequer and Audit Act, 1866, into the Exchequer; and, if not, in whose hands and under whose authority that fund now is.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
On 31st March, 1915, the Paymaster-General held on behalf of the Admiralty Division of the Supreme Court of Judicature in Prize a sum of £1,862,476 11s. 6d. Of this £577,676 9s. 6d. was net proceeds of vessels, freight, and cargo condemned; £1,282,107 4s. 5d. net proceeds of freight and cargo awaiting adjudication or release; and £2,692 17s. 7d. miscellaneous, mainly freights on detained vessels. The amount in the hands of the Paymaster-General on 23rd September, 1915, was £3,754,600 15s., but details of the composition of this balance are not yet available. The figures given above include all cases falling within the jurisdiction of the Prize Court in this country, whether captures of His Majesty's ships or seizures by Customs Officers. The ultimate destination of prize moneys is under consideration, and in the meantime it would not be 739W regular to pay them into the Exchequer. The moneys in question, as stated in the first part of the reply, are in the hands of the Paymaster-General, who deals with them in accordance with the directions of the proper officers of the Court.