HL Deb 12 June 1934 vol 92 cc1043-8WA

asked His Majesty's Government—

  1. 1. What was the total capital liability of all statutory authorities (other than local authorities) which have monopolist powers over defined areas to supply water, gas, electricity and transport in Great Britain and Northern Ireland at March, 1931, 1932, 1933 and 1934?
  2. 1044
  3. 2. What was the total capital liability of the Exchequer at March 31, 1919, and at the latest date for which figures are available, and what was the total cost of the service of the debt between those dates?
  4. 3. What capital liabilities of the Exchequer accounted as nominal liabilities have since March 31, 1919, became actual liabilities, and what has been their cost to the Exchequer?
  5. 4. By what amount did the total nominal and actual capital liability of the Exchequer increase between March 31, 1931, and the latest date for which figures are available?
  6. 5. What was the total cost of the service of the debt of local authorities in England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland in the financial years 1930-1931, 1931-1932 and 1932-1933?


1. The following tables show so far as particulars are available the total capital liability of all statutory authorities (other than local authorities) supplying water, gas, electricity and transport for the years named. So far as Northern Ireland is concerned the matter is entirely within the responsibility of the Northern Ireland Government, and the information given under this head and under head 5 has been supplied by the courtesy of that Government:

(a) Water.

There are no complete returns made of the capital liabilities of statutory water undertakers (other than local authorities) but such information as is available indicates that the figure for England and Wales is about £30,000,000.

(b) Gas.

The following figures are of the capital of statutory gas companies for the years ended 31st December as figures to 31st March are not available. The particulars comprise share, etc., capital paid up together with loan capital (including debentures) issued:

Great Britain. Northern Ireland.
£ £
1930 122,742,206 8,100
1931 126,280,992 8,100
1932 131,506,114 7,800
1933 Not available 7,800

(c) Electricity.

The capital liability of authorised electricity undertakes in Great Britain

Companies (capital and loans raised) (figures to 31st December). Joint boards (net debt) (figures to 31st March). Joint electricity authorities (net debt) (figures to 31st March).
£ £ £
1930–31 120,415,274 2,673,557 4,036,983
1931–32 124,885,995 2,731,409 4,229,248
1932–33 131,997,572 2,849,864 6,041,649

The figures for companies (col. 1) are exclusive of capital raised for electricity and other purposes by companies operating joint undertakings (e.g. electricity and gas). The capital expenditure on the electricity sections of such joint undertakings was £4,278,117 at end of 1930; £4,307,930 at end of 1931, and £4,017,540 at end of 1932.

The Central Electricity Board, a statutory body which has constructed transmission lines for the purpose of coordinating generation and assisting the work of authorised electricity undertakers, hardly appears to be within the scope of the question. The amount of securities of the Board outstanding was, however,

At 31st December, 1930 15,980,417
At 31st December, 1931 18,943,091
At 31st December, 1932 35,806,683
At 31st December, 1933 43,739,548

The figures for Northern Ireland (including the Northern Ireland Electricity Board set up in 1931) are

31st December— Railways.(a) Tramway Companies (including trolley vehicles and omnibuses). London Passenger Transport Board. Total.
£ £ £ £
1930 1,205,680,000 19,516,000 1,225,196,000
1931 1,206,373,000 17,265,000 1,223,638,000
1932 1,213,578,000 17,326,000 1,230,904,000
1933 1,126,682,000(b) 11,655,000(c) 109,427,000 1,247,764,000
(a Includes the nominal capital in respect of ancillary businesses such as docks, canals, etc.
(b) Excludes the nominal capital of the Metropolitan and Underground Railways taken over by the London Passenger Transport Board on 1st July, 1933.
(c) Excludes the nominal capital of the London Tramways Companies whose undertakings were similarly taken over.

(other than local authorities) was as follows:—

31st December, 1930 93,484
31st December, 1931 65,240
31st December, 1932 359,421
31st December, 1933 772,005

(d) Transport.

There are no statutory authorities with monopolist powers of transport over defined areas in the sense in which water, gas or electricity undertakers have a monopoly of supply. All statutory transport authorities are subject to competition in some form or other, but the London Passenger Transport Board has been granted a monopoly of omnibus and motor coach services in a defined area. The following table shows the total nominal amounts of loan and share capital of the railway and tramway companies in Great Britain in so far as such capital ranks for interest or dividend as at 31st December in each year named and also the nominal amount of stock issued by the London Passenger Transport Board as at 31st December, 1933, the first year of the Board's existence. Complete figures in respect of harbours, docks, canals or steamboats owned by statutory authorities other than railway companies are not available.

The figures for Northern Ireland are—

Wholly in Northern Ireland (a). Partly in Northern Ireland. Tramways.
1930, 1931 and 1932 358,666 2,898,940 32,000 3,289,606
1933 358,666 2,898,940 25,000 3,282,606
(a) Exclusive of L.M. & S. (Northern Counties Committee) whose capital is merged in the general L.M.S. accounts.

2. The nominal amount of the deadweight debt at 31st March, 1919, was £7,434,949,429, and at 31st March, 1934, £7,822,330,278. The corresponding figures for other capital liabilities in respect of sums borrowed under various Acts were £46,101,013 and £208,064,507. The aggregate amount paid by the Exchequer in respect of the interest and management of the deadweight debt between the dates named was £4,560,558,742. The provision for interest on other capital liabilities which is met from various sources was over the same period £53,243,606.

3. Since 31st March, 1919, the following (net) sums have been paid in respect of contingent or nominal liabilities of the Exchequer including guaranteed loans, namely:

In respect of loans guaranteed under the Trade Facilities Acts 3,803,804
In respect of:
Friendly Societies Capital Deficiency 200,000
Naval Prize Act, 1928 2,075
Greek Loan Act, 1898 266,085

4. The nominal deadweight debt was on 31st March, 1931, £7,413,308,025 and on 31st March, 1934, £7,822,330,278, an increase of £409,021,653. Other capital liabilities increased during the same period by £38,473,471 from £169,591,036 to 2208,064,507. Details of the nominal or contingent liabilities of the Exchequer and of guaranteed loans will be found in the annual finance accounts. Of the payments referred to under head 3 of this reply the following took place in the period 31st March, 1931, to 31st March, 1934:


Trade Facilities Acts 3,032,111
Naval Prize Act, 1928 635
Greek Loan Act, 1898 266,085

5. Total loan charges of local authorities:

1930–31. 1931–32.
England and Wales 99,585,200 102,130,082
Scotland 11,710,535 12,028,085
Northern Ireland 1,547,389 1,591,257
Loan charges comprise interest on borrowed money, repayments of principal made otherwise than out of sinking funds, and payments to sinking funds. These loan charges were met to a large extent from sources other than rates and Government grants (e.g. revenue from trading undertakings, rents of houses, etc.). Particulars for the year 1932–33 are not yet available.

House adjourned at four minutes past eight o'clock.