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Supply—Civil Service Estimates

Volume 203: debated on Friday 22 July 1870

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SUPPLY— considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)

Motion made, and Question proposed,

"That a sum, not exceeding £4,072, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1871, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Department of the Queen's and Lord Treasurer's Remembrancer in the Exchequer, Scotland, of certain Officers in Scotland, and other Charges formerly paid from the Hereditary Revenue."

said, he would move the omission of the item of £217 13s. for providing Queen's Plates. Horse-racing led to betting and gambling, against which the House should set its face.

Motion made, and Question proposed,

"That the Item of £217 13s. for Queen's Plates, be omitted from the proposed Vote."—(Mr. Alderman Lusk.)

said, he should vote for the reduction of the Vote, for there was no doubt that the system of betting upon horse-racing was doing immense mischief in this country.

said, he was told last year that no Queen's Plates were voted in England. Why, then, should money be voted to Scotland and Ireland to provide them?

said, he agreed that the three kingdoms should be put on a footing of equality in this respect, and he should quite approve of the item being struck out of the Vote if the same measure of justice were applied to Ireland. He wished to know whether Government had taken into consideration the recommendations of the Department Commission with regard to this class of expenditure in Scotland?

said, he was opposed to any Vote for horse-racing. The money was originally given to improve the breed of horses; but the modern system of horse-racing had had a contrary effect.

said, he never saw in the newspapers any betting quotations for the races to which objection had been made, and these races tended to improve the cultivation of stamina and endurance in horses. There was now a great desire to revert to long races, and he hoped the efforts of the turf reformers would be successful. At the present moment it would be better not to do away with those Plates, for he did not think equality would be promoted by striking out the Queen's Plates for Scotland and Ireland as long as the Queen's Plates for England were paid for out of the Civil List.

said, he was unable to agree entirely with either side on this question. He did not think these Plates encouraged gambling, and he certainly did not think they could do much to improve the breed of horses in the country. He was not particularly enamoured of this item, and the main reason for retaining it was its antiquity, these Plates having come upon the Estimates from the Hereditary Revenue, and having been given by the Crown or Parliament consecutively, the Edinburgh Plate since 1726, the Caledonia Hunt Plate since 1788, and the Archers' Plate since 1677. What the Government were anxious to do, however, was to collect Scotch opinion on the subject, and be guided mainly by it.

said, that for the last few years the opinion of the Scotch Members had been against the grant. If the Government was to be guided on that occasion by the opinions of Scotch Members alone, they declined the grant altogether.

said, he thought there was a clear balance of Scotch opinion against the Vote, and he would, therefore, withdraw it.

begged to say that the balance of Irish opinion was decidedly in favour of the Vote.

Question put, and agreed to.

Original Question, as amended, put, and agreed to.

(1.) £3,854 7 s., to complete the sum for Exchequer and other Offices, Scotland.

(2.) £9,312, to complete the sum for Fishery Board, Scotland.

said, he would beg again to ask the Government whether they meant to deal with these Boards in accordance with the recommendations of the departmental Commission that had made its Report some time since?

said, the Government were waiting to consider the Report which had just been, or must soon be, presented by the Committee on the Poor Law Board, when all these subjects would be considered together.

said, he thought the Vote of £3,000 for the repair and enlargement of the Fishery Harbours should be augmented.

said, he disapproved of this Board altogether. There was no more reason for the Government interfering with the fishery trade than there was for interfering with the cotton trade.

Vote agreed to.

(3.) £4,867, to complete the sum for General Register Office, Scotland.

Resolutions to be reported.

Motion made, and Question proposed,

"That a sum, not exceeding £4,046, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1871, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Board of Lunacy in Scotland."

said, that he had some time since given Notice that he should move to reduce the Vote by £1,000, on the ground that the Government had taken on itself to fill up a vacancy in the Department without waiting for the Report of the Committee on the Scotch Poor Law, and the non-reporting of which his hon. Friend now alleged as a Reason why Her Majesty's Government had not dealt with this departmental report. It was very extraordinary that one Department of the Government should act in defiance of the recommendation of another Department, without waiting for the Report of the Committee upstairs; and that another Department of Her Majesty's Government should state here as a reason for not taking into consideration the recommendation of their own Commission, the fact that the Committee upstairs had not yet reported. He should not, however, press his Motion; but early next Session, when the Report of the Committee had been in the hands of Members sufficiently long to enable them to carefully consider the evidence, he should call attention to the whole subject, and he thought he should be able to show that it would be expedient to amalgamate this Board with the Board of Supervision. He would not press the subject further, because time would not allow; but when he came to lay before the House the manner in which Scotch Members had been treated by the Government in that House, and by a Cabinet Minister in "another place," and when they reflected on the manner in which Scotch Business had been treated that Session, he thought that he should be able to show strong arguments against similar treatment in the future.

said, the Report of the Departmental Commission had satisfied the Treasury that the Scotch Boards were very well managed, and that there was no reason to make any great change.

House resumed.

Resolutions to be reported upon Monday next;

Committee also report Progress; to sit again this day.