asked the First Lord of the Treasury, What is the present amount of the unappropriated ba- lance of the proceeds from the disendowrnent of the Irish Church, and who has the control of it?
I am not surprised that my hon. Friend the Member for St. Ives has given Notice of this Question, for I know it is a question which is in many mouths. The point is, to ascertain the present amount of the unappropriated balance of the proceeds from the disendowment of the Irish Church and who has the control of it. Now, I am sorry to say that there is no balance, or, rather, no unappropriated balance of the proceeds from the disendowment of the Irish Church. The account is the other way, and the items are so important and interesting that I will take this opportunity of stating them to the House. Unfortunately, the debt due on the part of the Commissioners amounts to no less than £9,700,000. Of this £8,400,000 is owing to the Commissioners for the reduction of the National Debt, and £1,800,000 is due to the Representative Church Body. After the Notice of inquiry was given by my hon. Friend, I asked for some information in order that, having learnt this was the state of the unappropriated balance. I might ascertain what would be the future result of all these proceedings. I am told it is estimated that this debt of £9,700,000 with interest, the annual charge in respect of which is at present £240,000, will be paid off in about 17 years, and when that time shall have arrived and the liabilities of the Commission shall have been discharged, it is calculated that the capitalized value of the Terminable Annuities which will then be outstanding, will amount to about £5,000,000 sterling. This last-mentioned sum when realized will constitute the surplus to be disposed of by Parliament.