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Questions And Answers Circulated With The Votes

Volume 180: debated on Tuesday 13 August 1907

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Inspectors Of Evicted Farms On The T W Sands Estate

To ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether he can state if the evicted farms on the T. W. Sands estate, at Knockanure, North Kerry, have been inspected by the Estates Commissioners; whether the landlord has promised to reinstate the evicted tenants; and, if so, what is the result of the inspection and promised reinstatement.

( Answered by Mr. Birrell.) The Estates Commissioners have had the evicted farms inspected and the landlord has intimated that he is willing to sell the lands to the Commissioners, with a view to the reinstatement of the evicted tenants. As soon as the necessary legal requirements have been satisfied the Commissioners will proceed with the purchase.

Charitable Institutions And Investments Of Trust Funds

To ask Mr. Attorney-General whether his attention has been called to powers given to certain charitable institutions under Royal Charters of Incorporation enabling the Governors of such institutions to invest moneys in securities other than those authorised by the Trustee Acts; and whether he proposes to take any steps to test the validity of such powers.

( Answered by Sir John Walton.) I understand that investment clauses in draft charters are always closely scrutinised, and where exceptional powers are sought inquiries are made with a view, unless special reasons exist, to a restriction to trustee securities. In some cases, where old and well-established bodies receive charters the powers which governing bodies have possessed and exercised in the past to the advantage of the institutions have not been interfered with, but in most cases there is no special provision as to investments when it is presumed that only trustee investments would be allowable. I am informed that in no case has attention been called or complaint made in reference to the matter referred to. The subject will, however, be considered.

Navy—Promotions To Engineer Commanders

To ask the Secretary to the Admiralty whether he is aware that the recent promotion of officers of the rank of engineer commander in His Majesty's Navy has not given satisfaction, a case having recently happened in which an officer has been superseded by one seven years his junior; and, in considering the promotion of two officers of equally meritorious service, will care be taken that due consideration is given to the claims of the officer who has had the longer service.

( Answered by Mr. Lambert.) The Answer to the first part of the hon. Member's Question is in the negative. As regards the second part, it has hitherto been and will continue to be the rule, in considering the promotion of officers with equally meritorious service, to give due weight to seniority.

Income Tax Assessments

To ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer whether earned income includes the duty assessed under Schedule A on a rectory or vicarage occupied by a clergyman of the Church of England, on teachers' houses occupied by teachers, and on houses occupied by persons in a similar situation, when such occupation is part of the emoluments of their office and which they cannot let without the consent of a superior.

( Answered by Mr. Asquith.) The Answer to the Question will depend in each case upon whether the annual value of the house forms part of the income, for Income Tax purposes, of the person to whom the use of it is granted. Where such is the case, the tax under Schedule A will be at the 9 d. rate, as the house is "property which is attached to or forms part of the emoluments of an office or employment of profit"; where, on the other hand, an employee is required to reside in a particular house as part of the duties of his office and for the purposes of that office, the value of such house has been held by the courts (Tennant v. Smith) not to form part of the income of the employee, for Income Tax purposes; and, in such cases, the Schedule A tax will be chargeable at the 1s. rate.

Duration Of Leases Of Land In The East African Protectorate

To ask the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether the duration of leases of land in the East Africa Protectorate I has recently been reduced from ninety-nine to twenty-one years; and, if so, what is the reason for such reduction.

( Answered by Mr. Churchill) The reason for the reduction was that it was not thought desirable to tie up large tracts of land for such a long period as ninety-nine years at a nominal rent for pastural purposes, which do not involve much expenditure for development by the lessee, but the Secretary of State will further consider the matter in the light I of the recommendations which may be made by Mr. Macdonald, the newly appointed Commissioner of Agriculture.

Concessions In The British East African Protectorate

To ask the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether, in sanctioning the grant to companies of land, mining, or railway concessions in the British Protectorates in Africa, the Secretary of State exercises powers similar to those reserved by the Egyptian Government in regard to the terms of flotation of such companies, or if not, what conditions are imposed as an essential preliminary to such grants.

( Answered by Mr. Churchill.) The Secretary of State is not aware of the exact nature of the powers reserved by the Egyptian Government in such cases, but various conditions, differing of course according to the special circumstances of each case, are attached to grants of this kind with a view to securing genuine development and providing as far as possible against mere company promotion. He will ascertain what is the practice of the Egyptian Government, and if any additional safeguards of practical value are suggested by it, will be glad to adopt them, as far as possible.

Railway From Forests Of Kenia To The Uganda Railway

To ask the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether any decision has yet been come to as to the construction of a railway connecting the forests of Kenia with the Uganda Railway.

( Answered by Mr. Churchill.) No, Sir; the matter is still under consideration.

Reorganisation Of The Exchequer And Audit Department Staff

To ask the Secretary to the Treasury whether, seeing that on the recent reorganisation of the Exchequer and Audit Department several Second Division clerks with longer service than Messrs. Dixon and Robinson were sent back to the Civil Service Commission as being redundant, he will explain why Messrs. Dixon and Robinson were not similarly sent back as being redundant.

( Answered by Mr. Runciman.) I beg to refer the hon. Member to my reply of the 6th instant,† which explains the position of these two officers. It will be apparent that no question as to their being redundant arises.

Chancery Suitors' Fund

To ask the Secretary to the Treasury whether he will explain the grounds on which the Comptroller and

† See (4) Debates, clxxix., 1810–1.
Auditor-General, in accordance with the directions of the Treasury and Lord Chancellor, keeps duplicate records of the Chancery Suitors' Fund Account (England); why the duties of the Comptroller and Auditor-General embrace the keeping of such duplicate records in addition to those of audit, how many clerks are at present employed on the Chancery Suitors' Fund in the Audit Office, and what is the present annual approximate cost; and, apart from duplication of work, what would be the approximate number of men required and the approximate annual cost if the duties of the Comptroller and Auditor-General on this work were confined to audit alone.

( Answered by Mr. Runciman.) The number of clerks employed in the Exchequer and Audit Department on the Chancery Suitors' Fund is one superintending officer, five or six examiners,* five abstractors, and one boy clerk, at an annual cost of about £2,260. If the duplicate ledgers were abolished the five abstractors could be dispensed with at an annual saving of about £500. The question of the retention of the duplicate ledgers is at the present time under consideration.

Transfer Of Mr Harty From Kinsale To Burnham

To ask the Secretary to the Treasury whether he will explain the reason why Mr. Harty, now principal coast officer of Customs at Burnham, was removed from Kinsale; whether he will state the circumstances under which a telegram was sent to his successor, telling him not to take up the appointment; what were Mr. Harty's annual emoluments in Kinsale and in the now port to which he was transferred from there; whether £41 10s. naval reserve fees were due to him when he left Kinsale; and, if so, will he explain why only £24 of this amount was paid to him.

( Answered by Mr. Runciman.) This officer's removal took place twelve years ago. All the circumstances were fully investigated and the decision confirmed by the Treasury at the time, and I am not prepared to re-open the matter now.

Games In Royal Parks

To ask the First Commissioner

*One examiner is engaged on this duty for half his time.
of Works, whether his attention has been drawn to the action of a committee of the London County Council with regard to games in the London parks; and whether he could see his way to allowing some portions of the royal parks being used for the purposes of games.

( Answered by Mr. Harcourt): I am not at present able to see my way to devote further accommodation for the playing of games in the royal parks. Facilities are now given for games organised under the education committee of the London County Council and will continue to be so afforded so far as space permits.

Blessington Steam Tram—Hours Of Labour Of Staff

To ask the President of the Board of Trade whether his attention has been called to the hours of duty worked by the men on the Blessington steam tram; and whether he will make inquiries into the matter.

( Answered by Mr. Kearley.) The attention of the Board of Trade has been called to this matter, and they are in communication with the company.

Facilities For Traders At Giggleswick And Settle Goods Stations

To ask the President of the Board of Trade whether he has communicated with the Midland Railway Company regarding the provision of reasonable facilities for traders at the goods stations of Giggleswick and of Settle; and, if so, what is the nature of the Midland Railway Company's reply.

( Answered by Mr. Kearley.) The Board of Trade have communicated with the Midland Railway Company, but have not yet received their reply. So soon as an answer is received I will cause my hon. friend to be informed of its nature.

Lancashire And Yorkshire Railway Com- Pany And The Shipping Of Coal At Goole

To ask the President of the Board of Trade whether his notice has been called to the fact that the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company, who recently obtained from Parliament power to work steam vessels carrying cargo between the Port of Goole and various Continental ports, have given instructions that coal traffic destined for their own steamers is to have priority in berthing and loading facilities over coal traffic carried by steamship owners other than themselves, and destined for both English and Continental ports, by the allocation to such traffic destined for the railway company's steamers of one of the coal-loading berths at Goole; and whether the Board of Trade are prepared to take steps to prevent the railway company from persisting in a course seriously detrimental to the interests of other shipowners and traders using the port of Goole.

( Answered by Mr. Kearley.) I understand that the docks at Goole are owned by the Aire and Calder Navigation Company, but that there is a hoist at the docks belonging to the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company. A question has arisen between the railway company and other steamship owners as to the use of this hoist, and the matter is now before the Court of the Railway and Canal Commission.

Kingsbridge Workhouse Diet

To ask the President of the Local Government Board whether, upon further consideration, he finds it possible to accede to the request of the Kingsbridge Board of Guardians that they should be allowed to serve the inmates of the Kingsbridge workhouse with a more generous diet.

( Answered by Mr. John Burns.) The proposal of the guardians would involve a departure from the Workhouse Regulation (Dietaries and Accounts) Order, 1900, and the Local Government Board do not consider it desirable to sanction departures from the Order in the case of individual unions, as one of the objects of the Board in issuing it was to obviate the necessity for such sanction. I should, therefore, be reluctant to deal exceptionally with this particular case, but the points to which the guardians have drawn attention have been noted with a view to consideration in the event of a revised Order being issued.

New Regulations Under The Vaccination Bill, 1907

To ask the President of the Local Government Board whether, in the event of the Vaccination Bill, 1907, passing into law, he will at once direct that revised notices to be given by registrars of births to persons registering the births of children containing the form of statutory declaration set out in the Schedule to the Bill, shall be supplied to registrars of births in the month of September so as to enable persons desirous of taking advantage of the Act in January, 1908, to be provided with the necessary forms in respect of children born within four months of the passing of the Act.

( Answered by Mr. John Burns.) I am aware that a new form of notice by registrars to persons registering the birth of children will be necessary in the event of the passing of the Bill. I am considering how far it may be practicable to meet the point suggested by my hon. friend.

Ingleton Angling Association Fishing Licence

To ask the hon. Member for South Somerset, as representing the President of the Board of Agriculture, whether he is aware that the Lune, Wyre, Keer, and Cocker Fishery Conservators have again refused an application from the Ingleton Angling Association for a general licence; whether this is a refusal to comply with the Acts which govern the constitution of the Conservators' Board; and what steps, legal proceedings or other, it is proposed to take in order to secure obedience to those Acts.

( Answered by Sir Edward Strachey.) The Answer to the first part of my hon. friend's Question is in the affirmative. The Acts require the Conservators to grant a general licence on payment of such sum as the Conservators may determine, with the sanction of the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries, but I am advised that the Board are not in a position to compel the Conservators to grant a licence, and it rests with the Association to test the legality of their refusal. I think, however, that the difficulty might be met without resort to legal remedies, and we shall be glad to use our friendly offices to bring about a satisfactory settlement.

Increase Of Pay Of Dundee Police

To ask the Secretary for Scotland if he could state the reason of the delay in the assent of the Scottish Office being given to the resolution of the Dundee City Council of last May granting the policemen of that city an advance of 1s. 9d. per head per week; and if he will state when an affirmative answer will be forwarded.

( Answered by Mr Sinclair.) The proposals advanced by the Dundee City Council raised questions of some intricacy involving comparison with the rates of pay enjoyed by other police forces. A letter has been despatched intimating to what extent the alterations suggested have been approved.

Charts Of Loch Long

To ask the Secretary to the Admiralty if he can say what is approximately the proportion of inches to the mile on the largest scale chart which includes that part of Loch Long in which it is proposed to have the torpedo range.

( Answered by Mr. Lambert.) Half-an-inch to the mile.

Loch Long Torpedo Range

To ask the Secretary to the Admiralty, with reference to the proposed torpedo range in Loch Long, if he will say what will be the guaranteed minimum widths of the fairway navigable by the passenger steamers on Loch Long between the eastern side of the proposed torpedo range and the eastern side of the Loch at Ardmay Point, at Morlaggan, and at the target end of the range, respectively.

( Answered by Mr. Lambert.) These facts will all be brought out and discussed at the meeting on the 21st August. The proposal in the draft by-laws, Paragraph 8, is that the officer in charge of the range shall take care not to discharge a torpedo when a vessel or boat is seen to be about to cross the limits of the range area described in By-law 1.

Provision Of Bibles For Non-Provided Schools In Yorkshire

To ask the President of the Board of Education whether the Board have received a complaint from the managers of a non-provided school that their request for the provision of Bibles for use in the school has not been complied with by the local education authority of the West Riding of Yorkshire.

( Answered by Mr. McKenna.) Yes, Sir, the complaint referred to was received yesterday.

Rebuilding Of Irish National Schools

To ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether, in a case where a new national school is built to replace an old one and in a more convenient and accessible place, the Treasury regulations allow of building a larger school than the old one, to meet the expected greater attendance; what is the minimum space per head allowed by the regulations; have the Commissioners of National Education any power to vary or depart from the regulations; and is the space per head capacity of new schools in all eases to be rigidly calculated on the average attendance at the old school.

( Answered by Mr. Birrell.) In the case supposed in the Question, the accommodation to be provided in the new building is taken as the mean between the average number on the rolls and the average attendance at the old school during the preceding year. The minimum floor space for which provision must be made is ten square feet for each unit of the number for which accommodation is to be provided, but in schools to accommodate less that thirty-five pupils eleven square feet per unit is allowed. The Commissioners of National Education have no power to vary or depart from the regulations.

Pension Of John Thomson, Late Royal Artillery

To ask the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that pensioner John Thomson, late No. 3,895, corporal Royal Artillery, although discharged from the Army when a corporal has only received a private's pension; and whether, in view of the present ill health and circumstances of John Thomson, he will take steps to secure for him the increased pension due to a corporal who retires with good character.

( Answered by Mr. Secretary Haldane.) As this man on his discharge in 1882, after twenty-one years service, had not served for three years as a corporal, he was only eligible for the pension of a private, and there is no regulation under which the pension can be increased. He was not pensioned for disability, and he had no war service.