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All-Red Pacific Cable

Volume 180: debated on Thursday 15 August 1907

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I beg to ask the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies what is the loss, if any, upon last year's working of the all-red Pacific Cable, and how much of that loss, if any, falls upon the taxpayers of this country.

The accounts of the Pacific Cable for the year 1906–7 have recently been published (Parliamentary Paper No. 250). These accounts are drawn, as required by the Act, to include among the working expenses of the cable the terminable annuity of £77,544 18s., which will repay the capital outlay on the cable in a term of fifty years. On this basis the accounts show a deficiency for the year of £54,923 12s. 2d., of which the portion payable by the taxpayers of the United Kingdom is £15,256 11s. 2d. If the cable were charged merelywith the interest payable on the borrowed capital, namely, £60,000 a year, instead of being charged with the annuity for repayment, the total deficiency would be reduced to £37,378 14s. 2d., and the British share would be reduced in proportion. It may be pointed out, also, that the working expenses include a sum of £33,000 carried to renewal account.