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Labourers (Ireland) Acts

Volume 52: debated on Thursday 24 April 1913

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13.

asked what will be the amount of the further loan promised at the land-purchase rate of interest for the purposes of the Labourers (Ireland) Acts; when it will be available; whether it is to be administered in accordance with those Acts or in accordance with the Board's circular of autumn, 1911, under which the latest loan has been administered; and, if the legality of that restrictive circular has been considered, with what result?

I stated in reply to a question asked by the hon. Baronet the Member for North Wexford on the 12th of March that I should be glad to see the useful work which is going on under the Labourers Act carried further, but I carefully refrained from making any promise on the subject. In the event of further money being provided for the purpose the Local Government Board will, I am sure, continue, as at present, to do their best to carry out the intentions of Parliament, and to have the money spent in the way which will do most good.

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether the forthcoming loan will be made available for schemes which have been suspended by the Local Government Board circular of 1911?

I do not think the hon. Gentleman is justified in speaking of the forthcoming loan, because no loan of that kind has been promised. Such evidence as I can collect on the subject will certainly be got, in order, if possible, to obtain a further loan on land purchase terms to extend this work, but on what conditions it is premature to say.

Will it apply to those schemes which have been suspended by the circular of the Local Government Board?

May I point out that a number of schemes are being held up owing to the urgent necessity for funds, and will not something be done to provide funds to keep the Labourers Act going?

I quite agree that there could be usefully and beneficially spent on this work in Ireland half a million of money—some hon. Members say two millions—but I have not got the money in my pocket.

Will the right hon. Gentleman put any pressure on the Treasury to get money for the purpose of those Acts?

15.

asked the average cost of labourers' cottages, and also the average rent paid for the same, in each of the provinces of Ulster, Leinster, Munster, and Connaught?

The average cost of providing a labourer's cottage, as represented by the amount of loans sanctioned for the same, which includes not only the cost of erection of the cottage, but also legal expenses and other matters, works out as follows:—

£
Ulster181
Munster152
Leinster165
Connaught169

The average weekly rents per cottage are approximately:—

s.d.
Ulster13
Munster011
Leinster11
Connaught13

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether the reason why cottages in Ulster cost more than in any other part of Ireland includes the fact that the Ulster landlord and occupier want more for the land than is asked anywhere else?

Land in Ulster may cost more, and the legal expenses in Ulster may be higher. I cannot tell.