§ MR. HOWELL (Bethnal Green, N.E.)
I beg to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that the average of each individual deposit at the Limavady Trustee Bank in 1887, as given in the Annual Returns, is £14 18s. 11d., whereas the average for 1132 the whole of Ireland is only£5 16s. 11d.; and that this extraordinary divergence has existed for several years; whether this fact is primâ facie evidence that illegal deposits have been received, and that the Government have paid interest to the trustees on illegal deposits; and whether any steps have been taken by the National Debt Commissioners, in this and similar suspicious cases, to ascertain if illegal deposits are taken, and to prevent frauds upon the Exchequer?
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER (Mr. GOSCHEN, St. George's, Hanover Square)
The hon. Member has correctly stated the average individual deposits in the Limavady Savings Bank, as represented in the Parliamentary Return, as £14 183. 11d., whereas the average for the whole of the Irish Savings Banks is £5 16s. 11d. There are Irish Savings Banks, however, where the average individual deposits are still higher than in the case of Limivady; while there are some where the average deposits appear to be abnormally low. The high average in the case of Limavady does not necessarily imply that there has been any illegality, and, so far as the National Debt Commissioners can determine, the figures supplied may be correct. The accounts of the Savings Bank rendered to those Commissioners show the deposits in the year 1887 to have amounted to £9,552, and the payments to £8,886. The Parliamentary Return shows that there were 639 receipts, averaging £14 18s. 11d. each, equivalent to a total of £8,886. There is nothing on the face of these figures sufficiently suspicious to justify any special inquiry of the trustees.