§ MR. RENSHAW (Renfrew, W.)
I beg to ask the Secretary for Scotland whether he can explain why it was that, in the year ending 31st March, 1892, out of a Vote of £47,000, for Scotch piers, harbours, &c, only £20,355 4s. 10d. was expended; why, in the year ending 31st March, 1893, out of a Vote of £20,000, for the same purpose, only £4,131 19s. was expended; why, under these circumstances, in the Estimates for the year ending 31st March, 1894, the Estimate for this purpose was so much as £16,000; and whether during the year this sum, or, if not, what portion of it, is likely to be expended?
§ THE SECRETARY FOR SCOTLAND (Sir G. TREVELYAN,) Glasgow, Bridgeton
The comparison suggested by the hon. Member is not quite accurate. The Vote of £47,000, taken for the year ending 31st March, 1892, embraced all the Highland and Island works, including subsidies for steamers, 304 whereas the Votes of £20,000 and £ 16,000 subsequently referred to only relate to the special subhead devoted to piers, harbours, &c. The main reason for the comparatively small expenditure in the first two years as compared with the Estimate taken, was the difficulty of carrying out the manifold stages of the procedure imposed by the Highland and Islands Public Works Act, 1891, and in concluding contracts for the construction of the harbour works. I may add that various harbour works have during the past year been sanctioned by the Treasury, which are in the final stage, and contracts have been entered into for their construction by the County Councils; and that I therefore anticipate that the £16,000 will be almost if not entirely exhausted by the end of the current financial year.