§ MR. DILLON
I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether he is now in a position to state to the House the terms of reference to the Royal Commission on the Financial Relations between Great Britain and Ireland which the Government propose to appoint?
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR,) Manchester, E.
The Resolution to which the right hon. Gentleman refers was necessarily passed in ignorance of the terms of the reference to the proposed Commission, and, though I should not like to question its authority, it is a decision come to on very imperfect information. The actual terms of reference which we propose are as follows: (1.) To inquire and report how much of the total expenditure which the State provides may properly be considered to be expenditure common to England, Scotland, and Ireland, and what share of such common expenditure each country is contributing after the amount expended on local service has been deducted from its true revenue, 185 (2.) How the expenditure on Irish local services which the State wholly or in part provides compares with the corresponding expenditure in England and in Scotland—[Cheers]—and whether such Irish expenditure may with advantage he readjusted or reduced. (3.) Whether when regard is had to the nature of the taxes now in force, to the existing exemptions, and to the amount of expenditure by the State on local services, the provision in the Act of Union between Great Britain and Ireland with regard to particular exemptions or abatements calls for any modification in the financial system of the United Kingdom. [Cheers]