§ (1.) The Treasury may, if they think fit, at any time for the purpose of providing money for the issue of aunts out of the Consolidated Fund under this Act, or the repayment to that fund of all or any part of the sums so issued, borrow money by means of terminable annuities for such periods not exceeding thirty years from the passing of this Act as the Treasury may fix, and all sums so borrowed shall be paid into the Exchequer.
§ (2.) The said annuities shall be paid out of moneys provided by Parliament for army services; and if those moneys are insufficient, shall be charged on and paid out of the Consolidated Fund or the growing produce thereof, but shall not be payable as part of the permanent annual charge for the National Debt.
§ (3.) The Secretary of State shall in every financial year cause to be made out amid laid before the House of Commons an account, in the form required by the Treasury, of the money expended and borrowed and the securities created under this Act, and the accounts of expenditure under this Act shall be audited and reported upon by the Comptroller and 1003 Auditor General as appropriation accounts in manner directed by the Exchequer and Audit Departments Act 1866.
§ MR. LOUGH
said the clause dealt with the way the money for the works was to be obtained. It left it to the discretion of the Secretary of State for War and the Treasury to borrow the money, or to obtain it in some other way which was not defined. He moved, in Sub-section (1) to leave out the words "may, if they think fit at any time," and to insert the word "shall."
§ THE UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE FOR WAR (Mr. BRODRICK,) Surrey, Guildford
said if the Amendment were carried the Treasury would have to put the taxpayers to the expense of borrowing the money for the military works, even though it might be otherwise available. That was a suggestion which he was sure the Committee would not support. ["Hear, hear!"]
§ Amendment negatived.
§ MR. BRODRICK
opposed the Amendment on the ground that the effect of it would be precisely the some as that of the Amendment they had just negatived.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the clause.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 186; Noes, 65.—(Division List, No. 134.)
§ MR. HUDSON KEARLEY (Devonport)
moved in Sub-section (1) to leave out the word "thirty," and to insert the word "fifteen." He said that the latter period was far too long, as the bulk of the works would be finished in five years. He would remind the Committee that under the Naval Works Act, under which powers were taken for the expenditure of a large sum of money on works of a permanent character, the money was repayable in seven years. He thought this was an Amendment which ought to be accepted. There could be no doubt that 30 years was too long. It was a bad principle taking out of control of the House of Commons the voting of money year by year; it was a far worse principle 1004 to borrow money and distribute the repayment over such a lengthened period as 30 years, because, long before the period was expired the works would be decayed or have been swept away.
§ MR. BRODRICK
said the hon. Member could hardly have considered that the period of 30 years was fixed according to the precedent of the Barracks Act. The only reason which the hon. Member assigned was that the works were not of a permanent character, but he had by no means established that fact. On the contrary, the works scheduled under the Bill, including as they did the purchase of land and the building of barracks, which would probably last 100 years, were of a very permanent character.
§ MR. COURTENAY WARNER (Staffordshire, Lichfield)
submitted that 30 years hence many of the works would be quite out of date. Ranges put up 30 years ago, for example, were of very little use to-day, and they did not know what, like the ranges would be 30 years hence.
§ MR. DUNCOMBE
rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put," but the Chairman withheld his assent, and declined then to put that Question.
§ Debate resumed.
§ MR. COURTENAY WARNER
said, therefore, they ought to pay for them long before 30 years had expired. Even admitting they had done wrong in days gone by, that was no reason why they should go on doing wrong. He appealed to the Government, if they could not go the whole way, to reduce the period, say, to 15 or 21 years; and so meet their views to a certain extent.
§ Question put, "That the Question be now put."
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 158; Noes, 57.—(Division List, No. 135.)
§ Question put accordingly, "That the word 'thirty' stand part of the clause."
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 159; Noes, 56.—(Division List, No. 136.)
§ And, it being after Midnight, the CHAIRMAN left the Chair to make his Report to the House.
§ Committee report Progress; to sit again upon Monday next.