§ 44. Mr. WEDGWOOD
asked whether the Development Commissioners have reported that it is impossible for them to deal with canals on any large scale, although the funds at their disposal were intended to be used in part to benefit industry by developing our canal system; whether, in consequence, nearly all the fund has been devoted to developing agriculture and fisheries instead of the manufacturing industries; and whether he proposes to take any steps, by legislation or otherwise, to remedy this injustice to urban taxpayers?
§ Mr. MASTERMAN
The Commissioners have reported that it is impossible for them to deal with canals on any general plan because the Development Fund is not 1057 applicable to the improvement of inland navigations worked for profit; but on various occasions they have recommended advances for the improvement of individual navigations not owned by companies working for profit, and they will no doubt continue to consider and report upon such applications on their merits. With regard to the latter part of my hon. Friend's question, I would refer him to the paragraph headed, "Advances for Purposes of Industrial or Quasi-Industrial Development," on page 33 of the Development Commissioners' first annual Report. It is not contemplated at present to extend the scope of the Development Act.
§ Mr. WEDGWOOD
Is it not a fact that the whole of this Development Fund money is being spent for the benefit of agriculture, and none of it at present, owing to this disability in connection with canals, is being spent for the benefit of the industrial workers, and would it not be advisable to make such modifications in the Act as would enable the Development Fund money to be spent for the benefit of the inland navigation of the country?
§ Mr. MASTERMAN
I have no information beyond the information supplied by the Development Commissioners that certain advances have been made for inland navigation.