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4161. With regard to subhead G, "King's Plates, Ireland," may I ask whether there are any receipts that come in, or whether this money is made up in any way? Oh no. This used to be a charge on the Hereditary Revenues, but many years ago it was transferred to the Votes. When Home Rule started in Ireland it was thought that this particular thing was rather in the nature of an Imperial service.

4162. Is it for Southern Ireland?-It is for both Northern and Southern Ireland. I think three Plates in the North, and one in the South.

Colonel Henderson.

4163. Does it date back to the time of George III?-I should think very probably.

4164. We called some evidence two or three years ago from which we gathered that it dated back to the time of George III, and it was given by the State as an equivalent for some grant which he gave up which he formerly received. I know it is very ancient and historic. (Sir Malcolm Ramsay.) It goes back to 1831. In that day it was transferred from the Civil List and put on the Votes. (Sir Otto Niemeyer.) It started

EXPENSES.

in 1749.-(Sir Malcolm Ramsay.) Yes.— (Sir Otto Niemeyer.) It was put on the Votes in 1831.

Colonel Henderson.] Then it goes back to George II.

Mr. Gillett.

4165. Might I ask you whether anything similar is given in Scotland?—I do not think there is anything similar in Scotland, but of course Scotland gets other grants for this particular kind of horse, just as England does. England

gets grants too.

4166. Of this kind?-Grants for the breeding of horses.

Mr. Ellis.

4167. With regard to subhead A, "Salaries, Wages and Allowances," under the heading of "Honours and Dignities," is there any contra to that? -Yes. If you look at the bottom of page 442 you will see that certain fees are collected from the recipients. We got in about £5,000.

4168. The Office of Lord Lyon is now a State Office in Scotland ?-I think it always was.

Mr. Gillett.

4169. With regard to the statement given on page 443, showing the fees on appointments remitted by direction of the Treasury. When titles are given to some people apparently large sums are

10 May, 1927.]

Sir OTTO NIEMEYER, K.C.B.

[Continued.

payable. On what principle is it that in other cases those fees are excused. I take it this statement means that the Government have not paid these sums of money, but they have simply waived the receipt of it?-It comes to that, really. What happens in fact is that certain fees are payable on certain dignities being conferred. In these cases, instead of the recipient of the dignity paying the fees, the Government pays them. So that it amounts in effect to remitting the fees. That has been the practice for many years as regards people who receive honours for particular public services, such as, say ex-officials, and people who have been prominent Ministers for many years. That is the kind of case.

4170. Has this subject been considered lately as to whether these fees ought to be paid at all? What services were rendered in any case by anybody that would justify Mr. Asquith being asked to pay £755, for instance?-That happens to be the stamp duties on those particular honours, and the Crown Office fees. (Sir Malcolm Ramsay.) The stamp duty is £250, and £505 is the fee.

Major Salmon.

4171. The fee is payable to whom?That is the Crown Office fee.

4172. Is it merely a book entry, or is it actual money paid out?-The ordinary recipient of a peerage pays that in cash before he gets his patent.

4173. Who gets the money actually? -The State.

Major Salmon.

Mr. Pethick-Lawrence.

4174. Who decides that certain people are let. off paying the fees in individual cases? (Sir Otto Niemeyer.) The Treasury.

4175. It is rather a matter of policy, is it not, the decision as to whether an individual should be let off the fee?— They fall into pretty clear classes. I do not think there has been any very great difficulty.

Sir Robert Hamilton.

4176. With regard to the appropriations-in-aid, I should like to ask about the Office of Arms, &c., Ireland. Is that including Southern Ireland, or is there a separate Office of Arms in Northern Ireland, and do they collect fees?—They collect fees. That is in connection with people who wish to have their pedigrees established, and that kind of thing.

4177. Is there an Office in the Free State, or is it a question of an agency fee? It is an appanage of the Crown. The Herald is one of the Crown Officers. He remains in the Imperial Service, and so far as he gets fees we get them.

4178. That is a continuance of the old Office that used to be there?-Oh, yes. It is the Ulster King at Arms.

Mr. Ellis.

4179. Do you ever suggest to the Heralds that they should give you some of their fees in England? I rather thought they did, to tell the truth.

CLASS VI.

ON VOTE 7.

ROYAL COMMISSIONS, &c.

4180. On page 445 I find the heading "Scottish Savings." Might I know what that means? That is the Scottish analogy to the Savings Committee in England. In England, as you know, there is the Committee which organises

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the scale of Savings Certificates. This is the corresponding body in Scotland, but they are so small that we do not put them in any special Vote and they come into this Vote.

4181. Under the Royal Commissions Vote? Yes. It is a Committee.

CLASS VI.

ON VOTE 10.

REPAYMENTS TO THE LOCAL LOANS FUND. Major Salmon.

4182. What does subhead A mean, 'Repayments of Assets Written Off"?

-Under the Annual Act, Parliament in certain circumstances writes off every year certain assets, that is to say, in cases in which there has been a loss to

10 May, 1927.]

Sir OTTO NIEMEYER, K.C.B.

[Continued.

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4183. Yes, it is a loan to the Harbour of Eyemouth, which I think has figured in the Local Loans Act for two or three years.-Oh, far longer than that.

4184. But I mean in the sense of a loss? Yes. As a matter of fact it was a debt which was in effect written off many years ago, but for technical reasons it had to be taken year for year.

4185. Is Subhead B, "Repayments in respect of Advances in Northern Ireland," the same thing?-Subhead B is

rather different. Under the Home Rule Act for Northern Ireland they collect repayments in respect of Local Loans in Northern Ireland, and they are entitled under the Act to retain that money, but we deduct it from the income tax which we collect on their behalf. Then in order to put the account right, we have to pay out the money we deduct from the Local Loans Fund, and technically What we have to do that by a Vote. it really means is that Northern Ireland have collected this money, and they have retained it as they are entitled to do under the Act; then we have deducted it from the revenues we collect on their behalf, and by this we have paid it over to the proper people. That is what it amounts to.

4186. In effect do we lose money by it? -No, we are as we were.

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Chairman.

UNCLASSIFIED

FUND.

broadly the position?-Yes. Generally speaking the payments made out of the Contingencies Fund are repayable from Parliamentary Votes. There is a certain residue of odd items which do not belong to any Vote, and therefore they have to come in a special Vote.

SERVICES.

On VOTE 7.

PRIZE CLAIMS.

4192. You have a paragraph on this Vote, Sir Malcolm. It is paragraph 57 of your report, page xxv. That refers to a payment of compensation to the owner of a foreign steamer ?-(Sir Malcolm Ramsay.) Yes. I understand that claims were made on three foreign Governments for a proportion of this compensation. So far as I know only one of them has responded.

4193. What is the position, Sir Otto?— (Sir Otto Niemeyer.) This is rather a complicated story. A certain ship was taken in charge by the British Navy, and while in that charge ran on a rock and was sunk. There was no doubt that this was due to faulty navigation, and it was agreed that we should have to pay

UNCLASSIFIED

damages. It was also agreed by the Ambassadors' Conference in Paris that those damages were charges which were proper to charge against all the Allies in certain proportions. The damages were assessed, and paid by us. The Ambassadors' Conference also agreed in March, 1926, that France, Italy and Japan, should contribute £3,000 each towards this general payment. Italy has duly paid her £3,000. France, I believe, has taken some steps to get authority, but has not yet paid. Japan has not yet paid. We remind them from time to time, and I hope next time I come here they will have paid.

4194. They do not dispute their liability, do they?-No, I do not think so. I think it is probably merely some technical trouble really.

SERVICES.

On VOTE 8.

GRANTS FOR COMPENSATION FOR DAMAGE BY ENEMY ACTION.

Chairman.

4195. Paragraph 58 of your report deals with this account, Sir Malcolm. It simply announces that this account will be discontinued?-(Sir Malcolm Ramsay.) Yes. There will be a few odds

and ends which will be paid out of the Civil Contingencies Fund and included, I take it, in the Vote for repayments.

4196. Yes. It refers to the £5,000,000, and later £300,000 manipulated claims ? -(Sir Otto Niemeyer.) That is right.

(Paragraph 60 of the Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General.)

Chairman.

4197. This paragraph, Sir Malcolm, refers to Services originally financed out of Vote of Credit (Exchange Account)? -(Sir Malcolm Ramsay.) Yes.

4198. I think you gave us a descrip

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tion of this last year, or on a former occasion Sir Otto? (Sir Otto Niemeyer.) Yes, I explained the Exchange Account last year. That is a suspense account out of which we buy exchange in advance on our American debt payments.

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4203. I want to ask one or two questions. The first one is this. There was a balance of over £1,000,000 at the beginning and another balance at the end. Have you a balance for most of the year on this account, and if so, is it getting interest, or what happens to it? (Sir Otto Niemeyer.) I should think most of the year we have got a balance of about the same amount. It does not get interest because it goes into the mass of our own balances just like any other public balance.

4204. You are probably using it for some other Government Department?At long last.

4205. There are one or two other questions I should like to ask. Why is an amount paid to the Metropolitan Police Fund to make good the deficit of fees, &c., on the Chatham and Sheerness Police Courts? The explanation of that is this. Under the Act appointing the Stipendiary Magistrate at Chatham, it is provided that any deficiency of fees below the salary of the clerk whom he employs shall be defrayed out of moneys provided by Parliament. For many years there was an excess in the fees received; but it now happens that it is

But as the actual payment is made, when the Exchequer pays the amount that amount is held to balance; and so it goes on.

4201. So that the balance has not been used up really?—No.

FUND, 1925-26.

PAPER No. 142 OF 1926.

the other way, and therefore we have to pay for this. We did not think it was germane to any special existing Vote, and therefore it was put in here.

4206. Will it go on?-I believe it is still going on.

Mr. Ellis.

4207. Is not the basis of it the rule applying to all clerks of Police Courts as to payment that they are paid on the average of fees received over a period? That is the rule followed, and I suppose you have just followed the rule?-I should think so, yes.

Mr. Gillett.

4208. Another question I want to ask is why the Lord Chancellor has to have his robes paid for. Why does he not pay for them himself out of the money he gets? I suppose he has always received an allowance for his robes, and he has to buy his robes not so much for his own benefit as for the benefit of the public, and so the public have to pay.

4209. But then you do not pay for the robes the other judges have to have? -No, I do not think we do. They are far less costly, of course. The Lord Chancellor's robes are more costly. (Sir Malcolm Ramsay.) The Lord Chancellor used to receive an outfit allowance of about £1,800, but recent Lord Chancellors have been very modest and have only claimed the cost of their robes, beginning with Lord Haldane.

4210. It is quite a useful saving?--It varies. But they used to get £1,800, so that we have saved very considerably.

CONSOLIDATED FUND.

HOUSE OF COMMONS PAPER, No. 14 OF 1927. Chairman.

4211. Sir Malcolm, you have a lengthy report on pages 10, 11 and 12?-(Sir Malcolm Ramsay.) Yes.

4212. I see on page 11, Sir Otto, there is a reference to a credit on New York, which you have not used. It is costing you about £250,000. Is that the precise

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