Written Answers. - Withheld Grants (Westmeath).

asked the Minister for Finance if he is aware that estate duty grants have not been paid for some years to the Westmeath County Council, and if he will state the amounts withheld each year since this has been the case, and when payments will be resumed; also, if he will state what amounts have been withheld from the Westmeath County Council out of the Agricultural Grant for each year since this has been the case, and when such sums will be paid to the Council.

In the case of the Westmeath County Council, a sum of £11,159 12s. 8d. was, at February, 1925, absorbed in the Guarantee Fund in respect of charges against the fund for arrears of Land Purchase Annuities, etc., covering the years from 1922 to 1925. This amount was met by the county share in the Estate Duty Grant for the years 1922 to 1925, as to a sum of £10,009 11s., and as to the balance— namely, £1,150 1s. 8d., out of the county share in the Agricultural Grant. A further sum of £1,487 16s. 7d. in respect of Estate Duty Grant was absorbed in the Guarantee Fund in respect of further similar charges against the Fund between February, 1925, and February, 1926. By February, 1927, repayments by the County of arrears of Annuities enabled a net sum of £1,033 18s. 2d. to be repaid to the Council in respect of the amount of Estate Duty Grant previously absorbed in the Guarantee Fund, while the amount that had been deducted from the Agricultural Grant, viz., £1,150 1s. 8d., was repaid in full by April, 1927, to the Council out of balances of shares of the County in the Estate Duty Grant between 1925 and 1927. At February, 1927, the position was, therefore, as follows:— Amount absorbed in the Guarantee Fund in respect of Agricultural Grant, nil; in respect of Estate Duty Grant, £11,613 11s. 1d. Between February, 1927, and February, 1928, there was absorbed in the Guarantee Fund a further sum of £7,351 1s. 7d. in respect of further charges against the Fund for arrears of Land Purchase Annuities, etc. This amount was met as to a sum of £1,485 4s. 9d. out of Estate Duty Grant and as to a sum of £5,865 16s. 10d. out of Agricultural Grant.

Between February, 1928, and February, 1929, a further sum of £1,090 17s. 1d was absorbed in the Guarantee Fund, and between February, 1929, and February, 1930, a further sum of £1,109 8s. The balances of the shares of the county in the Estate Duty Grant for 1928 and 1929, amounting to £1,421 7s. 5d., were applied to the reduction of the sum of £5,865 16s. 10d. absorbed as agricultural grant and issued to the county council as such. The position at February, 1930, was as follows:— Amount absorbed in the Guarantee Fund as estate duty grant, £16,720 8s. 4d.; as agricultural grant, £4,444 9s. 5d. These figures relate to the period from the year 1921 up to February, 1930. Any sums outstanding in respect of estate duty grant or agricultural grant, which have been absorbed in the Guarantee Fund to meet the charges imposed by law upon that fund, will be paid to Westmeath County Council according as the arrears of land purchase annuities, etc., in the county are paid off.