As amended (by the Standing Committee), considered.
moved a clause the object of which was, he said, to give local authorities in Scotland the opportunity of deciding whether or not they would adopt this very expensive Bill. The measure required that every local authority in Scotland should institute a new method of valuing land. It would impose considerable expense on the local authorities, and they ought to have the option of saying whether they would incur that expense or not. They were the best judges if they would get an adequate return for their outlay. In New Zealand, which had always been quoted as a model for this legislation. such option had been given the local authorities. He knew he might be told that in New Zealand there was also a national tax on land values, but perhaps. hon. Gentlemen were not aware that in New Zealand the national tax on Land Values was a substitute for the income tax. Was that what the advocates of land values taxation desired, that people who paid the land values tax should not pay the income-tax? There was, however, a further reason for giving the local authorities option in this matter. This Bill had never been before the country at all. It was introduced very late in the session and passed through the House on the Second Reading stage after one day's debate, going from thence up to the Grand Committee. He thought he might fairly ask the House to take warning by what happened last year in regard to a similar measure. On the Second Reading debate of last year's Bill he had the honour of moving the rejection of the Bill. His Motion was defeated by a majority of 258; but what happened? The Bill was referred to a carefully packed Select Committee, practically all the members of which were in favour of the measure. After having deliberated upon it, however, and examined witnesses, that Committee reported "that the Bill be not proceeded with." Such an instance as that afforded good proof of how easy it was for the House to vote for a Bill without knowing the meaning of it. A new situation had been created by the statement of the Government that they would not tax feu duties. When the local authorities demanded this Bill their whole object was to secure the taxation of feu duties. He quite admitted that there was some doubt as to whether the Government would remain firm in their resolve, and because of this uncertainty he put a question to the Prime Minister. He regretted that the right hon. Gentleman, did not give him a very clear answer. With reference to this question he had received a leter from the Parliamentary agent to the Manchester Unity of Odd-fellows, dated 15th August. It began—
In other words the object of this great Friendly Society was to provide for old age pensions out of the land values they had purchased with their savings. The letter continued—"Dear sir,—I must thank you for your Question, No. 62, in the notices given last Monday with respect to the taxation of land values. Though tho Hearts of Oak Society put the subject forward this year the Manchester Unity of Oddfellows with its 800,000 adult members and £12,000,000 capital amongst its 4,000 branches is largely interested. Many of its lodges have invested in ground rents at prices which will produce less than 4 per cent. Their object was absolute security of income from which claims, as they mature in the old age of the members, could be properly met. As the leases are long no unearned increment will accrue to present members.…"
"I therefore await with much interest the Parliamentary news in to-morrow's newspapers to ascertain the view the Prime Minister takes."
He was sorry to say that the view the Prime Minister took was not very clearly expressed, but he still had confidence that the Government was resolved not to tax feu duties or to go back on existing contracts. He remembered warning the Liberal Party years ago against the danger of rushing into this morass. He told them they would find themselves in the position of ving to break existing contracts, or else finding that there was no money in the scheme. The burghs wanted money, they did not want a Bill which would give them no money, but would instead involve a great deal of extra expense. Greenock, which had originally supported the Bill, had now petitioned against it. A new situation had also been created by the reply of the Lord Advocate to a deputation of county councils which waited upon him a little time back in reference to this question. The right hon. Gentleman said—
Instead of getting a new revenue they were going to wipe out the old one. Where then were the local authorities to get the money to carry on their work? They could only get it from poor people who were compelled to live in the centres of the towns. They would have to pay at the rate of 30s. to £2 in the £1 upon the value of the land upon which they were living. Shopkeepers would be rated on a similar similar scale upon the sites of their business premises. When this was made clear to the people of Scotland their answer as to whether they wished for the Bill or not would be very definite indeed. The Bill would benefit the rich man living in the suburbs in his large house; he would be relieved of all rates except upon the site of his house and garden, which would be put at a low value. It was the poor people and the business men in the towns who would have to bear the burden. Nor was that all. The professed object of taxing agricultural land upon its supposed value for building purposes was to force it into the market. But the whole case for especially taxing agricultural land which had an urban value, but was only rated at its agricultural value, had been given away by the Government in Clause 33 of the Small Holdings Bill—that perfect and delicate piece of mechanism, which according to the Prime Minister must not be touched. The agricultural land referred to in that clause already had an urban value though it was not fully developed. Who was to pay the special tax? Not the county council, because they had no beneficial interest in it; not, certainly, the holder who was growing cabbages on the land, and not the landlord who had not yet resumed possession of it. There was, in fact, nobody who could pay the tax. In other words the Small Holdings Bill rendered it impossible to carry out the purpose of the Land Values Bill. The object of the present Bill was to get to know whether they were going to get any money when they put this tax on. That information could be got just as well without imposing this burden upon the whole of Scotland. The Latin proverb said, "Make your experiments upon something cheap." He did not think that Scotland was cheap enough for such an experiment to be tried on her. He suggested that the experiment should be tried in the constituencies of the Lord Advocate and the Secretary for Scotland—one urban and one rural. At any rate let the burghs and counties be consulted. That would afford alocus penitentiœ to those who had been agitating for a tax on land values. Let them get at the facts and this agitation would be killed. There were four Members for the City of Edinburgh—three of whom were in favour of the Bill, and the fourth on the other side. The majority of three to one said that they believed the people of Edinburgh were in favour of the Bill. Let them give the people of Edinburgh a chance of saying so. They preached the doctrine of "trust the people"; let them practise it. He begged to move."When the statute passes it will be found that county proprietors, equally with town proprietors, will be escaping taxation for improvements which they have made upon their land, and that any assessment which may be laid upon the land value is already paid on the composite value."
seconded the Motion of the hon. Member for Preston, who, he said, had expounded the questions raised by this Bill in a manner which he would not do, owing to their great difficulty and complexity. But he would remind the House that the Bill was made applicable to both urban and rural areas. In the Select Committee the question was never raised of including the counties, and no evidence was led in support of it. He was bound to say that the quotation by the hon. Member for Preston, of Clause 33 of the English Small Holdings Bill, was most damaging. It had not occurred to anyone on the Committee on this Bill upstairs. It had put the Government in an extremely difficult position, although he had no doubt his right hon. and learned friend would wriggle out of it as he usually did. An Amendment having the same object in view, but put in a different form, as the proposed new clause of the hon. Member for Preston, was proposed in Committee upstairs; but during the course of the discussions they were told by the Lord Advocate that there was a national purpose underlying this Bill, which would be entirely defeated were local option adopted. Before the House divided on this new clause they should know what that national object was. He had no doubt that in the view of the Solicitor-General it involved the taxation of existing feu duties, although they had been assured by the Prime Minister and the Lord Advocate that it did not. At any rate, it seemed that the view of the Solicitor-General was not to be accepted. If that were so, they were entitled to know what the national purpose was. He thought that this particular Bill was not thoroughly understood by the people of Scotland; it was not even understood by those who pressed for such legislation in connection with the Glasgow Bill of last year. He was quite certain that if local option were granted, it would be utilised in the way of rejecting the Bill altogether. He knew how the incidence of taxation would be changed if this system of rating were adopted in many of the small burghs in Scotland. He was quite certain that the rich manufacturer would ride off with a light weight of taxation, and the poor cottager would have to pay almost all the taxes. [MINISTERIAL cries of dissent.] He insisted that it could not be denied that that would be the effect of the Bill. Take the town of Ayr, which he represented. Suppose there a house which had cost £30,000 or £40,000 to erect, standing in its own grounds two acres in extent. And next to it, suppose a market garden, also two acres in extent. Would it be believed that the market gardener who had difficulty in making a living would have to pay the same taxation the rich man? That would be an atrocious cruelty. He thought the people should be asked whether they were willing to adopt a measure for the taxation of land values, before it was put in force in their localities. New clause—
— (Mr. Harold Cox.) Brought up, and read a first time. Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the clause be read a second time.""Within three months after the passing of this Act the clerk of every council of a county or burgh shall convene, with not less than one month's notice, a special meeting of the council to consider the desirability of adopt-this Act in that county or burgh, and if the decision of that meeting is against such adoption this Act shall have no force within that county or burgh."
said he regretted that he could not, on behalf of the Government, accept the new clause. The bulk of the argument delivered by the hon. Gentlemen who had moved and seconded the Amendment had been not in connection with a valuation Bill pure and simple, but with reference to the incidence of taxation and rating. What had the taxation of feu duties to do with a Bill for the ascertainment of land values in Scotland and for that alone? What did the observation of the hon. Member for Preston mean as to there being no money in it, or about people who would have to pay 30s. or 40s. a year on their land values? What did the observation mean as to who was to benefit by the Bill? And what did the observation mean as to the relations between the county council and the small landholder? What had all that to do with the Bill?
said that his argument was a perfectly simple one, viz., that these local authorities should not be put to the expense of getting information when there was no money to be got out of it.
said he understood that the concluding portion of his hon. friend's speech was to the effect, "By all means get at the facts." This was a Bill the object of which was to get at the facts. The hon. Member had said that they could get at the facts by taking two constituencies, one an urban and the other a rural constituency, and working out from them all that was required in regard to land values of Scotland. The hon. Member did him the honour to refer to his constituency, the Hawick Burghs. Assuming that in his constituency there was very little unoccupied land the capital valuation of the land would make very little difference indeed from the present valuation. But what they wanted to know was the capital value of the land in a large portion of Scotland where there were burghs with a large agricultural area some portions of which were being held up for building. What was the use of attempting to deduce from a single instance the whole value of Scotland for the purpose of a Bill to obtain nation al statistics? A single instance would not do. They must have the whole of Scotland valued in order to enable a second stage to be reached, whether there was to be taxation or whether there was to be rating. His hon. friend seemed to argue that this which was only a valuation Bill was a rating Bill which rashly provided for something which could be done without any inquiry at all. Surely his hon. friend's study of the literature of this subject must have convinced him that all the best authorities were agreed that any rating or taxation Bill must be preceded by necessary preliminary inquiries in the shape of the ascertainment of the land values, so as to enable the country as a whole, and if thought wise, localities individually, to judge whether the basis of individual rating or taxation ought to be altered. Of course that would be by a new Bill; but this Bill was confined to ascertaining land values. There was a provision in the Bill that until Parliament should otherwise determine no rate or tax should be put on in consequence of the information obtained under this Bill. He could imagine that nobody would refuse a Bill which made it optional to adopt it. When his hon. friend said that it all hung round the ultimate question of rating he would remind him that on questions of rating a great many points of admitted complexity would have to be considered. They must first get at the facts as a whole, on a national scale, upon exactly the same scale as the existing valuation. On those grounds, and feeling that the Amendment would render the Bill inoperative, he could not accept it. So far as their desire to obtain national statistics was concerned, the Government were following the best skilled advice which was contained in the Minority Report of the Select Committee.
asked if the proposal in the Bill had not reference to the abatement of existing rates.
said that his object was to show the necessity of preliminary inquiry. It was in the mind of everybody that they should have national statistics as to the land values on the same scale as the existing Valuation Acts in Scotland, which made no distinction between valuation for rating or taxation purposes.
said that this was a branch of the question which was quite different from the subject of whether they ought to give options as to rating to rural districts apart from this Bill. He had an Amendment on the Paper relevant to that point, and in the observations he had to make on this Amendment he would not refer to the comparison between agricultural districts and urban districts, which was at the basis of the right hon. and learned Gentleman's argument. The right hon. Gentleman said that this was a Bill for the ascertainment of national statistics, and he had two observations to make upon that. He gathered from the right hon. Gentleman that he wished the House to discuss this Bill on the Report stage, without reference to the schemes of local taxation, which he and his friends, not always speaking with one voice, desired to see subsequently adopted on the basis of this measure. It was, however, impossible for them to discuss the Bill in that abstract manner. The Lord Advocate wished them to regard the Bill simply as a matter of obtaining information without regard to the uses to which that information might be put, but one must remember the various uses to which the Government had announced that they proposed to put the information. The Solicitor-General for Scotland had announced that in his view the duties should be subjected to taxation. The Lord Advocate had not, he thought, got so far as that.
I said expressly and from the first that existing contracts as to feu duties must be respected.
continuing, said the Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer, frightened and alarmed by the utterances of their rasher colleagues, had gone out of their way to explain that they did not propose to break existing contracts in connection with the taxation of feu duties and other contract values. That destroyed the whole value of this measure in the eves of those who wished to have it passed, and who were in effect its authors. The Propagandist Institution, which had been started at Glasgow, had no other object in view than the taxation of feu values and other contract values which the Solicitor-General for Scotland wanted, but which the Government now discovered would be very imprudent.
said he had always held that view, and stated the same thing.
said he believed that the right hon. Gentleman had always held that view, and if his words were susceptible of any other interpretation he withdrew them. But if the Prime Minister and the Chancellor of the Exchequer had always held that view, they might have communicated it to their hon. and learned colleague, and it would have saved a great deal of confusion in Scotland. It would have been better if one of the right hon. Gentleman's colleagues had not gone about Scotland preaching an economic doctrine which the Prime Minister, the Lord Advocate, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer repudiated. When the rioht hon. Gentleman said he held that view, however, he would like to ask whether he had always advertised it.
Well, I do not know if that is so.
said he had supported the Bills on this subject which had been brought forward in the last two or three Parliaments and every one of them contained an exception in favour of existing contracts.
said he had not the least quarrel with the right hon. Gentleman, but it was sufficient for his purpose that one member of the Government held that these values should be taxed and that he had not only held that opinion but had preached it before the general election and after the general election.
said he had not done so since the general election.
said he would not dispute that point with the Solicitor-General for Scotland as it was sufficient for his purpose to point out that one member of the Government held that these values should be taxed while the Chancellor of the Exchequer thought it would be immoral to tax them. The original authors of this Bill, the people whose agitation had brought about this proposal, had always desired to put on the very form of taxation which the Prime Minister and the Chancellor of the Exchequer thought was a breach of the whole idea of public honesty and private property. Was not that a reason for giving localities in Scotland an opportunity of rejecting a Bill which would not carry out the objects which they had in view in promoting this agitation? The right hon. Gentleman had said that these statistics were to be obtained for a national object. Then why were they not to be obtained at the cost of the nation? He was told that a sober estimate of the cost of this valuation in Scotland was £2,000,000. The Government talked glibly about obtaining information for the nation at the cost of individuals, but they had not given the House any estimate of the cost. Twelve thousand separate valuations would have to be made in Scotland, including the burghs and counties, and they were asking proprietors of hereditaments to make valuations of great difficulty, involving in many cases expert advice. These individuals ought to be given an opportunity of objecting, not so much against the principle of the Bill, as against the cost of the Bill's being thrown upon them. The agitation with which this Bill was intimately connected had already done a great deal of harm. The Government had to choose between carrying out a policy which might benefit a good many ratepayers in the towns, but at the cost of public faith and morality and the interests of the best of the working class, and a policy which would be enormously expensive so far as the collection of information was concerned, but would be extraordinarily barren of pecuniary results so far as the ratepayers of the towns were concerned. When the towns and country districts realised that carrying out this Bill would be a very expensive operation and they would get nothing out of it, he thought the Bill would lose the little popularity it now possessed and the factitious support now accorded to it. An opportunity ought to be given to the Scottish ratepayer to relieve himself from the mesh which the Government were involving him in. They understood that subsequently a Rating Bill would be based on this measure, and he thought that burghs and counties should be given an opportunity of adopting it; if they did so the measure would be a success. It would not be an elaborate experiment from which large conclusions could be drawn. It would not be an experiment extending over a large part of Scotland. Why should not the Government allow the small section of Scotland which rated their Bill at its true value to escape from the unnecessary burden of perfectly useless taxation which it was proposed to throw upon them? In the interests of the ratepayers, of those who had to make this valuation, in the interests of the burghs, in the interests of the general requirements of the community, he earnestly suggested that local option in this particular might well be adopted by the Government. They might allow each locality to decide for itself whether it thought it worth while to adopt a very costly investigation for the very barren results promised by the Lord Advocate and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, or in the hopes that the more productive policy of the Solicitor-General as he understood it would be carried out. Let that section of opinion which had forced this Bill forward decide whether the policy was worth while, and if they thought not let the Government allow them to leave it to their friends in the neighbouring burghs to go through the perfectly useless procedure which the Bill attempted to impose on every burgh and county of Scotland.
said he had listened with great interest to many speeches delivered by the right hon. Gentleman opposite, but this was the first time he had heard him address the House in favour of the principle of local option. Like many new converts, the right hon. Gentleman had applied that principle in exactly the wrong way. The earlier part of his speech, in which he sought to establish a difference of opinion between Members sitting on the Treasury Bench with regard to the taxation of feu duties, was, except in one particular aspect, wholly irrelevant. But as the right hon. Gentleman had raised that point, he desired to say in a sentence, speaking for himself, and he believed for the vast majority of those who sat on the Ministerial side in this Parliament and on the Opposition side of the last Parliament, that they had repeatedly had before them measures dealing with this matter, and in every case, so far as he knew, there was a clause in the Bill which excluded its application to existing contracts, and nobody had ever welcomed a measure of this kind except on that assumption. In his view that was an elementary condition of any reform.
asked whether it was not the fact that the right hon. Gentleman voted for a Bill last year which contained no such clause.
said that might be so, but on that occasion the Lord Advocate laid it down in the most explicit terms that that was the only assumption upon which that Bill could be accepted. The only relevance of the right hon. Gentleman's reference to this topic was his suggestion that the various local authorities in Scotland who had interested themselves in this matter would not have done so unless they had thought that existing contracts and feu duties were going to be the subject of taxation. From that he inferred that if the principle of local option were allowed to have full effect, the same keenness would no longer be shown. It was extraordinary, if that was the case, that the various municipalities not only in Scotland, but in England, should have joined in supporting a Bill of an hon. Member which had always contained that very restriction.
said that the right hon. Gentleman must have surely forgotten that while the Bill of the hon. Member for the Elland Division excluded feu duties, the Glasgow Bill did not.
said the so-called Glasgow Bill was not a Glasgow Bill in any sense of the word.
said the Bill to which he was referring concerned the kingdom as a whole. He thought he was justified in saying there was no reason to think that the municipalities of the country would be any less willing to adopt this reform because it was so restricted. The right hon. Gentleman had referred to the supposed expense which the operation of this Bill would entail. He did not think the operation would be a very expensive one, and he was certain that when it had once been performed, when the initial expense had once been incurred, subsequent developments would be very inexpensive and simple. As regarded the expenditure of the proprietor, the expense of a rough estimate was all that he would be put to. That estimate would be subsequently revised by the burgh and local surveyor, and he did not think that would be a very heavy tax either in time, trouble, or cost to the owner. But assuming local option were adopted, and the great bulk of the burghs and counties took advantage of local option, there would be no relief in the expenditure, because the only expense which would be removed in such a case would be the expenditure of the council itself. If they refused to adopt the Act, the owner also would be entitled to refuse to do so. If the council decided to adopt the Act, the ownernolens volens would be put to the same expense. He desired to point out that the great virtue of the Scottish system was that there was a single valuation for all purposes. This was a very great improvement on the English system. Under the Act of 1854 these valuations were conducted by a single officer, and in a great number of cases he was an Imperial officer performing duties for the Inland Revenue. They felt it would be dangerous to introduce into that system any practice which would not be uniform. He considered the step now proposed a useful one from a purely statistical point of view, but he did not attempt to conceal the fact that many of them regarded it as the first step towards a great reform. He agreed that the object of the promoters of the Bill was to take measures for ascertaining facts on which local authorities would be enabled in future to make use of fresh sources of revenue.
said he only intervened to say a word in reference to something which had fallen from the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The right hon. Gentleman said it was the first time he had heard the Leader of the Opposition express his views in favour of local option. His right hon. friend might never have addressed the House upon the subject before, but as the head of the Government he had more than once been responsible for Bills which had adopted the principle. He reminded the right hon. Gentleman that the great body of statutes which controlled the public health of the country nearly all rested on what had up to now been considered the exceptionally sound foundation of the option for the local authorities to adopt them if they thought fit. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had used an argument against the adoption of the clause moved by the hon. Gentleman opposite, namely, that the Scottish system of valuation was far superior to that existing in England. With that observation he entirely agreed. It had been the aim and object of most of those who had striven to amend the valuation laws in England to take the example of Scotland as their model, and try to work up to that higher standard. He entirely agreed with what the Chancellor of the Exchequer said. He did not agree, however, that inconvenience would result from the application of a different system in different parts, for this reason, that they had had it laid down repeatedly that the intention of this particular Bill was not to create a new system of valuation but to take a first step in that direction, and to accomplish the result by subsequent legislation. If that were the case, what stronger argument could they have for this clause than the fact that this legislation was to be followed by other legislation, which would never be introduced, however, by any Government, no matter how powerful, unless the first step had been taken which would not only justify it in the places where it was to be enforced, but which would have the general consensus of opinion is the country to which the law applied. He did not understand how the Chancellor of the Exchequer could justify the opposition he had offered to the clause. He regretted very much that the Government did not see their way to adopt the clause, because he thought it would if accepted, lessen the feeling of opposition which existed in many quarters to the Bill. The whole system of valuation was so complicated, so difficult, and so important, that any step they took to amend it should not only be well considered, but be supported by popular opinion. He believed it would have been of enormous advantage to have had behind them the expressed opinion of the local authorities who, by the adopting of this Act and the working of it, would have shown in the first place that they believed in the principle, and, secondly, in the views of the Government in introducing the Bill and carrying it through the House.
said the policy of this legislation was based on the not very scientific gospel of Henry George, the supporters of whose policy thronged the benches behind Ministers. He challenged any supporter of that gospel to tell him the name of any economist of any reputation, living or dead, of the old school or the new, who was a supporter of the doctrine underlying this legislation. A few weeks ago he had discussed in that House the point that the taxation of incomes should not proceed without a knowledge of the facts, and he had moved an Amendment which was aimed at securing knowledge about incomes before proceeding to tax them. It therefore followed, he need hardly say, that he strongly supported the Lord Advocate in his desire to gain knowledge of statistics through this Bill so far as that was the object. As the Leader of the Opposition had said, it was impossible to consider this clause, or indeed any part of the Bill, without reference to what would follow this particular first step. What was the object of the Bill? It had been described by the Lord Advocate, on the Second Reading, as a step towards the taxation of values largely created by the enterprise of the community. He ventured to differ from that observation. There were no social values existing in this country which were not taxed already by existing methods of taxation. He would add that if the Government desired to tax social values as they ought to be taxed, they would find a much more scientific. much more common sense and practical method of getting at those values by reforming the existing system of taxation, than by setting up this new method of taxation, to which they themselves had to make important exceptions. They themselves confessed that they could only apply it partially, and could only apply it to some people and not to others. It was an entire mistake if anyone supposed that social values entirely attached themselves to land. The greater part of the social values of this country created by the community did not attach themselves to the land, but to other things. The exaggerated ideas with regard to this particular policy of taxing land values, which were doubtless entertained by a great many local authorities on imperfect information, had been very well expressed by one of the most able advocates of this policy who now sat behind the Lord Advocate. The hon. Member had said in very plain words that he would substitute a land-values tax for all other local rates, and, when he had done that, he would logically proceed to place all Imperial taxation on the same source. But that was not statistically possible. The most liberal estimate of the land values of the country was a sum not large enough by one-half for the purpose. They did not come to that House to talk fine theories; they came to frame, if they could, sensible and practical policies which were capable of application to existing circumstances. He thought they must always bear that in mind. What was this policy in essence? It was to relieve capital of taxation at the expense of the landlords. Let them take, for instance, a tea shop in the Straud. It would be hardly a proposition in accordance with common sense to relieve that tea shop of the cost of police, of the maintenance of the roadway, and of all the other beneficial services performed for it by the local authority. Was it really a common-sense proposition that in connection with this thriving business, which drew from the community social values, five, ten, twenty times that which was drawn by the landlord, the capitalist or body of capitalists should be relieved of taxes? Surely if there was any doubt as to the social values in such a case they had only to compare the value of the site and its increment with the amount of interest drawn from the business, which only meant the employment of girls at a cheap wage, and not very much enterprise. If they went to the Stock Exchange, they would find the £1 shares of that business quoted at something like £5 or £6. The landlord did not draw the lion's share of the work of the girls, or the social values created by the presence of the community; they who drew those values chiefly were a body of idle capitalists, who had put their money into the tea shop. The local authority must really have regard to what the rates were, and it could not be too clearly borne in mind that even in regard to what were called onerous rates, they were really beneficial to the occupier. If a local authority desired to reform its taxation ought it to proceed upon the policy to which this measure was the first step; or ought it rather to have proper regard to the means of those who lived within its borders? The whole matter became plain when they considered where the injustice of rating lay. Let them take the case of a man with an income of £4,000 a year living under the beneficent sway of one of the London Borough Councils. He would probably live in a house assessed at £200 a year, and the rates would be, say, 7s. 6d. in the £. That man would pay in rates £75 a year. Regarded as an income-tax that rate was 4½d. in the £ on his income. Let them contrast that with a man earning £400. He would probably live in a house assessed at £45 a year, and would pay £16 7s. 6d. in rates, or an income-tax of 10d. in the £. Would this Bill or the policy it was intended to lead up to remedy that injustice? It would not. Some sort of an income-tax or an ability-tax would have a fairer incidence. The policy to which this Bill was the first step made not the slightest impres-upon these injustices. While he advocated a local income-tax he did not desire to overlook another important point in the question of rate incidence to which he would now refer. While he did not for a moment acknowledge that the landlord bore the entire burden of local rating, he did agree with Professor Marshall that such part of local taxation as was levied upon the site value tended to decrease the rental and was in some sense a burden on the landlord. If a local authority were to levy an income-tax, and the present unfair house rate was abolished, the landlord would stand to gain. In that case the valuation of sites might be useful. They might levy a new local land tax directly assessed upon the valuation ascertained by such a Bill as this to compensate for the benefit gained by the landlord. Thus, they might find a common ground of agreement in the imposition of a land tax combined with a local graduated income-tax, which should have a fair incidence, according to ability to pay. Any legislation which contained so many exceptions as this Bill stood condemned on the face of it. The exceptions were so numerous that it would not be worth pursuing this policy. Moreover, the policy of taxing land values, with present contracts excepted, would not obtain for the community the unearned increment. How could they get at the increment which attached to sites due to the presence of the community? It was not difficult, and it could be done by a local transfer tax on the German pattern. Such a tax was in force in Frankfort. The tax varied according to the time which had lapsed, and according to the amount of increment which had occurred since the last transfer at sale or death, and a certain proportion of it was taken for the community. That was a direct and sensible method. The longer the transfer was delayed, the more the value rose. If they combined the income-tax with a new land tax and with an increment tax, they would get a fair and equitable scheme of local taxation. He did not advance this view dogmatically, but he thought it should have consideration before they went further with a policy which would only add very greatly to the complications which already existed
said it had been stated that the people of Scotland did not understand the subject before the House, and probably that statement was correct. He did not think, however, that the people of Scotland would understand it much better to-morrow. This was a very intricate question which was not grasped by everybody and which he for one did not pretend to grasp in the higher branches. There were, however, one or two practical considerations which were understanded of the people. He agreed that it would be most inexpedient to upset the general system of valuation in Scotland. From the humble, but practical standpoint of the local authority he should very much deprecate the introduction of local option in rating matters. They had a certain amount of trouble now with regard to appointments under local authorities, but if they were allowed to regulate their own basis of valuation as was proposed under this local option clause some disturbing elements might be introduced which would not conduce to the harmonious working of local institutions. Therefore, they had to take the Bill generally as part of the valuation system of the country. The point which was really raised by this new clause was the cost. If for a national object information was required, the cost of obtaining it should be borne by the nation. He was certain the local authorities would expect material assistance to be given them sufficient to cover the cost of this new entry. That was needed, and he thought the Chancellor of the Exchequer ought to have made some reference to that subject. As for the cost, he did not think it would be anything like £2,000,000. Some assessors had estimated their costs at very considerable sums, but they would amount to nothing like £2,000,000. He did not think in the case of landed estates the cost would be anything out of the ordinary course. He had consulted several people, and he was inclined to think it would not cost anything. With all due respect to the members of the Committee he attached less weight to the last inquiry than to the inquiry into the incidence of taxation held under Lord Balfour of Burleigh. This valuation was just as necessary to carry out the minority Report of Lord Balfour of Burleigh's Committee of inquiry as to carry out the recommendations of the last inquiry. It was necessary to separate house and site values. At any rate Lord Balfour of Burleigh advised separation in the valuation, and that could only be carried out by some such proposal as that contained in the Bill.
reminded the hon. Member that the separate valuation which was recommended was purely for the purpose of giving deductions on poor rates and so on. It was for a different purpose altogether from that to which the hon. Gentleman was referring.
said that if he were to build on this in the future he would take the Report of the Joint Secretaries to the Treasury as the basis of legislation. He would not take the basis of the last inquiry, nor would he limit himself in any way to the proposals of the minority Report or that of the Joint Secretaries. If the only purpose required was a separate valuation that was all they would get by this Bill. The real point raised by the Amendment was the question of cost. The scheme being a national one, he thought the local authorities had a right to expect a lead from the Treasury in respect of the first valuation. The question of local option might come in later on, but he did not think it could possibly come in now. The right hon. Gentleman had laid considerable stress on the policy advocated by the Solicitor-General. He was not himself a supporter of the full policy of the hon. and learned Gentleman, because he did not think it would be just if applied in certain cases. A number of inquiries into this question had taken place and a variety of proposals had been made. The proposal in the Bill was one which ought to be carried out. He did not believe that at the beginning there would be much money in the scheme, but eventually it would lead to increased revenue which might become considerable, He believed in taking the whole of the increment for the benefit of the community which had created it. They might all unite on this valuation, which committed them to nothing, but which was absolutely essential if they were to do anything. Whether in respect to agricultural land or urban land he could see no difficulty in carrying out the proposals of the Government. He had always maintained that the increased value of agricultural land was created by the owner, and that the increased value of urban land was not created by the owner, although he reaped the full advantage of it. It was in order to mitigate that irregularity, as he conceived it to be, that this valuation was an essential preliminary to any readjustment of local taxation or of any scheme for the endowment of the community with a better proportion of the value it created.
said the cost of making this valuation would be about £4,000,000. [MINISTERIAL laughter.] Hon. Members opposite laughed, but he thought he could prove the statement. He found that the rateable value of property in the city of London was £43,000,000 per annum. Taking that at twenty years purchase the capital value was £860,000,000. It occurred to him that it was possible the whole of Scotland might be worth half the capital value of the city of London. He thought it was worth more, but for the purpose of his argument he would reckon it at half. That gave the capital value in Scotland at £430,000,000. They could get it valued for nothing by people who did not understand the work, but if they got it valued by people who did understand the work they expected to be fairly remunerated. If they took as representing this work 1 per cent. on the £430,000,000 they found that the cost would be £4,300,000. He noticed that hon. Gentlemen opposite did not laugh now. Considering the amount of work which the surveyor would have to perform he did not consider 1 per cent. too high. No man of repute in his profession would do it for very much under 1 per cent., but even if the cost was only a half per cent. the amount would be £2,200,000. When it was done it would not be worth for practical purposes the paper it was written on, as everyone who had dealt in property would admit. When a man had a property to sell he consulted a surveyor, but it often happened that the prices realised in the market differed very considerably, up or down, from the estimate which the owner received of the price the property would probably bring. The valuation under this Bill might be made by some person who spoke in a flippant tone of something which he did not understand at all. He was confident from his long experience that if they were to get a proper valuation of property in Scotland they would have to pay at least £2,000,000 for it. Nothing was more difficult to get than a correct valuation of property. It must be looked at from the point of view of both the buyer and the seller. In this case there would be a tendency on the part of surveyors to put up the value however much they might guard themselves against forming a partial judgment.
said the new clause seemed to him to be an exceedingly reasonable one. The different localities which would be affected would, if it were passed, have the option of saying whether the measure should be put into operation in their areas. They would be able to consider whether it would be worth while incurring the cost; they would also be led to consider whether it was just, and what they were likely to get out of the measure when it was put into operation. The Bill provided for ascertaining certain facts, but they all knew that the ultimate object was to make those facts the basis of the rates and taxes which should be imposed hereafter. It appeared to him that the Bill would work a very unjust revolution in rateable value. Rates had hitherto been made on annual value—at what the property could be reasonably rented at from year to year. The Bill had in view assessing the rate on the capital value of land, which was a very different thing. He considered that would be most unreasonable and unjust. Why should a particular kind of property be selected from all other kinds to be taxed on its capital value? No one liked paying rates. Why should different kinds of property be unequally treated? A large amount of property was now not charged rates at all. On the average it was supposed that what was inside a house was twice the value of the house itself, but there was an Act which was renewed from year to year by which all that kind of property was exempted altogether from liability for rates. Why not rate that if any change was to be made? He could conceive nothing more unfair than to charge land rates on its capital value while all other kinds of rated property were rated on their annual value. He was very glad to think that this revolutionary system was to begin in Scotland if at all. The Scottish people were good economists and possessed of sound common sense, and he believed that when they came into close quarters with the Bill they would not put it in practice. At any rate the Bill should only be put in practice in those localities which agreed to adopt it. As an English Member and having an eye to what might come to England if the Scottish people liked the Bill—although he did not think they would when they came to know what it involved—he was in favour of the new clause because it would minimise the opening effect of the measure. If the Scottish people, speaking generally, did not wish to incur a good deal of expense in taking the first step on this new and dangerous road, it could be tried in the first instance on a limited scale only. Fortunately this was not a party question, and he would vote for the Amendment.
said that anyone listening to the debate would not imagine for one moment that they were discussing a Bill the object of which was to ascertain land values in Scotland. All those who had taken part in the discussion, except the hon. Member who seconded the Amendment, were English Members who, with all respect to them, did not understand the system of Scottish valuation. The right hon. Member for South Dublin paid a tribute to the method of Scottish valuation, and during a previous Administration had introduced a Bill to bring the English system up to the Scottish system. Did the right hon. Gentleman imagine that Scotland was to be kept standing still until England was brought up to the existing Scottish system? He would say to the right hon. Gentleman that they in Scotland were desirous of forging ahead and taking a further step. The right hon. Gentleman would admit that hitherto they had been able to demonstrate that the Scottish system of valuation was one of uniformity and simplicity. Any Amendment to the Bili like that proposed by the hon. Member for Preston would cut at the root of that uniformity and simplicity which had hitherto obtained. He knew that all those who supported the Amendment did not do so because they were in favour of local option in adopting the Bill, but because they were opposed to the Bill altogether. The Leader of the Opposition had made a most extraordinary statement. He had listened to many speeches from the right hon. Gentleman, especially in the last Parliament, notably those on the fiscal question, but he had never heard a more extraordinary statement than the right hon. Gentleman had made that day, viz., that the cost of land valuation in Scotland under the Bill would amount to £2,000,000. He admitted that the right hon. Gentleman had been supported in that view by the hon. Baronet the Member for Taunton, who said that it would cost £4,500,000. The hon. Baronet might just as well have said £10,000,000 or £20,000,000. The sums stated were altogether absurd.
asked if the hon. Gentleman would make a calculation showing where he was wrong?
said he would. He understood that the hon. Baronet was a great authority on rating. They had had his assistance in the Committee upstairs, but whatever experience the hon. Baronet might have in England—and no doubt it was great—he was quite sure that he had not come to close quarters with the system in Scotland. The hon. Baronet made his calculation on the basis of the employment of expert witnesses. That was not the system in Scotland. There the assessors had the confidence of those who rated and the people who paid the rates, and they proceeded in a much simpler and cheaper way. The assessor of the City of Glasgow, who actually made the valuation of that city, stated before the Committee that the cost of this Bill if put in operation would amount to £6,000.
That is purely hypothetical
And the assessor for the City of Edinburgh calculated that it would cost the public to make a similar valuation in that city £4,000,
Not at the public expense.
The hon. Member knows nothing about Scottish valuation or he would not have made that interruption.
I beg pardon; I do know something about Scottish valuation.
said that the assessors were paid by the public. Taking Glasgow and Edinburgh, the cost would amount to £10,000; that would of course be exclusive of any sum paid by private owners who wished to contest the assessor's valuation. He could assure the House that in Scotland they had very few appeals from the valuation of the assessors, who had the confidence of the community. He was sowewhat astonished by the speech of the hon. Member for North Paddington, who was an authority on questions of taxation. Before the Income Tax Committee the hon. Member and others complained seriously as to the lack of statistics in this country. One witness before the Committee went so far as to say that there was no country in the world so lacking in statistical information as Great Britain. He would have thought that the hon. Gentleman would have been delighted to see a Government which was trying to obtain accurate statistics. He was sure that the hon. Member did not want that the land should bear no taxation. When they remembered that the valuation of land in this country was made in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, he thought it was time that a new valuation should be made as the basis of a reform, not only of local but Imperial taxation. If they were to have reform they must know what were the different elements which were to compose the subject of taxation. The hon. Member for Preston had said that there was no money in this Bill, but he did not seem to have much faith in his own view. If there was no money in it, the Bill would demonstrate the fact. The hon. Member for Preston was more lucid on other questions of taxation, but on this he was like his distinguished predecesor who always brought in King Charles's head. The hon. Member had got a wrong view of the question which was not supported by political economists. He would remind the hon. Gentleman that John Stuart Mill went very much further than the lines of this Bill; he recommended that all the increased value given to land by public improvements should not only be taxed but confiscated. The hon. Member for Preston seemed to think that he had scored a point when he referred to the English Land Holdings Bill, and said that difficulties would arise with the county councils, but he might point out that this was a Bill for the valuation of land in Scotland, and they would have no such difficulties in that country as the hon. Gentleman anticipated if the Bill passed this House and another place. Not only so, but they had a practical demonstration of the soundness of the view which the Government were putting forward in this measure by the system of taxation which exempted improvements and rated the land value only under the Crofters Act, which had been a success for twenty years. The passing of a Bill like this and the taxation consequent upon it, would be a relief to agriculture which hon. Members were so anxious to have put in a satisfactory position. The hon. Member for Preston put forward his case for local option because he said it was carried on in New Zealand, but that was not so. It was taxation of land value by municipalities that was optional in New Zealand. The valuation was made, and therefore that argument fell to the ground. He thought that the effect of the Bill would be to supply them with information which would be of the greatest possible benefit to the nation.
said he would not have risen but for the fact that the hon. Member referred to him as not knowing anything about the system which prevailed in Scotland, and he had jumped up and said that he did understand it. He thought that one might live a very long life and not understand a measure of this kind which, in his judgment, should not be rushed through, because it might revolutionise the land system of the United Kingdom. This was but the first stage of a very much larger measure, which might later on be made applicable to England. What was the case for the Bill, if, as was alleged, they intended to protect existing contracts, because they knew that it was the intention of the vast majority of the supporters of this Bill if it was passed to propose not only the breaking of existing contracts but also the taxing as far as they possibly could the landlord out of existence? On the Front Government Bench they had the Solicitor-General, who, if he was not actually a member of the Scottish League for the Taxing of Ground Values, which was brought into existence to support and carry out the proposals of Mr. Henry George, was a supporter of it. The Solicitor-General supported that league, and so did the Lord Advocate and three or four other members of the Front Bench opposite. If they were not members of it they spoke at its meetings. Three or four members of the Government were also members of the English League. He had been laughed at for calling Mr. Henry George a half-educated man, but he repeated the assertion, and he was sure that anyone who examined his works would agree with him; and no less a person than Mr. Gladstone, whose words in some quarters seemed now to be forgotten, although they should command respect, not only in this House, but throughout the country, on the 27th February, 1891, said that there were persons who viewed the proposals of Mr. Henry George as being of a very enlightened character and who very much resented the use of hard words with regard to him, but so far as his knowledge and examination of his proposals went it was difficult, he confessed, to exclude them or extricate them from the category of those plans to which hard words were commonly applied. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had objected to there being any idea that he would be a party to breaking existing contracts, and he had explained to the investors in the City the other day that they need not be afraid of there being any measure for breaking contracts passed by this House. He was afraid the City had not given the amount of weight to his words which they ought to have done, and the right hon. Gentleman did not seem to have shifted the feeling of unrest which everybody knew to exist. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, although now he said he did not wish to break existing contracts, had supported the Bill of the Glasgow Corporation which did so. How was the outside public to judge? Let them take the case of the London County Council. A bogie was started that London was owned by half-a-dozen great landlords. The Council ordered that a ground plan of London should be made, but it was not yet finished, although it had cost some thousands of pounds. Why was it not finished? Because it had been found that, instead of half-a-dozen landlords, there were thousands and thousands of owners and that there was no foundation for the statement. They were told by the statistical officer of the London County Council that he could value the whole of the land of London for £25,000 the first year, and £5,000 a year afterwards. Then why did he not make the ground plain at a fraction of that cost? The Lord Advocate knew perfectly well that the cost of the valuation would be much more than £25,000 if it was ever finished. If he could rely on his figures let him insert a fixed sum in his Bill and put in the words "not exceeding" before it, and he would soon see who was right and who was wrong. They could not make a register of the streets of Glasgow for less than £20,000. If this was made the subject of a non-party vote the right hon. Gentleman would find the result very different from what he anticipated.
said he was glad to find himself in agreement with the Government in their endeavour to get this valuation for Scotland. He could not agree with the hon. Member for Preston that local option would be desirable, because what the people of Scotland wanted was a valuation of the land of Scotland, and they would not be satisfied until they had it. He agreed with the hon. Member for East Edinburgh that the cost would be small—£8,000 at the most. He was not quite in agreement with those who thought great results would be obtained from this valuation. He had given some thought to the matter and taken out some figures from the valuation rolls of Scotland. He found the total annual rateable value of the burghs of Scotland amounted to £17,000,000, whilst that of the agricultural land amounted to £15,000,000. He believed the land value of Edinburgh ranged from 20 to 33⅓ per cent. of the rateable value, but in order not to take too small an amount he would put it at 20 per cent. of the whole value of £6,000,000. He did not in this connection take into account site values, as they were not rated, but in order that there might be no discrepancy, he would add £1,000,000 for those, which would bring the capital value out at about £7,000,000. The hon. Member would be surprised to know that the assessments of the local authority in Scotland amounted to almost as much as the total annual land value. Therefore enthusiasts who regarded the taxation of land values as something which would mitigate all the evils under which we lived would admit, now that he had given them these figures, that they were labouring under an hallucination. There was one other point. Both the Lord Advocate and the Chancellor of the Exchequer admitted that they could not break contracts and could not tax feu duties. There was no method at present of taxing them, and he could not find what the total amount of the feu duties was. If there was any possibility of getting at that, then he thought it ought to be obtained, because then they could easily estimate what a tax of 20 per cent. on the land value of Scotland would bring in.
said that although the speech of the hon. Member who had just sat down was in favour of the Bill, it had given them a serious object lesson as to the result of the Bill if it passed. But he wished to put two considerations before the House very shortly, which applied solely to the real point of this Amendment, and not to the general principles of the Bill—to the question of option. The best argument in favour of option was found in the speech of the hon. Member for East Edinburgh, who said that this was not for local purposes only, but for Imperial purposes as well. There was a strong argument for option there, because if this was for Imperial purposes the Bill itself only applied to one part of the Empire. How was it to be used for Imperial purposes under those conditions? Were there not also differences in different localities which made option necessary? Let them take the small decaying burghs which were so frequent, unfortunately, in Scotland. In the case of those burghs, there was practically no land value. The buildings were let at a price at which they could not now be built, setting aside the value of the land on which they stood. With a diminishing value for rating purposes, and hardly touched by local taxation, surely some option must be given to them. And the same rule must be extended to urban areas where the property was constantly increasing in value. He would only quote one case to show how absolutely impossible it was to apply land values to all the are is. They knew quite well in watering places what was the value of a pier. He had in his eye one of the southern watering places, where the £1 shares in the pier were now selling for £13 or £14. The value was enormous. Almost the whole foundation was below high-water mark. Suppose they had to value that property which now gave an enormous return that was easily gained by the shareholders; suppose they were asked to estimate the land value of that property. What land value could they give? Not only was it almost impossible to value the land, but it should be remembered that all such properties as this absolutely claimed exemption from the rates altogether. The Lord Advocate and the Solicitor-General had said that the object of the Bill was to exempt all buildings and improvements, and solely to take the land value. But was there not in various localities a large amount of such property of which it would be absur to attempt to estimate the land value, and which it would be still more absurd and unjust to attempt to exempt from rating altogether? The fact was that the Bill had been promoted by extremists, like those who promoted the Glasgow Bill. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had mistaken his interruption as to "the Glasgow Bill." It was not intended to interfere with the right hon. Gentleman's argument, because the Glasgow Bill, a measure which derived that description from the circumstance that it was promoted by Glasgow gentlemen, applied to the whole of Scotland, and not merely to Glasgow. In connection with this Bill they wanted to throw a sop to the followers of Henry George; it asked them to incur an unwarrantable expense, to attempt to do something which was almost impossible of accomplishment; in fact, they were holding out hopes which he, for one, contended could never be realised, while they would deprive the community of a valid rate which was now easily and readily and justly paid.
rose in his place and claimed to move "That the Question be now put. Question put, "That the question be now put." The House divided:—Ayes, 248; Noes. 51. (Division List No. 437.)
|Abraham, William (Cork, N.E.)||Bertram, Julius||Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.|
|Adkins, W. Ryland D.||Bethell, SirJ.H.(Essex,Romf'rd||Carr-Gomm, H. W.|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Bethell, T. R. (Essex, Maldon)||Causton, Rt.HnRichardKnight|
|Alden, Percy||Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Cheetham, John Frederick|
|Ambrose, Robert||Boland, John||Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.|
|Asquith, Rt. Hn. Herbert Henry||Bowerman, C. W.||Cleland, J. W.|
|Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth)||Brace, William||Clough, William|
|Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury, E.||Bramsdon, T. A.||Clynes, J. R.|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Branch, James||Collins,Stephen (Lambeth)|
|Barlow, Sir John E. (Somerset)||Brigg, John||Collins, SirWm.J(S.Pancras,W.|
|Barnes, G. N.||Brodie, H. C.||Condon, Thomas Joseph|
|Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone,N.||Brunner, J.F.L.(Lancs.,Leigh)||Corbett, CH (Sussex,E.Grinst'd|
|Beaumont, Hon. Hubert||Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Cowan, W. H.|
|Bell, Richard||Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)|
|Benn, W.(T'w'rHamlets,S.Geo.||Buxton, Rt. Hn.SydneyCharles||Cremer, Sir William Randal|
|Berridge, T. H. D.||Byles, William Pollard||Crooks, William|
|Crossley, William J.||Kennedy, Vincent Paul||Pirie, Duncan V.|
|Cullinan, J.||Kilbride, Denis||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Curran, Peter Francis||King, Alfred John (Knutsford)||Price, C. E. (Edinb'gh,Central)|
|Davies, Timothy (Fulham)||Laidlaw, Robert||Pullar, Sir Robert|
|Delany, William||Lambert, George||Radford, G. H.|
|Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.)||Lamont, Norman||Rainy, A. Rolland|
|Dickinson, W.H.(St.Pancras,N||Lardner, James Carrige Rushe||Rea, Russell (Gloucester)|
|Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.||Lea, Hugh Cecil(St.Pancras,E.||Reddy, M.|
|Dilke, Rt.Hon. Sir Charles||Levy, Sir Maurice||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Lewis, John Herbert||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Duckworth, James||Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David||Richards, Thomas(W.Monm'th|
|Duffy, William J.||Lough, Thomas||Richards, T.F.(Wolverh'mpt'n|
|Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)||Lundon, W.||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Edwards, Enoch (Hanley)||Lupton, Arnold||Ridsdale, E. A.|
|Elibank, Master of||Lyell, Charles Henry||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Erskine, David C.||Macdonald, J.M(FalkirkB'ghs)||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)|
|Essex, R. W.||Mackarness, Frederic C.||Robertson, SirG.Scott(Bradf'rd|
|Everett, R. Lacey||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)|
|Farrell, James Patrick||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Robinson, S.|
|Fenwick, Charles||MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.||Robson, Sir William Snowdon|
|Ferens, T. R.||MacVeigh, Charles(Donegal, E.||Rogers, F. E. Newman|
|Ferguson, R. C. Munro||M'Crae, George||Rowlands, J.|
|Ffrench, Peter||M'Hugh, Patrick A.||Russell, T. W.|
|Findlay, Alexander||M'Kean, John||Samuel, Herbert L.(Cleveland)|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||M'Kenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Shaw, Rt. Hon. T. (Hawick B.)|
|Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||M'Killop, W.||Sheehy, David|
|Fuller, John Michael F.||M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Gibb, James (Harrow)||Maddison, Frederick||Silcock, Thomas Ball|
|Gill, A. H.||Manfield, Harry (Northants)||Sinclair, Rt. Hon. John|
|Ginnell, L.||Markham, Arthur Basil||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
|Gladstone, Rt.Hn.HerbertJohn||Marks, G.Croydon(Launceston)||Snowden, P.|
|Glover, Thomas||Marnham, F. J.||Stanley, Albert (Staffs., N.W.)|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||Massie, J.||Stanley, Hn. A. Lyulph(Chesh.)|
|Gooch, George Peabody||Meehan, Patrick A.||Steadman, W. C.|
|Grant, Corrie||Menzies, Walter||Stewart, Halley (Greenock)|
|Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)||Micklem, Nathaniel||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward||Molten, Percy Alport||Strauss, E. A. (Abingdon)|
|Gulland, John W.||Money, L. G. Chiozza||Summerbell, T.|
|Gurdon, RtHn.SirWBrampton||Montagu, E. S.||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Halpin, J.||Mooney, J. J.||Tennant, SirEdward(Salisbury)|
|Hammond, John||Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)||Toulmin, George|
|Harmsworth,R.L. (Caithn'ss-sh||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthe||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Harvey, W.E.(Derbyshire,N.E.||Morrell, Philip||Ure, Alexander|
|Haworth, Arthur A.||Morse, L. L.||Verney, F. W.|
|Hayden, John Patrick||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Vivian, Henry|
|Hazel, Dr. A. E.||Muldoon, John||Walsh, Stephen|
|Hazleton, Richard||Murphy, John (Kerry, East)||Walton, Sir John L. (Leeds, S.)|
|Healy, Timothy Michael||Murphy, N. J. (Kilkenny, S.)||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Hedges, A. Paget||Myer, Horatio||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent|
|Helme, Norval Watson||Napier, T. B.||Wardle, George J.|
|Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Nicholls, George||Waring, Walter|
|Henry, Charles S.||Nicholson, CharlesN.(Doncast'r||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Higham, John Sharp||Nolan, Joseph||Wedgwood, Josiah C.|
|Hobart, Sir Robert||Nuttall, Harry||Weir, James Galloway|
|Hogan, Michael||O'Brien, Kendal(Tipperary,Mid||White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)|
|Holland, Sir William Henry||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Holt, Richard Durning||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Whitehead, Rowland|
|Horniman, Emslie John||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)|
|Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||O'Doherty, Philip||Wiles, Thomas|
|Hyde, Clarendon||O'Donnell, C. J. (Walworth)||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W.R.)|
|Idris, T. H. W.||O'Grady, J.||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Illingworth, Percy H.||O'Kelly,James(Roscommon,N.||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Jardine, Sir J.||O'Shee, James John||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Johnson, John (Gateshead)||Parker, James (Halifax)||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Johnson, W. (Nuneaton)||Paulton, James Mellor|
|Jowett, F. W.||Pearce, Robert (Staffs., Leek)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr.|
|Joyce, Michael||Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Whiteley and Mr. J. A.|
|Kekewich, Sir George||Pearson, W.H.M. (Suffolk,Eye)||Pease.|
|Acland-Hood, Rt Hn.SirAlex.F.||Balcarres, Lord||Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)|
|Ashley, W. W.||Balfour, RtHnA.J.(CityLond.)||Beach, Hn. Michael HughHicks|
|Bowles, G. Stewart||Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey||Rawlinson, John FrederickPeel|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Fletcher, J. S.||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Bull, Sir William James||Forster, Henry William||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall|
|Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. H. M.||Gardner, Ernest (Berks, East)||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Gibbs, G. A. (Bristol, West)||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Cavendish, Rt.Hn.Victor C. W.||Gretton, John||Sloan, Thomas Henry|
|Cecil, Lord John P. Joicey||Hamilton, Marquess of||Staveley-Hill, Herny (Staff'sh)|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.)||Harris, Frederick Leverton||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Chamberlain, Rt.Hn.J.A(Wore.||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Valentia, Viscount|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Hay, Hon. Claude George||Vincent, Col. Sir C. E. Howard|
|Collings, Rt. Hn J.(Birmingh'm||Hills, J. W.||Younger, George|
|Courthope, G. Loyd||Hunt, Rowland|
|Craig, CharlesCurtis(Antrim, S.||Kennaway, Rt.Hn. Sir John H.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Kimber, Sir Henry||Frederick Banbury and Mr.|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Long, Rt.Hn.Walter (Dublin,S.||Mitchell-Thomson.|
|Du Cros, Harvey||Magnus. Sir Philip|
|Fell, Arthur||Pease, Herbert Pike(Darlington|
Question put accordingly "That the Clause be read a second time."
|Acland-Hood,RtHn.SirAlex.F.||Collings, Rt.Hn.J.(Birmingh'm||Long, Rt. Hn. Walter( Dublin,S.)|
|Ashley, W. W.||Courthope, G. Loyd||Magnus, Sir Philip|
|Balcarres, Lord||Craig,CharlesCurtis (Antrim,S.)||Parkes, Ebenezer|
|Balfour,RtHn. A. J. (City Lond||Craik, Sir Henry||Pease,HerbertPike(Darlington)|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Rawlinson,John FrederickPeel|
|Banner, John S. Harmood-||Du Cros, Harvey||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Barrie, H.T. (Londonderry, N.)||Everett, R. Lacey||Roberts, S.(Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Beach,Hn.Michael Hugh Hicks||Fell, Arthur||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Bertram, Julius||Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Bowles, G. Stewart||Fletcher, J. S.||Sloan, Thomas Henry|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Forster, Henry William||Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staff'sh.|
|Bull, Sir William James||Gardner, Ernest (Berks, East)||Talbot, Lord E. (Chicester)|
|Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. H. M.||Gretton, John||Tennant,SirEdward (Salisbury)|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Hamilton, Marquess of||Thomson, W. Mitchell-(Lanark)|
|Cavendish, Rt. Hn.Victor C.W.||Harris, Frederick Leverton||Valentia, Viscount|
|Cecil, Lord John P. Joicey-||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Vincent, Col. Sir C. E.Howard|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.||Hay, Hon. Claude George|
|Chamberlain,Rt.Hn.J.A.(Worc.||Hills, J. W.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES-Mr.|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Hunt, Rowland||Harold Cox and Mr. Younger.|
|Cheetham, John Frederick||Kennaway, Rt. Hn. Sir JohnH.|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Kimber, Sir Henry|
|Abraham, William (Cork, N.E.||Brunner, J. F. L. (Lancs.Leigh)||Davies, Timothy (Fulham)|
|Adkins, W. Ryland D.||Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Delany, William|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.)|
|Asquith,Rt. Hn. HerbertHenry||Buxton, Rt.Hn.Sydney Charles||Dickinson,W.H.(St. Pancras, N|
|Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth)||Byles, William Pollard||Dickson-Poynder, Sir John:P.|
|Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury, E)||Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Donelan, Captain A.|
|Baring,Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Causton,Rt.Hn.RichardKnight||Duckworth, James|
|Barlow, Sir John E. (Somerset)||Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Duffy, William J.|
|Barnes, G. N.||Clarke, C. Goddard (Peckham)||Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)|
|Barry, Redmond J.(Tyrone,N.)||Cleland, J. W.||Edwards, Enoch (Hanley)|
|Beaumont, Hon. Hubert||Clough, William||Elibank, Master of|
|Bell, Richard||Clynes, J. R.||Erskine, David C.|
|Benn,W.(T'w'rHamlets, S.Geo.||Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Essex, R. W.|
|Berridge, T. H. D.||Collins,SirWm.J.(S.Pancras,W)||Farrell, James Patrick|
|Bethell,Sir J.H. (Essex,Romf'rd||Condon, Thomas Joseph||Fenwick, Charles|
|Bethell, T. R. (Essex, Maldon)||Corbett,C.H.(Sussex,E.Grinst'd||Ferens, T. R.|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Cory, Clifford John||Ferguson, R. C. Munro|
|Boland, John||Cowan, W. H.||Ffrench, Peter|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Findlay, Alexander|
|Brace, William||Cremer, Sir William Randal||Flavin, Michael Joseph|
|Bramsdon, T. A.||Crooks, William||Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry|
|Branch, James||Crossley, William J.||Fuller, John Michael F.|
|Brigg, John||Cullinan, J.||Gibb, James (Harrow)|
|Brodie, H. C.||Curran, Peter Francis||Gill, A. H.|
The House divided:—Ayes, 58; Noes, 248. (Division List No. 438.)
|Ginnell, L.||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Gladstone,Rt,Hn.Herbert John||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Glover, Thomas||MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.||Richards, whomas (W.Monmth|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||MacVeigh, Caries (Donegal, E.)||Richards, T. F.(Wolverh'mpt'n|
|Gooch, George Peabody||M'Crae, George||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Grant, Corrie||M'Hugh, Patrick A.||Ridsdale, E. A.|
|Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)||M'Kean, John||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward||M'Kenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)|
|Gulland, John W.||M'Killop, W.||Robertson,SirG.Scott(Bradf'rd|
|Gurdon,RtHn.Sir W.Brampton||M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)|
|Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard R.||Maddison, Frederick||Robinson, S.|
|Halpin, J.||Manfield, Harry (Northants)||Robson, Sir William Snowdon|
|Hammond, John||Markham, Arthur Basil||Rogers, F. E. Newman|
|Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis||Marks,G.Croydon (Launceston)||Rowlands, J.|
|Harmsworth,R.L.(Caithn'ss-sh.||Marnham, F. J.||Russell, T. W.|
|Harvey, W.E. (Derbyshire,N.E||Massie, J.||Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)|
|Haworth, Arthur A.||Meehan, Patrick A.||Shaw, Rt. Hon. T. (Hawick B.)|
|Hayden, John Patrick||Menzies, Walter||Sheehy, David|
|Hazel, Dr. A. E.||Micklem, Nathaniel||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Hazleton, Richard||Molteno, Percy Alport||Silcock, Thomas Ball|
|Healy, Timothy Michael||Money, L. G. Chiozza||Sinclair, Rt. Hon. John|
|Hedges, A. Paget||Montagu, E. S.||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
|Helme, Norval Watson||Mooney, J. J.||Snowden, P.||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)|
|Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)||Stanley, Albert (Staffs., N.W.)||Henry, Charles S.|
|Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)||Stanley, Hn. A. Lyulph (Chesh.||Higham, John Sharp||Morrell, Philip|
|Steadman, W. C.||Hobart, Sir Robert||Morse, L. L.|
|Stewart, Halley (Greenock)||Hogan, Michael||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Holland, Sir William Henry||Muldoon, John||Strauss, E. A. (Abingdon)|
|Holt, Richard Durning||Murphy, John (Kerry, East)||Summerbell, T.|
|Horniman, Emslie John||Murphy, N. J. (Kilkenny, S.)||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Myer, Horatio||Toulmin, George|
|Hyde, Clarendon||Napier, T. B.||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Idris, T. H. W.||Nicholls, George||Ure, Alexander|
|Illingworth, Percy H.||Nicholson,CharlesN. (Doncast'r||Verney, F. W.|
|Jardine, Sir J.||Nolan, Joseph||Vivian, Henry|
|Johnson, John (Gateshead)||Nuttall, Harry||Walsh, Stephen|
|Johnson, W. (Nuneaton)||O'Brien,Kendal( TipperaryMid)||Walton, Sir John L. (Leeds, S.)|
|Jowett, F. W.||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Joyce, Michael||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Ward, John (Stoke upon Trent)|
|Kearley, Hudson E.||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Wardle, George J.|
|Kekewich, Sir George||O'Doherty, Philip||Waring, Walter|
|Kennedy, Vincent Paul||O'Donnell, C. J. (Walworth)||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Kilbride, Denis||O'Grady, J.||Wedgwood, Josiah C.|
|Kng, Alfred John (Knutsford)||O'Kelly, James (Roscommon,N||Weir, James Galloway|
|Laidlaw, Robert||O'Shee, James John||White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)|
|Lambert, George||Parker, James (Halifax)||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Lamont, Norman||Paulton, James Mellor||Whitehead, Rowland|
|Lardner, James Carrige Rushe||Pearce, Robert (Staffs. Leek)||Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)|
|Lea, Hugh Cecil (St.Pancras,E.||Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Wiles, Thomas|
|Levy, Sir Maurice||Pearson,W.H.M. (Suffolk,Eye)||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W.R.)|
|Lewis, John Herbert||Pirie, Duncan V.||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David||Power, Patrick Joseph||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Lough, Tamas||Price, C. E. (Edinb'gh, Central)||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Lundon, W.||Pullar, Sir Robert||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Lupton, Arnold||Radford, G. H.|
|Lyell, Charles Henry||Rainy, A. Rolland||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr.|
|Macdonald,J.M.(FalkirkBg'hs)||Rea, Russell (Gloucester)||Whiteley and Mr. J. A.|
|Mackarness, Frederic C.||Reddy, M.||Pease.|
on Clause 1 moved to leave out the words "and of each subsequent year," the effect being to confine the making of the new entry in the valuation roll—capital land value—to one year. He said that anyone who had listened to the debate must be convinced that the fewer times these operations had to be gone through in order to add the third column to the valuation roll, the better it would be for Scotland. The Lord Advocate had told them that the object of this Bill was to get certain facts. He submitted that once they had got those facts they did not need to repeat the inquiry every year. Once the facts were obtained that ought to be sufficient for the object they had in view. The right hon. Gentleman had stated that this Bill was required solely for the purpose of obtaining information, and the Solicitor-General had told them that one of its objects was to simplify land transfer, At any rate all would agree that the information should be accurate, but the facts they would obtain under the Bill would obviously be inaccurate. The right hon. Gentleman had taken pains to point out that no rating was to ensue until a Rating Act had been passed, Surely that would be the proper time to renew the valuation. Although the Lord Advocate required all this information, he was not prepared to pay for it out of Government funds. The right hon. Gentleman wished to drink deep at the spring of the unfortunate owner. This expense would fall in many cases on persons who could ill afford to bear it. A large landowner would be perfectly safe, because he had got his factors; but what would happen to the small landowners? A much larger proportion would fall on the small man than upon the large man. As to the question of cost, how was it that no estimate had been placed before the House? Before rushing into this scheme it would only have been proper for the Lord Advocate to have taken some means of ascertaining what the cost was going to be. He concurred with the Leader of the Opposition that the cost to Scotland of the valuation roll would be something like £2,000,000. No attempt appeared to have been made to ascertain the cost. In the county of Aberdeen, including the city of Aberdeen, there were upwards of 92,740 voters on the valuation roll. He wished to know whether the Government could give any estimate of the cost of the surveys which would be necessary when this Bill became law? He ventured to say that an enormous cost would be thrown on the county of Aberdeen. It had been stated that a Glasgow assessor had expressed the opinion that it could all be done for £5,000 or £6,000. Glasgow had made up a register which had already cost £20,000, and there were still 5,000 appeals oustanding against the assessor. Any hon. Member who had had to do with such appeals knew how costly they were. An hon. friend had informed him that one of these appeals cost from £100 to £1,000. This was an expenditure which the Government proposed to put on, not once, but year after year. Ac cording to the evidence of Mr. Marwick it would take thirty valuators working six days a week for four and a half years to make a valuation of Edinburgh alone, but an enthusiastic Glasgow assessor had said that after the first valuation had been made the others could be made in five minutes. Could any hon. Member really imagine that valuations made at that rate would not necessarily be the subject of appeal. The Bill said that it was to come into force in respect of Whitsunday, 1909. The Lord Advocate seemed to think that he had made a concession when he altered the date from 1908, but the same difficulty would arise in 1909 as if the measure came into operation in 1908. The only advantage of altering the date would be that the public would have a little more time to become acquainted with the terms of the Bill. When Whitsunday, 1909, came, notices would have to be sent out by the assessors, and as the valuation roll had to be returned by 15th August, all the time available for the making up of the roll would be three months. The assessor retained the valuation roll till 8th September, and then it was transmitted to the county clerk, and the appeals had to be heard by 25th September. That was a totally inadequate time to attend to the appeals which would arise. The voters roll had to be made up between 25th September and 15th October. All this work had to be done by the same assessors at the same time. An impossible task was being thrown upon them. The Association of Assessors said that it would take two years to carry out the work. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had announced through the Lord Advocate that in regard to the expense he would give fair consideration to the cost that might be imposed on the assessors. Did the right hon. Gentleman propose to give fair consideration to the cost that would be imposed on the owners as well? These costs would be of an extremely onerous character. It had been suggested that we ought to copy the New Zealand system, but he would point out that the valuation there was not made annually. It could not be made at a less interval than two years. Why should the valuation roll be revised every year in the case of unfortunate Scotland? What changes did the right hon. Gentleman expect to take place from Year to year? He admitted that probably a change of Government would increase the capital value of land in Scotland. The legislation of the present Government had had a most depressing effect on feu duties. At one time they were absolutely unsaleable, and it was only after the intervention of the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Prime Minister that it was possible in Glasgow to sell feu duties at any price at all. Enormous difficulty would be experienced by the owners and occupiers who desired to carry out their duties in regard to valuations. Whit Sunday was the common period at which properties were handed over when sales took place. There would be a valuation placed on the roll in respect of a property at that date, but under the scheme of the Lord Advocate the new owner would be responsible for the accuracy of the valuation, and he would be liable to a penalty of £50 for an inaccurate valuation. That would throw an unnecessary burden on the individual. Once the valuation had been given that should be sufficient for all reasonable purposes. In Glasgow, for example, there would be complicated issues at stake and it would be three or four years before the valuation column could be made at all accurate. There were small counties in which it might he done in a year. Power was given in the Bill to delay in certain cases, but where that power was not applied this valuation would be made from year to year at great cost. He submitted that the object the Government desired would be served if one valuation was made, and that then from time to time as it became necessary a revision could be made by Order in Council. His desire was not to put the country to the expense and inconvenience every year of the preparation of a valuation roll. He hoped the reasonableness of his proposal would appeal to the Lord Advocate. He begged to move. Amendment proposed—
Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill.""In page 1, line 6, to leave out the words 'and of each subsequent year."'—(Mr. Cochrane.)
said he was sorry that the Government did not see its way to accept the proposal of the hon. Gentleman. The House had already settled that there should be a valuation roll made up for the first year, viz., the year beginning Whit Sunday, 1909. That being so, and if by universaladmission, the expense, of which so much had just been made, would be very largely in excess in the first year of any expense which would be incurred in subsequent years, the deletion of the words "each subsequent year" would be most inadvisable. It was altogether out of the question that in a Bill so fashioned as to adapt itself to the system of the valuation of land in Scotland they should add a column departing from that system which had answered so well for more than fifty years. That was the broad ground on which the Government adhered to the Bill as it stood. He knew that there was a quin-quennial system which obtained in London. Such a system had never been, and he hoped would never be, applied to Scotland. The precedent of New Zealand had also been quoted, but when that was set up for the first time in the Colony it was from motives which did not apply in Scotland. The motive of the Government was to dovetail into the Act of 1854, which had by common consent worked so smoothly and effectively, the proposals in the Bill. Calculations of a most fantastic nature had been made as to the enormous expense which would be incurred. The hon. Baronet the Member for Taunton had said that the cost would be £4,000,000, but by way of being very generous he reduced that sum to £2,000,000. An estimate had been made with regard to the cost to Edinburgh and Glasgow. His hon. friend the Member for East Edinburgh had put the cost for that city at £4,000. As a matter of fact it would only cost £2,000, He would throw the £2,000 to his hon. friend, just as he had taken the reduced estimate of the hon. Baronet at £2,000,000. Assume that it would cost Edinburgh and Glasgow £10,000, let them work it out by the rule of three. The valuation of Edinburgh and Glasgow amounted to £8,000,000 per annum. The cost of valuation which the hon. Baronet would reach on his estimate, would be £160,000. The people on the spot, the most skilled valuers in the United Kingdom, told them that that was a most fantastic statement, that the cost of valuation of the land in Edinburgh and Glasgow would be £10,000 and that a figure of £160,000 was sheer nonsense.
The assessors are not valuers.
said that his experience, both as arbitrator and as counsel, in the course of a long professional life showed him that the assessors were most skilled valuers. This matter of expense did not terrify them in Scotland at all. The valuation, though it might appear large for the first year, would be taken advantage of each subsequent year, and the expense would consequently be diminished. He asked the House not to sterilise the Bill by accepting the Amendment. What they wanted to get at was the valuation each year showing any increment or decrement. In ninety-nine cases out of a hundred the value would be repeated and the assessor would say that he saw no change in the value.
said that the hon. and learned Gentleman asked them not to sterilise his Bill by accepting the Amendment. He failed to see from the explanation given by the Lord Advocate that the Amendment, if carried, would do the least harm. If the object of the Government was what they had told the House, to get some notion of what the value of the land in Scotland was for the purpose of guiding them in future legislation, then he thought that one valuation would be enough, and there could be no object in an annual valuation. If the Bill was to have some operative character and the information obtained was to be purely academic, for which, however, the proprietors of Scotland would be asked to pay, then the experiment should be made as cheap as possible. He agreed with the right hon. and learned Gentleman that the cost in the valuation in the subsequent years would not be as great as in the first year, but he did not agree with him as to the cost of the first year. On the contrary, he thought that the right. hon. and learned Gentleman had greatly underrated it, and that he was wrong when he stated that the amount of the expense to the individual proprietors would be negligible, It would involve landed proprietors going through all the accounts of their estates for more than twenty years to see when certain improvements had commenced, and there would require to be continual revision of the valuation. That could not be done without some cost, and he earnestly suggested that all the information required could be obtained if he and his successors were content with the valuation for one year.
heartily supported the Amendment. What was the object of the Bill? As stated by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Bill was introduced in order to collect statistics merely for the pleasure of collecting them, but obviously the object was to obtain figures which would justify the imposition of a rate. In Committee they could get no information as to the nature of the rate, and when the Lord Advocate first introduced the Bill he indicated that was a fishing and exploring measure in order to see whether legislation could be introduced. The Government under this Bill were not going to impose any rate, and before they did so they must introduce another Bill. Meanwhile what did this Amendment suggest? The Amendment was that when they had got that information they should stop and consider whether they should go on, and if it was found possible to bring in a rating Bill they should do so. But what was the position of the right hon. Gentleman? It was that this valuation should be made every year, a proceeding which would be most unfair. Let them take the case of two adjacent counties, Peebles and Lanark. Peebles was a small county and was likely to finish its valuation quickly while, Lanarkshire being a large county, the work in it would take a longer time. What would be the result? Lanarkshire would probably make one valuation, while Peebles, the work being lighter, would make two, three, or four. The result would be not to give the right hon. Gentleman any valuation which he could go upon in founding a rating Bill, because the dates of the valuations would vary. If the right hon. Gentleman said that after the first valuation was made the process should be annual, there might be something to be said for the proposal, but there was nothing to be said for a suggestion that while one county was to make half a dozen valuations other counties were to only make one. The right hon. Gentleman had been pleased to say that the estimate of the Leader of the Opposition that this valuation would cost £2,000,000 was a fantastic figure, and that for the City of Glasgow the cost would be from £6,000 to £8,000. What he wanted to ask the House was to consider whether, when they were making an estimate, it was not a fair basis to take ¼ per cent. to ½ per cent. as the cost of the valuation; and if they did so the estimate of £6,000 to £8,000 was totally inadequate. The annual rental of Glasgow was £5,750,000. Taking the capitalised value of that not at twenty years purchase, but at only fifteen years, would give them a capital value of £86,000,000. The remuneration of £6,000 or £8,000 to those who had to make the valuation of that amount of property would work out at 160th of one per cent. Was that reasonable? The right hon. Gentleman would not venture to offer such a rate of remuneration to any assessor, or if he did he would hear a very strong opinion from the assessor in question. He asked whether there was any precedent—he knew of none—for making valuations apart from rating an annual obligation. He therefore suggested to the right hon. Gentleman, as this was simply a Bill for inquiry on which to base future legislation, provision should be made safeguarding those counties which had got through their valuations quickly from being compelled to go on making valuations until those counties which had moved more slowly and less skilfully had completed theirs.
said that as he understood it, these assessors were not to be professional men, and yet they were the gentlemen who would have to work out one of the most difficult calculations that it was possible to think of. They had not only the superficial area of the land to deal with, but the miners and other values which pertained to it. If the Lord Advocate thoroughly be lieved in the proposal which he had brought forward and thought the expenses would be only the amount which he had indicated, why not say in the Bill that the cost should not exceed £6,000, £8,000, £10,000, or even £100,000, because he was sure the last-named figure mentioned would not cover the cost. The whole virtue of the valuation depended upon the man who made it, and if these valuations were to be made not by experts but by novices who were unacquainted with the work so far as capital and rental values were concerned, their estimates would not be worth the paper upon which they were written.
hoped that the Chancellor of the Exchequer would receive favourably the suggestion that the Treasury should bear some of the cost about which they were hearing such varying statements. Leaving out the question of necessity and for this purpose admitting that it was necessary to make such a valuation, it seemed to him unreasonable that it should be made every year. His hon. friend the Member for Lanark had advanced unanswerable arguments as to one county making the valuation more quickly than another, and had therefore demonstrated that it was unreasonable to have this valuation every year. What good did the Lord Advocate think was going to come from this annual valuation? He quite agreed that the valuation should be made at recurrent periods, but he did not see why it should be annual. In London we had a quinquennial valuation, but in country districts and other large towns the valuation was not made so frequently. If the Lord Advocate had proposed a quinquennial valuation he did not know that he would have had much to say against it, but he did not see the necessity for an annual valuation. Did the right hon. Gentleman think that property in Glasgow was going to fluctuate appreciably every year? He did not think that that would be the case, and he trusted it would not be, in spite of the extraordinary legislation which was going to be triel upon that city. Evidently the fluctuations could not be very great, and even the unearned increment of which they heard so much would take some years to accrue. As to the question of expense, he altogether failed to grasp the argument of the right hon. Gentleman, and he thought that his statement of £6,000 or £8,000 could not be made seriously. The Lord Advocate seemed to have omitted altogether the consideration that the people whose property was going to be valued had already made some valuation on their own behalf and might or might not accept the valuation of the assessor. It was inevitable that an expert must be called in and that a considerable expense would be entailed on that account; because if the unfortunate man sent in an inaccurate valuation and the Corporation asked on what it was founded, and he said it was a guess, they would not accept it, and he would have to employ an expert in order that the valuation should be founded on a proper basis. He agreed that the work would not be so difficult the second year. If it was necessary to include a fixed date he hoped the Lord Advocate would make it a longer period than a year.
said having had considerable experience in the valuation of property, he might be able to throw some light on this matter. The annual assessment was an absolute necessity. During the last thirty years, the property in Cripplegate Without had grown in annual value from £70,000 to £230,000. During the whole of that period the annual valuations for rating purposes had passed under his hand. The revision of assessments and valuations took place every year and the quinquennial assessments had been arrived at from the annual valuations. The rental value of the property in that district being £230,000, the capital value might be put at £4,000,000, and during the whole thirty years, all the valuations, including the quinquennial revisions, had only cost £200 a year, or less than a hundred and sixtieth of the 1 per cent. which had been spoken of as an impossible figure. He himself would be glad to undertake the valuation of the whole of Scotland at that impossible figure, and would guarantee that it would be properly done. If it was done annually, it was a comparatively easy thing to do.
pointed out that in this case they would have to make a hypothetical situation. They would have to divest the site of its building and value it not for the purposes of the building upon it, but for the purposes of the building which the assessor thought ought to be upon it. Under such conditions it was obvious that the valuation would have to be much more carefully made, and would take a much greater time.
said it appeared to him that those who opposed this Amendment lost sight of the fact that there was no precedent for going to the expense of a valuation of land without the intention of making immediate and practical use of the information obtained. It was proposed in this case to make a valuation of the capital value of the land of Scotland, first, for the purpose of determining whether or not it was expedient or judicious to base fresh taxation, Imperial or local, on the information obtained, and secondly, to base the taxation on the figures obtained. For the second purpose he admitted that the information must be substantially accurate, but for the purpose for which this information alone was sought, rough general information was sufficient. To decide whether or not it was expedient, judicious, or just to impose fresh taxation of the kind suggested, it was not necessary to know the exact value of the land; an approximate estimate would be sufficient. No one could deny that the cost of the annual revision would be considerable, and it appeared to him, having regard to the purpose for which the valuation was wanted, that the cost of the annual revision would be a waste of money. Question put. The House divided:—Ayes, 238; Noes, 51. (Division List No. 439).
|Abraham, William (Cork, N.E.)||Ginnell, L.||Menzies, Walter|
|Adkins, W. Ryland D.||Gladstone,Rt.Hn.Herbert John||Micklem, Nathaniel|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Glover, Thomas||Molteno, Percy Alport|
|Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth)||Goddard, Daniel Ford||Money, L. G. Chiozza|
|Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury, E.||Gooch, George Peabody||Montagu, E. S.|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Grant, Corrie||Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)|
|Barlow, Sir John E. (Somerset)||Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)||Morse, L. L.|
|Barnes, G. N.||Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas|
|Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.||Gulland, John W.||Muldoon, John|
|Beaumont, Hon. Hubert||Gurdon,RtHnSirW.Brampton||Murphy, John (Kerry, East)|
|Bell, Richard||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius||Murphy, N. J. (Kilkenny, S.)|
|Benn,W.(T'w'rHamlets,S.Geo.||Halpin, J.||Myer, Horatio|
|Berridge, T. H. D.||Hammond, John||Napier, T. B.|
|Bethell,SirJ.H.(Essex,Romf'rd||Harcourt, Rt. Hon Lewis||Nicholls, George|
|Bethell, T. R. (Essex, Maldon)||Harvey, W.E.(DerbyshireN.E.||Nicholson,CharlesN.(Doncast'r|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Haworth, Arthur A.||Nolan, Joseph|
|Boland, John||Hazel, Dr. A. E.||Nuttall, Harry|
|Brace, William||Hazleton, Richard||O'Brien,Kendal(TipperaryMid.|
|Bramsdon, T. A.||Healy, Timothy Michael||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Branch, James||Hedges, A. Paget||O'Doherty, Philip|
|Brigg, John||Helme, Norval Watson||O'Donnell, C. J. (Walworth)|
|Brodie, H. C.||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||O'Grady, J.|
|Brunner,J.F.L.(Lancs.,Leigh)||Henry, Charles S.||O'Kelly,James (Roscommon,N|
|Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Higham, John Sharp||O'Malley, William|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Hobart, Sir Robert||O'Shee, James John|
|Buxton, Rt. Hn.SydneyCharles||Hogan, Michael||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Byles, William Pollard||Holland, Sir William Henry||Pearce, Robert (Staffs. Leek)|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Holt, Richard Durning||Pearce, William (Limehouse)|
|Causton,RtHnRichard Knight||Horniman, Emslie John||Pearson,W.H.M.(Suffolk,Eye)|
|Cheetham, John Frederick||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Pirie, Duncan V.|
|Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Hyde, Clarendon||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Clarke, C. Goddard (Peckham)||Idris, T. H. W.||Price, C. E. (Edinb'gh,Central)|
|Cleland, J. W.||Illingworth, Percy H.||Pullar, Sir Robert|
|Clough, William||Jardine, Sir J.||Radford, G. H.|
|Clynes, J. R.||Johnson, John (Gateshead)||Rainy, A. Rolland|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Johnson, W. (Nuneaton)||Rea, Russell (Gloucester)|
|Collins,Sir W. J.(S.Pancras,W.)||Jowett, F. W.||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarboro'|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Joyce, Michael||Reddy, M.|
|Corbett,C. H. (Sussex,E.Grinst'd||Kearley, Hudson E.||Redmond, William (Clate)|
|Cowan, W. H.||Kennedy, Vincent Paul||Richards,Thomas(W.Monm'th|
|Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Kilbride, Denis||Richards, T. F. (Wolverh'mpt'n|
|Cremer, Sir William Randal||Laidlaw, Robert||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Crooks, William||Lambert, George||Ridsdale, E. A.|
|Crossley, William J.||Lamont, Norman||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Cullinan, J.||Lardner, James Carrige Rushe||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)|
|Curran, Peter Francis||Lehmann, R. C.||Robertson,SirG.Scott(Bradf'rd|
|Davies, Timothy (Fulham)||Lever,A.Levy(Essex,Harwich)||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)|
|Delany, William||Levy, Sir Maurice||Robinson, S.|
|Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.)||Lewis, John Herbert||Robson, Sir William Snowdon|
|Dickinson, W.H. (St.Pancras,N||Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David||Rogers, F. E. Newman|
|Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.||Lough, Thomas||Rowlands, J.|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Lundon, W.||Runciman, Walter|
|Duckworth, James||Lupton, Arnold||Russell, T. W.|
|Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)||Lyell, Charles Henry||Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)|
|Edwards, Clement (Denbigh)||Macdonald,J.M. (Falkirk B'hs )||Seely, Colonel|
|Edwards, Enoch (Hanley)||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Shaw, Rt. Hon. T. (Hawick B.)|
|Elibank, Master of||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Sheehy, David|
|Erskine, David C.||MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Essex, R. W.||MacVeigh, Charles (Donegal, E.||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Esslemont, George Birnie||M'Callum, John;M.||Silcock, Thomas Ball|
|Everett, R. Lacey||M'Crae, George||Sinclair, Rt. Hon. John|
|Farrell, James Patrick||M'Hugh, Patrick A.||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.|
|Fenwick, Charles||M'Kenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Snowden, P.|
|Ferens, T. R.||M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)||Stanley, Albert (Staffs., N. W.)|
|Ferguson, R. C. Munro||Maddison, Frederick||Stanley,Hn.A.Lyulph(Chesh.)|
|Ffrench, Peter||Manfield, Harry (Northants)||Steadman, W. C.|
|Findlay, Alexander||Markham, Arthur Basil||Stewart, Halley (Greenock)|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||Marks,G.Croydon (Launceston)||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Fuller, John Michael F.||Marnham, F. J.||Strauss, E. A. (Abingdon)|
|Gibb, James (Harrow)||Massie, J.||Summerbell, T.|
|Gill, A. H.||Meehan, Patrick A.||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Thompson,J.W.H.(Somerset,E||Wardle, George J.||Wilson, Henry J.(York, W.R.)|
|Toulmin, George||Waring, Walter||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Trevelyan, Charles Philips||Waterlow, D. S.||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Ure, Alexander||Wedgwood, Josiah C.||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Verney, F. W.||Weir, James Galloway||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Vivian, Henry||White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)|
|Walsh, Stephen||White, Patrick (Meath, North)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr.|
|Walters, John Tudor||Whitehead, Rowland||Whiteley and Mr. J. A.|
|Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)||Whitley,John Henry (Halifax)||Pease.|
|Ward, John (Stoke upon Trent||Wiles, Thomas|
|Ashley, W. W.||Courthope, G. Loyd||Magnus, Sir Philip|
|Balcarres, Lord||Craig,CharlesCurtis(Antrim.S.)||Parkes, Ebenezer|
|Balfour,RtHn.A.J.(CityLond.)||Craik, Sir Henry||Pease, Herbert Pike(Darlington|
|Banbury,Sir Frederick George||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Rawlinson, John FrederickPeel|
|Banie,H.T. (Londonderry, N.)||Du Cros Harvey||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Beach,Hn.MichaelHughHicks||Fell, Arthur||Roberts,S.(Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Bertram, Julius||Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Fletcher, J. S.||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Bull, Sir William James||Forster, Henry William||Sloan, Thomas Henry|
|Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. H. M.||Gardner, Ernest (Berks, East)||Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staff'sh.|
|Carlile, E Hildred||Gretton, John||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Cave, George||Hamilton, Marquess of||Thomson,W.Mitchell-(Lanark)|
|Cavendish, Rt. Hon. VictorC. W.||Harris, Frederick Leverton||Younger, George|
|Cecil, Lord John P. Joicey-||Hay, Hon. Claude George|
|Cecil,Lord R. (Marylebone, E.)||Hills, J. W.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir|
|Chamberlain, RtHn.J. A. ( Wore.||Hunt, Rowland||Alexander Acland-Hood|
|Coates,E.Feetham(Lewisham)||Kennaway,RtHon.SirJohnH.||and Viscount Valentia.|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Law,Andrew Bonar (Dulwich)|
|Collings, Rt.Hn.J. ( Birmingh'm)||Long,RtHn.Walter(Dublin,S)|
in moving an Amendment to limit the operation of the clause to burghs, said the Amendment was one which he would have thought the Government would find no difficulty in accepting. The question of the taxation of ground values in towns had long excited much interest, and it had been dealt with in many different ways. As far as he knew, the Government suggested that the same system should be adopted with regard to agricultural land as was adopted in towns. There had been inquiries into the land system in the towns, there had been Commissions and Committees of Inquiry, but so far as he was aware it had never been suggested that the policy which might seem possible and advisable in towns should be applied equally to agricultural districts. No reason had yet been given by any member of the Government for this new and singular innovation, that methods adopted with regard to urban areas should be extended to other areas of a wholly different character, and governed by very different economic considerations. He wondered whether it was a mere love of doctrinaire uniformity. Otherwise, what was their reason? Nobody for a moment sup posed that the bare, unimproved agricultural land of this country was going to be a mine of wealth. He could understand, though he did not agree, that the land of our great towns was regarded as an untaxed source of revenue which might come to the relief of overburdened ratepayers; but no human being had ever for a moment dreamt that in the unimproved value of any agricultural district there was a mine of wealth. The only doubt was whether, if they suddenly cleared land on which a great deal of money had been spent and left it derelict, it would be worth anyone's while to make any improvements upon it at all. If that were true, and he did not think anyone would deny its truth, the idea that there was any financial gold mine in agricultural land was wholly absurd. Then in the case of agricultural land they were asking the owners to answer a perfectly absurd question. They were putting to them a conundrum as to the value of unimproved land to which he believed there was no rational answer at all. When he suggested that point to friends of his, they replied that a valuer could always be got to value anything they liked. Let them ask a valuer to put a value on anything in the world and, of course, he would put it. If a man's trade was to give an opinion for money he would give an opinion for money on whatever question they chose to ask him. But they had no right to ask him, through any owner of land, to answer a question to which there was no rational reply whatever. It should be remembered that when they were dealing with a bare, neglected site in a town they were dealing with a thing which came into the market every day in the week. Everyone knew that where a house had been pulled down there was a site of which they might estimate the value, and the difficulty which was experienced in regard to agricultural land did not arise. No one had ever seen the arable tracts in Argyllshire and Fifeshire in the unimproved condition which might be hypothetically supposed; and they were, therefore, asking first the owner, and then the valuer, to make a hypothetical judgment on a subject on which they had, from experience, no means of gaining any information whatever. He would very much like to know how the Government themselves thought the valuation ought to be carried out. He was not now thinking of the valuer who was obliged to give an opinion for money. He was asking the right hon. and learned Gentleman how he would proceed to value the bare soil of a Fifeshire arable farm. The Government themselves did not believe in their own theory, for in this Bill, as originally brought in, there was no bare agricultural value; on the contrary, everything was included — draining, fencing, plantations, water supply and other things. How that matter stood now he did not know. The Government made some Amendments in Committee, but whether those Amendments went the full length of clearing the land in imagination of everything upon it, he was not aware. He rather doubted it. He though simpler language ought to have beet used if the Government really mean what they said in regard to the land which was to be subject to this land value system. They had a great many qualifications in the third clause, but he did not know whether they covered all improvements. It was possible to draft a subsection in the third clause in such a way as to apply to what they had said in all their speeches they meant, namely, the absolute and unimproved value of the land. The problem in the country was quite different from the problem in the town in this respect. The value of sites in towns was according to the best kind of buildings which could be put upon them, and one of the objects of this Bill, according to the learned Solicitor-General for Scotland and the Lord Advocate also, was to induce people who owned houses in towns on sites where better buildings could be erected, to pull down those houses and erect those better buildings. But the view of the Lord Advocate and the Government was that the man who was not putting on the ground that he owned in the town the most vaulable building suitable to that site, was so far robbing the public of some wealth that ought to belong to it. He did not argue that proposition now, but he thought it plainly inapplicable to the country districts. There was a vital difference in the state of things in the country. He did not know on what principle the Government meant the valuers to proceed, but at all events, nobody wished to have buildings put on a farm which would leave the land of no value at all. They had to consider for what sum they could replace all the buildings, drains, hedges, and other things, and allow interest on that sum in order to get at the unimproved value of the soil. If they were not going to take the farm as equipped, including the cost of equipment, what other principle were they going to adopt? There was plenty of unimproved land, and they knew what grew upon it, but in the case of the rich land they never saw what grew upon it, and it was ludicrous to ask the House to base a system of valuation upon this remote and unfounded hypothesis. He wished to know what view the Government took as to the effect of the Bill on their own scheme. Hon. Members opposite talked as if the Bill was in thorough harmony with previous legislative proposals dealing with the crofters. It was clear that if the Bill passed it would have a disastrous effect on the crofters. The crofter improvements, which now escaped taxation altogether, would cease to do so. It appeared to him that the Government were indirectly raising a question which when thoroughly understood, would produce in the crofting counties a very startling effect as to the genuineness of the Government's desire to help the struggling population in those parts of the Highlands. He was at a loss to understand why the Government had taken so many unnecessary difficulties upon their shoulders. They had brought upon themselves all the difficulties of their scheme in connection with agricultural land, and deprived themselves of all the advantages to be hoped from it in those places which were already built over or likely to be built over in the next few years. He thought they would do well to lighten the series of strange proposals they were putting before the House. Amendment proposed—
Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill.""In page 1, line 7, to leave out the words 'county and.'"—(Mr. A. J. Balfour.)
did not think the case which had been raised by the right hon. Gentleman would arise under the proposals of the Bill. He totally differed from the view presented as to the distinction between the town and the country cases. He quite acknowledged that short as the Amendment was it raised a serious question of principle, and he wished to deal with it in a proper spirit. The right hon. Gentleman was wrong in his first proposition that this proposal was being made by the Government without any consideration of the problem. The Bills which had dealt with this topic in the House of Commons in the past had been confined to urban areas, but in view of the overwhelming vote in the House of Commons last year it was necessary to remit the whole of the question to a Select Committee. The right hon. Gentleman would quite understand that he was not going into certain matters contained in the body of that Report, but it was only right that he should refer to the particular recommendation which bore upon the point raised in the Amendment. The recommendation laid down that the moment they confined the operation of a principle of this kind to urban areas they would find themselves, as it were, at the dividing line between burgh and county, and they would meet cases of such extreme difficulty that the only way to ease the situation was to make a uniform system. The second recommendation was that a measure should be introduced making provision for a valuation of land in the burghs and counties of Scotland apart from the buildings and improvements upon it, and that no assessment should be determined upon until the amount of that valuation was known and considered. He had gone to this length to show that it was a mistake to suggest that no inquiry had been made upon the subject, it had been a matter of the most anxious inquiry. One of the advantages of the Bill was that at all events it would show all investigators of the subject and all local authorities exactly how the balance of valuation stood. He agreed that it was extremely important that they should proceed upon prudent lines before assessing for taxation. The scheme would not produce a new gold mine, but it would effect a certain readjustment. He did not wish to pose as a prophet, but one could not study this problem for a long period of years without feeling that the readjustment would enure to the advantage of thebona-fide agricultural proprietor in Scotland. If the scheme of this Bill was carried out all those improvements effected upon purely agricultural properties would henceforth be improvements with regard to which thebona fide owner would know that he would not be penalised by taxation. In the county area the man who would be relieved would be thebona-fide agricultural holder, and the man who would be hit would be the land speculator who bought in the county area land which was in the ambit of a town. The effect would be that instantaneous relief would be given to the class of ratepayers in Scotland whom he called thebona-fide landowners. To the extent to which the speculators would be hit others would be relieved, and therefore, in the respect which he had indicated, the benefit in country districts would be of the greatest kind. He had thought it necessary to give that explanation, because there seemed to be a misapprehension on the subject. Of course, the Government had no wish to discourage building. They wished to encourage all kinds of improvements upon property, and the best of all inducements to make such expenditure would be the consciousness that people would not be penalised for making improvements. The right hon. Gentleman was very anxious to get an opinion from him without a fee. When a question of that kind was asked he always remembered what the late Lord Young said, "Whenever you get the opinion of counsel for nothing, it is worth just exactly what you pay for it." Accordingly he was not going to enter into that barren country. If the valuation were to be done by a skilled witness he would not attach much importance to it, but when the first step was to be taken by the proprietor himself, he thought that was a good starting fact. The exclusion of every county in Scotland under the proposal of the right hon. Gentleman would mean a very great deal even on the site value basis, the cogency of which was admitted. The exclusion of the county areas would be the exclusion at one swoop of all those acute cases of suburban areas which had really provoked this question year after year, and made it become a great issue of State. Then there was the case of villages and the land surrounding them. Sometimes most extraordinary examples were given of how great was the value of land in the estimation of the proprietor. One case which he had in his mind affected a burgh where a riparian owner compelled the burgh to purify a river. The burgh could only purify the river by obtaining land for filtration purposes from the very proprietor who compelled the carrying out of the purification works. The burgh had to pay an enormous price for the land; he could not say how much it was in excess of what might be regarded as its real value. If the Amendment were carried, suburban land would be excluded from the operation of the Bill, and serious cases would slip through. Under the law of Scotland there was a far more acute case than any which had been mentioned. The right hon. Gentleman did not seem to be aware that all the police burghs of Scotland, which represented the modern side of urban energy in country places, and which did not send or contribute to sending a Member to Parliament, were for valuation purposes reckoned in the county. Therefore, under the Amendment there would be excluded not only suburban land, village land, and the land surrounding villages, but actually the police burghs to which he referred.
said that no evidence was laid before the Select Committee last year in regard to the inclusion of county areas. The evidence dealt entirely with urban areas, and the conclusion come to by the majority was forced on the Committee without their having an opportunity of hearing evidence or being told on what facts the Committee proceeded. The hon. and learned Gentleman had avoided all reference to the great difficulty of valuing sites in the country. The third clause defined "improvements." He thought the clause now before the House would be improved by the adoption of the Amendment. It was extremely difficult in valuing land to divorce it from improvements in the way the Bill suggested. An extremely difficult task was placed on the assessors and little guidance was given to them as to how they were to perform their duty in allowing for improvements. During the debates in the Committee he understood the Lord Advocate to promise that he would prepare some directions for the assessors. He did not know whether the directions were to be incorporated in the Bill or whether they were to be issued in another form. The House was in entire ignorance on that matter, but much of the success of the assessors in making the valuations would depend on the directions. There was, for example, the difficult question of minerals which lay beneath properties. Who was to make the return in that case? Was it the man who owned thesolum and not the minerals. Similar problems arose in regard to fishing and shooting rights, and no direction was given in the Bill to help towards a solution. Hon. Members were aware that in Scotland, and he presumed the same thing occurred in England, as soon as suburban land became building land, the boundaries were so adjusted at the instance of the town council as to include the land which was ripe for building purposes. That suburban land, therefore, would come within the four corners of the Bill. The Lord Advocate claimed that he was proceeding on prudent lines, but he could not agree with him. If the right hon. and learned Gentleman had begun by confining the Bill to urban areas he would have been proceeding on prudent lines, but when he included the mountains and glens and asked that a land value should be placed upon them, he thought that the lines were not particularly prudent. He concurred with what had been said by the Leader of the Opposition as to the difficulty which would arise under the Bill in relation to the valuation of holdings occupied by crofters. The result would be that on such land the value would remain, but on ordinary farms the cost of the equipment was so great that the land value would disappear altogether. If this Bill were carried out to its logical result, certain proprietors would pay no rates at all, while the crofters would pay four or five times their present rate. Therefore, instead of a boon being given to the new small landowner and the wretched crofters, they would be in a very much worse position under the new than under the old system. The right hon. and learned Gentleman had given an instance of a sewage farm near Edinburgh; but the price paid there was paid in respect of the diminution in value of the neighbouring land. Nobody was likely to build a house near a sewage farm. Another case quoted by the Lord Advocate was Rosyth, but everybody knew that Lord Linlithgow and his predecessors had paid a fancy price for the land there, in order to maintain the amenity of Hopetoun House, and he was entitled to have that taken into account in the valuation. Another case quoted was that of the gas-works at Granton. Anything more hideous than the erections there could not be conceived. He himself had lived within an area of ten or twelve miles from the gasworks, and they were an eyesore to him, while they had spoiled the land for feuing purposes. Therefore the Duke of Buccleuch was entitled to receive a large price for that land. He did not suppose that the Lord Advocate would change his mind on this subject; his mind was obsessed with this idea of land values. He was glad to hear the right hon. and learned Gentleman admit that there was not a gold mine in the business; but on the other hand he thought that having respect to the future, while the Bill might reduce the present value of building land, at any rate it would not produce a very large sum in additional rates. He was very sorry that the Lord Advocate still adhered to his determination to refuse to accept the Amendment. He thought that the chances were that the Bill would extend the principle of the valuation of the land values to where valuation was difficult, especially when no proper line had been laid down for the direction of the assessor.
said he desired to support the Amendment. The Bill was not originally intended to include county areas, but to confine its operations to towns and cities. The reason for the admission by the Lord Advocate that he did not expect the Bill would prove a gold mine was that the Prime Minister had resolutely refused to include existing feus and contracts within its scope. Another reason why the Amendment should be accepted was that there was ample undeveloped land available to test the new basis of valuation proposed to be set up. He had listened with considerable astonishment to the Lord Advocate when he said that this measure would be a benefit to agricultural property. He utterly failed to appreciate that suggestion. His belief was that where they had land used for farming purposes within the hypothetical building zone, the operation of the new valuation would be in the highest degree detrimental to agriculture. He knew of a considerable estate which had been bought in the hope that it would turn out of some value as a building property. For many years it was occupied as a purely agricultural holding, and in the course of time a few villa sites were taken off the property, but owing to the demand for such sites not continuing, and to the demand extending to other suburbs, the value of that estate had never increased. To-day it had nothing but a purely agricultural value. No doubt, that was a contention which would be disputed by the assessor, because that particular property lay within five miles of the largest city in Scotland. It was a moral certainty that the assessor would insist on adding a hypothetical "building" value to the agricultural one. That was an illustration of the fallacy that this this Bill would be of value to the agricultural community. The Lord Advocate went on to deal with the building speculator. He wondered if the right hon. and learned Gentleman was acquainted with the broad facts of the present position of the city of Glasgow. He found from a Return recently issued that the area available for building amounted to 8,786 acres. Deducting for public spaces, streets, etc., 4,000 acres, there remained available for building purposes over 4,600 acres. These figures were brought out before the Select Committee, of which he was a member. The city assessor of Glasgow stated to the same Committee that at the present moment there were within the city boundaries 3,600 acres of agricultural land, and that the average amount of land called for annually for building purposes was only 60 acres. A very elementary calculation showed that within the city boundaries there was a sufficient acreage to satisfy the demand for building purposes for sixty years. He felt that on the whole, until they had more evidence of a demand for legislation of this kind from elsewhere than the city of Glasgow and the county of Lanark, the Lord Advocate would be well advised to accept the Amendment of the Leader of the Opposition. He was satisfied that if it had been thoroughly understood that the existing feu duties were not to be taken within the scope of the Bill they would have had very little demand from any part of Scotland other than Glasgow and Lanarkshire for the measure.
said that the one and only point was whether a Bill which included the whole area of Scotland should include the counties of Scotland or whether they should be excluded from its operation and only burghs included. The representatives of the counties who were members of the Committee over which he presided proposed an Amendment opining the operation of the Bill to burghs, but every witness who gave evidence in favour of the Bill was of opinion that if the proposals were going to have any effect at all they must not be confined at burghs but must also be extended to counties. [An HON. MEMBER: No.] He insisted upon that and for this reason, that he had the evidence before him and he challenged his hon. friend to point to any passage in the evidence of any witness who said that if the proposals of this Bill were passed they should be confined to the burghs. All the evidence was in favour of including the counties as well as the burghs and for this reason: that if the course now proposed were adopted they would be establishing a purely artificial line, because many large areas were included within the counties of Scotland which were purely building areas and which any man visiting the large towns of that country would suppose to be part of those towns. Every witness either for or against the Bill said that if they were to apply the principles contained in this measure they could not as rational men confine them to the burghs but must extend them to the counties and as he had pointed out that was singularly obvious for the reason that a large portion of the building land and the land ripe for building was outside the burghs in Scotland and was in the counties. He thought it would be obvious to any man who thought for a moment about this matter that to confine the Bill to the boundaries of burghs would be to introduce a difficulty which nothing in the conditions and circumstances of the soil would justify. All the members of the Committee were agreed upon this point, although they differed seriously on other points, that this measure could not be confined to areas around which artificial boundaries were drawn and which did not indicate the use to which the land was to be put. All those who were in favour of the Bill admitted that there was no Eldorado and no gold mine to be found in it, and nobody who really thought on the subject could entertain such an opinion. As had been said by an hon. friend of his, a plot of land never fumbled in his pocket for a coin. It was the owner who had to find the money, and he had never for a single moment denied that what they were in search of here was nothing more nor less than a test of a different standard of rating. What they were seeking was some measure of what the contribution of the ratepayers should be to the rates. Therefore they proposed to secure the valuation of the whole of the land in Scotland, and if they missed out the counties the valuation would be of no use whatever. The hon. Member for North Londonderry had said he did not believe that the Bill would ever have been brought forward or that so large an area would have been included but for the rich plum which was to be found in the taxation of the feu duties—which were not included in the Bill. A great misapprehension seemed to prevail as to the taxation of feu duties. The difference between himself and his colleagues on this question was easily stated. They proposed to leave the definition of owner in the Act of 1854 untouched. He proposed to extend that definition to include not only the owner who granted a 999 years lease, but the owner who granted a lease in perpetuity. He agreed with the principle of this Bill whole-heartedly, but he certainly wished to carry it further than his colleagues. He believed, however, that public opinion was not ripe in regard to his views, and on this subject he and his colleagues were exactly in the same position now as the Party opposite were in in 1905 in regard to the taxation of food excluding bacon, when their political life was endangered and their political fortunes were in jeopardy through the differences of opinion which prevailed amongst them. All he could say was that without any sacrifice of principle he was ready to give his colleagues his full co-operation with a view to setting up a standard although they did not agree with him in the primary principle to which he adhered. He thought, however, that it was right that the public information on this subject should be extended. He knew perfectly well what the views of his colleagues were when he drafted his Report. They never concealed them. This Bill came before the House four times and on each occasion they expressed their views on the principle and safeguarded themselves from extending its application to feu duties. All he was concerned with at the present moment was the fact that he knew their views, and they never swerved from the views they held at any time. He came to the conclusion he did as Chairman of the Committee after very carefully considering the evidence, and in the speeches he made on the subject, commencing in January of the present year, he preserved a strict silence upon this question, and never opened his mouth during the hearing of the evidence or during the time he was preparing his Report. He delivered those speeches as a member of the Committee and refused to take counsel with the members of the Administration or to speak to any member with regard to the evidence which was being given before the Committee. He was appointed Chairman of the Committee by the usual courtesy which gave the Chairmanship to a member of the Government if he was serving as a member of the Committee, and he would never have continued to hold office if this Bill had been contrary to any view he held on the subject. He, however, only rose to point out that if this Bill was to be operative it was impossible to exclude counties in Scotland where the same conditions prevailed and the same use was made of the land as was made of it in great industrial centres, and that if it was to serve a national purpose such counties could not be excluded from its provisions.
said the House had listened to the explanation of the hon. and learned Gentleman with the greatest interest. He had tried to divest himself of the position he held in the Committee as a member of the Government, and he offered neither excuse nor apology. As a member of the Government he was appointed Chairman of the Committee on whose Report this Bill was to some extent based,and on him devolved the responsibility for calling the witnesses. The hon. and learned Gentleman had stated his point of difference with his colleagues, and he congratulated him upon his courage, which might, however, have been greater if he had taken up the challenge of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who had said he would never support the principle of the taxation of feu duties. The hon. and learned Gentle man's colleagues proposed to leave the definition of owner in the Act of 1854 untouched, the hon. and learned Gentleman proposed to include in it the owners of feu duties, which was in diametrical opposition to the statement made by the Prime Minister to the deputation which waited upon him on the subject. The hon. and learned Gentleman held those views knowing that they were opposed to the views of his colleagues, yet he ventured to take the Chairmanship of the Committee which was to lay down the rules—
I had formed no view when I took the Chairmanship.
said the facts were patent to the House. A year ago what was called the Glasgow Bill as introduced dealing with the question of land values, and the Lord Advocate said the Government would only permit the Second Reading on the understanding that the feu duties were not to be taxed. Notwithstanding that fact the hon. and learned Gentleman accepted the Chairmanship of the Committee and directed its deliberations in a sense which he knew was contrary to the policy and opinions of his seniors in the Government. He, however, left the hon. and learned Gentleman to fight his own battle with his colleagues. What was the justification of the hon. and learned Gentleman for his Report? It was that the land owed its value to the expenditure, energy, and enterprise of the surrounding community and not to the owner. That justification was obviously intended to deal with the feu duties. Could anybody say that in the crofting districts the value of the land was due to the enterprise of the surrounding community when they could walk for miles without seeing a soul, or could they say it with regard to the moor and heather land? In regard to agricultural land in Scotland the value of it was due to the capital of the landlord and the labour and capital of the tenant. [An HON. MEMBER: And the market.] It was as much due to the foreign market as the home market. Did the hon. Member say that if there were not a foreign market competing the value of the land might not he still greater than it was at the present moment? Then as to unearned increment. He would take the case of a man who had invested money in land in the city of Glasgow, and it had increased in value owing—to what? Owing to the fact that the trade of the city was improved by the trade of foreign countries; by shipping coming up the Clyde, for example, from Australia, Canada, America, and other parts of the world. Trade had come in and had developed the value of the land. Let them take a converse case in Argyllshire, where the man purchased an estate for £7,000. He built a house upon it worth £20,000, and £4,000 for a farm building, and received only £11,000 when he sold the property. Where was the unearned increment? If they were going to tax the man who had made a profitable speculation in the city of Glasgow, what were they going to allow him for the bad speculation which he had made in Argyllshire? If they bought Consols while they were down, with a Radical Government in power, and they went up four or five points when a Unionist Government came into power, were they, on the same basis, to consider that as unearned increment to be handed over to some other person? The whole question of unearned increment to which they attached so much importance seemed to buzz round in the heads of hon. Members opposite, and they quoted with great freedom Minority Reports when they thought those Minority Reports suited their particular view. They quoted the Minority Report of Lord Balfour of Burleigh whenever it suited their purpose, and when it did not they did not quote it. On an earlier Amendment that afternoon the Lord Advocate had quoted the Report of Lord Balfour of Burleigh, but had entirely forgotten to quote that part of the Report in which Lord Balfour of Burleigh said that—
That argument was directly germane to the Amendment before the House. Lord Balfour of Burleigh, and no less authorities than Sir. G. Murray, Professor Stuart, Mr. J. B. Balfour, and others, in their Report, said that misconception and exaggeration were especially prevalent on this subject. They went on to say that if proper regard were had to equitable considerations the amount capable of being raised by special site value rates would not be large, and there was not much undeveloped source of taxation available for local purposes, and still less for national purposes. And when quoting Lord Balfour of Burleigh he thought that they ought to quote his letter upon this subject of the Report. Lord Balfour said that from the beginning to the end of their Report there would not be found the slightest argument in favour of the Bill as it stood, and still less of those for which it was obviously a preparation. It said#x2014;"It might be well to apply a scheme of option and limit the introduction of it to urban places with a population in excess of a given number."
He submitted that letter to the Lord Advocate as being the real opinion of Lord Balfour of Burleigh on this Bill. In conclusion, he would say that he was only sorry that the Lord Advocate was not present when the Solicitor-General for Scotland told them of the difference of opinion between him and the right hon. Gentleman. He would not repeat his observations; he only wished that the two hostile forces had both been present on the bench at the same time. Then the Lord Advocate might have delivered his fire into the Solicitor-General. The obvious and only result, so far as he could see, was that the Solicitor-General was absolutely unrepentant; he adhered to his own view. The Lord Advocate, who had stated his view with perfect honesty and freedom, said an existing contract should be maintained. The Solicitor-General hardened his heart to the views of the Prime Minister, who had stated them to a deputation, and also to the views of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who had endeavoured to reassure public opinion by the statement which he made not many days ago. The Solicitor-General left them to believe that, so far as his opinion was concerned, not only as Chairman of the Select Committee, but in any view of the case in which he was free to assert his opinion, that opinion was diametrically opposed to the opinion of the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Prime Minister."In fact, it omits every one of the conditions to which we attach the greatest importance, and on the faith of which we signed our Report."
said he rose to express his decided satisfaction with the Government for standing by the clause including counties in the scope of the Bill. Speaking as a county Member and as one who was interested in the Report to which reference had been made, he ventured to think that perhaps the best answer which could be made to the strictures which had been offered by the hon. Gentleman opposite was to read the words of the learned Solicitor-General for Scotland#x2014;
"There can be no doubt that when the Bill received the Second Reading it was expressly stated by a member of the Government that existing contracts would be untouched, and that Clause 7 would be struck out in Committee. It is impossible for your Committee to say to what extent votes were affected by this declaration. As your Committee have come to the conclusion that the Bill ought not to be further proceeded with#x2014;"
pointed out that while it was true that the Solicitor-General had referred to his own record on feu duties by way of personal explanation, and the hon. Member for North Ayrshire was allowed to comment on the matter in reply, the question did not seem relevant to the Amendment now under discussion, and should not be further dealt with.
said in that case he would confine his remarks to the question in its relation to the Scottish counties where there were precisely the same difficulties in many ways as in the towns. In many of their country districts the housing of the people was notoriously bad, and this was largely due to the evils of the present system of land tenure and of rating. They found that if they wanted to get additional ground to build upon they had to pay prices far above the value at which it was rated; and that was one of the fundamental circumstances which stopped building; in fact it was one of the things which had caused the development of those high buildings which they saw in many parts of Scotland, because as it was impossible to extend outwards there was a tendency to extend upwards. They desired that the people in country districts should be able to get the land at a fair price to build upon. In Scotland they also laboured under this disadvantage that, whatever building they put up, except it were a crofter's in a crofting county, the better the building the higher it was rated and the heavier it was taxed. [An HON. MEMBER: Why not?] He was one of those who thought that that principle was fundamentally unsound. They desired that the people should be well housed; they wished that every opportunity should be given to the people to invest their money in houses, and that all steps should be encouraged which would prevent overcrowding. He would remind hon. Members that, notwithstanding the sparse population of Scotland in the country districts, overcrowding in that country was far worse than in England. They had that problem to deal with in the Scottish counties. He would give the House a few instances which had occurred in his own county. It so happened that in one place overlooking the Clyde there were fifty-two acres of land which were required for the defence of the Clyde. The rateable value of the fifty-two acres was £60 a year. The War Office had bought that land for £14,500, or something like 240 years purchase; and yet they were told that land in the counties had no value at all. In another district of the same county there was a thriving industrial community which was steadily expanding. They required two acres of land for a school, and they acquired two acres out of a five-acre field. The rateable value of the land was £12 a year or about £2 an acre. The school authorities paid £1,200 an acre for those two acres of land, or 600 years purchase. He gave that as an illustration showing the absolute necessity of applying the principles of this Bill to Scottish counties. They had to consider not only the question of obtaining land for housing, but also for small holdings. It was said that although the land might be rated at a low value it had a great feuing value. If the feuing value was to be a factor in the valuation for purchase, it should also, on the same principle, be a factor in the valuation for rating purposes. They wanted not only to exempt houses from the penalising effect of rating, but also to do the same thing for agricultural improvements. Although Scottish agriculture had made great progress the soil was not so rich or the climate so favourable as in England, and therefore they wanted the best possible rating system they could get. In his own county a considerable amount of agricultural produce was raised under glass, and he had heard these people complain that as soon as they had laid the brick foundations of their greenhouses and put the glass on up went their assessments, and their efforts were penalised in that way. They wished to relieve those things from taxation, and then they would be able to do a great deal for the Scottish farmers in the counties. There was no difficulty about applying this principle to agricultural land outside as well as inside burghs, and he declined to divide Scotland into watertight compartments. They recognised that the depopulation of the country had led to overcrowding in the towns, and nothing would relieve the pressure but the development of the country districts. If they wished to apply this system properly they must apply it throughout Scotland to the counties and burghs alike. He was glad that the Government were holding to this clause, and he hoped in the long run it would be the foundation for rating not only in the burghs but also in the counties.
said the hon. Member for Dumbartonshire had complained that the War Office were unable to buy land in the instance he had quoted at the bare site value. That gave them the key to what was really intended by this Bill. They could not consider this Bill alone, and until they knew the wild schemes of the wild men behind it they could not support it. In land reform they were all interested, but they could not have anything to do with spoliation. It had been argued in favour of the Bill that the burgh boundary was an entirely artificial line, and he agreed with that contention. It was rather odd that in the Scottish Land Bill it was treated as a fixed line, although it was now admitted that agricultural land was often to be found inside the burgh area. They were casting very great burdens upon the assessor, who would have to be a man of the highest skill. It had been argued that all the evidence given before the Select Com mittee supported the inclusion of rural land. Of course it did. All the witnesses were summoned by the hon. Gentleman himself, and if the Government formed the Court themselves and called the evidence they could get any sort of conclusion they liked. He did not attach very great weight to that argument. They had to rate or tax not things but persons. When it was said that they were going to rate a certain class of land what they meant was that they were going to measure the owner's capacity to pay according to the value of the land he owned. If he owned a large amount of land he would pay more and if he owned a small amount he would pay less, and they were proposing to have a system of land valuation for the purpose of forming a basis whereby they could arrive at the capacity of the owner to pay. If rural land had no value, then it was no use as such basis, and the carrying out of this principle meant that the man who owned rural land would pay no rates at all. It was common knowledge that over a large part of these islands the value had gone out of agricultural land entirely, and all that was paid was a low rate of interest on the money sunk in the land in buildings and improvements. All the rental value had gone, and how could they form a scheme of taxation on the basis of taxing a man according to the value of something which had no value at all? That surely was areductio ad absurdum. He should vote for the Amendment if it was pressed to a division.
said nothing had delighted him so much as the frank speech of the Solicitor-General on this queston. He happened to be the only Liberal member of the Committee who opposed the taxation of which he spoke, and he was the only member who supported the Lord-Advocate in the decision he gave to the House on the introduction of the Bill of last year. All the rest forsook him. and he had been looked askance at because he took up that line which had turned out to be the right line. The House would now see the class of argument which was at the back of all this agitation. Exceptional instances should not be taken as the foundation for a general policy. He was going to vote against the Amendment because he wished to see counties included, and for the reason that when the county returns were brought before the House of Commons it would be seen that they were putting the counties to an expense—large or small it did not matter—which would prove there was absolutely nothing to rate. If they struck out buildings and improvements in counties, drainage and fencing which had been done within the last twenty years, and so forth, they would have very little land value left, and all the trouble and expense so far as counties were concerned would result in nothing. There was one thing certain—all wanted the Government to pay. When they considered that in Aberdeenshire there were 43,000 entries on the roll it was manifest that there must be considerable expense occasioned not to the assessors alone but to every one of the landholders. That was an expense which ought to be considered. They all hoped to get it from the Government, and there he left them. He opposed the Amendment because he wished to see this return made from the counties. It would show how foolish it was so far as the counties were concerned. Question put. The House divided:—Ayes, 241; Noes, 54. (Division List No. 440.)
|Abraham, William (Cork, N.E.)||Bell, Richard||Branch, James|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Belloc, Hilaire Joseph Peter R.||Brigg, John|
|Ambrose, Robert||Benn,W.(T'w'r Hamlets,S.Geo.||Brunner,J. F. L. (Lancs., Leigh)|
|Asquith,Rt.Hn. Herbert Henry||Berridge, T. H. D.||Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn|
|Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth)||Bethell,Sir J.H.(Essex,R'mf'rd||Burke, E. Haviland-|
|Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury, E.||Bethell, T. R. (Essex, Maldon)||Burns, Rt. Hon. John|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Byles, William Pollard|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Boland, John||Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.|
|Barlow, Sir John E. (Somerset)||Brace, William||Carr-Gomm, H. W.|
|Barnes, G. N.||Bramsdon, T. A.||Causton,RtHn.Richard Knight|
|Chance, Frederick William||Illingworth, Percy H.||Pearson,W. H. M. (Suffolk,Eye)|
|Cheetham, John Frederick||Jardine, Sir J.||Pirie, Duncan V.|
|Cherry, Rt. Hon. B. R.||Johnson, John (Gateshead)||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Clarke, C. Goddard (Peckham)||Johnson, W. (Nuneaton)||Price, C. E. (Edinb'gh, Central)|
|Cleland, J. W.||Jowett, F. W.||Rea, Russell (Gloucester)|
|Clough, William||Joyce, Michael||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarboro'|
|Clynes, J. R.||Kearley, Hudson E.||Reddy, M.|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Kennedy, Vincent Paul||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Collins,Sir Wm.J.(S.Pancras,W.||Laidlaw, Robert||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Corbett,C H.(Sussex,E.Grinst'd||Lambert, George||Richards, Thomas (W. Monm'th|
|Cowan, W. H.||Lamont, Norman||Richards,T. F. (Wolverh'mpton|
|Cremer, Sir William Randal||Lardner, James Carrige Rushe||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Crooks, William||Lehmann, R. C.||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Crosfield, A. H.||Lever,A. Levy (Essex, Harwich||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)|
|Crossley, William J.||Levy, Sir Maurice||Robertson,Sir G.Scott(Br'df'rd|
|Curran, Peter Francis||Lewis, John Herbert||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)|
|Davies, Timothy (Fulham)||Lough, Thomas||Robinson, S.|
|Delany, William||Lundon, W.||Robson, Sir William Snowdon|
|Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.)||Lupton, Arnold||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Dickinson,W.H. (St.Pancras,N.||Lyell, Charles Henry||Rogers, F. E. Newman|
|Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.||Lynch, H. B.||Rowlands, J.|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Macdonald,J.M. (Falkirk B'ghs)||Runciman, Walter|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Mackarness, Frederick C.||Russell, T. W.|
|Duckworth, James||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Scott,A.H (Ashton-under-Lyne|
|Dunn, A. Edward(Camborne)||Macpherson, J. T.||Seely, Colonel|
|Edwards, Clement (Denbigh)||MacVeagh,Charles (Donegal,E.||Shaw, Rt. Hon. T. (Hawick B.)|
|Edwards, Enoch (Hanley)||M'Callum, John M.||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Erskine, David C.||M'Crae, George||Shipman, Dr. John B.|
|Essex, R. W.||M'Hugh, Patrick A.||Silcock, Thomas Ball|
|Esslemont, George Birnie||M'Kean, John||Simon, John Allsebrook|
|Everett, R. Lacey||M'Kenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Sinclair, Rt. Hon. John|
|Farrell, James Patrick||Maddison, Frederick||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, .)|
|Fenwick Charles||Manfield, Harry (Northants)||Snowden, P.|
|Ferens, T. R.||Markham, Arthur Basil||Stanley, Albert (Staffs., N.W.)|
|Ffrench, Peter||Marks,G.Croydon (Launceston)||Stanley, Hn. A. Lyulph (Chesh.)|
|Field, William||Marnham, F. J.||Steadman, W. C.|
|Findlay, Alexander||Massie, J.||Stewart, Halley (Greenock)|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||Meehan, Patrick A.||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Menzies, Walter||Strauss, E. A. (Abingdon)|
|Freeman-Thomas, Freeman||Micklem, Nathaniel||Summerbell, T.|
|Fuller, John Michael F.||Molteno, Percy Alport||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Gibb, James (Harrow)||Montagu, E. S.||Thompson,J. W. H. (Somerset, E|
|Gill, A. H.||Montgomery, H. G.||Toulmin, George|
|Ginnell, L.||Mooney, J. J.||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Glover, Thomas||Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)||Ure, Alexander|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)||Verney, F. W.|
|Gooch, George Peabody||Morrell, Philip||Vivian, Henry|
|Gulland, John W.||Morse, L. L.||Walsh, Stephen|
|Gurdon,Rt Hn.Sir W.Brampton||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Walters, John Tudor|
|Gwynn, Stephen Lucius||Muldoon, John||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Halpin, J.||Murphy, John (Kerry, East)||Ward, John (Stoke upon Trent|
|Hammond, John||Murphy, N. J. (Kilkenny, S.)||Ward,W.Dudley (Southampt'n|
|Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis||Myer, Horatio||Wardle, George J.|
|Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worc'r)||Napier, T. B.||Waring, Walter|
|Harvey,W.E.(Derbyshire, N.E.||Nicholls, George||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Haworth, Arthur A.||Nicholson,Charles N.(D'nc'st'r)||Wedgwood, Josiah C.|
|Hayden, John Patrick||Nolan, Joseph||Weir, James Galloway|
|Hazel, Dr. A. E.||Nuttall, Harry||White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)|
|Hazelton, Richard||O'Brien,Kendal(TipperaryMid.||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Hedges, A. Paget||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Whitehead, Rowland|
|Helme, Norval Watson||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)|
|Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||O'Doherty, Philip||Wiles, Thomas|
|Higham, John Sharp||O'Donnell, C. J. (Walworth)||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W.R.)|
|Hobart, Sir Robert||O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Hobhouse, Charles E. H.||O'Grady, J.||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Hogan, Michael||O'Malley, William||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Holt, Richard Durning||O'Shee, James John|
|Hope, John Deans (Fife, West)||Parker, James (Halifax)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Horniman, Emslie John||Pearce, Robert (Staffs., Leek)||Mr. Whiteley and Mr. J. A.|
|Hyde, Clarendon||Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Pease.|
|Idris, T. H. W.||Pearson, Sir W. D. (Colchester)|
|Ashley, W. W.||Collings,Rt.Hn,J.(Birmi'gham)||Magnus, Sir Philip|
|Balcarres, Lord||Courthope, G. Lloyd||Nield, Herbert|
|Balfour,Rt.Hn.A.J.(CityLond)||Craig,Charles Curtis(Antrim,S.)||Parker,Sir Gilbert (Gravesend)|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Craik, Sir Henry||Parkes, Ebenezer|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Pease,Herbert Pike(Darlington|
|Beach,Hn.Michael Hugh Hicks||Du Cros, Harvey||Rawlinson,John Frederick Peel|
|Bowles, G. Stewart||Fell, Arthur||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Fletcher, J. S.||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Bull, Sir William James||Forster, Henry William||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. H. M.||Gardner, Ernest (Berks, East)||Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staffsh.)|
|Carlile. E. Hildred||Gibbs, G. A. (Bristol, West)||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Cave, George||Gretton, John||Thomson,W. Mitchell-(Lanark)|
|Cavendish, Rt. Hn. Victor C. W.||Hamilton, Marquess of||Younger, George|
|Cecil, Lord John P. Jokey-||Harris, Frederick Leverton|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.)||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir|
|Chamberlain,Rt Hn.J.A.(Wore.||Hills, J. W.||Alexander Acland-Hood and|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Hunt, Rowland||Viscount Valentia.|
|Coates, E. Feetham (Lewisham)||Kennaway,Rt.Hn. Sir John H.|
|Cochrane, Hn. Thos. H. A. E.||Law, Andrew Bonar (Dulwich)|
moved to leave out the word "capital" in order to insert the word "annual," the object of the Amendment being to provide that the valuation arrived at should be that of the annual land value. He held that the amount to be inserted in the extra column should not be the capital value, which was purely hypothetical, but the annual value which was a totally different thing. The annual land value was its value to the owner on the one hand, and to the tenant on the other, for its use simply or with its improvements. By this Bill it was sought to arrive at the capital value, which was a hypothetical value, and what was proposed to be rated was not that value, but some fraction of it when it had been arrived at. He would suggest to the right hon. and learned Gentleman that that was a very roundabout way of achieving his object. Supposing it was wished to arrive at the capital value, when they went to buy a holding they did not look into the air to seek there the capital value, but they asked what was the annual value, and that spread over so many years was the capital value. He did not believe that even when the Bill came into operation they would get away from annual value. Let them take the case of joint owners which had been discussed in Committee. In arriving at the proportion of the feu duty which had to be allocated to each of them, they had to consider what proportion of the annual value would fall on each. If the rating had to be imposed on an annual value, why not boldly state it at once, and take the actual figures on which they could estimate the capital value. He begged to move.
seconded the Amendment. Amendment proposed—
—(Mr. Mitchell-Thomson.) Question proposed, "That the word 'capital' stand part of the Bill.""In page 1, line 9, to leave out the word 'capital,' and to insert the word 'annual.'"
said that his hon. friend had admitted that if his Amendment had been rental value it would have been out of order; but he suggested that what the hon. Gentleman proposed was still more hypothetical, viz., to divest the land of the improvements, then to get the capital value, then to take 5 per cent. of that and imagine what somebody would give for it per annum. What the Government proposed was simpler; it was to ask, what would a man give for the land? That was the capital value.
thought the right hon. and learned Gentleman had mistaken one of the strongest points of the hon. Member for North West Lanarkshire. The contention of the Government was that they ought to get at the capital value, and then deduce the annual value. His hon. friend said let them get the annual value, because everybody would decide what the capital value was on the basis of the annual value. That was the universal practice of mankind. If someone was going to buy improved land, he would form an estimate of the annual value, and on that he would estimate the capital value by the number of years purchase which would be given for it. That must depend in part not only upon how much a man would receive from it, or get out of it, each year, but upon his estimate of the security of that income. Supposing the unimproved value was £100, what was the capital value of that unimproved value? That depended upon a great number of circumstances. How on earth was a valuer to estimate the number of years purchase of property which was subject to Parliamentary and Governmental attack? Let them take as an illustration what was regarded as the most sacred of private property in Scotland. He meant feu duties. The Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Lord Advocate had both made speeches explaining that it was a fundamental proposition of honest legislation and of honest administration of the law that feu duties and contracts should be respected. They went out of the House, the demands of human nature had to be satisfied, and the Solicitor-General for Scotland got up and said he adhered to every word he had ever said about the taxation of ground values and the breaking of those contracts which the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Lord Advocate had regarded as sacred. He had never heard different views uttered by different members of the Government in a more shameless manner. He had never heard from the same bench, on the same evening, on the same subject, on the same Bill, and on the most important part of the Bill, two statements so diametrically opposite in their character. How was a valuer to estimate the capitalised value of an annual income when he had got to deal with such uncertain quantities as the moods and tenses of a divided Government? At one time, under the Chancellor of the Exchequer, land might be worth thirty-five years purchase or perhaps twenty-five years purchase, but under the learned Solicitor-General it might be worth only fifteen or ten years purchase. He hoped the House would accept his hon friend's Amendment.
speaking from life-long experience, said that to fix the capital value first was to put the cart before the horse, and it could only mean, when logically worked out, chaos. Question put. The House divided:—Ayes, 239; Noes, 254. (Division List No. 441.)
|Abraham, William (Cork, N.E.)||Burke, E. Haviland-||Davies, Timothy (Fulham)|
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Delany, William|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Byles, William Pollard||Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S. )|
|Ambrose, Robert||Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Dickinson, W.H.(St.Pancras,N|
|Asquith, Rt.Hn. HerbertHenry||Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.|
|Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth)||Causton,RtHn.Richard Knight||Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles|
|Baker, Joseph A.(Finsbury, E.)||Chance, Frederick William||Donelan, Captain A.|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Cheetham, John Frederick||Duncan, C.(Barrow-in-Furness)|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)|
|Barlow, Sir John E. (Somerset)||Clarke, C. Goddard (Peckham)||Edwards, Clement (Denbigh)|
|Barnes, G. N.||Cleland, J. W.||Edwards, Enoch (Hanley)|
|Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone,N.||Clough, William||Erskine, David C.|
|Bell, Richard||Clynes, J. R.||Essex, R. W.|
|Benn,W.(T'w'rHamlets,S.Geo.)||Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Esslemont, George Birnie|
|Berridge, T. H. D.||Collins,SirW. J.(S.Pancras, W.)||Everett, R. Lacey|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Condon, Thomas Joseph||Farrell, James Patrick|
|Boland, John||Cooper, G. J.||Fenwick, Charles|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Corbett,CH (Sussex,E.Grinst'd)||Ferens, T. R.|
|Brace, William||Cory, Clifford John||Ferguson, R. C. Munro|
|Bramsdon, T. A.||Cowan, W. H.||Ffrench, Peter|
|Branch, James||Cremer, Sir William Randal||Field, William|
|Brigg, John||Crooks, William||Findlay, Alexander|
|Brunner,J.F.L. (Lancs.,Leigh)||Crossley, William J.||Flavin, Michael Joseph|
|Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Curran, Peter Francis||Freeman-Thomas, Freeman|
|Fuller, John Michael F.||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Gibb, James (Harrow)||Macpherson, J. T.||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)|
|Gill, A. H.||MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down,S.)||Robertson, SirG. Scott ( Bradf'rd|
|Ginnell, L.||MacVeigh, Charles(Donegal,E.)||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)|
|Glover, Thomas||M'Callum, John M.||Robinson, S.|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||M'Crae, George||Robson, Sir William Snowdon|
|Gooch, George Peabody||M'Hugh, Patrick A.||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Gulland, John W.||M'Kenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Rogers, F. E. Newman|
|Gwynn, Stephen Lucius||Maddison, Frederick||Rowlands, J.|
|Halpin, J.||Manfield, Harry (Northants)||Runciman, Walter|
|Hammond, John||Markham, Arthur Basil||Russell, T. W.|
|Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis||Marks, G.Croydon(Launceston)||Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)|
|Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worc'r)||Marnham, F. J.||Scott, A. H. (Ashton-under-Lyne|
|Harmsworth,R.L.(Caithn'ss-sh||Massie, J.||Seely, Colonel|
|Harvey,W.E.(Derbyshire, N.E.||Meehan, Patrick A.||Shaw, Rt. Hon. T. (Hawick B.|
|Haworth, Arthur A.||Menzies, Walter||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Hayden, John Patrick||Micklem, Nathaniel||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Hazel, Dr. A. E.||Molteno, Percy Alport||Silcock, Thomas Ball|
|Hazleton, Ricard||Montgomery, H. G.||Simon, John Allsebrook|
|Healy, Timothy Michael||Mooney, J. J.||Sinclair. Rt. Hon. John|
|Hedges, A. Paget||Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
|Helme, Norval Watson||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)||Snowden, P.|
|Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Morrell, Philip||Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N.W.)|
|Higham, John Sharp||Morse, L. L.||Stanley, Hn.A.Lyulph (Chesh.)|
|Hobart, Sir Robert||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Steadman, W. C.|
|Hobhouse, Charles E. H.||Murphy, N. J. (Kilkenny, S.)||Stewart, Halley (Greenock)|
|Hogan, Michael||Myer, Horatio||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Holland, Sir William Henry||Napier, T. B.||Strauss, E. A. (Abingdon)|
|Holt, Richard Durning||Nicholls, George||Summerbell, T.|
|Hope, John Deans (Fife, West)||Nicholson,CharlesN. (Doncast'r||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Horniman, Emslie John||Nolan, Joseph||Thompson,J. W. H. ( Somerset, E|
|Hyde, Clarendon||Nuttall, Harry||Toulmin, George|
|Idris, T. H. W.||O'Brien,Kendal (Tipperary Mid||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Illingworth, Percy H.||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Ure, Alexander|
|Jardine, Sir J.||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Verney, F. W.|
|Johnson, John (Gateshead)||O'Doherty, Philip||Vivian, Henry|
|Johnson, W. (Nuneaton)||O'Donnell, C. J. (Walworth)||Walsh, Stephen|
|Jowett, F. W.||O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)||Walters, John Tudor|
|Joyce, Michael||O'Grady, J.||Ward, John(Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Kearley, Hudson E.||O'Malley, William||Wardle, George J.|
|Kennedy, Vincent Paul||O'Shee, James John||Waring, Walter|
|Laidlaw, Robert||Parker, James (Halifax)||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Lambert, George||Paulton, James Mellor||Wedgwood, Josiah C.|
|Lamont, Norman||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)||Weir, James Galloway|
|Lardner, James Carrige Rushe||Pearce, William (Limehouse)||White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)|
|Lehmann, R. C.||Pearson, Sir W.D. (Colchester)||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Lever, A. Levy (Essex,Harwich||Pearson, W.H.M.(Suffolk, Eye)||Whitehead, Rowland|
|Levy, Sir Maurice||Pirie, Duncan V.||Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)|
|Lewis, John Herbert||Power, Patrick Joseph||Wiles, Thomas|
|Lough, Thomas||Price, C. E. (Edinb'gh,Central)||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W.R.)|
|Lundon, W.||Rea, Russell (Gloucester)||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Lupton, Arnold||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarboro'||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Lyell, Charles Henry||Reddy, M.||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Lynch, H. B.||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Macdonald, J.M.(Falkirk B'ghs||Richards, Thomas(W.Monm'th||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr.|
|Mackarness, Frederic C.||Richards, T. F. (Wolverh'mpt'n)||Whiteley and Mr. J. A. Peese.|
|Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Acland-Hood,Rt. Hn.SirAlexF.||Carlile, E. Hildred||Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey|
|Ashley, W. W.||Cave, George||Fletcher, J. S.|
|Balcarres, Lord||Cavendish, Rt. Hn.VictorC.W.||Forster, Henry William|
|Balfour, Rt.Hn.A.J.(City Lond.||Cecil, Lord John P. Joicey||Gardner, Ernest (Berks, East)|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.)||Gibbs, G. A. (Bristol, West)|
|Banner, John S. Harmood-||Coates, E. Feetham (Lewisham||Gretton, John|
|Barrie, H.T. (Londonderry,N.)||Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Hamilton, Marquess of|
|Beach, Hn. Michael HughHicks||Courthope, G. Loyd||Harris, Frederick Leverton|
|Bowles, G. Stewart||Craig,Charles Curtis(Antrim,S.)||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Craik, Sir Henry||Hay, Hon. Claude George|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Hills, J. W.|
|Bull, Sir William James||Du Cros, Harvey||Hunt, Rowland|
|Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. H. M.||Fell, Arthur||Kennaway,Rt.Hn. Sir John H.|
|Kimber, Sir Henry||Remnant, James Farquharson||Valentia, Viscount|
|Long, Rt.Hn. Walter (Dublin,S||Roberts, S. (Sheffield,Ecclesall)|
|Nield, Herbert||Ronaldshay, Earl of||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr.|
|Parker, Sir Gilbert (Gravesend)||Salter, Arthur Clavell||Mitchell-Thomson and Mr.|
|Parkes, Ebenezer||Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staff'sh.||Younger.|
|Pease, HerbertPike (Darlington||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel||Tennant, Sir Edward(Salisbury|
moved an Amendment for the purpose of altering the expression "capital land value" in Subsection 2 of Clause (1), where the new entry to be made in the valuation roll is described to "capital unimproved land value." The object of his Amendment was to carry out more strictly the definition of the clause. He was not sure whether it directly carried out the theory upon which the advocacy of this proposal rested, namely, that they should divest the land of every possible expenditure made upon it and deal with it as the remnant that was left. They wanted something more than was defined by Clause 3 before they could arrive at the simple and absolute value of land to its owner. Before that could be arrived at all money or labour spent upon that land must in justice to the owner be deducted, although it need not be expenditure that was to prove useful after the land had been sold by the owner and purchased for a different purpose. There might be land which, in the opinion of the assessors, should be valued as building land, and an enhanced value put upon it, but supposing the owner of that land had spent money upon it in planting trees, or in chemical manures for agricultural purposes, or in levelling it for the purpose of laying down a bowling green, as might easily be the case in a suburban area, all that expenditure must be deducted before the land was valued for building purposes in order to reach the true value of the land. He asked by this Amendment that they should be saved from any trickery, doubt,or dubiety on this point: that any money spent on the land should be deducted before they began to rate the owner of the land upon its value. It was in order to be strictly logical and to insure that the subsequent clause rose to that highly logical point which the advocates of this Bill had always put forward that he begged to move.
in seconding, said he hoped the Government would accept this Amendment. They had persistently throughout the various stages of the Bill sought to impress upon the House the fact that what they wanted to do was to free anything in the shape of industry from the taxes from which at present they were supposed to be suffering, and by this Amendment they were trying to carry out what they understood the Government intended to do. They now had the definition clause extended to include "improvements of whatever nature, on, in, or under the soil, woods, fixed or attached machinery, and work of reclamation, making up, levelling and the like, where such work has been executed not more than twenty years preceding." That was one of the results of their deliberations upstairs, and the Lord Advocate, although there was nothing in the Bill to show it, had said that he was going to consider whether he could not improve the provision still further by leaving out the word "structural" in that clause. They had heard nothing from the Lord Advocate to indicate that he had considered the subject as he had promised to do when in Committee. It was on the faith of his promise that a good deal of the discussion was cut short in Committee. He hoped that the Lord Advocate would carry out his promise to give a fuller meaning to the word "improvements." They were asked at the fag end of the session to carry the Bill through on Report in one night. He thought that the House would agree that the discussion that night had not been in vain, certainly it had been to the point; and the longer they proceeded with the discussion the more necessary it appeared that they should safeguard the many phrases used in the Bill which were likely to lead them into considerable difficulty. He hoped the Lord Advocate, after what had occurred in Committee, would see his way to accept this Amendment. Amendment proposed—
—(Sir Henry Craik.) Question proposed, "That the word 'unimproved' be there inserted.""In page 1, line 12, after the word 'capital,' to insert the word 'unimproved.'"
said that substantially this matter was one of drafting. It was proposed to introduce the word "unimproved," but this would interfere with the much better form of the draftsman, who used the words "capital land value," and then gave with great precision all the elements which were to be included and excluded from that definition. They would prejudice that definition if they introduced the word "unimproved," a general term which might be dangerous. Upon the whole, although there was no difference in substance, he preferred to keep to the form in which the clause stood.
said it was far more than a matter of drafting; it was the essence of the Bill. They had been told over and over again that the policy of the Bill was to shift the rate off the improvement and put it on the land. If that were so the land on which they put the rate must be unimproved land, and there could, therefore, be no objection to accepting the word. Let them take a concrete case. Supposing a man carried out irrigation works on his land. These would not be structural, or an "erection," or "fixed machinery," yet they would improve the value of the land from, say, a few shillings to several pounds an acre. As the Bill stood now they were professing to value the land alone, and yet that value would be the value of the land itself, plus the improvements; so that they would be rating a man on his improvements. That was a thing which he thought merited very serious attention; and if the point was not dealt with now, it was quite clear that subsequently Subsection (1) of Clause 3 must be amended. Question put. The House divided:—Aye, 48; Noes, 238. (Division List No. 442).
|Acland-Hood,RtHn.SirAlex.F.||Courthope, G. Loyd||Long,Rt.Hn.Walter(Dublin, S)|
|Ashley, W. W.||Craig,CharlesCurtis(Antrim,S.||Nield, Herbert|
|Balcarres, Lord||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Parkes, Ebenezer|
|Balfour,RtHn.A.J.(CityLond.)||Du Cros, Harvey||Pease,HerbertPike (Darlington|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Fell, Arthur||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Banner, John S. Harmood-||Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey||Roberts,S. (Sheffield,Ecclesall)|
|Barrie,H.T.(Londonderry,N.)||Fletcher, J. S.||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Beach,Hn.Michael Hugh Hicks||Forster, Henry William||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Gardner, Ernest (Berks, East||Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staff'sh.|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Gibbs, G. A. (Bristol, West)||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Bull, Sir William James||Gretton, John||Thomson,W.Mitchell-(Lanark)|
|Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. H. M.||Hamilton, Marquess of||Valentia, Viscount|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Harris, Frederick Leverton||Vincent, Col. Sir C. E. Howard|
|Cavendish,Rt.Hon.VictorC.W.||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Younger, George|
|Cecil, Lord John P. Joicey-||Hay, Hon. Claude George|
|Coates,E.Feetham(Lewisham)||Hunt, Rowland||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Sir|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Kimber, Sir Henry||Henry Craik and Mr. Hills.|
|Abraham, William (Cork, N.E.)||Brace, William||Clough, William|
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Bramsdon, T. A.||Clynes, J. R.|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Branch, James||Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)|
|Ambrose, Robert||Brigg, John||Collins,SirWm.J.(S.Pancras,W|
|Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth)||Brunner,J.F.L.(Lancs.,Leigh)||Condon, Thomas Joseph|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Cooper, G. J.|
|Baring,Godfrey(Isle of Wight||Burke, E. Haviland-||Corbett,CH (Sussex,E.Grinstd)|
|Barlow, Sir John E. (Somerset||Burne, Rt. Hon. John||Cowan, W. H.|
|Barnes, G. N.||Byles, William Pollard||Cremer, Sir William Randal|
|Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone,N.||Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Crooks, William|
|Beaumont, Hon. Hubert||Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Crossley, Wiliam J.|
|Bell, Richard||Causton,Rt.Hn.RichardKnight||Cullinan, J.|
|Benn,W.(T'w'rHamlets,S.Geo.||Chance, Frederick William||Curran, Peter Francis|
|Berridge, T. H. D.||Cheetham, John Frederick||Davies, Timothy (Fulham)|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Delany, William|
|Boland, John||Clarke, C. Goddard (Peckham)||Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh,S.)|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Cleland, J. W.||Dickinson,W.H.(St.Pancras,N-|
|Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.||Lamont, Norman||Rea, Russell (Gloucester)|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Lardner, James Carrige Rushe||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarboro'|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Lehmann, R. C.||Reddy, M.|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness||Lever, A. Levy (Essex,Harwich||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)||Levy, Sir Maurice||Richards,Thomas(W.Monm'th|
|Edwards, Clement (Denbigh)||Lewis, John Herbert||Richards,T.F.(Wolverh'mpt'n)|
|Edwards, Enoch (Hanley)||Lough, Thomas||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Erskine, David C.||Lundon, W.||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Essex, R. W.||Lupton, Arnold||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)|
|Esslemont, George Birnie||Lyell, Charles Henry||Robertson,SirG.Scott(Bradf'rd|
|Farrell, James Patrick||Lynch, H. B.||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)|
|Fenwick, Charles||Macdonald,J.M.(FalkirkB'ghs||Robinson, S.|
|Ferens, T. R.||Mackarness, Frederic C.||Robson, Sir William Snowdon|
|Ferguson, R. C. Munro||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Ffrench, Peter||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Rowlands, J.|
|Field, William||Macpherson, J. T.||Runciman, Walter|
|Findlay, Alexander||MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down,S.||Russell, T. W.|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||MacVeigh,Charles(Donegal,E.)||Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)|
|Freeman-Thomas, Freeman||M'Callum, John M.||Scott,A.H.(Ashton under Lyne|
|Fuller, John Michael F.||M'Crae, George||Seely, Colonel|
|Gibb, James (Harrow)||M'Hugh, Patrick A.||Shaw, Rt. Hon. T. (Hawick B.)|
|Gill, A. H.||M'Kenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Sheehy, David|
|Ginnell, L.||Maddison, Frederick||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Glover, Thomas||Manfield, Harry (Northants)||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||Markham, Arthur Basil||Silcock, Thomas Ball|
|Gooch, George Peabody||Marks,G.Croydon(Launceston)||Simon, John Allsebrook|
|Gulland, John W.||Massie, J.||Sinclair, Rt. Hon. John|
|Gurdon,RtHn.SirW. Brampton||Meehan, Patrick A.||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
|Gwynn, Stephen Lucius||Menzies, Walter||Snowden, P.|
|Halpin, J.||Micklem, Nathaniel||Stanley, Albert (Staffs., N. W.)|
|Hammond, John||Molteno, Percy Alport||Stanley,Hn.A.Lyulph(Chesh.)|
|Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis||Montgomery, H. G.||Steadman, W. C.|
|Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worc'r)||Mooney, J. J.||Stewart, Halley (Greenock)|
|Harmsworth,R.L.(Caithn'ss-sh||Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Harvey,W.E.(Derbyshire,N.E.||Morgan,J.Lloyd(Carmarthen)||Strauss, E. A. (Abingdon)|
|Haworth, Arthur A.||Morrell, Philip||Summerbell, T.|
|Hayden, John Patrick||Morse, L. L.||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Hazel, Dr. A. E.||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Thompson,J.W.H.(Somerset,E|
|Hazleton, Richard||Muldoon, John||Toulmin, George|
|Healy, Timothy Michael||Murphy, John (Kerry, East)||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Helme, Norval Watson||Murphy, N. J. (Kilkenny, S.)||Ure, Alexander|
|Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Myer, Horatio||Verney, F. W.|
|Higham, John Sharp||Nicholls, George||Vivian, Henry|
|Hobart, Sir Robert||Nicholson,CharlesN.(Doncast'r||Walsh, Stephen|
|Hobhouse, Charles E. H.||Nolan, Joseph||Walters, John Tudor|
|Hogan, Michael||Nuttall, Harry||Ward,John (Stoke upon Trent)|
|Holland, Sir William Henry||O'Brien,Kendal(TipperaryMid||Wardle, George J.|
|Holt, Richard Durning||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Waring, Walter|
|Horniman, Emslie John||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Hyde, Clarendon||O'Doherty, Philip||Wedgwood, Josiah C.|
|Idris, T. H. W.||O'Donnell,'C. J. (Walworth)||White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)|
|Illingworth, Percy H.||O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Jardine, Sir J.||O'Grady, J.||Whitehead, Rowland|
|Johnson, John (Gateshead)||O'Malley, William||Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)|
|Johnson, W. (Nuneaton)||O'Shee, James John||Wiles, Thomas|
|Jowett F. W.||Parker, James (Halifax)||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W.R.)|
|Joyce, Michael||Paulton, James Mellor||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Kearley, Hudson E.||Pearce, Robert (Staffs. Leek)||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Kekewich, Sir George||Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Kennedy, Vincent Paul||Pearson,SirW.D.(Colchester)|
|Kilbride, Denis||Pearson,W.H.M.(Suffolk,Eye)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr.|
|King, Alfred John (Knutsford||Pirie, Duncan V.||Whiteley and Mr, J, A.|
|Laidlaw, Robert||Power, Patrick Joseph||Pease.|
|Lambert, George||Price, C.E. (Edinb'gh,Central)|
moved an Amendment designed to exclude from the operation of the Bill land which was prohibited from sale by reason of its being vestel in trustees or life renters. On the Committee the Lord Advocate led them to hope that this was an Amendment which he might accept.
seconded. Amendment proposed— "In page 1, line 13, after the word 'heritages,' to insert the words 'not being lands and heritages belonging to any person or persons who have no power of sale.'"—(Mr. Nield.) Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
said he had very carefully considered this point since it was raised in Committee and it appeared to him to be quite impossible to accept the Amendment. It would involve an investigation by the assessor as to the title on which land was held.
said he was rather perturbed by the view expressed by the Lord Advocate. He asked the House to compare the attitude taken up by the Government on this question with their policy in connection with lands under "building restrictions or servitude." When lands were of the latter kind those restrictions were taken into account in estimating the capital value. If they were taking the capital value of land apart from the conditions on which it was held, then they ought not to introduce the phrase about restrictions. If, on the other hand, they were thinking of the position of the owner of land, then surely they ought to consider whether he was a limited owner or not.
said there was this difference. The proposal in the Amendment was one with reference to a quality of the title inherent in any land, but it did not affect at all the value of the land as land. But when they came to building restrictions the value of land as land was subject to the real burden imposed not only on one holder, but upon all holders. It went with the land.
asked leave to withdraw the Amendment. Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
moved an Amendment to Subsection (2) with the object of including railways within the Bill. He realised perfectly well why railways had been specially excluded when the Bill was being drafted. There was very great difficulty in valuing land on which rail way lines were placed. He referred to the land on which the running lines were placed, and not to the sites on which stations stood. The making of a valuation of that land would give very great difficulty to the assessor. He moved this Amendment in order to call the attention of the House to the fact that the moment the right hon. Gentleman came against an extremely difficult position he proceeded to get out of it by making an exception in its favour. If the promoters of the Bill were honest in saying that they desired to remove improvements from taxation, he could not conceive any improvements more entitled to be exempted than those which were effected by railway companies. Railways were at present assessed by a special assessor in respect of their commercial value, and the effect of this Bill would be that it would be necessary to have one basis of valuation for the purpose of rating railways and another for the purpose of indicating the value of the land. The Solicitor-General had said they would be charged at a different poundage rate, but he would point out to the Solicitor-General that the difficulty could not be got rid of in that way, because in every parish and every town in Scotland the land value would bear a different proportion to the composite value of the subject. Under the circumstances, he held that if the principle of the proposal in the Bill was sound it ought to be equally applicable to all, and there should be no exceptions. There was no reasonable ground for exempting railways from the operation of the Bill except the difficulty of valuing the sites. But that difficulty must be faced; and he submitted that if it could not be overcome then the whole principle and object of the Bill broke down. He moved his Amendment in order to raise the whole question. He hoped the House would agree with him that if they were going to have a Land Values Bill they should not have land values on one class of subjects, with commercial values on another. He begged to move.
seconded the Amendment. The hon. Member for East Edinburgh had waxed eloquent on platforms and in the House as to the extreme merits of the valuation system in Scotland, on the ground of its uniformity and simplicity, and the hon. Gentleman added that they were going to take a step forward by this Bill. He thought that it was more of the nature of avolte face. At any rate, uniformity would be conspicuous by its absence when they found two different systems of valuation, two different systems of rating, and two different systems of poundage. Amendment proposed—
—(Mr. Younger.) Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill.""In page 1, line 14, to leave out from the word 'roll,' to end of Subsection (2).'"
said he did not suppose that if they were to write on a clean slate a system of valuation for Scotland it would include the value of railways and canals in the same scheme as other property. Since the Valuation Act of 1854 was passed they had had a scheme of valuation for railways and canals which was totally separate from that of other property; and every Parliamentary inquiry had since then upheld that distinction. The last Parliamentary inquiry showed clearly that it was impossible to include railways and canals, which were valued on a different system altogether, under the existing scheme. In Scotland they had in every local authority an assessor who made the valuation according to the Act of 1854; but his work was completely different from that of the assessor for railways and canals, the entries in whose book, which involved very complicated calculations, did not appear in the valuation roll. The theory was well founded that railways and canals could not be treated except as a commercial unity, the land itself having been disposed of by Parliament for a particular purpose, and put beyond the range of ordinary valuation. He submitted that it would be rash to introduce a differentiation here in a system which had gone on for more than half a century.
said he was sure the Lord Advocate himself would admit that the defence just given for this anomalous provision in the Bill was wholly inadequate. Let the House remember that the general contention was that all local taxation should be based upon the ground of capital land value, and not on annual return. It was clear, therefore, that if they were to carry out that system railways and canals should be brought under it. Why should they be exempted? The right hon. and learned Gentleman said that in connection with other property capital value was right, but in connection with railways and canals capital value was not right, but that it should be annual value. The Lord Advocate should have something better to say than such a mere restatement of his case. If all local taxation was to be based on capital and value and not annual value, why should railway, gas, water, and other companies be based on a different principle? Here was a gas company, and next door to it a mill. The gas company, because it supplied gas under an Act of Parliament to more than one parish, was not to be assessed upon capital value, but upon annual value. The mill which supplied perhaps the whole country was to be assessed not on the annual, but on the capital value. How could the anomaly be justified, and why should not the undertakings in question be brought under the new system? The Government should either frankly admit the great differences between different kinds of property or say that this was a universal Bill to apply to everything in Scotland; but when they came to the vast undertakings embodied in railway, gas, water, and canal undertakings, it was found that the Government were so systematic, so logical, so anxious to establish a coherent proposition that they suddenly shrank from the inevitable consequences of their principle!
did not think that the answer of the Lord Advocate to the Amendment was a very convincing one. The right hon. Gentleman said that for fifty years railways and canals had been rated in a different way from other classes of property, because in regard to rent, that was arrived at by considering what a hypothetical tenant might pay to a hypothetical landlord. The whole basis was, however, wrong. The intention, he understood, of this proposed new system of taxation was to relieve the taxes upon industry. Railways were the bed rock of our commercial system, but he thought they were mulcted and sweated from the moment they introduced a Bill till they got it through both Houses. Hon. Members also cried out for lower rates, although they knew they were asking for what was absolutely impossible. He did not consider that the rates on railways should be doubled, but thought they ought to get the benefit which should be given to a useful industry.
|Abraham, William (Cork, N.E.)||Devlin, Joseph||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)|
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.)||Henry, Charles S.|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Dickinson,W.H.(St. Pancras,N.||Higham, John Sharp|
|Asquith, Rt. Hn.HerbertHenry||Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.||Hobart, Sir Robert|
|Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth)||Donelan, Captain A.||Hobhouse, Charles E. H.|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Duffy, William. J.||Hogan, Michael|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Duncan, C.(Barrow-in-Furness)||Holt, Richard Durning|
|Barnes, G. N.||Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)||Hope, John Deans (Fife, West)|
|Barry, Redmond J.(Tyrone,N.)||Edwards, Clement (Denbigh)||Horniman, Emslie John|
|Beaumont, Hon. Hubert||Edwards, Enoch (Hanley)||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey|
|Benn,W.(T'w'rHamlets,S.Geo.||Elibank, Master of||Hyde, Clarendon|
|Boland, John||Erskine, David C.||Illingworth, Percy|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Essex, R. W.||Jardine, Sir J.|
|Brace, William||Esslemont, George Birnie||Johnson, John (Gateshead)|
|Bramsdon, T. A.||Farrell, James Patrick||Johnson, W. (Nuneaton)|
|Branch, James||Fenwick, Charles||Jowett, F. W.|
|Brodie, H. C.||Ferens, T. R.||Joyce, Michael|
|Brunner, J. F. L. (Lancs., Leigh||Ferguso, R. C. Munro||Kekewich, Sir George|
|Buchan||Ffrench, Peter||Kilbride, Denis|
|Burke, E. Haviland||Field, William||Laidlaw, Robert|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Findlay, Alexander||Lambert, George|
|Byles, William Pollard||Flavin, Michael Joseph||Lamont, Norman|
|Cambell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Lea. Hugh Cecil (St.Paneras,E,|
|Carr-Gomm H. W.||Fuller, John Michael F.||Lehmann, R. C.|
|Causton,Rt.Hn.RichardKnight||Gibb, James (Harrow)||Lever, A.Levy (Essex,Harwich|
|Chance, Frederick William||Gill, A. H.||Levy, Sir Maurice|
|Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Ginnell, L.||Lewis, John Herbert|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston, S.||Gladstone,RtHn.Herbert John||Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David|
|Clough, William||Glover, Thomas||Lough, Thomas|
|Clynes, J. R.||Goddard, Daniel Ford||Lundon, W.|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Gooch, George Peabody||Lupton, Arnold|
|Collins, Sir W. J. (S.Pancras,W.||Gulland, John W.||Lyell, Charles Henry|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Gurdon,Rt Hn.SirW.Brampton||Lynch, H. B.|
|Cooper, G. J.||Gwynn, Stepen Lucius||Macdonald,J.M. (Falkirk B'ghs|
|Corbett,CH (Sussex,E.Grinst'd||Halpin, J.||Mackarness, Frederic C.|
|Cory, Clifford John||Hammond, John||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift|
|Cowan, W. H.||Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worc'r)||Macpherson, J. T.|
|Cremer, Sir William Randal||Harmsworth,R.L.(Caithn'ss-sh||MacVeigh, Charles (Donegal,E.|
|Crooks, William||Harvey, W.E.(Derbyshire, N.E||M'Callum, John M.|
|Crossley, William J.||Haworth, Arthur A.||M'Crae, George|
|Cullinan, J.||Hayden, John Patrick||M'Hugh, Patrick A.|
|Curran, Peter Francis||Hazel, Dr. A. E.||M'Kenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald|
|Davies, Timothy (Fulham)||Healy, Timothy Michael||M'Killop, W.|
|Delany, William||Helme, Norval Watson||M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)|
said that this Amendment was the test of the whole Bill, and it was impossible to discuss it properly without knowing what superstructure was to be reared on it. Before they agreed to the exclusion of railways and canals they ought to know what was the scheme of the Government to be presented to the House for the taxation of land in Scotland. This Amendment was a test of the Parliamentarybona fides of the promoters of the Bill. Question put. The House divided:—Ayes, 227; Noes, 57. (Division List No. 443.)
|Maddison, Frederick||Paulton, James Mellor||Snowden, P.|
|Manfield, Harry (Northants)||Pearce, Robert (Staffs., Leek)||Stanley, Hn. A. Lyulph (Chesh.|
|Markham, Arthur Basil||Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Stewart, Halley (Greenock)|
|Marks,G.Croydon (Launceston)||Pearson, W.H.M. (Suffolk,Eye)||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Massie, J.||Pirie, Duncan V.||Strauss, E. A. (Abingdon)|
|Meehan, Patrick A.||Power, Patrick Joseph||Summerbell, T.|
|Menzies, Walter||Price, C.E.(Edinburgh,Central)||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Micklem, Nathaniel||Radford, G. H.||Thomson, J.W.H. (Somerset, E|
|Molteno, Percy Alport||Rainy, A. Rolland||Toulmin, George|
|Montgomery, H. G.||Rea, Russell (Gloucester)||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Mooney, J. J.||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarboro'||Ure, Alexander|
|Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)||Reddy, M.||Verney, F. W.|
|Morgan,J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)||Vivian, Henry|
|Morrell, Philip||Richards,Thomas (W.Monm'th||Walsh, Stephen|
|Morse, L. L.||Richards, T.F. (Wolverh'mpt'n||Walters, John Tudo|
|Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Rickett, J. Comton||Ward, John (Stoke upon Trent)|
|Muldoon, John||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)||Wardle, George J.|
|Murphy, John (Kerry, East)||Robertson,SirG.Scott (Bradf'rd||Waring, Walter|
|Murphy, N. J. (Kilkenny, S.)||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Nicholls, George||Robinson, S.||Wedgwood, Josiah C.|
|Nicholson, CharlesN.(Doncast'r||Roe, Sir Thomas||Weir, James Galloway|
|Nolan, Joseph||Rowlands, J.||White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)|
|Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Runciman, Walter||Whitehead, Rowland|
|Nuttall, Harry||Russell, T. W.||Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)|
|O'Brien,Kendal (TipperaryMid||Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)||Wiles, Thomas|
|O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W.R.)|
|O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Shaw, Rt. Hon. T. (Hawick B.)||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid.)|
|O'Doherty, Philip||Sheehy, David||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|O'Donnell, C. J. (Walworth)||Sherwell, Arthur James||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|O'Grady, J.||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|O'Malley, William||Silcock, Thomas Ball||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr.|
|O'Shee, James John||Sinclair, Rt. Hon. John||Whiteley and Mr. J. A,|
|Parker, James (Halifax)||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim,S.)||Pease.|
|Acland-Hood,RtHn. SirAlex.F.||Courthoz, G. Loyd||Kennaway,Rt. Hn. Sir JohnH.|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Craig, CharlesCurtis (Antrim,S)||Kimber, Sir Henry|
|Ashley, W. W.||Craik, Sir Henry||Nield, Herbert|
|Balcarres,Lord||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Parkes, Ebenezer|
|Balfour, RtHn. A. J. (CityLond.)||Everett, R. Lacey||Pease, Herbert Pike(Darlington|
|Banner, John S. Harmood-||Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Barrie, H.T. (Londonderry, N.)||Fletcher, J. S.||Roberts, S.(Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Beach, Hn. MichaelHughHicks||Forster, Henry William||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Bowles, G. Stewart||Freeman-Thomas, Freeman||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Gardner, Ernest (Berks, East)||Simon, John Allsebrook|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Gibbs, G. A. (Bristol, West)||Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staff'sh.|
|Bull, Sir William James||Gretton, John||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. H. M.||Hamilton, Marquess of||Tennant, Sir Edward (Salisbury|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Harris, Frederick Leverton||Thomas, W. Mitchell-(Lanark)|
|Cavendish, Rt. Hn. VictorC.W.||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Valentia, Viscount|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.||Hay, Hon. Claude George||Vincent, Col. Sir C. E. Howard|
|Chamberlain,RtHn.J.A. (Wore.||Hedges, A. Paget|
|Coates, E. Feetham (Lewisham)||Henderson, J.M.(Aberdeen,W.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr.|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Hills, J. W.||Younger and Sir Frederick|
|Collings,Rt.Hn. J. (Birmingh'm||Hunt, Rowland||Banbury.|
moved to insert at the end of the subsection a proviso to the effect that land occupied as a pleasure garden or pleasure grounds in connection with a dwelling-house should be valued together with the site of the dwelling-house on the assumption that it continued in its existing state. He said that this was a point which would have been dealt with in Committee had it not been for the Lord Advocate undertaking to deal with it when it came before the House. The Bill as reported to the House did not touch this question of open spaces, pleasure grounds, and pleasure gardens in our great centres. They heard a great deal about the preservation, as far as possible, of open spaces, and, speaking as one closely acquainted with the London County Council, he knew that they did their best to extend those open spaces, because on them depended to a large extent the healthy conditions of the people who inhabited the neighbourhoods of those open spaces. Nothing was mentioned about them in the Bill. If it was not proposed to rate them, why go to the expense of valuing them? They had heard a great deal during the debate about the intention of the promoters of the Bill to stop, as far as posible, land speculation. That was a question which had a great deal to do with the subject of open spaces in our great centres. With the leave of the House he would refer to the report of Dr. Wallace, who spoke of the conditions which he found in existence in New York, a place to which frequent reference had been made during these discussions on the question of taxation of capital values. New York rates were levied on capital values, and there was a valuation of real as well as personal property. As regarded the valuation and taxation of real property Dr. Wallace, on the state of affairs which he found in New York, used words which had a bearing more particularly on this question of gardens and open spaces. Dr. Wallace, who was President of the Land Nationalisation Society, said—
He would make hon. Members opposite a present of the argument as to the experience of America, upon which this Bill was founded. He hoped at any rate that the House would be warned by the experience which New York had had in regard to this question. The information he had been able to obtain from Germany bore out exactly what he had stated in regard to America. He was anxious to preserve as many open spaces as possible and he wished to know did the Government want them? Were they going to tax open spaces? Paris started the same idea as that which was contained in this Bill, with the result that a very large open space owned by a private individual and kept open by him for the use of the public had to be sacrificed because the owner could not afford to provide an open space free for the public use and pay taxes upon it as well. If hon. Members were really in favour of these open spaces he appealed to them not to tax them out of existence."The results are very curious. To begin with, land speculation, which we think is bad enough with us, is but a trifle here compared with what it is in America. In America land speculation is everywhere excessive. It is the great mode of making money, and it exists more or less all over the country, wherever land is for sale and is not monopolised by great capitalists. This taxation on full values, however, usually causes very rapid changes of ownership. Men buy land on speculation for the purpose of selling it again quickly. They will not hold it long, because if it is not used the taxes will eat it up. Then somebody else buys it and sells it again pretty quickly, and thus land is continually changing owners until it is used for occupation or cultivation or for building. But the result of this rapid change of ownership, of each person trying to make a profit, is that land very rapidly acquires in America a price as high as in old settled countries like England, and very often even higher. Then, again, the result of these speculations is that in the cities—in the suburbs of the cities, in the places where working-men live—we find the land cut up into smaller strips than in England, and the houses are built still more closely together. Notwithstanding all the great advantages they possess, we find houses crowded together, rents enormously high, and no gardens to the houses. One of the most disagreeable features of American houses to Englishmen is that there are no gardens; where there is a little plot of land it is usually grass with a few trees or shrubs, but no flowers or vegetables.."
seconded, and said that if the Lord Advocate could not see his way to accept these words he hoped he would be able to suggest others which would have the same effect. He gathered that the Lord Advocate was fully alive to the importance of this question. This Bill seemed to threaten the existence of open spaces, and there were a good many of them in Glasgow. Amendment proposed—
—(Mr. Remnant.) Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted in the Bill.""In page 1, line 15, at the end, to insert the words, 'Provided that land occupied as a pleasure-garden or pleasure-grounds in connection with a dwelling-house shall be valued together with the site of the dwelling-house on the assumption that it continues in its existing state.'"
said he regretted that he was unable to accept this Amendment. What the hon. Member wished to be done was on the assumption that the space occupied by pleasure grounds or pleasure gardens was appropriately used as such. If that was the appropriate use to which the land should be put in the opinion of the assessor, then no change or harm could come at all, because there would be no assumption that there should be any other use than the perfectly appropriate one which realised the fair and proper value of the land. The cases which too often occurred in Scotland were of a different character. They were cases of communities which were extremely anxious to get land for the erection of workingmen's houses, or ordinary flatted tenements. He could illustrate the position by giving a single example. The case which he had in his mind was the estate of Sir George Warrender in the south of Edinburgh. That estate was exactly covered by this Amendment. It was land used as pleasure-gardens or pleasure-grounds in connection with the adjoining Mansion-house. The proposal in the Amendment was that it should be treated on the assumption that it continued in that state because that was its appropriate use, whereas in point of fact it continued to be so used notwithstanding an enormous rise in the value of land for tenement houses and working men's houses in the locality. That pleasure-garden now released for building already yielded no less than £8,000 per annum, and the proposal of the Bill was to put the real valuation on land occupied in that way so that the owner would not be able to hold it as long as he liked, keeping down its actual value. That kind of case, which was quite apart from the case of the ordinary public space, would be covered by the Amendment, which the Government could not sanction in a Bill for the ascertainment of the real value of the land. If any of these open spaces were to be put under public control, he could not imagine that any Parliament or any Government would propose to put assessments on land which substantially belonged to or was controlled by the community. When they came to the question of rating they would deal with what he would call the "public lungs" of the population. Under a valuation scheme they must have an exact valuation of these open spaces, and not a valuation of pleasure-gardens or pleasure-grounds by which proprietors were enabled to hold up land against the requirements of the community.
said he regarded the speech of the Lord Advocate as very important. The right hon. and learned Gentleman was in the habit of founding a general proposition on a single case, and that single case not a representative one. He based his argument here on an instance in Edinburgh of a garden or pleasure ground which was once a park on the south side of the city. It was perfectly true that the Amendment would cover that case, and he perfectly understood that the Government might well have an objection to that, because that land was capable of becoming, and he thought had become, a building estate. That was not the object of his hon. friend's Amendment, nor was this estate characteristic of the case he had in view. His hon. friend had in view a general principle of which the Amendment was only a particular example. The whole effect of this Bill, together with the rating Bill which was to be founded on it, was to compel every owner of land in towns to use it as soon as ever he could for the most profitable purpose to himself. This was a Bill for stimulating owners of land in or near large towns to rush upon the market, to run up tenement houses, or whatever it might be, and to do anything so long as it gave him the biggest immediate profit. The question which he wanted most earnestly to ask the House was whether that would or would not improve the general conditions of urban life in Scotland or in any country where it was carried out. He emphatically said it would not. He heard an hon. Gentleman below the gangway cheer the Lord Advocate and express general approval of the line he was taking up. He ventured to say that those who were deeply interested in the urban problem, which was the great problem—it was not the country problem which was the great problem—must look with the profoundest misgiving on any driving of the urban owner into using his land for certain purposes just because of the immediate income. There were other parallel difficulties which would be raised by a later Amendment, but he would confine himself at present to the question of gardens. Had the right hon. and learned Gentleman ever heard of the attempt which had been made—he hoped the attempt was going to be successful—in the shape of garden cities, as they were called? It was an attempt to combine the advantages of town life and country life, of industry, fresh air, oxygen, and rural surroundings. The principle of valuation proposed by the Bill made every undertaking of that kind impossible to begin with. It could not be done if they insisted that within the limits of a garden city every square foot was to be used, not for the general effect, or for light, air, verdure, foliage and beauty, but in order that the owner might extract the extreme annual value from the land. The Bill would make impossible all these attempts to beautify cities, except by public expenditure, and to brighten urban life. In the case of the suburban villa, of course the garden would be destroyed absolutely under the Bill. It was quite true that they might say that the garden of a suburban villa was confined to the gratification of a single man, or his family, or the friends of the owner. But who denied that small suburban houses in their own grounds beautified the surroundings? Who denied that they added to the air space? Who denied that they gave a healthy existence to those, not usually belonging to the wealthy class, whose business required them to live near the scene of their occupation? All those they were going to penalise under the Bill of which this measure was to be the foundation. They were going to say to every man: "Never shall you have a garden without being rated, not on its value, but on the use you might put it to if you run up a factory or a warehouse." Was that the way in which the Government were going to deal seriously with the urban problem of the country? It was absolute lunacy. He could not understand a Government which professed to have so profound an interest in these questions recklessly running against the most obvious facts and tendencies. That was not the only point on which he believed this was going to mean ruin to the urban classes. He thought they would be able to show, when they came to the appropriate part of the Bill, that this would drive the working classes in every case from the centre of the town and far from the scene of their work. It would, however, be out of order were he to attempt to discuss that point now, and he only alluded to it because he firmly believed that this method of dealing with values was going to put an artificial pressure on the owners of every kind of land in urban districts, which would militate against the interests of the entire community. Not satisfied with that, the Government were going absolutely to destroy all that was in the nature of verdure, all that was in the nature of natural beauty; they were going to make the pleasant surroundings now found in parts of our great cities absolutely impossible by the conditions they sought to impose under the Bill. It was a lamentable state of things which he deeply and profoundly regretted, that the Lord Advocate, who, he was sure, was as keenly interested as any man in that House in the solution of the urban difficulties which they had to face, should be the mouthpiece of the Government on that occasion in carrying through a measure which he (Mr. Balfour) was convinced was going to be more injurious to our urban populations and more hampering to any efforts at urban reform than any other measure which had been brought forward in the House of Commons in his memory. He should certainly support the Amendment.
said that out of courtesy to the Leader of the Opposition he felt it necessary to rise without delay in order to make what he thought was a necessary protest against the somewhat heated language which the right hon. Gentleman had employed. He though the right hon. Gentleman, who would understand what he was referring to, had misapprehended the view expressed in the Bill. The right hon. Gentleman had said very properly that in the case of garden cities it would be deplorable if any taxation was to hinder their establishment and development. Might he point out, however, that garden cities were a typical case in which land was set out under a building restriction. If land was set out under a building restriction that was precisely the case which they were endeavouring to meet under Subsection (2) of Head 3 of this Bill. He wanted to make this absolutely clear, because he was quite sure there was no desire to misrepresent in any sense the view expressed by this clause. If they took the Bill as a whole, and looked at the clause, they would see that the building restrictions were fairly made, not for the purpose of defeating the Act, but to protect the value of the land. He was bound to say that he thought the language of the right hon. Gentleman was somewhat extreme, having regard to the very great care which had been taken in this matter.
said that it was with a good deal of hesitation that he intervened in a discussion on a Scottish Bill, but the principle underlying this Bill was, he supposed, to be applicablemutatis mutandis to the English Valuation Bill. If he rightly understood the position, he could not see that the Lord Advocate's answer to his right hon. friend was satisfactory. The Lord Advocate said that if there were conditions which limited the use of the land for building purposes those were to be taken account of under another clause of the Bill. Let them consider the case of two men, one of whom had either rented or purchased a house subject to the condition that he should not build on the garden land attached to it, while the other had an exactly similar house with an exactly similar garden, but it was a freehold of his own. Why was one of these men to be treated differently from the other? If the object of the Government was to make a man build on every inch of land which he had a conceivable right to cover with buildings, then they were right; but if their object was to preserve open spaces, which were the lungs of our towns, even if they were not open for perambulation to every dweller in the town, then the Government were proceeding on wholly wrong lines. Applying the system to England—and it was England primarily that he had in his mind—the Government absolutely destroyed once and for all, in all districts with a building value, any prospect of any results coming from their small holdings and allotments legislation. He submitted to the Government that if they could not accept the words of the Amendment of his hon. friend they should find words of their own to meet these cases where it was to the interests of the public that the landlord should keeps his land from being built upon as long as possible. Under the Bill the Government would penalise the owner for having taken some thought for the interests of the public, and not solely consulted the interests of his own pocket. If the Government maintained the Bill in its present form they would make it necessary for the owner to extort the largest possible profit he could from his land, irrespective of any public interest which he might otherwise have beneficially served.
said that the more they listened to the debates on the Bill the more they began to see, not the reasons for it, because they were non-existent, but the extraordinary motives and theories on which it was based The framers of the Bill seemed to think that the owners of land had only one object, namely, to obtain the highest financial benefit they could get out of the land; and that their interests would necessarily be in conflict with those of the community living around them. He wanted to know, was that a real description of his fellow-countrymen in Scotland? He denied it altogether. A man might have many motives for keeping a piece of ground unbuilt upon round his house. It might be the house in which his family had lived for generations and had earned the thanks of neighbours by keeping an open space round it for the benefit of their fellow men. Nowhere was this more frequently the case than in the city of Glasgow. Mention had been made of the Wander family, and he would like to ask, did anybody not think that the possession of the land held by that family on the Morning-side had not been of enormous advantage to the city of Edinburgh? No doubt that land had gained an enhanced value since it first came into the possession of the family, but land was not the only kind of capital investment that was enhanced in value by being held. Surely the citizens of large cities like Edinburgh and Glasgow might be trusted to study to some extent, as they had done in the past, the advantages of their fellow citizens as well as their own particular interests. Let them take this case. A man had a villa with an acre of ground. As long as he held it so it might be considered that the ground might develop into valuable land. One of these villa holders was forced by the stress of the tax to realise. He realised in the best market available. He erected factories or other undesirable subjects. What was the consequence? All the neighbouring properties fell in value. The valuation upon which the tax would be based would then be a false valuation. Were they going to restore the tax paid on that false valuation? It was not the fault of the other villas that their neighbour had reduced the value of the property. The Bill endeavoured to introduce an artificial system. If a man held up his land for a future market he held it up because it would become more valuable,otherwise he would be fit for a lunatic asylum. But that land would be more valuable in rates and taxes to the community. On the other hand the man who was forced to realise because he was threatened by the Bill fixed a permanent disability upon the whole quarter. The House ought to get rid of the idea that by forcing men into one particular course, telling them they must use the property in a particular way or they would be taxed on some fictitious value, they were benefiting the community. They would crowd the cities with undesirable buildings, and drive the poor into the back slums. That would be the result of that attempt to stamp out what had hitherto been open spots preserved often from motives of conscience and a sense of duty to fellow citizens.
said he had very great sympathy for the ideas and motives which, he believed, lay behind the Amendment, but he had listened to hon. Members opposite, and he had the feeling that they had overlooked Sub-section 4 of Clause 1 of the Bill, which ran—
and, in view of this, he did not think there was any immediate urgency in regard to the question. In common with a great many Members, he protested against the idea of gardens and perks, contiguous to or even in the centre of towns, being cut up for building purposes. He would suggest to the Lord Advocate that the views of the hon. Member opposite might be met by adding to his Amendment the words "provided that such land is not alienated from the use on which it is valued, without being first offered to the local authority (or the community) at such valuation.""Until Parliament otherwise determines no person shall be liable to be taxed or rated in respect of the entry prescribed under this Act,"
said he rose for a moment only in regard to the explanation of the Lord Advocate with reference to the meaning of the clause as it was expressed by the Leader of the Opposition. The Lord Advocate said that if they looked at Clause 3 the case to which the Leader of the Opposition had referred was met. What were the facts? The only case where the value was not to be taken into account was building servitudes. In Scotland, both in large cities like Glasgow and in smaller towns, land was held out and out by the proprietors. At present it was true that when they disposed of the land they did put building restrictions upon it, but that rested entirely upon themselves. If the motive for putting these restrictions was taken away they would not put them on, and that particular exception would not exist. The effect, therefore, and the Leader of the Opposition did not in the least misunderstand, of making it the interest of the proprietor to get an immediate profit would be in a large number of cases to prevent land being sold with building restrictions, which would do precisely what it was sought to prevent.
said the hon. Member was misapprehending the meaning of the Bill. If he (Mr. Ure) shared the view of the Leader of the Opposition in regard to the effect of the measure he would have joined with him in denunciation of it in language fully as strong as the language he used. It would be a very unwise thing to induce men to cover, say, with five-storey buildings, land which, in the interests of the community, would be much better suited for other uses, such as suburban dwellings. The only question they had to consider was how they could value a certain piece of ground on the assumption that the villa was removed. In nine cases out of ten, probably ninety-nine cases out of 100, the valuator would value it as land suitable for a cottage or villa and garden, for the very obvious reason that the use to which it was being put was the proper use, every proprietor being anxious to put his ground to the best possible use. And in ninety-nine cases out of 100 these very building restrictions which had been referred to did not diminish, but increased the value of the ground, and also enormously increased the value of the ground round about. Wherever they had an ordinary case of a villa and garden at the present moment they were valued as one. What the Amendment suggested was that they should always be valued as if it would always be in the condition in which they found it. They would be so valued so long as the ground remained, in the opinion of the assessor and valuator, ground suitable for a villa or cottage and garden, and so long as the environment suggested to the valuator suburban ground devoted to its best objects. He would only value it as building land where, as in many instances, it would be put to its best use when tenements were erected, where they found, as they did find in towns, men holding up a bit of garden ground with a house which was practically unsaleable simply because it was surrounded by streets and the owner was waiting until he found a purchaser at a high figure. That was the only case where garden ground with a villa would be valued as building land.
said that the hon. and learned Gentleman's speech was extraordinary. He took the case of a villa or a cottage with a garden attached and said that that was perfectly safe under the operation of the Bill because it was certain that the assessor in nine cases out of ten would value it as being put to its best possible use. The whole case on which the Bill rested, he thought, was that land was not being put to its best use, and the Bill was going to remedy that. What was the best possible use? Its most productive use for the owner and for the community. If they took the case of rows of tenements which had been erected in Glasgow they would see what it meant. The owner had erected rows of workmen's houses, some of them two storeys, some of them single storey buildings with a garden in front. What was going to be the position in regard to those houses under the Bill? Did they suppose for one moment that the owner was going to continue those houses in the state in which they now were? Did the Solicitor-General say that any assessor would not increase the assessment in respect of that land? The local authority would have to get as broad a basis for rating as possible, and did the hon. and learned Gentleman suppose for one moment that when the assessment was increased those single storey workmen's cottages with a garden in front would be the best possible use for the land. If that was the basis of the hon. and learned Gentleman's argument he could not agree with him. Question put. The House divided:—Ayes, 49; Noes, 199. (Division List No. 444.)
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Craik, Sir Henry||Long,Rt.Hn.Walter (Dublin, S.|
|Ashley, W. W.||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Nield, Herbert|
|Balfour,RtHn.A.J.(City Lond.)||Everett, R. Lacey||Pease,Herbert Pike (Darlington|
|Banner, John S. Harmood-||Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Barrie, H.T. (Londonderry, N.)||Fletcher, J. S.||Roberts, S.(Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Beach Hn. Michael Hugh Hicks||Forster, Henry William||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Bowles, G. Stewart||Gibbs, G. A. (Bristol, West)||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Gretton, John||Sloan, Thomas Henry|
|Bull, Sir William James||Hamilton, Marquess of||Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staff'sh)|
|Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. H. M.||Harris, Frederick Leverton||Tennant, Sir Edward(Salisbury|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Thomson, W. Mitchell-(Lanark)|
|Cavendish,Rt.Hon.Victor C.W.||Hay, Hon. Claude George||Vincent, Col. Sir C. E. Howard|
|Cecil, Lord John P., Joicey-||Henderson,J.M.(Aberdeen, W.)||Younger, Gorge|
|Chamberlain, RtHn.J.A. (Wore.||Hills, J. W.|
|Cheetham, John Frederick||Hunt, Rowland||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Sir|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Kennaway,Rt. Hn. Sir John H.||Alexander Acland-Hood and|
|Courthope, G. Loyd||Kimber, Sir Henry||Viscount Valentia.|
|Craig,Charles Curtis (Antrim,S.||Law, Andrew Bonar (Dulwich)|
|Abraham, William (Cork, N.E.)||Gladstone, RtHn.Herbert John||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Glover, Thomas||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Goddard, Daniel Ford||O'Doherty, Philip|
|Ambrose, Robert||Gurdon,Rt.Hn.SirW.Brampton||O'Donnell, C. J. (Walworth)|
|Asquith,RtHn.HerbertHenry||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius||O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Halpin, J.||O'Grady, J.|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Hammond, John||O'Malley, William|
|Barnard, E. B.||Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worc'r)||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Barnes, G. N.||Harmsworth,R.L.(Caithn'ss-sh)||Paulton, James Mellor|
|Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone,N.)||Harvey, W.E.(Derbyshire, N.E||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)|
|Beaumont, Hon. Hubert||Haworth, Arthur A.||Pearson, W.H.M. (Suffolk,Eye)|
|Benn,W.(T'w'rHamlets,S.Geo.)||Hayden, John Patrick||Pirie, Duncan V.|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Hazel, Dr. A. E.||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Hazleton, Richard||Price, C.E.(Edinburgh, Central)|
|Brace, William||Healy, Timothy Michael||Radford, G. H.|
|Branch, James||Helme, Norval Watson||Rainy, A. Rolland|
|Brigg, John||Henry, Charles S.||Reddy, M.|
|Brodie, H. C.||Higham, John Sharp||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Brunner,J.F.L. (Lancs., Leigh)||Hobart, Sir Robert||Richards, Thomas (W.Monm'th|
|Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Hobhouse, Charles E. H.||Richards, T. F. (Wolverh'mpt'n|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Hogan, Michael||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Byles, William Pollard||Holt, Richard Durning||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Robertson,SirG.Scott(Bradford|
|Causton,Rt.Hn.RichardKnight||Illingworth, Percy H.||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick||Jardine, Sir J.||Robinson, S.|
|Chance, Frederick William||Johnson, John (Gateshead)||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Johnson, W. (Nuneaton)||Rowlands, J.|
|Clough, William||Jowett, F. W.||Russell, T. W.|
|Clynes, J. R.||Joyce, Michael||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Kekewich, Sir George||Scott,A.H.(Ashton-under-Lyne|
|Collins,SirWm.J.(S.Pancras,W.||Kennedy, Vincent Paul||Shaw, Rt. Hon. T.(Hawick B.)|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Laidlaw, Robert||Sheehy, David|
|Cooper, G. J.||Lambert, George||Silcock, Thomas Ball|
|Corbett,CH(Sussex,E.Grinst'd||Lamont, Norman||Simon, John Allsebrook|
|Cory, Clifford John||Lardner, James Carrige Rushe||Sinclair, Rt. Hon. John|
|Cowan, W. H.||Lever, A.Levy (Essex,Harwich||Smyth, Thomas F.(Leitrim,S.)|
|Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Lewis, John Herbert||Stanley, Albert (Staffs., N.W.)|
|Cremer, Sir William Randal||Lough, Thomas||Stanley, Hn.A.Lyulph (Chesh.)|
|Crooks, William||Lundon, W.||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Crossley, William J.||Lyell, Charles Henry||Strauss, E. A. (Abingdon)|
|Cullinan, J.||Lynch, H. B.||Summerbell, T.|
|Curran, Peter Francis||Mackarness, Frederic C.||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Delany, William||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Thompson,J.W.H.(Somerset,E.|
|Devlin, Joseph||Macpherson, J. T.||Toulmin, George|
|Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.)||MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Dickinson,W.H.(St.Pancras,N.||MacVeigh,Charles (Donegal,E.)||Ure, Alexander|
|Donelan, Captain A.||M'Callum, John M.||Verney, F. W.|
|Duffy, William J.||M'Crae, George||Vivian, Henry|
|Duncan, C.(Barrow-in-Furness||M'Hugh, Patrick A.||Walsh, Stephen|
|Dunn, A. Edwards (Camborne)||M'Kenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Ward,W.Dudley(Southampton|
|Edwards, Clement (Denbigh)||Maddison, Frederick||Wardle, George J.|
|Edwards, Enoch (Hanley)||Markham, Arthur Basil||Waring, Walter|
|Elibank, Master of||Marks,G.Croydon (Launceston)||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Erskine, David C.||Meehan, Patrick A.||Wedgwood, Josiah C.|
|Essex, R. W.||Menzies, Walter||White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)|
|Esslemont, George Birnie||Micklem, Nathaniel||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Farrell, James Patrick||Montgomery, H. G.||Whithead, Rowland|
|Fenwick, Charles||Mooney, J. J.||Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)|
|Ferens, T. R.||Morgan, J.Lloyd (Carmarthen)||Wiles, Thomas|
|Ferguson, R. C. Munro||Morrell, Philip||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W.R.)|
|Ffrench, Peter||Muldoon, John||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Field, William||Murphy, John (Kerry, East)||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Findlay, Alexander||Murphy, N. J. (Kilkenny, S.)||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||Nicholls, George|
|Freeman, Thomas-Freeman||Nicholson,CharlesN. (Doncaster||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr.|
|Fuller, John Michael F.||Nolan, Joseph||Whiteley and Mr. J. A.|
|Gill, A. H.||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Pease.|
|Ginnell, L.||O'Brien,Kendal (TipperaryMid|
moved the following new subsection: "The capital value of the land on which no building is situated and which is not capable of being sold or disposed of with an obligation to build thereon immediately shall be estimated with reference to its fitness for purposes other than building purposes." The words were meant to afford some protection to land which was only of prospective building value and which should not be assessed too highly. The Solicitor-General placed a blind confidence in the assessor, but in that he could not share. He knew the kind of assessors sent down from London to Scotland. They were young men sent from Somerset House and they had not had much experience. He did not think they were people who ought to be let loose in that way unless the owners were given some kind of protection against them. The words he had proposed afforded that protection by which they would probably be able to avoid some cases of grave injustice. They had heard that in Glasgow alone there were 3,600 acres while all that was required annually were only sixty acres of land. When it was remembered that Glasgow had great schemes of further extension in hand, it seemed desirable that some notice should be taken of the difficulties of the situation. The Lord Advocate was well aware that, if a heavy tax were put on land which was not only not immediately ripe for building but which for many years would not be ripe for that purpose, he would make it impossible for the existing owner to hold the land for that time. The present owner would be the only man who would suffer loss, for the man who bought the land would discount the loss by allowing for the tax when he made the purchase. He would do as was done in New York; he would make a certain amount of profit on it and then sell it to someone else. Eventually the land would get into the hands of syndicates as in New York. One of the objects of that Bill was to make land cheaper for building purposes, but that object would be defeated, for in the hands of syndicates the result would be the same as in New York, the land would be dearer. That had been the effect in New York, and it would be the effect here unless some such words as he had proposed were added. He thought the Amendment was a very reasonable one, and he submitted it with some confidence to the right hon. Gentleman.
seconded. Amendment proposed—
—(Mr. Younger.) Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted.""In page 1, line 15, at the end to insert the. words, 'The capital value of land on which no building is situate and which is not capable of being sold or disposed of with an obligation to build thereon immediately shall be estimated with reference to its fitness for purposes other than building purposes.'"
said it was quite plain that the object of the Amendment was to keep out of the valuation land which was not now capable of being sold for building purposes. The proper test, he held, was the ordinary market test. There might be a possibility of the land being built on in the next year or in two or three years. The proper test was the market value. To try to keep the land out of the valuation by an artificial process and to make the valuation on the principle that it was only to be valued for agricultural purposes and as though buildings were not to be placed on it, was altogether contrary to the system under which land was sold in the open market.
thought that the Lord Advocate had somewhat easily passed over the point. If he understood his hon. friend aright he meant that land should not have a fictitious value put on it which could not be obtained in the open market. Let them take the case of Glasgow, where there were some 5,000 acres of agricultural land within the borough boundaries. Of that quantity of land only about sixty acres was secured to be built over, and there were therefore nearly 3,000 acres of agricultural land in Glasgow which was ripening for building purposes.
said that if he might interrupt the hon. Gentleman for a moment he thought he could explain the point. All that the hon. Gentleman had said would necessarily be taken into account. The postponement of realisable value was always taken into account in the market value.
continuing, said that the duties placed on the assessors under the Bill would necessitate the display of almost superhuman intelligence and ability. The Lord Advocate had quoted with approval the Minority Report of the Royal Commission on Taxation in 1901, but he only did so in so far as it suited his purpose. He (Mr. Cochrane) would call attention to the fact that the Minority Report of that Commission specifically and directly recommended that land which was only ripening for building purposes should not be estimated upon its capital value. He ventured to assert that the arguments which had been brought forward by his hon. friend had in no sense been answered. Great injustice would be done to a man if they valued his land at a price which it would not be possible for him to obtain for any reasonable number of years. Question put. The House divided:—Ayes, 41; Noes, 188. (Division List No. 445.)
|Acland-Hood,RtHn.SirAlex.F.||Craig, CharlesCurtis (Antrim,S.||Law, Andrew Bonar (Dulwich)|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Craik, Sir Henry||Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Dublin, S.|
|Ashley, W. W.||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Pease, Herbert Pike(Darlington|
|Balfour, RtHn.A.J.(CityLond.)||Everett, R. Lacey||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.||Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey||Roberts, S.(Sheffield,Ecclesall)|
|Beach, H. Michael Hugh Hicks||Forster, Henry William||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Bowles, G. Stewart||Gibbs, G. A. (Bristol, West)||Sloan, Thomas Henry|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Gretton, John||Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staff'sh.)|
|Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. H. M.||Hamilton, Marquess of||Tennant, Sir Edward(Salisbury|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Harris, Frederick Leverton||Thomson,W.Mitchell-(Lanark)|
|Cavendish, Rt. Hn. VictorC.W.||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Valentia, Viscount|
|Cecil, Lord John P. Joicey-||Hills, J. W.|
|Chamberlain, RtHn.J.A.(Worc.||Hunt, Rowland||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr.|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Kennaway, Rt. Hn.Sir John H.||Younger and Sir William|
|Courthope, G. Loyd||Kimber, Sir Henry||Bull.|
|Abraham, William(Cork,N. E.)||Cowan, W. H.||Gurdon,RtHn.Sir W. Brampton|
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Cremer, Sir William Randal||Halpin, J.|
|Ambrose, Robert||Crooks, William||Hammond, John|
|Asquith,Rt.Hn. Herbert Henry||Crossley, William J.||Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worc'r)|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Cullinan, J.||Harmsworth,R.L.(Caithn'ss-sh|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Curran, Peter Francis||Harvey,W.E.(Derbyshire,N.E.|
|Barnard, E. B.||Delany, William||Haworth, Arthur A.|
|Barnes, G. N.||Devlin, Joseph||Hayden, John Patrick|
|Barry,RedmondJ.(Tyrone, N.)||Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.)||Hazel, Dr. A. E.|
|Beaumont, Hon. Hubert||Dickinson,W.H. (St.Pancras,N.||Healy, Timothy Michael|
|Benn,W.(T'w'rHamlets,S.Geo.)||Donelan, Captain A.||Helme, Norval Watson|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Duffy, William J.||Henry, Charles S.|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness||Higham, John Sharp|
|Brace, William||Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)||Hobhouse, Charles E. H.|
|Branch, James||Edwards, Clement (Denbigh)||Hogan, Michael|
|Brigg, John||Edwards, Enoch (Hanley)||Holt, Richard Durning|
|Brodie, H. C.||Elibank, Master of||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey|
|Brunner,J.F.L. (Lancs., Leigh)||Erskine, David C.||Illingworth, Percy H.|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Essex, R. W.||Jardine, Sir J.|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Esslemont, George Birnie||Johnson, John (Gateshead)|
|Byles, William Pollard||Farrell, James Patrick||Johnson, W. (Nuneaton)|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Fenwick, Charles||Jawett, F. W.|
|Causton,Rt.Hn.RichardKnight||Ferguson, R. C. Munro||Joyce, Michael|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick||Ffrench, Peter||Kekewich, Sir George|
|Chance, Frederick William||Field, William||Kennedy, Vincent Paul|
|Cheetham, John Frederick||Findlay, Alexander||Lambert, George|
|Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Flavin, Michael Joseph||Lamont, Norman|
|Clough, William||Freeman-Thomas, Freeman||Lardner, James Carrige Rushe|
|Clynes, J. R.||Fuller, John Michael F.||Lewis, John Herbert|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Gill, A. H.||Lough, Thomas|
|Collins, Sir W. J.(S.Pancras, W.||Ginnell, L.||Lundon, W.|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Gladstone,Rt.Hn.HerbertJohn|
|Cooper, G. J.||Glover, Thomas||Lynch, H. B.|
|Corbett,C. H.(Sussex, E.Grinst'd||Goddard, Daniel Ford||Mackarness, Frederic C.|
|Cory, Clifford John||Gulland, John W.||Mackarness, Frederic C.|
|MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Parker, James (Halifax)||Stanley, Hn.A.Lyulph (Chesh.)|
|Macpherson, J. T.||Paulton, James Mellor||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|MacVeigh, Charles(Donegal, E.||Pearce, Robert (Staffs., Leek)||Strauss, E. A. (Abingdon)|
|M'Callum, John M.||Pearson, W.H.M.(Suffolk, Eye)||Summerbell, T.|
|M'Crae, George||Pirie, Duncan V.||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|M'Hugh, Patrick A.||Power, Patrick Joseph||Thompson,J.W.H.(Somerset,E.|
|M'Kenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Price,C.E. (Edinburgh,Central)||Toulmin, George|
|M'Killop, W.||Radford, G. H.||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Maddison, Frederick||Rainy, A. Rolland||Ure, Alexander|
|Manfield, Harry (Northants)||Reddy, M.||Verney, F. W.|
|Markham, Arthur Basil||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)||Vivian, Henry|
|Marks, G.Croydon (Launceston||Richards, Thomas(W.Monm'th||Walsh, Stephen|
|Meehan, Patrick A.||Richards, T.F. (Wolverh'mpt'n||Ward,W.Dudley(Southampton|
|Menzies, Walter||Rickett, J. Compton||Waring, Walter|
|Montgomery, H. G.||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Mooney, J. J.||Robertson,SirG.Scott(Bradf'rd||Wedgwood, Josiah C.|
|Morrell, Philip||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)||White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)|
|Muldoon, John||Robinson, J.||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Murphy, John (Kerry, East)||Rowlands, J.||Whitehead, Rowland|
|Murphy, N. J. (Kilkenny, S.)||Russell, T. W.||Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)|
|Nicholls, George||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)||Wiles, Thomas|
|Nolan, Joseph||Scott,A. H. (Ashton-under-Lyne||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Shaw, Rt. Hon. T. (HawickB.)||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|O'Brien,Kendal(TipperaryMid.||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Silcock, Thomas Ball||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr.|
|O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Simon, John Allsebrook||Whiteley and Mr. J. A.|
|O'Doherty, Philip||Sinclair, Rt. Hon. John||Pease.|
|O'Donnell, C. J. (Walworth)||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
|O'Grady, J.||Stanley, Albert (Staffs., N.W.)|
moved after Subsection (4) to insert the words "but unless Parliament otherwise idetermines by the end of the year 1910, no county or borough shall be bound to continue to incur any expenses in the execution of this Act." He said that Subsection (4) which governed the whole Bill read as follows—
Hon. Members had already had it brought home to them that the object of the Bill was one that was not described in the measure itself. It was not denied, or at any rate it was accepted by the Lord Advocate, that the Bill was intended to be the foundation of a future Act for rating purposes. Either the rating Bill would be passed, or it would not; and he imagined that if the Lord Advocate did not succeed in passing a Bill for rating he would have no further use for this Bill. If, after a certain time, the Lord Advocate came to the conclusion not to bring in a Bill for rating purposes, or if, having brought it in, the Bill did not pass, then there could be no object in maintaining this Bill in existence. No doubt the Lord Advocate would in that case be very glad to free the authorities from the expense of carrying out the provisions of this Bill, and he hoped therefore that the right hon. Gentleman would accept his very reasonable Amendment."Until Parliament otherwise determines no person shall be liable to be taxed or rated in respect of the entry prescribed by this Act."
said it seemed to him that the language of this Amendment was in direct conflict with the decision of the House that there should be in each successive year a valuation roll. That, of course, involved incurring all necessary expenses, and he thought that the Amendment could not possibly be in order.
said that the clause which he was proposing to amend distinctly contemplated the Act not coming into force until after a certain future event—that was to say, the passing of a Rating Bill.
said he thought that the Lord Advocate was right. The right hon. Gentleman's contention was that, whether any Bill be at a future time brought in or not, yet for all time the Scottish authorities were to incur this expenditure. He thought the House had already decided that.
The Act contemplates the possibility of its not coming into operation till a certain further event.
I do not think the Bill contemplates that. What it says is that the Valuation Roll is to be made up until Parliament shall otherwise determine. The expenditure is to be incurred.
asked if he would be in order in moving his Amendment in the form—"unless Parliament otherwise determine by the end of 1910, this Act shall henceforth," and so on.
That would be a new clause and would require notice.
If the hon. Member wishes to make it a temporary Bill that must be done by a separate clause at the end of the Bill. The time for the insertion of that clause has gone by.
moved an Amendment to relieve a proprietor from being called upon by an assessor for a written statement of capital land value. Referring to the penalties for false return under the Bill, he said that when the thing they asked a man to do was easy such a provision might be proper. A man knew what annual value was, but to ask him to provide the capital value of unoccupied agricultural land was actually in some parts of the country to ask for something that did not exist. To demand that he should answer a conundrum which he believed to be insoluble, and punish him by fine or imprisonment if he did not answer, was unmeaning, unintelligent, and impossible of rational justification. If the Government thought this process of obtaining the capital value of cities was so easy and so simple that it could be done at the rate of 6d. per subject—he made a short calculation, and he found the Lord Advocate's estimate of the cost in these big towns worked out at less than 1s.—it was a great injustice to throw that elaborate return on private persons. Why should the official not do it and let the private individual object, if he thought it necessary, in the Courts and before the proper authority? At all events, let the private individual be relieved of the first burden of that new duty. Let the unfortunate proprietor be freed both from the cost which he would be compelled to undergo and the penalities to which he would have to submit, not only if he refused to answer that insoluble riddle, but if he gave an answer which in the opinion of the Courts happened to be wrong. Amendment proposed—
—(Mr. A. J. Balfour.) Question proposed, "That the word 'proprietor' be there inserted.""In page 2, line 11, after the first 'a,' to insert the word 'proprietor.'"
said the whole Scottish system began with the individual proprietor. He made a statement to the assessor and negotiated with the assessor. He could imagine very strong arguments proceeding from the right hon. Gentleman if it had been proposed to value a man's land behind his back or over his head by means of a public official. He would have said: "Why have you abandoned the ordinary Scottish system of asking the man who knows his own property?" The Government did not in the clause propose to ask for a statement of capital value from tenant or occupier. A very little negotiation and a few calculations between assessor and proprietor would settle the matter without lawyers or anybody else being employed. A man had usually a fair notion of the value of what belonged to him. With regard to the question of penalties, it was not so serious as the right hon. Gentleman made out. The seventh Clause of the Act of 1854, provided that a penalty of £20 should be imposed upon those who defied the law without any reasonable excuse and sent in no return at all. For a false return a penalty of £50 was imposed and quite rightly, but not in the ordinary case of valuation, because the language of the section which was adopted was that the falsehood must be to the knowledge of the person. He must "know the same to be false" before a fine could be inflicted. In short, the penalties need not frighten anybody. Neither expense nor any other reason could affect the fair and simple operation of the clause. In reference to the view that there might be a good deal of bustle and trouble imposed on the proprietor the first year on account of the limit of time, he had made a suggestion in regard to the next Amendment on the Paper which he thought reasonable, and that was to provide a period of six months before the proprietor had to put out his hand.
said that in view of the manner in which the Lord Advocate had dealt with the matter he would not put the House to the trouble of dividing. The right hon. and learned Gentleman having said that nobody need be afraid of any penalties unless they made a return which they knew to be false. Frankly, though he (Mr. Balfour) would not make a return which he knew to be false, he certainly might make a return which he shrewdly suspected was not true. He would be asked a question to which no veracious answer could be given by any human being—what was the value of a piece of agricultural land which was supposed to be in a condition in which it had never been and in that condition to be put up for a sale which no human being supposed was a possible operation. He had to put himself in the position of the willing seller of that which he did not possess, namely unoccupied or unimproved land, which he was supposed to sell to some imaginary buyer in an imaginary market. A question of that kind was not a question to which an answer could be given, and under such a form of torture a man could not actually know whether he was inserting the truth or not. He honestly trusted that those frank admissions would not bring trouble upon him and that he would not languish in gaol for them.
The hon. Gentleman may take comfort that he will not be tried by two removables. Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
moved to insert after the word "value" the words "or to call upon a proprietor to furnish such written statement within a shorter period than six calendar months." Amendment proposed—
Question proposed, "That those words by there inserted.""In page 2, line 12, after the word 'value' to insert the words or to call upon a proprietor to furnish such written statement within six calendar months.'"—(Mr. Staveley-Hill.)
said that the first year was the crucial year. With regard to succeeding years, he did not doubt that the powers of the Secretary for Scotland would be exercised if it was necessary to widen the period. He had such power. The Government were quite willing to accept the six months' if it would suit his hon. friends.
said the reason why he moved the Amendment was that the period of fourteen days mentioned in the principal Act was far too short a period for the first or any other year. Question put, and agreed to.
said the right hon. Gentleman had promised to give an explanation of the meaning of the words in page 2, line 22, from "roll" to the end of Subsection 1 which he (Mr. Cochrane) had an Amendment on the Paper to omit. The words in the Bill in the subsection of Clause 3 were, "'Valuation Acts' means the Lands Valuation (Scotland) Act, 1854, (in this Act referred to as the principal Act), and any Act (other than this Act) amending the same." The Lord Advocate had promised to clear the point up, and had said he would insert words on the Report stage to make the meaning clear. He understood that the Lord Advocate did not desire to alter the coming into force of the Valuation Act of 1854, for that would be obviously inconvenient, but he did desire to alter the coming into force of that particular Bill if it became an Act of Parliament. Amendment proposed—
—(Mr. Cochrane.) Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill.""In page 2, line 22, to leave out from the word 'roll' to end of Subsection 1 of clause 2."
said that on consideration by the drafting authority, it appeared to be clear that the references to the Valuation Act, though general and exclusive of that Bill, were safeguarded when they came to line 29 which declared that the Valuation Act was to apply for the purposes of that Act. Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
on behalf of the hon. and learned Member for Taunton, moved an Amendment which, he said, was to bring the clause within the ordinary principles of the law of rating. One of the elements of the law of rating was that rates should be paid in respect to occupancy. He wanted to know why it was they were going to lump together the various occupants of flats and tenements, and who was going to apportion the rateable value of each of those occupants. If there was to be any apportionment it should be under the Bill. Why was the law of rating to be different from that in London, where in the case of flats or tenements a separate assessment was made for the occupants? If no such assessment were made the occupant would have no right to appeal, for the only right to appeal existed through a person having his name on the rate book.
seconded. Amendment proposed—
—(Mr. Staveley-Hill.) Question proposed, "That these words be there inserted.""In page 2, line 42, at end, to add the words 'but the assessor shall in all cases as far as possible apportion the separate capital land value in respect of each occupancy, and, if he cannot do so, shall deliver to the valuation committee of each county, district, or burgh a de-detailed statement of the causes which have prevented him from so apportioning the capital land value in any case, and this statement shall be accessible to any proprietor or occupier of the lands and heritages affected thereby."
said he was not quite sure that the Amendment was in order in view of lines 11 and 12, which said "subject as hereinafter provided there shall be entered under the last named head the capital land value." He did not press that point, however. They conceived that the procedure the hon. Member proposed would be cumbrous. It would involve a detailed statement which would not be in consonance with the Scottish idea of rating. They preferred to let the valuation roll speak for itself.
said he did not think the right hon. Gentleman had given a very satisfactory explanation of the situation. He had come in late, otherwise he would have moved an Amendment in another part of the Paper. That was a question in which they had the difficulty of valuing the rating in tenements where the different storeys were occupied or owned by different people. The right hon. Gentleman wanted to leave to the assessor the power of placing the value against one of those owners or occupants, selecting which he pleased and placing the whole value against him. That rule was most unfair, for each person was entitled to have his proportion placed against his own name so that he could understand his liability and what rates he had to pay. It was a very difficult question, as no one knew better than the Lord Advocate himself, who, as usual, looked it straight in the face and passed on. The assessor would take the easiest way out of the difficulty and never attempt to proportion the value at all. That was a very unsatisfactory position and something should be done to remedy it. Question put, and negatived.
moved to leave out the words "by a willing seller." He said the Amendment was one which he thought his right hon. friend might well accept. The words which he proposed to leave out were not in the original Bill, but were put in on the motion of the hon. Member for Marylebone. The Bill said originally that the price was to be what the land might be expected to realise if sold in the open market, but the expression was put in—
He could not understand why his right hon. friend could not agree to those words being struck out, for they meant nothing, though if they did mean anything they would put a great power in the hands of the assessor. The assessor might say to the owner of the land: "You value this property at £1,000, I assess it at £1,500. You cannot say you are not a willing seller at £1,500.""If sold by a willing seller to a willing buyer."
seconded the Amendment. He said they were labouring under a disability in not having the Scottish Law Officers of the Crown to tell them what the meaning of the words was. The words were put in to save them from the assessor who might adopt some fictitious price. They had a case recently where £100,000 was given for an agricultural site under exceptional circumstances. Was the meaning of the clause in law that a willling seller was a person who was willing to sell his land without placing any fictitious value on it and who was willing to sell at the ordinary market price?
said a willing seller was a man who was willing to place his property in the open market. The object they had in accepting the words was to satisfy the hon. Member who moved that they should be inserted and who seemed to be anxious that they should go in. None of the members of the Committee saw any objection to them. Now they rather liked the words and he proposed to retain them. Amendment proposed—
—(Mr. John Henderson.) Question proposed "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill."In page 3, line 15, to leave out the words by a willing seller.'"
said he wished to move an Amendment which arose out of a discussion earlier in the evening as to the effect of the Bill on garden grounds attached to houses. After he and some of his friends had spoken the Solicitor - General gave his view of what the action of the Bill would be, and it was that view which he proposed to import into the clause. What he proposed to do was to insert after the word "valuations" in line 16, the words "for use in the way in which it is at present used if such use is reason able." The objection they had to the clause as it at present stood was that it would make it impossible to maintain gardens which were ordinarily attached to villa residences in the suburbs of our great towns, which were frequently attached to workmen's houses, and which they should desire to encourage rather than repress. The argument of the Solicitor-General was that the valuer would inquire whether the use to which the land was put was reasonable. Applying that test in nine cases out of ten or ninety-nine cases out of a hundred the valuer would say the use of the ground or garden ground attached to a villa or workman's house was not reasonable, and that it was to be valued at the rate a willing seller would take for it in the open market. The purchaser not being bound to retain it as garden ground would be willing to give a much larger sum for it than he possibly could do if it was to be used as a garden. He had taken the very words the Solicitor-General had used as to the meaning of the clause. They were not in the Bill as he read it. The Bill was in contradiction to what the Solicitor-General had said it was intended to mean. If the words were surplusage they were at least harmless surplusage. They carried out what the Solicitor-General said in explaining the intentions of the Government, and he hoped the Government would accept them. They applied not merely to the case of small gardens attached to villa residences or to workmen's cottages, but to other cases he had mentioned of land which had a building value, such as allotment gardens possibly within the limits of a borough, but certainly within an area where it would have a building value. He hoped that, as he had taken the words from the Solicitor-General, the Lord Advocate would accept the Amendment. Amendment proposed—
—(Mr. Austen Chamberlain.) Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted.""In page 3, line 16, after the word 'valuation' to insert the words 'for use in the way in which they are at present used if such use is reasonable."
said he hoped that in the observations he was about to make the right hon. Gentleman would not misunderstand him. He appreciated entirely the motives with which he had moved the Amendment, and he did not dissent from the view of the right hon. Gentleman as to the value of open spaces, whether large public parks or grounds attached to villas or workmen's houses. But that would all very properly arise on the question of rating. It need not arise on the question of valuation. The advantage of it arising on the question of rating was this. He could conceive an authority which had to assess values saying that it would not permit values to be depressed by reason of landowners withholding what were apparently "lungs" from a good municipal use, but, on the other hand, if the owner was reasonable in the matter of preserving public spaces the authority would assess on that lower value after making some arrangement for keeping the space open for public use.
said he could not accept the reply of the Lord Advocate as being at all satisfactory. He did not think that the right hon. Gentleman had altogether appreciated his point, or else he (Mr. Chamberlain) had failed to appreciate the right hon. Gentleman's objection. He understood that the object in the Bill was to ascertain the facts concerning land values with a view to making those facts the basis of a reform in local rating. It followed that what the right hon. Gentleman wanted to ascertain were the values on which he could rate. The value which the Lord Advocate was now interested in obtaining for these grounds was a value on which he did not even pretend it would be fair to rate as it would be as land fully built over. Then the Lord Advocate suggested that he could conceive when they came to the Rating Bill that it might approve itself to the House, or to the people who were drafting such a Bill, that after they had brought all land within the ambit of the local authority—whatever that phrase might mean—the local authority might be empowered to grant an abatement of charge in respect of land of this character if they were able to secure that the land should be permanently so used. That did not meet his (Mr. Chamberlain's) case at all. He did not think that the discretion ought to be left to the local authority in any case, but that it ought to be settled by the House of Commons. He wanted to meet the case of land which was going to be built over. He knew of a case where there was land which some day or other would have to be built over, and the owner of it would undoubtedly get a much larger revenue from it if it was built over to-morrow. Some day or other that man, or his heirs, would be forced to put that land in the market as building land, but he (Mr. Chamberlain) contended that the Government ought not to want to force him to put it in the market a day before his own circumstances obliged him to do so. The Government should, on the other hand, make it easy for him to keep the land as garden land, allotment land, or as land attached to houses for gardening purposes as long as he could. He could not think that the Lord Advocate's suggested remedy in any way met the point he was raising.
said that if the Lord Advocate was right in suggesting that questions of this kind should be left until the Rating Bill, there seemed to him to be no use at all in having a Valuation Bill. It had been suggested from that side of the House that as the Government only wanted to have a basis for assessment there would be no use in having an annual valuation. He was bound to point out to the right hon. Gentleman that there never was a subject on which it was more important that there should be some line laid down on which the assessors should go. As the Bill stood, it appeared to be entirely a question of what an individual man thought was likely to be fair. If the Solicitor-General was in earnest in saying that what the assessors would do would be to value the land for the purpose for which it was used then he was bound to express that intention in the Bill. This was a matter well worth discussing, and if the law officers refused to consider the proposal he was afraid it would be a case of taking the readiest way of getting out of the difficulty which met them. They assumed that the opinion they held now was going to be the opinion of those who carried out the Act, but the Opposition had a right to contest that, and to sap that the intention of the Government should be clearly expressed in the Bill. Question put. The House divided:—Ayes, 35; Noes 177. (Division List No. 446.)
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Courthope, G. Loyd||Law, Andrew Bonar (Dulwich)|
|Ashley, W. W.||Craig,Charles Curtis(Antrim,S.||Long,Rt.Hn.Walter (Dublin,S.|
|Balfour,RtHnA.J.(CityLond.)||Craik, Sir Henry||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry,N.)||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Roberts,S.(Sheffield,Ecclesall)|
|Beach,Hn.Michael HughHicks||Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Bowles, G. Stewart||Gibbs, G. A. (Bristol, West)||Sloan, Thomas Henry|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Gretton, John||Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staffsh.)|
|Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. H. M.||Hamilton, Marquess of||Thomson,W.Mitchell-(Lanark)|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Harris, Frederick Leverton||Younger, George|
|Cavendish, Rt. Hn. Victor C.W.||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.|
|Cecil, Lord John P. Joicey-||Hills, J. W.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Sir|
|Chamberlain,RtHn.J.A.(Wore.||Hunt, Rowland||Alexander Acland-Hood and|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Kennaway, Rt.Hn.Sir John H.||Mr. Forster.|
|Abraham, William (Cork, N.E.)||Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)||Lardner, James Carrige Rushe|
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Edwards, Clement (Denbigh)||Lewis, John Herbert|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Edwards, Enoch (Hanley)||Lundon, W.|
|Ambrose, Robert||Elibank, Master of||Lyell, Charles Henry|
|Asquith,Rt.Hn.HerbertHenry||Erskine, David C.||Mackarness, Frederic C.|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Essex, R. W.||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift|
|Barnard, E. B.||Everett, R. Lacey||Macpherson, J. T.|
|Barnes, G. N.||Farrell, James Patrick||MacVeigh,Charles (Donegal,E.)|
|Barry,Redmond J.(Tyrone,N.)||Fenwick, Charles||M'Callum, John M.|
|Benn,W(TowerHamlets,S.Geo||Ferguson, R. C. Munro||M'Crae, George|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Ffrench, Peter||M'Hugh, Patrick A.|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Field, William||M'Kean, John|
|Brace, William||Findlay, Alexander||M'Killop, W.|
|Branch, James||Gladstone,RtHn.Herbert||Menzies, Walter|
|Brodie, H. C.||John Glover, Thomas||Montgomery, H. G.|
|Brunner,J.F.L.(Lancs.,Leigh)||Goddard, Daniel Ford||Mooney, J. J.|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Gulland, John W.||Morrell, Philip|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius||Muldoon, John|
|Byles, William Pollard||Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B.||Murphy, John (Kerry, East)|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Halpin, J.||Murphy, N. J. (Kilkenny, S.)|
|Causton,Rt.Hn.RichardKnight||Hammond, John||Nicholls, George|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick||Harmsworth,Cecil B.(Worc'r)||Nolan, Joseph|
|Chance, Frederick William||Harmsworth,R.L.(Caithness-sh||Norton, Capt. Cecil William|
|Cheetham, John Frederick||Harvey,W.E.(Derbyshire,N.E..||O'Brien,Kendal(TipperaryMid)|
|Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Haworth, Arthur A.||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Hazel, Dr. A. E.||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Harmsworth,R.L.(Caithness-sh||Norton, Capt. Cecil William|
|Clynes, J. R.||Haworth, Arthur A.||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Hazel, Dr. A. E.||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)|
|Collins,Sir Wm.J(S.Pancras,W.||Healy, Timothy Michael||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Cooper, G. J.||Helme, Norval Watson||O'Doherty, Philip|
|Corbett,CH(Sussex,E.Grinst'd||Henry, Charles S.||O'Donnell, C. J. (Walworth)|
|Cowan, W. H.||Higham, John Sharp||O'Malley, William|
|Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Hobhouse, Charles E. H.||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Crooks, William||Hogan, Michael||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Crossley, William J.||Holt, Richard Durning||Paulton, James Mellor|
|Cullinan, J.||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Pearce,Robert (Staffs, Leek)|
|Curran, Peter Francis||Illingworth, Percy H.||Pearson,W.H.M. (Suffolk,Eye)|
|Delany, William||Johnson, John (Gateshead)||Pirie, Duncan V.|
|Devlin, Joseph||Johnson, W. (Nuneaton)||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.)||Jowett, F. W.||Price,C.E.(Edinburgh,Central)|
|Dickinson,W.H.(St.Pancras,N.||Joyce, Michael||Radford, G. H.|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Kekewich, Sir George||Rainy, A. Rolland|
|Duffy, William J.||Kennedy, Vincent Paul||Reddy, M.|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness||Lamont, Norman||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Redmond, William (Clare)||Simon, John Allsebrook||Walsh, Stephen|
|Richards,Thomas (W. Monmt'h||Sinclair, Rt. Hon. John||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Richards, T. F. (Wolverh'mpt'n||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)||Wedgwood, Josiah C.|
|Rickett, J. Compton||Stanley, Albert (Staffs., N.W.)||White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)|
|Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)||Stanley, Hn.A.Lyulph (Chesh.||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Robertson,SirG.Scott(Bradf'rd||Strachey, Sir Edward||Whitehead, Rowland|
|Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)||Strauss, E. A. (Abingdon)||Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)|
|Robinson, S.||Summerbell, T.||Wiles, Thomas|
|Rowlands, J.||Taylor, John W. (Durham)||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Russell, T. W.||Tennant,SirEdward (Salisbury)||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)||Toulmin, George|
|Scott,A.H.(Ashton-under-Lyne||Trevelyan, Charles Philips||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr.|
|Shaw, Rt. Hn. T. (Hawick B.)||Ure, Alexander||Whiteley and Mr. J. A.|
|Silcock, Thomas Ball||Vivian, Henry||Pease.|
moved to amend the definition clause, so that "capital land value" in reference to any lands and heritages should mean the sum which such lands and heritages might be expected to realise in the open market at the time of the valuation if—(1) divested of "all improvements in, under, or upon lands and heritages or treatment thereof, so as to equip them for occupation or use, without prejudice to the above generality,inter alia,buildings, erections or structures of whatever nature in, on, or under the soil, fixed or attached, machinery, reclamation, embanking, levelling, subsoiling, trenching, planting, clearing, cultivation, provision of water supply, drainage or sewerage, and formation of roads, footpaths, or fences." The Lord Advocate had already adopted some part of his definition of improvements. Now he proposed to put in the definition of improvements the value of which was to be excluded, the value of the land now put under drainage. This was a point of considerable importance. The object of the right hon. Gentleman he had stated was to facilitate rather than retard improvements. One of the greatest improvements was drainage when they were dealing with agricultural land, and so far the right hon. Gentleman had not included drainage. Now he put it in in a rather ambiguous form. What he desired to have was an assurance that the results of drainage should be considered when they wished to fix the selling price of prairie land. Then again, in his Amendment, he defined improvements generally. The right hon. Gentleman limited his improvements. He had promised to consider whether he would not leave out the words "structural improvements." As applied to improvements below ground that was a very inappropriate phrase. If the right hon. Gentleman meant he was going to divest land of all improvements why put in "structural"? The right hon. Gentleman had also these limiting words, "where such work has been executed not more than twenty years preceding." He would point out how undesirable it was if they really wished to improve land and to facilitate the process to put in limiting words of that kind. It was a premium on jerry building and putting up structures which would last only twenty years. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would be guided in this respect by the precedent which he and his friends had quoted or even by the case of New Zealand. Would he not adopt similar words to those in the New Zealand Act of 1900? They would meet the case. The New Zealand Act provided in regard to the improvements on land by the expenditure of capital or labour by any owner or occupier that they must be such as to increase the value of the land and be unexhausted at the time of valuation. That was so fair that he hoped he would persuade the right hon. Gentleman to adopt it. Amendment proposed to the Bill—
—(Mr. Cochrane.)—instead thereof. Question proposed, "That the words buildings, erections, or' stand part of the Bill.""In page 3, line 17, to leave out from the word 'of,' to the end of Subsection (1) of Clause 3, and insert the words 'all improvements in, under, or upon lands and heritages or treatment thereof, so as to equip them for occupation or use, without prejudice to the above generality,inter alia,buildings, erections, or structures of whatever nature in, on, or under the soil, fixed or attached machinery, reclamation, embanking, levelling, subsoiling, trenching, planting, clearing, cultivation, provision of water supply, drainage or sewerage, and formation of roads, footpaths, or fences,'"
said it was extremely difficult to put these things into a category. He had gone over Colonial legislation on the subject. The language his hon. friend had used was of a comprehensive and far-reaching description. At first, he was rather alarmed by it, but on further acquaintance he accepted not a little from him and he went a step further on Report. He had felt constrained to add in reference to a certain view of drainage put before him by hon. Members a reference to the work of drainage as well as reclamation. Now he would go the length of taking out the reference to twenty years. He was a good deal constrained to that course by an observation which had fallen from his hon. friend in the course of a speech with reference to the annual valuation in each successive year. He felt the pinch of the argument that they would have to reckon back two decades every year in order to appreciate the remanent value of the improvement. And so he made no bones about it, but would delete the words, "where such work has been executed not more than twenty years preceding" and insert words "that the benefit of the improvement must be unexhausted at the time of valuation." That was all the length he felt inclined to go with regard to "structural improvements"; the term had been the subject of a mass of judicial decisions. He wished to rope in the benefit of that, and not to have a fresh crop of litigation, and so he used the phrase. That was the only substantial difference between them. He objected to the use of general terms like "cultivation of the land," because the idea of going back in a long developing history of the land to some machinery of the time when there was no cultivation applied to the land would be altogether out of the question. He thought, however, that when they saw all those things they were impressed on their memories as instances in which the benefit was unexhausted. In regard to a good many other things, the functions were sometimes executed by public authorities, and the value of the land was increased by railways being made through the territory at the public expense. It would never do to say that the value of that was to be taken from land. That was one of the elements of site value that they wanted to get at. At the proper time, when they reached line 20, as part of the arrangement that had been made, he proposed to move on his own responsibility that words should be added relating to the twenty years term.
said the Lord Advocate had shown a desire to meet the views of his hon. friends in the views they had expressed. He rather disliked the long catalogue which they had, for human ingenuity was often liable to lapses, and it might turn out that there was something which had not been thought of which might turn up and make the provision invalid. The position seemed to him to be perfectly clear and simple and incapable of any misunderstanding. He realised that it was almost too late in the evening to go into it fully or for counsels of perfection, and as the Lord Advocate had endeavoured to meet the views of his hon. friend the discussion of that particular point need not go to any great length.
said that this point, and the case of valuation, were the two main points raised on the Bill, and the Lord Advocate had now gone a long way to meet the criticisms raised in Committee. The New Zealand Act was the best basis to work on. He did not like long categories, but he thought that what was now proposed would cover the case. They were anxious to secure that agricultural land should receive the same reductions as urban land, and that object, he thought, would be fairly well achieved. Under the clause as it was to be amended they would, he believed, get nearer to the truth than they would have done by the Bill before it was amended.
said that when they pointed out in Committee that there was one point on which the Select Committee was unanimous, that when they levied a rate they ought to exempt land reclaimed from the sea or from moss, the Lord Advocate promised to consider it. The question he now wanted to ask was whether such land was exempt by the words in the right hon. Gentleman's clause. The point which they raised in Committee was whether land which had been reclaimed was to be exempt or only the land where reclamation works existed on the land. Would that class of land become exempt as a result of those words? The right hon. Gentleman had promised to bring his faculties to bear before the Report stage and he wished to know whether he had considered the matter and whether those words covered the situation.
said he had considered the point. The work of reclamation might be taken to include reclaimed land.
asked leave to withdraw his Amendment. Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
moved an Amendment to exempt from rating improvements other than structural improvements, as for example, irrigation works, roads, and hedges. He reminded the House that the essence of the Bill was to take from the land the charge on improvements, and he could not see why all improvements should not be free from rating instead of only structural improvements. If they tool a concrete case he could make his meaning clear. If a man made a road over his land and increased the value of that land by that road, because the road was not building or erection or a structural improvement he would have to pay increased rates. It was an improvement, for if the road was made the land was more valuable, and yet if that Bill passed with the word "structural" in the clause the man who had made the road and improved his land by making that road would be forcing his own rates up. Then again the case was quoted earlier in the debate of irrigation works. If a man brought water to his land he largely improved the value of the land, and yet if that clause passed he would still be rated on the improvements he had made. Surely there was no reason at all and no ground in logic or fairness why structural improvements should be in a Better position than all other improvements. He thought the case on behalf of roads and irrigation works raised the case so clearly that he need say no more.
seconded. Amendment proposed—
—(Mr. Hills.) Question proposed, "That the word 'structural' stand part of the Bill.""In page 3, line 17, to leave out the word 'structural.'"
said he would not detain the House by repeating the arguments which he had already used in regard to the point that had been raised. If they took out the word "structural" they would get away from the clear legally defined position and get back to such terms as "cultivation" and that would involve them in many difficulties.
hoped that when they had explained their views to the Lord Advocate he would add considerably to the very short statement which he had given to the House. The right hon. Gentleman could never have treated the Amendment in the very brief way in which he had done if he had followed what was in the mind of the mover of the Amendment. The Lord Advocate declined to leave out the word "structural" because structural improvements were defined by a great number of judicial decisions. The Lord Advocate would have enlightened the House, and perhaps have enabled them to close the discussion, if he had told them what the effect of those legal decisions was. They were not all lawyers, and they were in grave doubt as to what would be the result of the clause if it were passed in the form in which the Lord Advocate asked them to accept it. He hoped in the absence of the Lord Advocate the Solicitor-General would answer his questions. Was farm accommodation made by the landowner or tenant a structural improvement, or was it not? Was a road, not a public road made by the public authority, but an accommodation road for the farm made by either the owner or occupier or their predecessors, a structural improvement? Were fences and hedges structural improvements? In the ordinary meaning of language, as used by laymen, he did not think a road or a hedge or a fence was a structural improvement, but were they structural improvements by legal decision? Were subsoil and drainage structural improvements? Lastly, he had an illustration which was frequently seen in the Down Country and the South of England. Were cemented ponds on the high ground to provide watering places for sheep structural improvements? To the lay mind it would appear that none of those were structural improvements but they were all very valuable improvements which they ought to encourage and not discourage. Were they included by legal decision in the definition of structural improvements? If they were not, he strongly suggested to the Lord Advocate that he should alter the wording of his clause so as to improve it. He did not for a moment suggest that the landowner should get the advantage of the improved value created by a public authority, but only of the improvements of that character made by himself. He would be quite satisfied if words were put in limiting the application of the Amendment to cases of that kind.
pointed out that the Act of 1895 said, "has made or acquired erections or structural improvements." He thought the House would agree that he had gone much further in his definition than that. In regard to the category of these things, he was partly led into making that long catalogue by an endeavour to follow the lead given by the Opposition. The decisions he had referred to had been given in regard to the exact language, "structural improvements," as used in the statute of 1895. There were, he thought, about a score of those decisions. He hoped the House would forgive him if he had not the details in his head, but he thought that most of the points which had been raised were covered. Reference had been made to the case of a pond. In the case of an ordinary pond, where the soil might be porous, and cement had to be used, there was no doubt in his mind that it would be a structural improvement on the land; but he did not think that a hedge would be considered a structural improvement. He hoped his hon. friends opposite would not think that when they had drawn up a catalogue there were not here and there little points which might be matters of distinction and difference. On the whole, however, a line must be drawn, and the line drawn here was one justified by suggestions made and by the lead given in the statute of 1895.
thought that there was some little misapprehension. He believed there was no substantial difference on this point between the Front Bench opposite and the Opposition. He understood the theory of the Government to be that what was to be rated was the unimproved land. That was the whole theory of the Bill. The Lord Advocate now told them that by unimproved land he did not mean land without hedges and roads. Land with roads—which sometimes were very costly—with hedges was still unimproved land in the language of the Government. He did not think the Government could mean that. If they did it would destroy the whole theoretical basis of the Bill, which meant the taxation of unimproved land. He suggested that the Lord Advocate gained nothing by introducing the word "structural." He had introduced it, on his own admission, because a good many important decisions had been given on what the word "structural" meant, and if they put in other words they would probably have to obtain a good many other expensive decisions. If they introduced the word "structural" then, by the admission of the Government themselves, the Government Bill ceased to carry out the Government policy. The Government policy was to tax what was unimproved; the Government Bill deliberately taxed what they themselves, admitted to be unimproved. He would have thought—though the Lord Advocate took another view—that a pond could not have been described, even in law, as a structure; but perhaps it was so if it had a clay or cement bottom. He earnestly suggested to the Government that they might meet the clearly reasonable view of his hon. friend and leave out the word "structural." He thought the matter was a very simple one and that they ought not to be divided in opinion about it.
said that certainly this matter appealed very strongly to him, and he was very anxious to part with the Bill in the spirit in which he had all through endeavoured to conduct it. He did not think that substantially there was anything between them in the matter, but he was afraid that the word "improvements" would introduce a very much more exhaustive catalogue of inquiries as to what had been done than would be useful. If, however, it would suit his hon. friends opposite that he should leave out the word "structural," he was quite prepared to do so, and he hoped that would partly meet their objection.
pointed out that there were one or two items like hedge, house, and ditch which were omitted under this arbitrary classification. What was really wanted was that the assessors should be able to allow for any improvement which was unexhausted at the time of the valuation. If they could get that and rating on the unimproved pastoral value, they would really have the whole thing in simple words. He dared say that in a roundabout way they had come to the same conclusion, but it could, in his opinion, have been more directly expressed. Amendments agreed to. Amendment proposed—
"In page 3, line 19, at end, to insert the words 'of drainage and.'"
Amendments agreed to."In page 3, to delete lines 21 and 22, and to insert the words 'where the benefit thereof is unexhausted at the time of valuation."
moved, in page 3, line 23, to leave out from the word "sold" to the word "building," in line 24, and to insert the words "subject to all public burdens and." He said that he rose with a certain amount of hope that his right hon. friend would consider this point which he had previously brought under his notice in Grand Committee. The hypothetical land values under the Bill would be of no use whatever for rating if the land was valued free from public burdens. Did anyone, he would like to know, ever hear of land being offered for sale free from public burdens? It was a perfectly absurd and ludicrous proposal. He was sure that if the Lord Advocate looked at the matter in a proper light he would see that if he was wanted to make his clause anything like perfect he should accept the Amendment.
seconded. Amendment proposed to the Bill—
—(Mr. Younger.) Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill.""In page 3, line 23, to leave out from the word 'sold,' to the word 'building,' in line 24, and insert the words 'subject to all public burdens and.'"
said that the Government, of course, could not accept the Amendment, but it was perfectly plain that they must get, to begin with, the unimproved value of land. All public burdens might be changed subsequent to this Bill's becoming law, and a new tax might be substituted for unimproved value. In any case they must get the unimproved value by itself before they reckoned the burdens against it. They wanted to get the thing settled before deduction began.
said he did not know that it was worth while putting the House to the trouble of dividing on this point. He thought the Lord Advocate must see that if the new column he hoped to add to the valuation roll of Scotland was based on the value he required there would be a totally fictitious idea given to the public of what the value of those lands was. Much as he deplored it he was not sure that it was possible for them to correct it in any way.
said the matter was really important and the Lord Advocate had let the cat out of the bag. He pointed out very truly what he (Mr. Younger) did not say himself, that he did not know what the new burden was to be. Nobody knew, and that was the difficulty. If it had been an existing burden he was going to value it would be easily done, but if it was to be instead 5s., 30s., 40s., or 50s., it was clearly difficult, and the Lord Advocate had very astutely provided against it. Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
moved, "in page 3, line 24, to leave out from the word "servitudes," to the end of Subsection 2. The provision contained a proposal to invest the assessor with duties of a judicial character which had not been demanded before—for which, as a general rule, he was by no means fit. The subsection made him both a judge and an interpreter of motive. These were hardly functions to entrust to an ordinary assessor. To take such a course might act very prejudicially to a lo