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Expiring Laws Continuance Bill

Volume 181: debated on Friday 23 August 1907

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Considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)

[MR. CALDWELL (Lanarkshire, Mid.) in the Chair.]

moved to omit the Poor Rate Exemption Act of 1840 from the schedule of Acts to be continued in force. He said that by an Act passed in the reign of Queen Elizabeth it was provided that the overseers of every parish shall raise by taxation of every inhabitant such sums as they think fit—"to set the poor to work, to relieve the poor not able to work, and to put out poor children to be apprentices," and the overseers were to raise it out of the same parish "according to the ability of the same.? This included ability from every source, surely the justest measure of what every inhabitant ought in fairness to he called on to pay. The Act passed in 1840, (3 and 4 Vict. c. 89) enacted that for the next ensuing year it should not be lawful to tax any inhabitant—"in respect of his ability derived from the profits of stock in trade or any other property? —with the exception of property of certain named kinds, as land, houses, tithes, coal mines and saleable underwoods. Thus personal property obtained an exemption which had been annually renewed to this day. He desired to call the attention of those who were to-day proposing revolutionary changes in local taxation such as were aimed at in the Scottish Valuation Bill, to this fact. Instead of proposing to revert the old and fair practice of rating according to "ability," they proposed to aggravate the existing inequality by assessing one, and only one, of the still liable kinds of property, viz., land, on its capital instead of on its annual value. He moved the omission of the Act of 1840, in order to call public attention—and especially the attention of struggling ratepayers—to the fact that a great mass of income in this country which under the Act of Elizabeth would be liable to pay rates to-day was only continued exempt by the renewing of the Act of 1840 at the end of each Parliamentary session. The true line for local taxation reformers to take was to urge return to the old and fairer plan under which "ability to pay, from whatever source the ability arose, was the measure of the contribution levied on every inhabitant. Amendment proposed. To omit from the Schedule, "The Poor Rate Exemption Act, 1840." —(Mr. Everett.) Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Schedule."

said that every Parliament and every Government had coincided with the view embodied in this legislation. The true relations between personal and real property were important, and they would come up in a short time for consideration. Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.


moved the omission of the Vaccination Act of 1898 from the Schedule. His reason for doing so was that this Act, having made a partial attempt to define what vaccination was, provided that only glycerinated calf lymph or such other lymph as was approved by the Local Government Board should be used for the purposes of vaccination. One would have thought that if vaccination was to be performed by medical men the lymph used should be that which in the doctor's opinion was best. That, however, was not the case. The Local Government Board had gone to Germany in order to find the lymph with which to vaccinate the calf, and there was some reason for believing had reintroduced into this country the germs of small-pox, a disease which but for their action might have been now extinct. There was also reason for believing that other impurities and poisons had been introduced into the human blood from the calf lymph—among others, the germ of cancer, which was undoubtedly due to the substitution of calf lymph for humanised lymph, the use of which had been advocated by medical men for ninety years. There had been an enormous increase of cancer since the Act of 1898 had come into force, and there had been an increase of deatl by over 5,000 a year. If the House now stopped the inclusion of this Act in this Bill they would put an end to. the greatest curse that existed at the present time. By its continuation they condemned every year thousands of children to fearful illnesses, and many to a lingering and painful death. He would be told that if the Act of 1898 was not renewed there would remain the Act of 1867, without mitigations contained in the Act of 1898, but this he did not mind. It was nine years since the 1898 Act was passed. The Act of 1867 was now obsolete, and no Government dare enforce it, so that the effect of not renewing the 1898 Act would practically be to abolish compulsory vaccination. He begged to move. Amendment proposed.

"In page 5 to leave out lines 47 and 48."
— (Mr. Lupton.) Question proposed, "That the wends. proposed to be left out stand part of the, Schedule."


said his answer to the hon. Member was that if he carried his Amendment certificates of exemption would be no longer possible, and as an anti-vaccinator he would be worse off. With regard to calf lymph he could only say that they were getting the best that could be obtained, and no con-consideration of economy would prevent them always getting the best. Amendment, by leave, withdrawn. Bill reported, without Amendment, read the third time, and passed.