Sir D. Norreys
asked whether the Government would have any objection to move for the appointment of a Select Committee to inquire into the operation of the Poor-law in Ireland, whether any steps have been taken by the Government to carry into effect a general revision of the valuations of Poor-law Unions in Ireland, and, if so, how soon the revision will be commenced? whether it he still the intention of the Government to appoint an Assistant Poor-law Commissioner for the superintendence of that revision? and whether it be still the determination of the Government that the valuation of property for the purpose of county assessments in Ireland (called the Griffiths valuation) shall be continued, notwithstanding the commencement of a general revision of valuation for the purpose of Poor Rate, or whether it be proposed by the Government to introduce any Measure for the consolidation of the several valuations, so that the County Rates, Poor Rates, and other Local Taxes may be levied on one uniform scale of valuation.
§ Sir James Graham
said, the Government, when they introduced so important a Measure as the Poor Law Amendment Bill at the close of the last Session, had no intention of moving for the appointment of such a Committee; but if the Irish 326 Members were of opinion that a Select Committee ought to be appointed on that subject, be would not oppose a Motion to appoint one. He apprehended that the hon. Baronet laboured under some misapprehension with regard to what had been stated by the Government on the subject of a new valuation. The Act of last Session did not render a general new valuation imperative, but in cases where it might be convenient to have particular new valuations in consequence of the existing valuations having been raised or reduced by local circumstances, then there was a power given to commence new valuations in those instances, and a general order had been issued laying down the principle on which those new valuations were to be conducted; and as the Act did not render it imperative to appoint an officer to carry out those valuations, the hon. Baronet would see that his second question was already answered. With regard to the third question of which he had given notice—namely, in reference to the survey called Griffiths's valuation, it was now nearly completed; but as it was intended for other purposes, and was not a valuation of the net annual value, it would not answer for the purposes of the Poor Rate, as a valuation for that purpose should be on the net annual value. In answer to a communication made to him, Mr. Griffiths stated that a new survey would be necessary for the purpose of a new valuation to meet the purposes of the Poor Rate, and that such re-survey would involve a considerable expenditure. The Government did not intend, therefore, to entail upon the country that additional expense.
Sir D. Norreys
would, on an early day, move for a Select Committee to inquire into the operation of the Poor Law in Ireland, unless the right hon. Baronet (Sir James Graham) took it in hand.