HC Deb 25 February 1847 vol 90 cc503-4

moved the Second Reading of this Bill, for better securing the levy of poor rates in Ireland. The principle he contended for was, that the rates payable by the landlord and by the tenant should be separate, and the landlord and tenant be separately liable for the payment of those rates. He should be willing to adopt any improvements that might be suggested in the clauses. His great object was, that the poor tenant might not be obliged to pay his landlord's rates as well as his own. For this purpose he proposed that if the rates due by the landlord were not paid, and means could not be found of levying them, those rates should be liable to be levied by application to the Court of Chancery, and a receiver-general put on the rents of the estate on which those rates were due. The Irish Tithe Act furnished a precedent for this, and the clause he had inserted was taken from that Act. He should propose to postpone the Committee till after the other Bills with respect to Ireland had passed.


entertained objections to this Bill, and especially to the last two or three clauses of it. Experience proved that separate rates would be more difficult to levy. One clause gave to the guardians the power of pronouncing who was poor and who was not. He thought that too great a latitude to be given by Parliament. Other steps were utterly uncalled for, such as putting a receiver on an estate because the rates were not paid. If rates had been in any case withheld by landlords, it was because their liability was disputed. By another clause the collector was made the judge of what he was to distrain, and was forbidden to sell articles belonging to poor occupiers, such as necessary implements, or pieces of furniture.


thought the sixth and seventh clauses would require full consideration before they were adopted. He did not understand the hon. Member to object to the earlier clauses, dividing the rate due by the landlord from that due by the occupier, and giving a remedy against the landlord for his portion. He thought that principle a sound one; whether any inconvenience would follow from its practical adoption would be better discussed in Committee.


thought that when the clauses came to be considered, very grave objections would be found against some of them. At present the ordinary remedy was against the occupier of the estate; but the Bill would make it necessary that a portion of the rate should be collected from the landlords. Many of them did not reside, and considerable difficulty would be found in getting at them.


could not omit this opportunity of recommending to the House extension beyond its present limits of the exemption of the poorer classes of occupiers from rating.


thought that two more important measures had never been introduced into that House than those of his hon. Friend, and he was glad that Ministers intended to undertake the preparation and introduction of Bills on the same subject. If such a measure as the first introduced by his hon. Friend, were made generally applicable to all parts of the United Kingdom, not only would it be a great relief to the occupiers of land, but it would very much supersede the necessity of the second. He hoped Ministers would direct their attention to a measure extending to the tenants of England as well as Ireland. He should be sorry if the opportunity were missed of securing a more permanent occupancy, and greater security for the outlay of capital, by tenant-farmers than now existed. By far the greater part of agricultural distress depended upon this very point, that want of security in their tenancy prevented occupying tenants from laying out as much money in employing labour as they otherwise would.


said, he would not insist on the clause to which the hon. and gallant Member opposite objected, if any better mode could be pointed out of exempting the poorer class.

Bill read a second time.