HC Deb 20 August 1860 vol 160 cc1626-8

Order for Committee read.

House in Committee.

(In the Committee.)


said, the mode in which highway rating was provided for in this Bill would render its operation unequal and unjust. He wished to introduce a clause to obviate this objection, and therefore suggested that the Bill should not be passed through Committee to-night, but that the Chairman should only report progress, and he would introduce the clause to-morrow.


acceded to the suggestion that progress should be reported at the end of the proceedings, in order to see whether the clause could be added in Committee on a future day.

Clauses 1 to 11 agreed to.

Clause 12 (For Relief of Occupiers of Coal Mines, &c., from Proportion of Rates).


objected to the clause altogether. It was no part of the Government Bill, and was forced upon the Government at two o'clock in the morning, when Members had left the House, be- lieving that there was nothing objectionable in the Bill. The clause proposed to afford a relief to the occupiers of coal mines from a proportion of the rates; but exemptions were already carried far enough, and he did not wish to see them carried further. In his borough the effect of the clause would be to reduce the rateable property from £108,000 to £69,000.


objected to the clause principally on account of the manner in which it had been introduced into the Bill. If coal mines were to be exempted, that question should be brought forward distinctly, and fairly discussed on its merits. This clause, however, was introduced at a late or rather early hour in the morning, and without notice. He should support his hon. Friend in resisting the clause.


said, it was quite true that the Bill, as originally introduced, did not contain this clause. It was brought forward in Committee without notice, and that was always an inconvenient mode of proceeding in cases where the burden of taxation was altered. He, and the promoter of the Bill, opposed the clause, but received very little support from the House. The clause was modified in the other House; and as the Bill was a Money Bill, it was when so altered, rejected by the Commons, and a new Bill was introduced. He thought it his duty to insert the clause in the Bill substantially as it came down from the other House; but, retaining the opinion he originally expressed against the clause, if the Committee divided he should vote against it.


said, that in the Pottery districts the highways were cut up by the carriage of coals, and if this exemption was allowed, the burden of the rates would fall more heavily on cottage property to the relief of the owners of the mines.


wished to say a few words in defence of the clause. Coal mines were in a different position from other mines, which, as a general rule, were not rated to the poor-rates at all. Generally speaking, coal mines were the only mines which, under the Act of Elizabeth, were liable to be rated for the poor. If market gardens were rated at one-fourth only, it was unfair that coal mines should be rated at their full value. Perhaps there ought to be no exceptions; but as long as there were exceptions, the owners and occupiers of coal mines had a right to claim that they should be rated not on the whole, but on one-fourth of the annual value.


said, that under the present system the exhaustible property of coal mines was taxed on the same principle as the inexhaustible value of land. If this taxation of coal mines was unjust, the exception of iron mines must be unjust. He was in favour of the clause. He knew cases in which the mouth of an iron mine was within 100 yards of that of a coal mine; the former was excepted, and the latter taxed. He should like to hear from the Secretary for the Home Department whether he thought the existing system of excepting an iron mine and taxing a coal mine was just.


thought the Committee ought to keep to the question before them, and not go into that of the exceptions granted in other cases.


remarked, that coal mines had always been charged. He should support the omission of the clause.


said, if mines were excepted, the owners of gas-works, brickworks, and other manufactories might claim the same exception.


said, that the case was so gross in his neighbourhood of the rating of coal, and the exemption of iron mines, that if this clause were omitted, he hoped its omission would lead to a readjustment of the system of taxation.

Clause negatived.

House resumed. Committee report Progress; to sit again To-morrow.