HC Deb 17 May 1865 vol 179 cc480-3

Order for Committee read.

Bill considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)

Clauses 1 to 3 agreed to.

Clause 4 (Interpretation Clause.)


thought that the House was entitled to an explanation of the provisions of the Bill.


said, that he had had no opportunity of giving the House an explanation of the provisions; but be fore the Bill was laid upon the table of the House he had sent a copy to each of the Irish Members, in order that they might have time to give it their consideration and thus facilitate its progress through the House. He had introduced this Bill in compliance with the pledge he had given when the measure of the hon. Member for Londonderry (Sir Frederick Heygate) was before the House. By the Bill it was proposed to levy a tax of 2s. upon each dog, with an additional charge of 6d. for registration. The anticipated expense of the working of the Act would be £1,000, and this would be defrayed by the proceeds of the tax, while the estimated balance of £49,000 would be given to the counties. The 6d. paid for registration would go to increase the remuneration of the sessions clerks, who in Ireland were but poorly paid.

Clause agreed to.

Clause 5 agreed to.

Clause 6 (Licence to keep Dogs, &c.)


desired to call the attention of the House to the fact that the Bill contemplated the imposition of a tax in the form of a licence, and that contrary to the usual practice the Bill had not been introduced in Committee of the Whole House, nor the clause relating to this licence been printed in italics. Under these circumstances, he wished to know if the House was competent to proceed with the discussion on the clause?


said, that the charge imposed by the Bill was merely a local charge; and it was not necessary in that case that the clause should have been first considered in Committee, or be printed in italics.


said, that if he understood the statement of the Chief Secretary the expenses incurred at the first working of the Bill would be borne by the public at large. It was only subsequently that the £49,000 would be given to the counties.


wished to explain, he wished to impress upon the House that everybody, or almost everybody, desired that there should be a tax upon dogs in Ireland. That tax had been made as low as possible, namely, 2s. on each dog. The hon. Baronet the Member for Londonderry (Sir Frederick Heygate) assumed the number of dogs in Ireland to be 1,500,000. He himself believed them to number about 2,000,000. He had, however, put them down at 500,000, and a tax of 2s. upon that number would give a revenue of £50,000. Out of that sum £1,000 would be directed towards defraying the expenses of the working of the Act, and the remaining £49,000 would be given to the counties.


wished to know what the counties were to do with the £49,000 if they got it? This was, in fact, a new tax imposed upon the counties, and he should not be at all surprised if that sum were eventually made a pretext for the withdrawal or the reduction by the Chancellor of the Exchequer of that small portion of the Consolidated Fund which those counties at present received.


said, that his statement with reference to the dogs was that there were 900,000 inhabited houses in Ireland, and that it was very probable that there was on the whole a dog to each house.


called the attention of the hon. Member for the King's County to the fact that by one of the clauses of the Bill the money raised by this tax was to be paid to the county or borough treasurer, as the case might be, and was to be applied in alleviation of the local rates.


said, that the clause referred to by the noble Lord would not admit the interpretation put upon it. The clause said that the expenses incurred by the Commissioners of Inland Revenue and the Registrar under the Act should be paid out of the proceeds of the sale of the licences. In other words, the money, in fact, went to the Board of Inland Revenue. If so experienced an Irish Member as the noble Lord could fall into such a mistake, it was evident that more information was required on the subject. Under all the circumstances he thought that at that late hour it would be better if Progress were reported. ["No, no!"] He should, therefore, move that the Chairman report Progress.


would ask the right hon. Baronet the Secretary of State for Ireland, whether the £49,000 was not to come at first into the possession of the Revenue? He desired to have an answer to the question, because it concerned the point which had been raised as to the form in which the Bill had been introduced; for, if the money was levied in the first instance by tax or by licence, and received by the Board of Inland Revenue, the subsequent destination of the money would not in any way take the measure out of the ordinary category of Taxing Bills.


apprehended that the money would not be dealt with in the manner which the right hon. Gentleman supposed. The petty sessions clerks who received the money would account for it to the Registrar, and the money would remain in Ireland and be accounted for in that country.


did not think that his question had been answered by the right hon. Baronet. Who was the Registrar to whom the right hon. Baronet referred?


said, that the Registrar lived in Dublin Castle.


Then he is really an officer of the Imperial Government?


was of opinion that this was nothing more nor less than an Inland Revenue Bill, and that the usual course, therefore, ought to have been pursued with regard to its introduction.


said, that the Bill did not appear to him to be a Taxing Bill in the proper sense of the word. The money raised under its provisions would neither be taken to the Exchequer nor carried to the public account. It was a mere local charge given to a certain officer in Dublin, and ultimately transferred to the counties.


saw no reason why the whole of the money should not go to the public revenue.


hoped that the House in its anxiety to destroy these dogs would not sanction an awkward precedent. With all due respect to the Chairman, he could not help thinking that the Bill was to all intents and purposes a Taxing Bill, and ought to be treated in the usual manner.


said, that the question which had been raised had already been decided by the Chairman, and the discussion ought, therefore, to be confined to the merits of the Bill.


said, that this Bill was an inversion of the principle of justice to Ireland. The tax on dogs in England was 12s. why should it be only 2s. in Ireland? If they wanted to get rid of these dogs, the higher the tax the more effective would be the measure.


said, that although the question was one of importance, the point could not be further discussed as it was now a quarter to Six o'clock.

House resumed.

Committee report Progress; to sit again To-morrow.