HC Deb 25 July 1866 vol 184 cc1453-5

Order for Committee read.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair."

Bill considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)

Clauses agreed to.


moved a new clause to the effect that Libraries and Museums established under the Acts named in the Bill be exempted from rates.

Clause (Libraries and Museums exempted from rates,)—(Mr. Cheetham,)brought up, and read the first time.


objected to the clause, as introducing a new principle.


said, that was not the case, for the words of the clause were taken from the existing Act.


hoped that the clause would not be pressed. The general question of exemption from rating required consideration; and that general question ought not to be embarrassed by the creation of another special exemption by exceptional legislation.


testified to the inconvenience which arose in Ireland from these special exemptions from rating.


trusted that the President of the Poor Law Board would be able next year to introduce a Bill dealing with the whole subject of the exemption of charitable institutions from rating; but he agreed that an exceptional clause like this was objectionable.


supported the clause, thinking that as these museums and libraries were themselves to be supported out of the rates, it would be a cumbrous proceeding to render them liable to payment of rates.


said, that the force of that argument was much weakened by the fact that the area of rating had lately been changed from the parish to the whole union, many parts of which might not share in the benefits of these institutions.


thought the objection valid; the effect of the exemption would be to throw a burden on other parts of the union besides that in which the museum or library existed. He thought it would be the best course to withdraw the clause.


thought that the Government would soon be obliged to take the whole question of rating into consideration with a view of settling the doubts as to the exemptions claimed by certain institutions. After the decision of the House of Lords in the Mersey Docks case it had become necessary to deal with the question as a whole. He should certainly vote against the proposed clause, because of the inconvenience of introducing another statutable exemption. He also thought that the class of property affected by the Bill had no very strong case for claiming exemption from rates.


said, he quite agreed that the whole subject of rating must immediately come under revision. He was, however, afraid that the effect of any general measure on the subject would be to extend the area of rating rather than to limit it; he was, therefore, desirous that the institutions in question should have the advantage of exemption before the enactment of any general measure, and he should, consequently, vote in favour of the clause.


said, he would remind the Committee that an attempt was made to introduce a clause of this sort into a Bill some years ago for the purpose of exempting fine art and certain other institutions from the payment of rates. On that occasion he (Mr. G. Hardy) felt it his duty to oppose the proposition, and it was ultimately rejected by the House. It appeared to him that there was still greater reason why the present clause should be rejected on the grounds stated by his right hon. Friend. It should be recollected that a great change had been recently made in the law, whereby, instead of parish rating, there was now established a union rating; and these institutions, however beneficial they might be to the particular parishes in which they were situated, were probably of little advantage to the union generally. Whatever was done upon the subject of rating ought, he thought, to be done by a general measure. Instead of wishing to increase the present list of special exemptions he was much more inclined to repeal them, and place the entire subject on a broader and more satisfactory basis. He hoped the House would not sanction the clause.


said, he was wholly opposed to the establishment of any additional exceptional legislation, at a time when the whole subject must be taken into the consideration of the Government.

Motion made, and Question put, "That the Clause be read a second time."

The Committee divided;—Ayes 10; Noes 54: Majority 44.

Bill reported; as amended, to be considered To-morrow, and to be printed. [Bill 241.]