HC Deb 11 April 1867 vol 186 cc1479-80

said, he would beg to ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Whether in the case of a compound occupier who may have claimed to be rated under the provisions of the Representation of the People Bill, paid a rate, and been placed on the Register, it is intended that the composition shall be treated as continuing, or shall be considered to have ceased, as affecting the liability of the landlord to a future rate in the tenant's default, or in the event of a vacancy in the occupation; upon the former supposition, to ask upon what principle such tenant is required to pay the full rate, in apparent contradiction of the law which sanctions a reduced rate where there is a guarantee from the landlord; upon the latter supposition, to ask upon what principle the tenant is allowed to deduct from his rent the composition rate only, the landlord having been relieved from the guarantee on condition of which such composition rate was substituted for the full rate; and, whether it is not the fact that, in the one case a larger amount of rate would be payable on the tenement than the law now contemplates, and in the other the landlord would be relieved of part of the charge upon his property without being required to fulfil the conditions under which such relief is now allowed?


Sir, the Notice of the hon. Gentleman is rather peculiar. It partakes more of the character of a treatise than of a Question. It asks certainly in the first place for information; and I am bound, always in reply to these inquiries, to give the best information I can. But it then proceeds to two alternatives, then to the discussion of two principles, and finally to a very argumentative conclusion. Now I admire the condensed power of expression which has permitted the hon. Gentleman to lay his views before the House even in the comparatively short form in which it appears upon the Paper; but I have not that confidence in myself that I feel I could do justice to the Question in the space which the patience of the House would permit. The hon. Gentleman has opened up a question which may lead to an important debate, and one which awaits the consideration of the House at the present moment. As regards the information he requires, I would refer the hon. Gentleman to the 7th section of the clause I last put on the paper, with respect to compound-householders. All the information I have on that subject is contained in that 7th section. With regard to the alternative principles and conclusion, I will take the most convenient opportunity offered me to enter into the questions which the hon. Gentleman has opened.