§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."
§ MR. HARVEY LEWIS
said, he would not oppose the Bill, as it would go to a Select Committee; but he reminded the House that the question of metropolitan taxation had lately been brought before them by the right hon. Member for the City (Mr. Goschen), and it was generally admitted that it had reached its limits. Yet power was taken by this Bill to levy an additional tax of 3d. in the pound, and the machinery of the Bill was very expensive. Of course everybody was anxious to see the dwellings of the poor improved and rendered more comfortable; but whether that object ought to be accomplished by taxing the ratepayers to carry out the works of a building society was a question for the House to decide.
§ MR. POWELL
concurred with the hon. Gentleman opposite in the objections he had raised to certain provisions of the Bill, and added that, in addition to the points just pointed out, it was to be noticed that the Bill, while giving powers of purchase, did not give the seller the ordinary advantages of a forced sale; that property in a ruinous or dangerous state might be held by the lessee against the wish of the owner until the expiration of the lease; and that the Bill contained a provision subversive of the ordinary law affecting rights of property which forbids perpetuities, inasmuch as it proposed to enact that no plot of land acquired under its operation should be, for all time to come, built upon except with the consent of the local authority. He expressed a hope that the whole system of local legislation and taxation would speedily be taken into consideration—the necessity of such a course having been forcibly pointed out a few days ago in the House by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the City of London.
§ Motion agreed to.
§ Bill read a second time, and committed for Wednesday 1st April.