HC Deb 14 February 1871 vol 204 cc274-5

, in moving for leave to introduce a Bill to exempt Charities and Hospitals from Local Rates, said, he did not wish to enact any new or to repeal any existing law, his only object being to re-enact a statute of the 43rd year of Queen Elizabeth, which had always been supposed to exempt charities, until one of its provisions had been set aside by the decision of a Court of Law about three years ago. According to that decision charities supported by voluntary contributions were liable to be assessed to the poor rate. Great difficulties had resulted from this decision; and not very long ago distraints were issued against a charitable institution of the kind referred to, and even beds on which sick and infirm persons were lying were seized for poor rates. He might mention that when the Irish Poor Law Act was passed a special clause was inserted in it, providing that charitable institutions supported by voluntary contributions should be exempted from rates. Some persons thought a great principle was involved in this matter, and that it would be unfair to the taxpayers if all the property in a parish were not rated. He had, therefore, made the present measure different from that of last year in this respect, that it be left to the vestry and overseers to determine whether a charitable institution should be rated or not. The hon. Gentleman concluded by moving for leave to bring in the Bill.

Motion agreed to.

Bill to exempt Charities and Hospitals from Local Rates, ordered to be brought in by Mr. MUNTZ, Viscount SANDON, and Mr. WHEELHOUSE.

Bill presented, and read the first time. [Bill 23.]