§ SIR MASSEY LOPES
, in rising to move the following Resolution:—That it is expedient to remedy the injustice of imposing Taxation for National objects on one description of property only, and therefore that no legislation with reference to Local Taxation will be satisfactory which does not provide, either in whole or in part, for the relief of occupiers and owners in counties and boroughs from charges imposed on ratepayers for the administration of justice, police, and lunatics, the expenditure for such purposes being almost entirely independent of local control,said, that in those days, when so many subjects, both social and political, engrossed the time and attention of the House of Commons, any Member who ventured to introduce, Session after Session, the same question for discussion, ought to have strong and cogent reasons for so exceptional a course; he therefore laboured under great disadvantages, and needed the generous indulgence of the House. He thought, however, the House would admit that the subject to which his Motion referred was not only of great importance to those immediately concerned, but to the community at large; that it not only excited a vast amount of interest, but also gave rise to grave dissatisfaction, both in and out of the House; that it deserved, and ought to receive, most careful consideration; that it was generally admitted that steps must be taken to remedy grievances so patent and palpable, and which by recent legislation had been so much increased and aggravated. The late as well as the present Government had admitted the necessity of inquiring into the incidence of local taxation—that the question was one of grave and pressing importance; and for two previous Sessions Her Majesty in Her Gracious Speech from the Throne had recommended the subject to the careful consideration of Parliament; but at the commencement of the present Session this subject had been altogether ignored. The Prime Minister on several occasions had recognized and admitted the urgent importance of the question, and on one occasion the Government themselves undertook to deal with it.
It was impossible to exaggerate the magnitude or gravity of the issues involved. The more he studied them, the more he was impressed with the feeling 1332 that it was presumptuous in any private Member to grapple with so difficult, so intricate, and so complicated a question, and the more he felt his incompetency to do justice to it; and he greatly feared lest so good and righteous a cause should lose any of the strength which it ought to possess by reason of his feeble attempts to expose the grievances existing, and to suggest a remedy for the injustice complained of. He desired to impress on hon. Members that this was no party or political question. It was a question of political economy, rather than of politics, and it was from that point of view that he wished the House to regard it. His object was not to embarrass a Government, but remedy an admitted grievance. Whatever Government was in office he should be equally strenuous in his advocacy of reform and re-adjustment of the present system. Of any personal matter he was anxious, as far as possible, to keep clear, for he understood that there was a prejudice attaching to his advocacy of the Motion, inasmuch as he himself was a landowner. He knew there was very little sympathy for a landowner in that House; but as he was interested not only in land, but in personal property, he ventured to assert that he brought forward this question not from interested motives, but from sincere conviction. But as owner of a poor estate, of a large quantity of poor uninclosed land, he could practically speak of the effect of the recent increase of burdens on that description of property—to what extent they tended to discourage improvements, and diminish the amount of labour and capital invested in agricultural and building enterprizes. The grievance complained of was essentially a ratepayers' grievance, alike entertained and shared in by owners and occupiers of real property—houses and land—that they and the property in which they were interested, paid an unfair proportion towards the national burdens, over which, at the same time, they exercised only a nominal control, and in which the whole community were interested equally with themselves. A mere proposal for the division of rates afforded no answer to that complaint. Division of rates existed in England and Scotland; but, according to the information which had reached him, complaints in these countries were as loud and as justifiable as under the inequitable adjustment 1333 of local taxation in England. As proof of his perfect consistency in this matter, and of his not being influenced by party considerations, he would refer to the fact that in 1868, when the Conservative Government were in office, he brought forward the following Resolution:—That, inasmuch as the Local Charges on Real Property have of late years much increased and are annually increasing, it is neither just nor politic that all these burdens should be levied exclusively from this description of property.On that occasion his hon. Friend the Member for North Hants (Mr. Sclater-Booth) replied, and, having ventilated the subject, he was guided by him in withdrawing the Motion. In the following year he moved for a Royal Commission—To inquire into the present amount, incidence, and effects of Local Taxation, with a view to a more equitable re-adjustment of these burdens.The present Government opposed the Motion, saying that Returns were in preparation; that they were occupying the attention of the Government; that the question was urgent, and must be dealt with speedily; that a Royal Commission would only tend to unnecessary delay; that the Government would be the Royal Commission, and would undertake all the inquiries necessary. On these grounds he was again induced to withdraw his Motion. In the following year, the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Goschen) then the President of the Poor Law Board moved that a Select Committee be appointed—To inquire and report whether it be expedient that the charges now imposed on the occupiers of rateable property, for various local purposes, should be divided between the owners and occupiers, and what changes in the constitution of the local bodies now administering rates should follow such division.That, however, did not touch the vital question at all. They were precluded from inquiry into the relations of local and Imperial expenditure. The evidence given before that Committee was very contradictory, and it became his duty to draw up a Report in opposition to that of the President of the Poor Law Board. The Report of the right hon. Gentleman, however, was carried simply by his own casting vote, and the concluding paragraph of that Report, to the effect—That the inquiry upon which the Committee had been engaged formed one branch only of the 1334 general question of local taxation, and that other considerations besides those which had been submitted for their investigation should be previously entertained, and taken into account in any general measure giving effect to the considerations stated in their Report,formed, perhaps, the best answer to the Amendment placed upon the Paper for that evening by the hon. Member for North Devon (Sir Thomas Acland). Last year he ventured to bring forward the subject again by way of Resolution, and moved—That, inasmuch as many of the existing and contemplated charges on the Local Rates are for National purposes, and that it is neither just nor politic that such charges should be levied exclusively from one description of property (viz., houses and land), this House is of opinion that it is the duty of the Government to inquire forthwith into the incidence of Imperial as well as Local Taxation, and take such steps as shall ensure that every description of property shall equitably contribute to all National burdens.But the Government moved "the Previous Question." In a very full House a division was taken, and the Motion for Inquiry was defeated by a majority of 46. But under what circumstances? The right hon. Gentleman then the President of the Poor Law Board (Mr. Goschen) told the House that he was ready to bring in Bills of such a character that they would "inaugurate by a comprehensive measure a new era of local taxation in this country. That was the plan and ambition of the Government." For his own part, he did not feel sanguine as to the success of the promised Resolution; but there could be no doubt that many hon. and right hon. Gentlemen were influenced in the votes which they then gave by these declarations on the part of the Government. A number of hon. and right hon. Gentlemen who voted against him on that occasion had since told him that they regretted having done so.
Later in the Session the promised Bills of the Government were introduced. These Bills were to be the remedy for all grievances; but they were received with universal dissatisfaction. Whatever might be the opinion of the House with respect to them, all would admit their obligations to the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Goschen), for the ability and the indefatigable industry he exhibited with regard to this question. He was, moreover, bound to say that the Bills proposed many improvements. To a certain 1335 extent they embodied the recommendations of the Committee. One vast improvement which they proposed was with reference to the consolidation, the collection, and the administration of rates, and another was the abolishing exemptions in the case of Government and other property. The House was also very much indebted to the right hon. Member for North Northamptonshire (Mr. Hunt), for the standard statistical boob on local taxation, one of the best books of the kind ever produced. He had been unable to find a mistake or an inaccuracy in that book, which brought order out of chaos and light out of darkness, and was the first attempt to clean out the Augæan stable of local finance. He was equally bound to admit that the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Goschen) had proposed a very substantial remedy. It was not forgotten that he proposed to give up the £1,200,000 produced by the house tax, and to hand it over to the local authorities. That was a great concession—the admission of a vast injustice; and they did not forget it, though they could not concur in the mode in which the right hon. Gentleman proposed to distribute that relief. The House would recollect that when the Bills were introduced, they were received with universal dissatisfaction in the House and in the country; and it was matter of complaint against the right hon. Gentleman, that those Bills were withdrawn without the House having had an opportunity of criticizing and discussing them. The right hon. Gentleman had no right to stifle criticism and discussion in that way. It was further ground of complaint that when the Bills were withdrawn, the Reports upon which they were founded were not withdrawn with them. As the Reports had been laid on the Table by the head of the Government Department, the obvious inference was, that the Reports were stamped with the authority of that Department; but that was not the case. The Reports had gone forth to the country with an authority to which they were not entitled; they had created a false impression, and deceived the public. Directly he read the Reports, he was quite positive they had never been produced by a Government Department; he ascertained that neither the Poor Law Board nor the Inland Revenue knew anything about 1336 them. The right hon. Gentleman was candid and confiding; at the end of the Report he found the following note:—I have great pleasure in expressing my acknowledgments of the valuable assistance which Mr. Robert Giffin has rendered me in the collection of the historical materials, and in the compilation of the various tables contained in Appendices A and C.The tables were not produced by any Government Department, but by Mr. Robert Giffin; and the question arose whether he was to be the substitute for a Royal Commission. That was the gentleman who had recently written, in a well-known periodical, an able article on taxes upon land, advocating the views of the Land and Labour League, and maintaining that land was not taxed enough. These facts explained the animus of the Reports, but not the fact that the right hon. Gentleman had adopted them. That the figures were fabulous and untrustworthy he was prepared to prove. What were the historical materials referred to? Was it the comparison of the amount of Imperial and local taxation levied in this and in foreign countries? That comparison, unless they knew what proportion real property bore to other description of properties in these countries, was not worth the paper it was written on. The particular information necessary to make these comparisons of any value was omitted. The right hon. Gentleman told him himself that his foreign statistics were incomplete and untrustworthy, and that was almost the only portion of the Report with which he (Sir Massey Lopes) agreed. What were the Appendices A and C furnished by Mr. Giffin? Appendix A contained all the tables in the Report, and occupied 130 pages; and the Report was the foundation of the Bills. The right hon. Gentleman must have drawn his conclusions solely from the tables; and he could hardly suppose that the right hon. Gentleman had carefully examined these cooked statistics, for he was too honest and straightforward to adopt them on examination.
§ MR. GOSCHEN
I examined everyone of those figures myself, and I am responsible for everyone of those figures in those Reports.
§ SIR MASSEY LOPES
said, that as the right hon. Gentleman assumed that responsibility, he would allude to them. The object of the Report was to prove— 1337 first, that personal property paid almost as much, taxation as real property; and, second, that the urban unions paid a vast deal more poor rates than did the rural unions. But what comparison did the right hon. Gentleman institute? Instead of a just comparison of direct Imperial taxation, paid respectively by real and personal property, we had one between the Imperial taxation paid by real property and Imperial taxation not paid by real property. There could not be a more crafty division than that. The right hon. Gentleman quietly took credit, in estimating Imperial taxation upon personal property, for the whole Customs, Excise, Post Office revenue, and assessed taxes, amounting to nearly £31,000,000. [MR. GOSCHEN: No; I do not do it at all.] These were taxes upon persons and not upon property; they were paid by the community at large, and the right hon. Gentleman had no right to take credit for them. What was the other inaccuracy in the Returns? The Returns were intended to prove that the pressure of the Poor Law was greater in urban than in rural unions—that urban unions paid 4s. in the pound, whilst rural unions paid only 2s. 9¼d. Directly he saw this statement he asked the hon. Member for Oldham (Mr. Hibbert) for an amended Return, and he then found, as he had suspected, that the right hon. Gentleman took credit for all the local improvements in towns—namely, water, paving, lighting sewerage, &c. In his Report he said these payments were not so much a burden as an investment; in rural parishes these same objects were provided by private resources; when these were eliminated, he found that while the urban unions were paying 1s. 7¼d., the rural unions were paying 1s. 5½d., so that the difference between them was 1¾d. in the pound. It was not fair that these statements should have been disseminated without the House having an opportunity of discussing them. He would refer to the only practical and valuable provision contained in the Government Bills—namely, the proposal to hand over the house duty, £1,200,000, to the local authorities. The right hon. Gentleman told the House that the Chancellor of the Exchequer had met him in a liberal spirit; but if the right hon. Gentleman volunteered this offer when he had a deficit, why had he not renewed 1338 it when he had a surplus of £3,000,000?
He did not propose to weary the House with many figures; but it was necessary for him to remind the House of the enormous amount raised annually by local taxation. In 1870 the right hon. Gentleman told us that the total amount raised in the United Kingdom was £30,000,000. In 1871, his Estimate for the same year was £36,000,000—namely, £30,000,000 for England and Wales, £3,000,000 for Scotland, and £3,000,000 for Ireland. Both these statements were based on the Returns for 1868. In the four years that had elapsed since 1868 the cost of Poor Law relief had increased £750,000; there had been an augmentation of the number of Local Boards; there had been outlay for fever hospitals, and education rates had been introduced; and he was prepared to prove that local taxation, instead of being £36,000,000, now exceeded £40,000,000. He would compare the amount respectively raised by Imperial and local taxation. The amount raised by Imperial taxation in this country in 1870—the last year for which they had statistics—was £68,000,000; and after deducting £27,000,000—the amount of the interest on the National Debt—there was a remanet of £41,000,000 raised by Imperial taxation, as against £40,000,000 raised by local taxation. The Imperial taxation was for the purposes of the Army, the Navy, the foreign service, and all the miscellaneous demands of a modern Government. How very careful were we as a nation in jealously guarding our Imperial taxation, but how entirely indifferent and apathetic about our local taxation! Our accounts of the former were clear and explicit, while with regard to the latter we were quite in the dark. Last Session it was his duty to show to the House how incorrect and inaccurate were the Returns made by the borough and county treasurers, and to point out upwards of 100 gross clerical errors in those Returns. The Government, it was true, ordered amended Returns to be made; but he still maintained that the Papers presented to Parliament were disgracefully inaccurate. Every item of Imperial taxation was carefully scanned in Committee of that House, while we were totally ignorant of questions of 1339 local taxation. The Chancellor of the Exchequer was responsible, and the fate of the Government often depended upon his Budget; but local taxation had no friend, and no one was responsible for it. He wished to know whether the President of the Local Government Board could not manage to give to the House an annual financial account of local taxation? If the right hon. Gentleman would only do that, it would be a great benefit to many hon. Members, and would enlighten them considerably upon what was at present a very dark question. Our attention would be called to the particular items of increase, and we might have some better chance, if not of obtaining some remissions, at all events of opposing fresh impositions. There was another distinction between Imperial and local taxation. Imperial taxation was levied from the gross income-ability of the whole country, while the local taxation was an exceptional and additional burden, for the most part, on one class of the community only—namely, ratepayers—though the benefits and advantages derived from that expenditure were not limited to that class, but were equally participated in by the community at large. Again, Imperial taxation was continually being reduced or remitted, while local taxation was constantly being increased by the imposition of fresh charges. He contended that local taxation was increasing in this country rapidly every year, and that in the same ratio our local control over it was decreasing. The Government boasted last year, just before the introduction of the Budget, that during the time they had been in office they had remitted something like £5,000,000 of Imperial taxation; but what portion of local taxation had been remitted? The remission of the £5,000,000 of Imperial taxation was a relief to the whole taxpaying community; but he contended that during the time in which the Imperial taxes had been remitted to that extent, the Government had imposed upon us £2,500,000 of local taxation by means of the education rate, cost of vaccination, and so forth; and this £2,500,000 had been added to the burden of ratepayers alone, who represented only one-seventh of the annual income of the country. We all remember what an outcry there was last year with reference to the increase of 2d. in the income 1340 tax. What sympathy or consideration was there for ratepayers when the Education Bill imposed a 6d. additional rate on rateable property only? The additional income tax had been remitted, but the education rate had become a rent-charge, a permanent income tax.
Up to this point he had been dealing with the local taxation of the United Kingdom; but his subsequent observations would be applicable only to the local taxation of England and Wales, not because the same injustice and anomalies were not equally patent and palpable in Scotland and Ireland, but because he was not so thoroughly conversant with the details as the representatives from those countries, and he felt confident that there were not wanting among them advocates for reform of the present system who would ventilate their specific grievances much more efficiently than he could. The total estimated income in England and Wales was £700,000,000; but this was a very low estimate, and he believed that in reality the amount was £800,000,000. The total amount of income assessed to income tax was about £340,000,000, and the total rateable value was about £100,000,000, or, according to the last estimate, £105,000,000. If these figures were correct, it was obvious that only one-seventh of the total income-ability of the country was paying towards our local obligations, and almost the whole of the £30,000,000—taking the right hon. Gentleman's own figures—was raised from the £100,000,000 of income from rateable property alone. In other words, one-seventh of the income-ability of this country discharged all these local obligations, while the rest was privileged and exempt; upwards of 85 per cent went scot free, and contributed scarcely anything to the relief of the poor, police, lunatics, and other national burdens—£6 out of £7 of aggregate income of the country escaped and evaded all local burdens. Again, in rates alone, this £100,000,000 of rateable property actually paid away its entire annual value in less than six years. He did not know whether he made himself understood; but this was the fact. He would now endeavour to classify these £30,000,000, and to divide it into what was really national, and what was really local. In round numbers, the sum of 1341 £12,000,000 of local taxation was raised for national, and £18,000,000 for local purposes. The £12,000,000 was levied directly by poor rate assessment. It was direct and compulsory, and for the benefit of the whole community; whereas the £18,000,000 was expended for the exclusive benefit of those who paid it—for the benefit of the locality; it was voluntary, not compulsory—and was consequently, as the Chancellor of the Exchequer had remarked, rather an investment than a burden. There was not the same hardship attached to it, and therefore was not the same claim upon the Imperial Exchequer.
He now wished to compare the amount raised by poor rate assessment for national purposes in 1860 with the amount raised in 1870, in order to show the enormous extent to which this charge alone had increased during the last 10 years. In 1860 it was £7,716,000, and in 1870, £11,574,000. In 1860 the sum raised for poor proper was £5,444,000, and in 1870 it was £7,644,000. Taking other purposes unconnected with the relief of the poor, it appeared that in 1860 the amount raised was £2,262,000, which had increased to £4,100,000 in 1870; so that the total increase in 10 years was £3,930,000, or 50 per cent; for relief of poor, £2,190,000, or 40 per cent; while the increase for other purposes totally unconnected with the relief of poor was 1,898,000, or 81 percent. Though he did not altogether admit that no portions of the poor rate ought to be an Imperial charge, especially those portions of it which had been recently imposed for humane purposes, nevertheless hon. Members ought to bear in mind that he did not argue this question in reference to the relief of the poor, with the exception of that portion paid from the poor rate for lunatics. He confined his observations to the other charges which were levied for purposes unconnected with the poor. Hon. Members, therefore, who argued that the relief of the poor was a legitimate burden on land, might stop there, and deny the policy or justice of imposing on that property the charges for other purposes, to which he would now draw their attention.
Deductingfrom£12,000,000—the total amount expended—£400,000, which the Consolidated Fund contributed towards some portion of our poor charges, the total amount raised by poor rate assessment 1342 was £11,600,000; deducting still further £7,600,000 actual expenditure for the relief of the poor, and £600,000 for charges partly connected and partly unconnected with the same object—for parochial officers and assessment committees—there remained no less than £4,000,000, and that sum, though raised by Poor Law assessment, was expended on matters entirely unconnected with the relief of the poor. What he desired to impress upon the House was the enormous increase that had occurred of late years in this class of expenditure. In 1834, when the present Poor Law was established, 36 years ago, the amount expended for county and other purposes was £692,000; in 1870 it had increased to £2,588,000, so that in the interval there had been an increase of no less than 374 per cent. But besides this enormous increase, a variety of fresh charges had been imposed upon them since 1834. In 1838 the cost of the registration of births, deaths, and marriages was imposed upon them, a charge which in 1870 amounted to £76,000. In the same way they had to pay £64,000 vaccination rate, imposed for the first time in 1841; £44,000 for constables' expenses, imposed in 1846; £70,000 for Parliamentary and municipal expenses, imposed for the first time in 1845; and £650,000 for Highway Boards, imposed in 1865. So that the £692,000 of 1834 had, by 1870, increased, in round numbers, to £3,500,000, an increase of 500 per cent. Since that time an education rate had still further been imposed upon them. During the discussion on that question it was stated that that rate would, on an average, be 6d. in the pound—a charge which would amount to an impost of about £2,500,000 on rateable property. At present it had not, he would admit, reached that figure; but they had it in prospect. Again, in 1853, the right hon. Gentleman opposite imposed upon them the payment of the Succession Duty, consoling them with the prospect of being able in 1860 to remove the income tax. Though he questioned the justice of exceptionably imposing any portion of the above expenditure on ratepayers, considering them all national objects, that the whole community ought to contribute towards them, yet he would now only deal with the questions more immediately connected with the Motion of which he had given 1343 Notice—namely, administration of justice, police, and lunatics; and here he desired to make his acknowledgments to the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War, for the liberal way in which he had dealt with rateable property in respect to the Militia. It was true that the amount—about £20,000 a-year—was not a large one; but they were grateful for small favours. The two primary necessities of a civilized country were, probably, protection of life and security of property, and it was to charges incurred for these objects that he wished to direct the attention of the House. He contended that the charges to which he referred were as fitting objects for Imperial taxation as even the Army or Navy, and that ratepayers might as justly and reasonably be called upon exclusively to pay the Alabama Claims as these unjust demands. Except for convenience of collection, there was no reason why these national objects should be charged upon ratepayers more than other classes of the community. All classes of ratepayers had a right to protest against these exceptional burdens.
Last year he had moved for an abstract of the Returns of treasurers' accounts in counties and boroughs; but those Returns were, he regretted to say, in counties, so incomplete and inaccurate that he was unable to make much use of them, and had had to obtain his figures and statistics from other sources. Some counties seemed to have no accounts for lunatics; others none for the police; and, as for the borough treasurers' Returns, he found that they had never been laid upon the Table of the House at all except for the last four years—the time during which this question had been in process of agitation. Under these circumstances, he had taken the trouble to obtain the figures he required from other sources. He found, however, that in 1870 the expenditure of counties in connection with the administration of justice amounted to £647,000, and of that amount the Government contributed £216,000. The boroughs expended £228,000, receiving from the Government £68,000; and £79,000 was paid to coroners, a charge towards which the Government contributed nothing. In other words, £954,000 was paid in 1870 out of the rates, the Treasury reimbursing them to the extent of £284,000. The chief sources of expenditure under 1344 the head of administration of justice were prisons, conveyance of prisoners, prosecutions and coroners. The heaviest item was the expenditure connected with the prisons; and the counties and boroughs contributed, in 1870, £667,000, the Government grant being £118,000; out of that sum no less than £107,000 being for convicted prisoners. The Government entirely declined to contribute anything towards the maintenance of prisoners before conviction. That he regarded as a most galling anomaly. The Act of 1867 placed the prisons of this country under the regulation of the Home Secretary, and the right hon. Gentleman obliged the prisons throughout the country to conform to all the regulations which he laid down. So arbitrary were these laws that the visiting justices had scarcely any administrative power beyond determining questions of salary with regard to a few of the warders. The Home Secretary or his Inspectors regulated the diet and and clothing of the prisoners. He approved all plans and alterations. Any deviation from the regulations laid down by the Home Secretary was attended with a threatened withdrawal of the Government grant for convicted prisoners, so that the magistrates had little, if any, control over the expenditure of the money, and the ratepayers by whom it was contributed had still less. They all knew that the expenses connected with the Judges of the land were defrayed by the country, and he did not see why the other charges for the administration of justice, which were entirely independent of local control, should not come from the same source. Why should one-seventh of the paying-ability of the country almost exclusively pay for the preservation of law and order? Why should that description of property which less than any other suffers from the depredations of the criminal class alone bear the cost of their repression? Personal property required more protection than land. It was move-able property which excited the cupidity of the criminal classes. Houses and land would not run away, and their owners were not alarmed about their safety, and yet the cost of protection was imposed upon the latter while the former were exempted. Surely the machinery of justice was carried on for the benefit of the whole country, and it was 1345 but fair that the whole country should be called upon to contribute towards the expense.
With regard to the police, from the Returns to which he had gone for information, it appeared that in 1870 the counties expended for police £760,000, receiving from the Government only £149,000; the boroughs expended £500,000, receiving from the Government £101,000; so that the total expended was £1,260,000, of which the Government contribution amounted to £250,000 only. There was a general impression that the Government contributed one-fourth towards the police expenditure, but it was a great mistake. The Government contributed one-fourth only towards the expenses of pay and clothing; but they gave nothing at all towards police-stations and the miscellaneous expenditure connected with the police. The actual grant given to the counties and boroughs by the Treasury amounted to one-fifth, and not to one-fourth. The county police were established subject to the option of the county authorities in 1856; but the county authorities had complied with the wish of Parliament, and had established the county police at the cost of doubling the county rates. In his own county the rates had been more than doubled in consequence. He had been told that the magistrates had some control over the police; but this was not so in fact—their control was merely nominal. They had power to appoint the chief constable; but when they had appointed him they had no power to remove him, and he could snap his fingers at the whole Bench. He was only amenable and responsible to the Home Secretary. Magistrates could not allocate a single policeman, they had no power to interfere. The magistrates had some slight control over the salaries; but the Home Secretary imposed a maximum and minimum of wages; the margin was very small, and as all wages had advanced, these had reached the maximum, and this power of control was gone. The actual controllers were the Government Inspectors, than whom there were no more arbitrary class of men. They had only to say the chief constable needed a larger staff, when the Home Office declared the Government grant should be stopped unless they were provided. Such a threat of course resulted in compliance, because 1346 the county could not do without the Government grant. But the police were now being used for Imperial purposes to a still greater extent than formerly; they were now required to distribute notices to reserve forces and to recruits, a novelty and a bad precedent; but if it were to be followed, there would be good ground for increasing the grant. Last year he had expressed an opinion that it would be better if the Government took the entire control of the police. He was of the same opinion now. If altogether under the Government, the police would be more efficient and would work more harmoniously. There was one case in which a county was bordered by 13 others, and in 13 different places their police met those of the neighbouring county. Surely this anomaly should be done away with. Besides this, there were a number of imperia in imperio. Every borough had its own police, who met the police of the county, and if there were but one controlling authority the force might be smaller and yet more efficient. Ireland was an instance of what could be done by centralization in the management of police. The force in Ireland was the most efficient of any in the world; and he wished to remind hon. Members from Ireland that the taxpayers of this country paid £900,000 a-year towards the support of the Irish police. Last year the late President of the Poor Law Board had asked him triumphantly, in reference to this proposal, what would become of Quarter Sessions and where would the status of the magistrates be if the control of the police were taken from them? But the Quarter Sessions existed long before 1857, and would survive the county police; and as for the position of the magistrates, it had not improved since they had been compelled to double the county rates in consequence of the charges for the police.
The last charge he purposed dealing with was that on account of lunatics, who were peculiar among other things, because they were under two central authorities—the Lunacy Commissioners and the Local Government Board. The expenditure on pauper lunatics having settlement was paid by the guardians out of the poor relief; but county lunatics, who had no settlement, were paid for by the county; while the whole of the expenses of asylums was provided 1347 out of the county rates. In 1870 the cost of buildings in counties amounted to £240,000, and the support of lunatics having no settlement, £50,000. The Poor Law Guardians contributed £723,000, making a total of £1,013,000. On account of this the county received no grant "whatever, and the charge was increasing. In 1860 the number of lunatics was 38,000, and the amount expended £420,000; in 1870 the numbers were 57,000, and the expense £723,000. The rate per head was £24 6s. in 1860, and £25 12s. in 1870; but the increase was shown most forcibly by the increase in proportion to population. The ratio in 1860 was 1.91 per 1,000, and in 1870 2.46. Altogether, there were 50,000 pauper lunatics subsisting on the rates—a number equal to 5 per cent of the whole of the paupers. The average weekly cost of lunatic paupers in asylums was 9s. 6d. per head, while that of an ordinary pauper in unions was about 3s. only. The Home Secretary was supposed to have statutory powers to oblige county and borough magistrates to build lunatic asylums; but he had read the Act of 1853 very carefully—the only Act which made it incumbent upon magistrates to erect lunatic asylums—and had failed to find the Home Secretary had any such power. How did he propose to compel magistrates to do this? He could not cause a mandamus to be issued, or the magistrates would plead prerogative and privilege, as the Treasury officials did. Magistrates were servants of the Crown, and a writ of mandamus would not lie against them. The threat was a mere brutum fulmen. Even if the right hon. Gentleman had such powers, he would be unwise to exercise them, as the backs of the ratepayers were up, and if he attempted to drive them they would kick. The local control exercised by the magistrates was really a mere farce. In 1862 there was an Act passed which actually gave the Home Secretary power to order the building of lunatic asylums at the suggestion of the visiting justices, without reference to the pleasure of the magistrates at Quarter Sessions. Where was the local control of the rating authority in that case? And why should the support of lunatics be thrown wholly upon the county rates? Lunacy was a dispensation of Providence, limited to no particular class. The possession of land 1348 and houses did not make lunatics; but he very much questioned whether personal property did not contribute an extra quota. Lunacy was a national calamity, and should be a national charge and responsibility. What was the opinion of the Prime Minister as expressed in the debate on disestablishment of the Irish Church? He recommended this object as being so truly national, of such general interest to all classes, persons, and property, as the most fitting object for the application of the surplus funds. Lunacy was the most terrible affliction to which humanity was subject; they all rejoiced that a more enlightened and humane treatment of that malady had been recognized and adopted of late years. Inmates of asylums enjoyed comforts and amusements which, if in happy possession of mens sana, they would never have experienced. Comforts and amusements had superseded manacles and strait-waistcoats. Madmen were no longer treated like brute beasts that had no understanding. Was there one Member of that House, one man or woman out of it, who would decline to give his quota towards the amelioration of that dreadful calamity? Why, in the name of justice, humanity, and common sense, was one description of property, one-seventh of the income-ability of the country, exclusively to discharge that national duty?
It must be clearly understood that his Motion did not fetter the judgment of the House with reference to the proportion of these charges—either in whole or in part—which should be transferred to the Consolidated Fund, but he would suggest a reasonable compromise. He proposed that the Consolidated Fund should bear the whole of the cost of the administration of justice, half the charge on account of police, and half the charge on account of lunatics. He would tell the House what sum that would amount to. If the whole charge of the administration of justice, half the cost of the police, and half the cost of lunatics, were transferred to the Imperial Exchequer, the figures would stand thus:—the charge for the administration of justice in England and Wales, including coroners, was £670,000, exclusive of any part paid by the Treasury. The charge for police in counties and boroughs was £1,260,000. Adding to that £736,000 for the metropolis, that gave a total of 1349 £1,996,000. One half of that would only amount to £998,000; but they must deduct from that the present grant—namely, £466,000; so that all he asked them to give beyond what was already given was £562,000. Then, the total cost of lunatics on the rates was£848,000, and half of that would be £424,000. The entire amount which he asked for these purposes—for the administration of justice, half the charge for police, and half the charge for lunatics—was in England and Wales £1,656,000. Of course, Scotland and Ireland were entitled to have the same measure meted out to them as England and Wales. It was difficult to ascertain the charge for these purposes in Scotland; but he reckoned that to give the same advantage to that country as he claimed for England, would entail a payment of £245,000; while in the case of Ireland, where the whole burden of the police was at present borne out of the Consolidated Fund, at a cost of £900,000 per annum, the payment would be only another £166,000. Therefore, the total of the grant that he would ask from the Consolidated Fund for England and Wales, Scotland, and Ireland, was precisely £2,037,000. It should be remembered that he was not asking for even the whole of that money, because of course the real property would have still to pay half the charges for police and for lunatics; and they would also have to contribute their quota to the Imperial taxation in respect of the grant. The amount he asked, in round figures, was £2,000,000. It was not only the land which was agitating in reference to that question, but it was also being taken up by the metropolis and the provincial towns, and they might depend upon it that now the torch had been lighted it would not be easily snuffed out. No matter what Government was in office it would be futile for them to attempt to shirk or shunt this question, on which public opinion had become awakened. Neither was it possible to evade the question by raising a false issue, or by moving a specious, nihil ad rem, but craftily-concocted, Amendment.
By affording some such relief as he indicated they would not at all interfere with the present mode of administration with reference to the police and lunatics. There would be the same local and Imperial supervision, the same local and 1350 Imperial responsibility, the same inducement to combine efficiency with economy. If the charges for the administration of justice were entirely transferred to the Government, the Government would very properly control the expenditure; but he was at a loss to know how they could exercise more control than they did at present. It might be said that if the Imperial Government acceded to his proposal there would be no security against wanton and reckless expenditure on the part of those local bodies. There was a good deal in that objection; but, inasmuch as he was asking, not for the whole, but only for one-half of those charges, the local bodies would still have the same inducement, as at present, to combine economy with efficiency. But there was another side to that argument. Did not the ratepayers want some protection against the wanton and reckless expenditure of the Central Government? Or, rather, did they not want some security against the arbitrary recommendations and requirements of that innumerable army of Inspectors and sub-Inspectors, who were prowling about the country seeking whom they might devour? He did not say anything against those gentlemen individually; but they all knew they must be fussy and active, and always doing or suggesting something. But if those charges were divided between the local bodies and the Central Government, the former would have some guarantee that the latter would not hastily or inconsiderately impose fresh burdens upon them. He was as great an advocate as any man in that House of local self-government, which he regarded as the essence of good government and the palladium of our liberties; and he believed that the calamities which had befallen France originated in undue centralization. But, he asked, what real control had the ratepayers over any portion of the expenditure to which he had referred? What fractional phantom of local control over the rates now existed, was exercised not by the ratepayers, but by the magistrates, who, after all, were only instruments of the Legislature, and were obliged to levy rates for matters which did not depend upon their judgment. The ratepayers really had no control whatever. He thought the adoption of County Financial Boards would be a most desirable improvement, 1351 was a sound constitutional principle that those who found the money should have some voice in its expenditure, and he was satisfied that if they once had County Financial Boards the Central Government would experience a vast deal more difficulty in imposing national charges upon the counties. One word as to the Amendment about to be proposed by the hon. Baronet opposite (Sir Thomas Acland). The hostility of his hon. Friend with reference to this subject was not new to him; it was his lot, as well as that of his hon. Friend, to have a severe contest at the last General Election in different divisions of the same county. His hon. Friend had stated that on this subject he (Sir Massey Lopes) was deceiving and imposing on the ratepayers, and had condemned the line of action he was pursuing as impolitic, visionary, and dangerous. He was surprised, however, to find the hon. Baronet, after taking a course so strongly antagonistic, now changing his front. He congratulated the hon. Baronet on the progress he had already made. The hon. Baronet was by no means the only man in that House or out of it who was coming round on that question. By his Amendment the hon. Baronet seemed to admit the propriety of his proposition, and professed to be in harmony with him in that respect. He should be sorry to say anything offensive respecting the hon. Baronet opposite, but this was a case in which he felt the force of the words, timeo Danaos; and, recollecting the part taken by the hon. Baronet in the House and out of the House, he did not hesitate to say that, though he fully appreciated the honesty and integrity which generally characterized his hon. Friend, yet, on this occasion, he was inclined to doubt his sympathy and question his sincerity. ["Oh, oh!"] He would be sorry to say anything really unpleasant towards the hon. Baronet; but he had often been rated by the hon. Baronet for exposing these grievances without attempting to propose any definite remedy. At all events, he had now endeavoured to meet his hon. Friend's view, and to propose something definite; but how had the hon. Baronet met his proposal, not by a direct, straightforward, and intelligible course, not by a direct negative, or by an ad rem Amendment, but by a proposal of a vague, plausible, and crafty 1352 character. He had told the hon. Baronet that if he would propose substantial Amendments he would support him. The object he had in view was definite, it was not obscure; while the object in view of the hon. Baronet seemed to be the same as that entertained by the Government of last Session in the moving of the Previous Question. Division of rates between owners and occupiers would not touch the vital, cardinal principle for which he contended, or in the slightest degree remedy the grievance of which he complained. The same property would be mulcted precisely to the same amount and extent. What benefit would accrue to the small freeholder, or small owner as well as occupier of a house, by the division of rates? He was told that if owners were rated they would take more interest, and that the administration would thereby be improved. He doubted it. So little discretion was given to the local authorities, the central power laid down such arbitrary and stringent regulations with reference even to the smallest details, that educated men did not care to act as mere machines, and become the mere tools of the Central Government. He thought he could see in the Amendment the work of a master hand even greater than that of the hon. Baronet. It bore the mark of a master mind, and he seemed to have had very able coadjutors. He was speaking the sentiments of many men in the House and many out of it, when he said that the conclusion drawn on seeing this would be that an enemy had done it, and he did not hesitate to say that it was an enemy in the garb of a friend.
He felt that he owed an apology to the House for trespassing so long on its attention; but he regarded this as a large question, and as one in which they were all interested. He now begged to recommend the moderate proposal he made to the attention of the House. It was something definite and something practicable, and more moderate than many in the House and out of the House thought to be right; but he deemed "half a loaf better than no bread." He was an advocate for reform, not revolution. He did not wish it to be thought that he was asking the House to rate personal property. That might be just and equitable, though he did not think it feasible; but he asked the Government to relieve one species of property from a 1353 portion of the burden which now unfairly pressed on it. No one could deny that the three objects to which he had referred were national objects, and ought to be national obligations. The whole community were interested in them, and, therefore, there was an equitable, moral, and religious obligation on the whole community to contribute towards them. To the State these charges distinctively belonged, by the State they were controlled, and to the State they ought, either in whole or part, to be transferred. When Parliament took away exclusive privileges from those interested in real property, it should also have relieved them from exceptional charges. He had been told on a former occasion by the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Goschen), that he had forgotten the enormous relief given by Sir Robert Peel in reference to criminal prosecutions. But what did that relief amount to? It only amounted to £75,000 a-year, and he defied any hon. Gentleman or right hon. Gentleman to show that any-further relief from local taxation had been given within the last 40 years. Not only had no further relief been given, but Session after Session fresh charges for fresh objects were imposed, mulcting one species of property for the benefit of all, and emptying the pockets of the ratepayers in order to diminish the drain on the Exchequer. The case he brought before the House was no sentimental and sensational grievance. It was real and substantial. He asked the House of Commons to do only what was just. He did not call upon it to be generous, and he did not now ask it to remedy, but only to mitigate and alleviate a grievance which was creating dissatisfaction, both in the towns and in the country, and which, if disregarded, would soon assume larger proportions, and make greater demands. He had great faith in the sense of justice which actuated the Members of the House of Commons, and he now asked them to sanction the Motion he had put on the Paper of the House, feeling confident that his proposal was not only based upon equality and equity, but founded upon what was only reasonable, politic, and just. The hon. Baronet concluded by moving his Resolution.
§ COLONEL AMCOTTS
, in seconding the Resolution, said, his hon. Friend made last year a most exhaustive speech on 1354 this subject, and the arguments he had brought forward to-night were no less conclusive than those he had adduced on the previous occasion. However great the impression made in that House by those arguments, the impression created outside the House was still greater, and the ratepayers connected with urban districts joined the ratepayers in the rural districts in objecting to the great injustice of the present system. The debate and the division of last year had not been without fruit; and, slight as the relief might be, they had seen the expense of the Militia barracks removed, and also the system of Treasury allowances, or rather disallowances, which had encumbered the counties of England for at least 22 years. His hon. Friend had alluded to lunatic asylums; and it certainly was unjust that the expense of them should be entirely thrown on the particular counties in which they were built. In this there was a grievous injustice and a repudiation of those obligations by which the nation was really bound. The Government, he maintained, were bound to support these establishments. The hon. Baronet had alluded to the police force, and dwelt on the necessity of maintaining the safety of life and the security of property. He had fondly imagined that the proportion of the charge under this head received from the Government amounted to one-fourth; but the hon. Baronet had shown that they received only one-fifth. Surely this was a very inadequate allowance. Besides, there were other sources of expense which would shortly throw additional burdens on counties. There was, for example, the Public Health Bill and the abolition of turnpikes. Most of these turnpike trusts dated 70 or 80 years back, and they were constituted in order to bring the extremities of the country nearer to London, and not for the convenience of the places through which they passed. It was not fair that the expense of the abolition of turnpikes should be thrown on parishes. The nation should contribute to their maintenance. It was objected that if they received further assistance from the Government for these purposes, they would lose local control over the funds. He should like to know how much local control now remained. If ever words expressed the shadow of a great name, they were "local control." Local control had 1355 become less and less, and centralization was becoming more and more centralized. Of the county rates no less than 80 per cent was no longer under the control of the magistrates, but entirely under the direction of the central authority. The hon. Baronet had alluded to the dissatisfaction prevailing among the ratepayers, owing to the unjust incidence of taxation, and he could answer for the county he had the honour to represent. He could assure the House the agitation of this question would never cease till a remedy had been found for the great grievance of which they so justly complained. He begged to second the Motion.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That it is expedient to remedy the injustice of imposing Taxation for National objects on one description of property only, and therefore that no legislation with reference to Local Taxation will be satisfactory which does not provide, either in whole or in part, for the relief of occupiers and owners in counties and boroughs from charges imposed on ratepayers for the administration of justice, police, and lunatics, the expenditure for such purposes being almost entirely independent of local control."—(Sir Massey Lopes.)
§ SIR THOMAS ACLAND
, in rising to move, as an Amendment—That, while it is desirable to relieve Ratepayers, in whole or in part, from payments for national purposes not under local control, and to abolish, as far as may be practicable, exemptions from liability to rates, it is important, with a view to the progress of legislation for sanitary and other local purposes, that rates for new objects, instead of falling directly on the occupiers of rateable property, should be distributed in England, as in Scotland and Ireland, equitably between the owners and the occupiers,said, he hoped to receive the indulgence of the House, for he was afraid he should be obliged to address them at some length. He had undertaken a task of considerable responsibility in venturing to meet his hon. Friend's Motion by a formal Amendment. He had the greatest respect for his hon. Friend—he knew his kindly nature and had experienced his courtesy on many occasions—he had received many indications of it even in reference to the Motion he had now brought before the House. The argument of his hon. Friend had lost nothing of its former force; he had a tolerably good stock of epithets, and that stock appeared to have been considerably enlarged. He congratulated the hon. and gallant Member who had seconded the Motion (Colonel Amcotts) 1356 on representing one of the most economically managed counties in England. The county rates in one part of Lincolnshire were only 3d., and in another part only 2d. in the pound, and wages being rather high the poor rate was, in all probability, tolerably low. He admitted that there were many Members on both sides of the House who were better qualified to deal with this subject than himself; but the subject was not new to him. When he was in Parliament, some 30 years ago, he paid some attention to the subject, under the guidance of the best farmers' friend England had ever seen, the late Philip Pusey, the Member for Berkshire, and the friend of the late Lord Spencer, and of Mr. Handley, a former Member for Lincolnshire; and he was honoured by having his name associated with that of Mr. Pusey in a Tenant Eight Bill, respecting which he would not say whence the opposition to it came, as he did not wish to introduce any angry controversy on this occasion. During the 18 years he was out of Parliament he was brought much in contact with tenant farmers, from whom he had received great kindness, and whose real wants he had carefully studied; but he had never forgotten that owners had rights as well as tenants, and on this occasion he confessed he was influenced in the course he recommended by jealousy of the honour of that class to which he belonged, and which he desired should not be placed in a false position. While very glad to see opposite many Members who had risen to eminence by means of their talents and foresight in the walks of commerce, he thought it also well that land should be represented in some degree on the Liberal side. It would be an evil day for that House if the owners of the two descriptions of property, landed and personal, should be ranged on opposite sides of the House by a hard line of severance. He thought that what was now going on among the labouring class should lead the House to perceive that it was not desirable that it should appear that Parliamentary life was designed to be a struggle to grasp the public funds. Labour was now asserting its claims both upon land and capital, and if the toiling millions should see that those classes were engaged in a scramble for a diminution of their several obligations by pressing on the taxation of the 1357 Empire, the result could not be to the advantage of either side. He was deeply convinced of a truth, which he could not express so well in his own words as in those contained in the preface to a re-publication by the Cobden Club of an American work—Mr. Wells on Local Taxation—The stability and permanence of free institutions in any nation are essentially dependent on the nature of local government, and it is not too much to say that the course of local government has been mainly directed by the character of local taxation.He appreciated the honesty of his hon. Friend's statement; he had never called him an impostor. He had done his best to expose the arguments of the hon. Baronet on the hustings, and he admitted that the hon. Baronet had given him a difficult task now. But, after all, his speech was only the old Protection cry over again in another form. He appreciated the earnestness, kindness, and courtesy of the hon. Baronet, who, on this occasion, had made a painful effort to do his duty to those who looked up to him on this question. Personally he would echo what had been said in the way of acknowledgment to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for North Northamptonshire (Mr. Hunt), who had educed order out of chaos by the invaluable statistics which he had compiled. If he had had any doubt as to whether it was not somebody's duty to move in this matter, such doubt would have been removed by the following memorable words by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire (Mr. Disraeli) in his recent speech in Manchester:—I think the time has come when it ought to be made clearly apparent to any Government that may exist in this country that no increase of the rates can be tolerated so long as the area of taxation from which these rates are drawn is limited as it is at present. If we cannot solve that most perplexing problem of increasing the area, we must leave the rates alone; but whatever the purpose, or whatever the amount, I am convinced that the wisest policy of the ratepayers of the country is to resist any increase of the rates, however slight and however plausible the pretext, until Government make up their minds to encounter a difficulty which may be most perplexing to any Member who comes forward with any proposal to increase them.When he read those words he trembled for the fate of the Public Health Bill. However, while a Chamber of Agriculture in the West of England was denouncing that Bill in solemn conclave, 1358 the Bill itself was being read a second time unopposed. He hoped it would not be thought that he was acting for the Government on this occasion. The hon. Baronet (Sir Massey Lopes) had stated that he thought he distinguished a master-hand in the drawing of the Amendment; but he begged to assure the House that he had had no communication with him at all. He would now proceed to the Motion and Amendment. He was glad that the Motion had not been met by Government by the Previous Question, and it was because he believed that it should be met by a direct Amendment that he had put the Amendment he was moving on the Paper. He conceived the difference between the Motion and the Amendment to be this—His hon. Friend's Motion was based on the assumption of an abstract principle of justice, and referred almost solely to property. It included also various assumptions as to the meaning of "national objects "and "local control" to which he (Sir Thomas Acland) could not give unqualified assent. He objected to abstract Resolutions involving so many entangling and ambiguous elements. The Amendment passed by the abstract question of justice; it admitted generally the expediency of relieving ratepayers where relief would not lead to greater evils, and of widening the area of local taxation as far as practicable; and it implied that progress in sanitary and other local legislation was an absolute necessity of the times, and it proposed the removing of obstacles to that progress. Before he dealt with arguments that had been urged both within and out of that House, he wished to put to the hon. Baronet and those who supported him a few questions, which were the key to what he had to say. Was it or was it not in a free country like this the duty of each local community, whether rural or urban, or partly the one and partly the other, to provide for its own wants, except such as could be more efficiently and economically supplied by the central power? He did not think the hon. Baronet would deny that; but still the whole course of his policy seemed to move in an opposite direction. Second, was not the rental value of land and buildings, and other real property, the best practical test of the obligation of the inhabitants to contribute to the local wants of the community? 1359 Apparently, the hon. Baronet thought otherwise. Third, was it or was it not desirable or practicable to assess personal income for local purposes? Anyone who had watched Chambers of Agriculture would know that they had changed their front on this question; and the hon. Baronet seemed to have entirely given up the theory of rating personal property, and had made up his mind to go on the Consolidated Fund. Fourth, if the assessment of personal property was neither desirable nor practicable, was it expedient to subsidize local resources from Imperial funds—not in order to make things more efficient—that was not the point—but in order to relieve real property, and to compel personal property to contribute to local purposes. He hoped that hon. Gentlemen who were in the habit of speaking at the meetings of the Chambers of Agriculture, and of enlarging on the monstrous injustice of one-seventh of the income of England bearing the whole of the local burdens, would favour the House with their views on these points. He believed that the Legislature had given up the attempt to assess personal property. The Chairman of the Chamber of Agriculture of Hexham, Mr. Dodds, had most emphatically expressed his opinion that the remedy for present inequalities was not to be found in rating personal property for local purposes, because the difficulties of equitable assessment were infinitely greater than they were in the case of real property. Agriculturists all over the country listened to all this declamation on the grievances of real property as if it were Gospel, and thought the good time was coming. He had no desire to introduce the bluster of the hustings into that House; but his hon. Friend knew he had been told that if he (Sir Thomas Acland) were turned out, and somebody else elected in his stead, the rates would be reduced from 2s. in the pound to 6d., so that the occupier of a farm of £200 a-year, paying £20 in rates, would have his rates reduced to £5. To this he (Sir Thomas Acland) replied by asking—"Who would get the £15?"—certainly, the landlord. Before the House came to the conclusion that the old English system of local obligations must be departed from as confessedly inadequate to our local needs, he wished the House 1360 to express its deliberate opinion whether the present distribution of local obligation between the owner, the capitalist, and the labourer, was what it ought to be. Such questions appeared to him to deserve a careful examination and a serious answer before jumping to the conclusion that property as such suffered some great injustice, or resorting, in despair of any reasonable solution, to what Sir Robert Peel called the coarse and vulgar expedient of a demand upon the Consolidated Fund. Such, however, appeared to be the programme of Conservative policy—an invitation to the owners of property to rally their dependents by the old watchwords, and to trust to the generosity of a future Parliament, elected by householders, to deal generously—as human nature was prone to do—with public money for local objects. The arguments of his hon. Friend and his supporters were the common stock of assumptions which passed current as infallible, to doubt which was heresy. He assumed that the whole of the local charges were placed on one description of property—that they were heavy in absolute amount, and that they were rapidly increasing. Such broad and general statements were, no doubt, well calculated to make an impression on the public mind. To support these assumptions his hon. Friend had adduced the old rhetorical arguments, though on this occasion he had brought forward some new statistics. His hon. Friend had again told the House that the estimated income in England and Wales was £800,000,000; that the total amount of income assessed to income tax was about £340,000,000; and that the total rateable value of the real property in the country was £100,000,000. Mr. Henry Genge Andrews, a very able man, and one of the chief promoters of the agitation on this question, had said that local taxation was a tax of 16 per cent on the real property of the country—that was, £16,000,000 taxes on £100,000,000 income, or, in other words, 3s. 4d. in the pound. His hon. Friend (Sir Massey Lopes) had asserted that £40,000,000 was annually raised on real property; but how did he arrive at that amount? First of all, the sum of £16,000,000 was raised by rates and direct taxation. Then tolls, &c., amounted to £4,500,000; 4 per cent was raised by sales or rents of property; £1,250,000 1361 was raised by Government subventions; and £5,500,000 was raised by loans. Was it not manifest that a considerable part of those sums was raised on the commerce of the country, and that only a very small part was raised on land as distinguished from houses? His hon. Friend certainly ought to be more careful.
§ SIR MASSEY LOPES
I said that £30,000,000 was raised by local taxation in England and Wales, and that £6,000,000 was raised in addition to this—namely, £3,000,000 in Ireland, and £3,000,000 in Scotland, making a total of £36,000,000. These are the figures of the right hon. Gentleman the late President of the Poor Law Board (Mr. Goschen). I was strictly accurate in what I said, and I am prepared to substantiate my statement.
§ SIR THOMAS ACLAND
said, the right hon. Gentleman's (Mr. Goschen's figures related to local expenditure, not to local taxation; and included many expenses for direct local benefits. His hon. Friend had stated that the exemptions of personal property to which owners of real property were subjected were monstrous, intolerable, and incredible. Such statements appeared to rest on slender foundations, to be liable to convey most erroneous impressions, and all were grossly inflated in their tone, and did great mischief by diverting attention from the true sources of economy. It had been said a strong feeling was rising in the towns on this point; but he had not seen much of it. This was represented as an agricultural grievance, and as it was well to place oneself on the same ground with those with whom they were at issue, he proposed to deal with it from an agricultural point of view. The real apprehensions, then, which those who were interested in this line of argument felt was, that precedents were being now created which would seriously affect their pockets, and that the land would be further charged with the turnpike roads, education, and sanitary reform—which last alone was estimated at £2,000,000 yearly. He would say a word or two in reference to the education rate being a charge upon the tenant. He himself the year before last framed an Amendment, though he did not place it upon the Table, with the view of having it enacted that the rate should be divided between the landlord and the tenant; 1362 but there was an earnest appeal made to him by the right hon. Gentleman who had charge of the Education Bill (Mr. W. E. Forster) not to start the question, because to do so would be likely, by the opposition which it would create on the other side, to endanger the Bill. It was no fault of his, therefore, that the payment of the rate was laid upon the tenant farmer—it was, in his opinion, a burning shame that the rate should be so imposed. Last year the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Goschen) said he would point out in connection with this question the grievance of the towns. He (Sir Thomas Acland) now proposed to bring out the actual grievance under which the country suffered. Some valuable statistics had been published by Mr. Palgrave and Mr. Purdy, and he regretted to hear his hon. Friend cast doubt on the labours of so excellent a public servant as Mr. Purdy.
§ SIR MASSEY LOPES
said, that he never threw any discredit upon Mr. Purdy's figures, but said that the Poor Law Board statistics were the best so far as he knew.
§ SIR THOMAS ACLAND
said, it was a common fallacy to suppose that land alone constituted real property; but he should endeavour to show that this was far from being the case. The lands in this country amounted in value to £47,000,000, whilst houses and messages of various kinds were valued at £68,000,000, amounting together to £116,000,000. Railways were assessed at £15,000,000—and it should be borne in mind that railways helped the country in the matter of assessment far more than they did the towns—then there came mines, gas and water works, quarries, amounting, with railways, to £29,000,000. Land proper, as he had said, amounted to a value of only £47,000,000. It was true that there was a burden of £12,000,000 placed upon real property in respect of the maintenance of the poor and of lunatics, and for the administration of justice; but what was the share of this that was borne by land in the proper sense of the word? He believed that the amount was rather more than a third of the whole; but perhaps the amount might be between £5,000,000 and £6,000,000. This was the real burden which the landowners carried for the good of their fellow-countrymen—not £40,000,000, as his hon. Friend led 1363 them to believe. He would not stop to discuss the question whether landowners had a bad or a good bargain, further than to say that, upon the whole, he believed that they had a very good one. Then, let the House look at the growth which had taken place in reference to these different kinds of property. In 1815 the land of the country reached £36,000,000; and the value of the real property other than land was £17,000,000. Since that time—in 50 years—the value of land had risen from £36,000,000 to £46,000,000, or at the rate of 27 per cent; whilst other real property had risen from £17,000,000 to £84,000,000, or at the rate of 392 per cent. Therefore, the proportion of local taxation borne by land was enormously decreased. Population had risen in England and Wales, according to Mr. Purdy, from 11,000,000 to 21,000,000, or 96 per cent; whilst real property had risen from £53,000,000 to £145,000,000, or 171 per cent. It might be taken, therefore, that the landed interest of the country was about £50,000,000 in lettable value—to coin a word—which would produce £5,000,000 by means of a 2s. rate, and £6,250,000 by means of a half-crown rate. He thought it was much too hastily assumed that this system of assessing upon the lettable value was an unsound one; because the important distinction between houses and land was overlooked. It should be borne in mind that there were high authorities in favour of taxing a man upon the value of the house which he inhabits, and so strongly was it felt that the system of taxing personal property in general in America led to fraud and great inconvenience, that they were inclined to come round to our system. Mr. Stuart Mill was strongly in favour of a house tax, and said that—No part of a person's expenditure was a better criterion of a man's means or bore most nearly a proportion to them;and that—If what a man pays in house-rent is a test of anything, it is a test—not of what he possesses—but of what he thinks he can afford to spend.He would now refer to the growth of population in considerable towns. Upon this there were some figures supplied by Mr. Edmund James Smith, one of the ablest of land agents. He said that in 1801, towns of 10,000 inhabitants and upwards contained a population 1364 of 3,500,000, whilst in 1871 the number had risen to 13,000,000, so that it had increased at the rate of 20 per cent every 10 years. In the same period the population in the country proper had risen from 5,250,000 to 10,000,000, so that the local burdens connected with town population were increasing much more rapidly than those in rural places. Speaking as a landowner, he must say that he feared that the advocates of the present Motion were doing their best to bring about a very bad bargain for those who held land. There was much more pauperism in the metropolis and other large towns than there was in the country places, and it was much more manageable in the country than in the towns. Notwithstanding this, however, they proposed to place the pauperism in the towns upon the backs of the landlords, through the income tax and Imperial taxation—a course to which he should himself very much object. The next statement to which he would refer was, that the actual burden upon land in country parishes was very heavy; but he thought that it was much less than was supposed. He moved in a former Session for Returns as to Devon, Leicester, Norfolk, Northumberland, Sussex, and Worcester, thereby giving offence to Gentlemen representing some of those counties who took a great interest in this question, though he selected them not so much on that account, as from a wish to take different parts of the country. Drawing a line from Hull, and proceeding a little west of Oxford, to South Devon, it would be found that, with the exception of the metropolis and Norwich, there were no considerable manufactures on the east of that line, and that, save as to one or two localities with an excess of pauperism which he could not quite explain, the burden was not so great as was supposed. In these six counties there were 100 unions and 2,700 parishes. Of these parishes 830 paid for poor, county, and highway rates a sum not exceeding 2s. in the pound; 878 a sum between 2s. and 2s. 6d.; 470 not exceeding 3s. in the pound; and those that paid more than 3s. were 521. Of this latter number no less than 142 were in his own county of Devon, and 200 were in Sussex. In Leicester there were 42 such parishes; in Norfolk, 72; in Northumberland, 17; and in Worcester, 48; so that in the 1365 majority of rural parishes the rates did not exceed 2s. 6d. in the pound. Notwithstanding these facts, it was said that the rural parishes were crushed down by local taxation—a statement which he did not think could be in any way supported. He would now refer to the county rate, and to the increase which it was said had taken place in rates; and in doing this he would state the alteration which had taken place in the period running from 1857 to 1870. In Devonshire the rate had increased from 3¼d. to 3½d.; in Leicester, from 2½d. to 4d.; in Norfolk the alteration was from 31\1⅙d. to 33\16d.; Northumberland, 3d. to 4¼d.; Sussex, 4¾d. to 6⅝d.; and in Worcester, 5⅝d. to 5⅜d. He thought that this showed that there was not so rapidly an increasing burden as had been supposed. No doubt there was a grievance. He would show on whom this grievance really pressed. In the same six counties to which he had referred there were a number of parishes that in 1852 paid 6d. or less in the pound for the relief of the poor, and which had since been raised to the level of the union rating prevailing in the towns in their districts. But what were the sizes of these parishes? There were 441 of them altogether, and of these 392 had a population of under 200; and many of them had formerly paid nothing at all towards the pauperism of the district, they being, in fact, "close" parishes. There were 434 parishes whose population was under 500, and there were only seven which had a population exceeding that number. It was manifest that in these instances the grievance was this—that the tenant-farmers had had their rates raised perhaps 100 per cent and more. He would ask whether any of them had got the increase back from their landlords? In some parishes, on the other hand, the rates had decreased; and though such decrease had been described as apparent only, and as resulting from the improved system of valuation now in operation, it was obvious that the value of land, thanks to liberal landlords and enterprising tenants, had risen enormously, to say nothing of the increase consequent on the erection of additional houses. The large amount of the highway rates accounted, in some cases, for the alleged increase that had occurred in local taxation, and he trusted that the Government 1366 intended to grapple with this question when they came to deal with the whole subject. It would be but fair if these rates were spread equally over the country and the small towns, and if the latter were made to contribute to the expense of repairing the roads which their inhabitants used in return for the large expenditure the country had to make for the support of their paupers. He saw no reason why local license duties should not be allowed to be imposed by the local authorities upon those who kept carriages and horses, such duties being substituted for turnpike tolls. One great objection to local taxation was its inelasticity. He did not see why a tax similar to the centime addition in France, of a halfpenny or a penny, should not be attached for local purposes to the Chancellor of the Exchequer's license duty. The Union Charge-ability Act was one of the main causes of the alleged increase of local taxation that had arisen in particular parishes, the rates on which, in many cases, had doubled within the past few years. This rise in the rate of local taxation was most acutely felt by the tenant-farmers, upon whom the additional taxation fell so as to operate practically as an increase in their rent. The charge for the police had fallen wholly on the tenants; whereas the county rate used to be 2d. in the pound, it was now in most instances 4d., and in some places it was as high as 6d. in the pound; and he really thought that in the protection of their stock and game the country gentlemen received considerable benefit from that force. There were, however, a great many people who objected to the police being employed as assistant-gamekeepers, and the question whether they ought to be so employed would probably be raised some day in a very unpleasant way. With regard to lunatics, it was undoubted that there had been a very large increase in their numbers of late years. On the 1st of July, 1862, there were 19,500 lunatics, but that number had increased to 30,250 in 1871; while the cost of their maintenance had risen in the same period from £482,000 to £746,000, and the average rate had increased from 1¼d. to 1¾d. in the pound. The ordinary charge for a pauper lunatic was £10; but if he was in an asylum it amounted to £25. If philosophers, benevolent people, and 1367 Christians wished to enforce a more humane and scientific treatment of lunacy, he admitted that the increased cost might come out of the Consolidated Fund instead of being thrown either upon the owners or the occupiers; and if the Government were inclined to give way on anything, they might concede that point. But the whole result, as he made it, of the hon. Baronet's Motion would be to give a gentleman holding a farm of £1,000 something like £16, and he certainly did not think that so small a result justified such an agitation. He doubted, too, how far the system of centralization advocated by the hon. Baronet would be for the general good of the country. He, for one, was rather alarmed at the idea of placing the expenditure of another £2,000,000 at the disposal of a central executive. His alarm was not diminished when he remembered the number of candidates for Government Staff appointments. He believed in local government, and thought it advisable that they should have a little more control over the local police. He should not object to the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary coming down with a heavy hand upon some of the small boroughs which were always airing their dignity. If, however, by any chance it should be thought right to have a central system of police administration, they should take care that the system should as nearly as possible be a perfect one. He confessed that, for his own part, he should be well content if the counties were more permitted to take care of their own chickens and hares than was the case at present, and allowed to judge for themselves what expenditure for police purposes was expedient. What he chiefly objected to was the appeal in formâ pauperis on the part of the landowners against what had been described as monstrous, intolerable, and incredible exactions. A good deal of the oratory which they heard at Quarter Sessions on this subject was, he believed, due to the fact that the ratepayers and the tenant-farmers were unrepresented, and such questions as these would be discussed in a very different and more business-like manner if those bodies comprised more men like the hon. Member for South Norfolk (Mr. C. S. Read). He could not look with approval upon the showy architectural edifices which had been erected as police stations at the expense of the ratepayers. 1368 He understood the landowners were going to get £3,500,000 for the sale of the Militia barracks. ["No, no!"] Who was going to get the money? ["The county."] Who were the county but the landowners? He was ashamed to hear people coming there with complaints of their hardships, knowing that the landlords were going to sell the barracks erected out of the hard earnings of the tenant-farmers. Some day the lunatic asylums would be sold to the Government in the same way. The course that was being taken was calculated to raise expectations in the country which the House knew could never be fulfilled. The argument of the hon. Baronet evidently pointed to a national rate. The Committee which had sat upon this question, as it affected Scotland, were decidedly opposed to this course. That Committee thought a distinction should be drawn between those having a permanent interest in the locality, such as landowners, and those having only a temporary interest, as householders and traders; and they were decidedly opposed to any measure which tended to a national rate. He had shown that the alleged injustice to landed property had been much exaggerated. He hoped he had, in reply to the hon. Mover, done something to show where the injustice lay, for unquestionably it rested upon the tenants, and not upon the landlords or owners of real property. He had shown that the pressure on landed property was less than that on houses and on railways; that it was neither for the interest nor for the honour of landowners to make new demands on the savings of capital and on the earnings of labour; that the practical farmer had nothing to gain by an agitation for the taxation of capital; that the present law of rating was most unjust to the tenant-farmers, as it rendered them liable to be pressed by every increase of rates for a long time before it could fall on the owner, and so permanent improvements came out of their profits. This grievance, though silently borne, was acutely felt, and stopped the way in every attempt to develop Local Government in rural places. He asked the House to express its opinion that the Government ought to go forward, notwithstanding the policy of the right hon. Member for Buckinghamshire (Mr. Disraeli), and, as a first step towards progress, endeavour to remove the 1369 injustice which rested on the occupiers. He hoped that the representatives of commerce would assist in protecting the Imperial funds against the demands made on behalf of local interests. He was not without hope that the leading representatives of the land would also assist in opposing a policy which tended to the establishment of a national rate. He asked them not to cheer on the tenants to an attack on the Consolidated Fund; but to unite the intelligence and forethought of the country in an organized war against pauperism, intemperance, ignorance, filth, and fever. Instead of exciting idle alarms and distrust of public men, let the landlords move on, strong in the confidence of their neighbours, and raise themselves above the suspicion of being actuated by selfish or party motives. The hon. Gentleman concluded by moving his Amendment.
To leave out from the first word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "while it is desirable to relieve Ratepayers, in whole or in part, from payments for national purposes not under local control, and to abolish, as far as may be practicable, exemptions from liability to rates, it is important, with a view to the progress of legislation for sanitary and other local purposes, that rates for new objects, instead of falling directly on the occupiers of rateable property, should be distributed in England, as in Scotland and Ireland, equitably between the owners and the occupiers,"—(Sir Thomas Acland,)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ MR. C. S. READ
, said the House had received a very long and interesting contribution to the literature of local taxation from the hon. Baronet who had just sat down, although he was of opinion that the chief part of his speech had but little to do with the Resolution or the Amendment to it which he had proposed. If he were to endeavour to answer the whole of that speech, he must occupy the House for a considerable time; and he would, therefore, content himself with making a few observations in reply to some of the remarks which had fallen from the hon. Baronet. The hon. Gentleman began by saying that he had a few years ago moved a Resolution to the effect that it was necessary that a Department of Agriculture should be established. He had 1370 the honour of seconding that Resolution, and the agriculturists were told on that occasion by the right hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. John Bright), who was at that time President of the Board of Trade, to trust to sunshine and showers, and to put little faith in Government. Now, the hon. Baronet seemed to be satisfied with what had been done in the constitution of the Local Government Board; but what had, in reality, been effected by that arrangement? It still left the cattle of the country to the tender mercies of the Veterinary Department, its roads to the Home Office, while our agricultural statistics were still being collected by the Board of Trade. If the hon. Baronet was satisfied with that arrangement, he was not. The hon. Gentleman went on to say that the rental which a man paid was a fair criterion of his income; but that was a view from which he entirely dissented. He had quoted Mr. Stuart Mill on the subject of houses; but in a speech which bad been made the other day at Norwich by Mr. Tillett, who was formerly a Member of the House, he compared the income of a man living outside the city, in a villa residence, and paying £50 a-year rent, with the income of the shopkeeper paying the same amount, and contrasted the different amount of the rates paid by each of those two individuals. But when they came to the question of land and the occupation of houses, he maintained that the amount of a man's rental was no criterion whatsoever as to his income. Let him take the case of a manufacturer who paid a rental of £300 a-year. He would pay rates on that amount, but he could, in all probability, make £3,000 a-year by his business; while the farmer who held a farm at a rent of £300 a-year, and paid rates on that sum, would have an income of probably not more than £150 a-year. When, he might add, the hon. Member for South Leicestershire (Mr. Pell) proposed during the discussions on the Education Bill, that a man occupying land should only pay rates on a quarter of the value compared with house property, the Prime Minister rose in his place, and contended that the proposal was something entirely revolutionary, although the right hon. Gentleman himself was a Member of the Government which introduced the principle in the case of the Library, and 1371 other Acts. As far as he knew, he might add, his hon. Friend the Member for South Devon (Sir Massey Lopes) never contemplated the rating of personal property; but there were great authorities in that House who were of opinion that personalty should somehow or another be made to contribute to the support of the poor. The Leader of the House made a speech in 1850, in which he said, in answer to some taunts of Mr. Cobden to the effect that land inherited the poor rates, that he had no right to argue in that way, because all protective duties had been abolished. The right hon. Gentleman added that—The maintenance of the poor had been recognised, not only by the dictates of political prudence, but as the fulfilment of a religious duty; and, if so, it was a duty which applied equally to all property. As a matter, therefore, of essential justice, there was nothing more clear than that it was desirable that property should be in some manner liable to the support of the poor."—[3 Hansard, cviii. 1208.]Those were the words of the present Prime Minister in 1850, and the best way to make all property liable to be rated in the way suggested by the right hon. Gentleman was to ask for contributions from the Consolidated Fund towards those national objects which were now maintained by local rates. They had been told that the great increase which had taken place in poor rates had occurred in towns; but the towns had increased enormously during the last 20 years, and the rural population in the strictly agricultural districts had diminished, all the surplus poor having migrated to the towns, where, in consequence of the partial repeal of the law of settlement, they could not be served as they used to be served, by being employed for their labour, and when worn out being sent back again into the country, to be maintained in their old parishes. The agricultural labourer being much better off and better paid now than was the case 25 years ago, it might naturally be expected that the poor rates would be diminished; but, so far from that being the case, they had rather increased. It should not be forgotten by the hon. Baronet, however, that the Mover of the original Resolution on this subject that evening had altogether excluded the poor rate from his calculations. As to the question whether they paid more poor rates now than they did 20 years ago, he believed 1372 that they did pay more now, although the rate in the pound was not much advanced. The assessment in every country parish had been raised, in some instances by 50 per cent, and in almost all by 20 per cent; and in every union in Norfolk save one a larger amount of rates was paid now than was the case 20 years ago. With reference to the question of pauper lunatics, he wished to remind the House that in 1852 Sir Charles Wood—now Viscount Halifax—who was then Chancellor of the Exchequer, proposed that the nation should pay what he called the extra charges of lunatics—that it was right for the rates to be burdened with the cost of the pauper, but that all the extra cost of medicine, and luxury, and recreation, and cure expended upon him, should be provided by the State. The consequence of such a proposal would be that, instead of paying half the charge of a pauper lunatic, as his hon. Friend now proposed, the State would pay two-thirds. The cost of a pauper was 3s. a-week; the average cost of a pauper lunatic was nearly 10s. Of all charges, too, the transfer of this to the Consolidated Fund should be the least objected to. Local authority in the case of it was a sham and a delusion. The magistrates were nominated by the Crown, and were in no way responsible to the ratepayers. The Visitors were appointed by the magistrates in Quarter Sessions, and were the servants of the Lunacy Commissioners. Yet the Government contributed nothing to carry out the orders which they gave. The Norwich Lunatic Asylum was the grossest piece of Government tyranny he ever heard of. Just outside the city walls there was an asylum which admittedly gave inadequate accommodation. But the city authorities had been told that they would not be allowed to improve that asylum or build upon the same site. They must remove the asylum into the country, and thus spend £40,000 or £50,000, instead of about £10,000. The Commissioners said the site was not fitted for a lunatic asylum, yet it seemed from their Reports that the number of cures were quite as great there as they were elsewhere, while the proportion of deaths was less. The Commissioners justly eulogised the monster county asylum in which there were nearly 500 patients; but it appeared 1373 that fever was more rife there, and the percentage of cures was somewhat less than in the Norwich Asylum. As to these cures, they were not permanent. The way those paupers were treated might be very humane and Christian; but it was not practical or rational. They were treated in these asylums as though they were in a totally different class of life from that to which they actually belonged; and after enjoying all these luxuries they went back to their filth and poverty, the consequence being that they very soon lapsed into insanity again. But the extent and the limitation of the powers of the Lunacy Commissioners appeared to be most extraordinary. In the centre of Norwich there was a private asylum for tradesmen, situated in a very confined space, and the patients in which could see nothing but brick walls and the sky. The Commissioners said nothing against that asylum, however—possibly because they had no power to remove it—and it seemed as if that building were to be regarded as quite sufficient for an insane tradesman; whereas an insane pauper was to be furnished not only with the best possible accommodation, but with the best view that the county of Norfolk could afford. Then, if you asked for a Government loan, you could not have the money under 6½ per cent. Now, considering that the Irish peasants were to have money at 3½ per cent for the purpose of purchasing their farms, he thought that the same privileges might be conceded to those who, in building one of these asylums, sought to carry out a thoroughly national object. The hon. Gentleman had raised the question—who paid the rates? Now, there was no doubt that between the landlord and tenant they were paid; and dividing them between the two would not take the burden off their property. As he had said at a public meeting, it was somewhat like dividing a load into panniers, and fancying that the donkey did not carry the load. As to the proposal of half-rating, his idea was that they had better not divide the rates. He did not wish to have any disturbance of existing agreements between landlords and tenants; but he said, if they did divide the rates, they had better divide the whole. He had argued that there was a good deal to be said in favour of dividing the rates, because the 1374 greater the number of people and of classes they could interest directly in the payment of rates, the better. It was for this reason he objected to the system of compounding, which the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Henley) called a system devised by Old Nick to screw the utmost amount of rates from the poor. Under this system the poor did not know how much they contributed to the rates. If he wished the landlord to pay half the rates, it was because he would then feel the amount of rates paid, and would help the tenant-farmer more than he now did to get free from more of these increasing burdens. Allusion had been made to the Chambers of Agriculture. He had been present that day at a meeting of the Central Chamber, where 23 counties were represented, and they passed a resolution that the first portion of the Amendment of the hon. Baronet was a seeming repetition of the Motion, but couched in vague and ambiguous language, while the latter part contained no remedy for the unjust incidence of local taxation, and was simply an attempt to evade the real question at issue. The hon. Gentleman had said that they had done little good, and that what they were attempting to accomplish would prove to be extremely limited. He was quite of that opinion. They would not get very much from the present Government, or perhaps from any future Government; but the great thing was to take care that their rates did not increase, and, above all, that fresh charges were not thrown upon them.
§ MR. RATHBONE
, while agreeing with much in the original Motion, held that the Amendment contained a more comprehensive and accurate definition of the changes required in the law both to make our local taxation just, and to levy it in such a manner as would secure the most efficient administration of the local government of the country. The House would see that those two questions were inseparable, for if the direct incidence of local taxation was limited to particular classes it must be unjust, and the effect must be to throw the local administration almost exclusively into the hands of those particular classes who directly felt the burden of the rates. The exemptions complained of in the Resolution and in the Amendment were not only unjust and inexpedient, but absolutely dangerous to the permanent interests of the classes 1375 who were exempt. Almost the first, and certainly the only long speech with which he had ever troubled the House aimed at making clear that local taxation, as at present levied, pressed heavily upon labour as compared with capital, and that the wealthiest classes were allowed to escape from paying anything like their fair share of the rates. Some evidence given before a committee appointed by the Corporation of Liverpool to inquire into the subject confirmed the views which he stated in 1869. The town clerk, in his evidence, said that in the case of London or any other large seaport where merchants were the wealthy class, and their visible personal estate consisted mainly of ships and stock-in-trade of great value, the anomaly became apparent; it was this class who, directly or indirectly, derived benefit from the labouring classes so long as they were earning wages, and escaped almost entirely when they became chargeable. One witness stated the particulars of the case of a tradesman whose total assessment on his place of business and residence was £550, the total local taxes—tenant's share—being £120, his net income under £1,000, and his local taxes 12 per cent on his income. From inquiry into a number of cases, he had ascertained that many large merchants and brokers were only paying ½ to 2 per cent, while the labouring men in their employ were paying from twice to seven times as much in proportion to their incomes. In a word, a merchant and shipowner, deriving an income of £15,000 from a capital of £150,000, engaged in business, paid £62 on his share of rates on £1,100 rent of counting-house and warehouses, and £65 on his suburban residence assessed at £450 a-year. The young doctor or solicitor paid £14 out of his income of £600 on his £60 house; and the labourer £2 8s. 9d. out of his £1 4s. a-week on his 4s. cottage. Thus, an income of £15,000 a-year paid less than 1 per cent, an income of £600 paid 2⅓ per cent, and an income of £1 4s. a-week paid 4 per cent. Upon the subject of the incidence of local taxation on real property he would say very little, after what they had heard that night; but the gravest picture in the case was the tendency of those exemptions to impair the vigour of their local administration. It was an illustration of the familiar truth that the indirect effects of 1376 an injustice were often more serious than its direct ones. It was a significant fact that neither the capitalists who were exempt from contributing their due proportion to local taxes, nor the large owners of real estate the rates of which were paid by the occupiers, were found taking an active part in the administration of local expenditure; whereas the owners of small cottage property who, under the compounding Acts, themselves paid the rates and felt directly their rise and fall, were celebrated for the sharp look-out which they kept over the way in which the rates were spent. If they analyzed the constitution of Boards of Guardians they would find that their constitution was just what they should expect in conformity with that law. They would find of those elected to serve a large proportion of those directly interested, and a very small proportion of those not directly interested, in local taxation. Take the parish of Liverpool, in which the poor rate rose sometimes to £180,000 per annum. They might expect that there, if anywhere, the wealthy merchants and owners of large property would be found taking an active share in the local government. Well, he found that there was only one merchant besides himself on the select vestry; there was one manufacturer, and the remaining 23 were either retail tradesmen or owners of cottage property, the rates of which were compounded for, and therefore paid by the owner. Nine out of the 26 were owners of cottage property. In the adjoining parish of Toxteth Park, out of 18 elected Guardians no less than eight were cottage owners. He had the authority of a former chairman of a Board of Guardians in London for saying that a similar state of things prevailed there. He (Mr. Rathbone) believed that the vigour and stability of the institutions of a country must always depend, to a great degree, on the extent to which they could interest all classes of the community in their operation, or the extent to which they could interest all classes in their administration. It was by the free admixture of the various classes in a country in the work of both Imperial and local government that vigour and breadth in the administration of public affairs were secured, and harmony between the different portions of the nation could alone be maintained, 1377 He believed that any careful student of history would admit that the withdrawal of large classes from the personal performance of their duties as citizens had been one of the most fatal causes of the decay of States, and anyone who had watched what was now going on across the Atlantic must be aware that this alone had made possible the late scandals in the City of New York. It was this withdrawal of the wealthy and leisure classes from public affairs which discredited the administration and imperilled the otherwise magnificent future of the American Republic. If, on the other hand, hon. Members wished to see what could be done by an owner of real property who would take an active, intelligent, and persistent interest in local administration, such as the Poor Law, they would have only to read the account of the wonderfully beneficial results produced in the Atcham Union by the late Sir Baldwin Leighton. There, in an agricultural union containing about 20,000 inhabitants, pauperism was in a single generation reduced from 8 per cent of the population in 1836 to 1¾ per cent in 1856, and to 1½ per cent in 1870; while in two parishes in the union, containing a population of 2,500, pauperism had been reduced to ½ per cent. In that model union there were no demoralizing charities, and few beershops, and labourers at 11s. per week were to be found in possession of £50 to £100 in the savings bank. Personal property should bear its fair share of local taxation, as otherwise when the great masses of the people now endowed with political power became alive to the injustice of its present exemption, they would go to an opposite extreme, and could readily do so, as the wealthy owners of personal property were a small minority; and if that were true as regarded personal property, much more was it the manifest interest of the owners of real property that that property should bear its fair share of local taxation. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for North Northamptonshire (Mr. Hunt), so far as could be gathered from an abbreviated report in the London papers of an important speech recently delivered by him, admitted the injustice of the exemption of personal property from local taxation; but, he said, they could not tax it because they could not localize personal property. The right hon. Gentleman then proposed 1378 that the whole expense of the police, and a part, if not the whole, of the expenditure connected with lunatics and gaols should be thrown on the Consolidated Fund. He (Mr. Rathbone) admitted the impossibility of allocating personal property for purposes of taxation. He, as a merchant, could not state accurately where his gains were made, or, as a shipowner, where the families of the sailors and others employed by him were resident, or might become chargeable on the public rates. He admitted, therefore, that any taxation for local purposes on personal property must be levied through the central government, and be distributed by it. But he doubted very much whether it would be safe or wise to place bodily on the Consolidated Fund, and merge in the Imperial taxation of the country the whole cost of any one branch of the expenditure, which, according to the habits of the country, must be locally administered, and suggested that taxes levied by the central government for local purposes should be kept distinct from those levied for central expenditure. This was no new idea, but was already in operation to a considerable extent in Belgium, and other parts of the Continent. It might be improved upon, and thereby the injustice of which all complained might, to some extent, be remedied. For all the reasons he had stated, he thought the Amendment should be accepted by the House.
§ MR. LIDDELL
said, he thought the hon. Member for North Devon (Sir Thomas Acland), in the course of his speech, had forgotten that his Amendment contained the proposition—That it is desirable to relieve Ratepayers, in whole or in part, from payments for national purposes not under local control;and if his eyes had been closed he should have supposed that the hon. Member for Liverpool (Mr. Rathbone) was supporting the original Motion. The hon. Baronet (Sir Thomas Acland) had warned them against grasping at the National Exchequer for their own advantage. On behalf of those who sat on that (the Opposition) side of the House, he distinctly denied that they were grasping at the National Exchequer. They were simply asking the nation to pay for expenditure on national objects. The hon. Baronet avowedly 1379 passed by the question of justice; but this was really the whole of the ease. The usual in terrorem argument—that the measure proposed would lead to a national rate—had been used; and had that argument any force it would prevent his supporting the Motion, but he did not believe it would have that result; and, as to tampering with the Consolidated Fund, the House was simply asked to protect the local ratepayers from expenditure imposed on them by the State and exempt from their control. The hon. Baronet told the House, in the tone of an agitator rather than a calm debater, that the county police were extensively employed for the preservation of game. Some time ago, one of the greatest sources of crime in this country was the collection at night of large gangs of armed men in public-houses, whence, under the influence of drink, they started on poaching expeditions, which led to scenes of murder and violence, such as he had once witnessed under the windows of his father's house. The viligance of the police had prevented these aggregations of violent and reckless persons, and in that sense had checked night poaching; and in doing this the police were discharging their proper functions. His hon. Friend the Member for South Devon (Sir Massey Lopes), who introduced this question, towards the close of his able speech referred to the moderate character of his proposal. Now, it was because it was so moderate he (Mr. Liddell) intended to support it. The hon. Baronet wisely avoided entering into the subject which he always regretted to hear broached—namely, the direct assessment of personal property for local purposes. The difficulties and injustice of carrying out such a principle would be enormous; and any attempt to do so, he believed, would result in the deepest dissatisfaction of the people generally. The present question was one which he thought should be approached by degrees, and dealt with by prudent instalments rather than by any sweeping measure. They had heard a great deal about the aggregate growth of the local rates. They must not, however, forget what a large contributor the metropolis was to the growth of those rates. The recent increase of the valuation of property assessed for the purpose of poor rates was greatest in the poorest districts. The tax collector was not so 1380 just as "Death;" we could not say of him—Æquo pulsat pede pauperum tabernas Regumque turres.Although the many great improvements made of late years contributed to the glory of the metropolis, they added considerably, though indirectly, to the poor rates, inasmuch as they required the sacrifice of a large amount of the accommodation which had been previously enjoyed by the labouring classes, and raised the rents of the remainder. The pressure of the poor rate was thus rendered great upon the classes who were but slightly removed from those they were bound to support. That was a state of things which would force this question upon the consideration of the Government. In the year before last the right hon. Gentleman opposite, who was the President of the Poor Law Board (Mr. Goschen), offered to give up the inhabited house tax in aid of local taxation. There was, he (Mr. Liddell) thought, a good deal of policy and sound sense in that proposal. But that was a concession of the principle involved in the hon. Baronet's Resolution, and one which would render it impossible for the Government consistently to oppose it. The application for a subvention in aid of the local rates from the National Exchequer was one, he thought, of a wise and practical character; it did not at all involve the relaxation of "local control," and the House might proceed with the utmost security in that direction.
§ MR. COLMAN
, as an instance of the injustice of the present system, brought forward the case of Norwich, which had been required by the Home Office to expend a sum of between £40,000 and £50,000 upon improving their asylum for pauper lunatics, every farthing of which was expected to come out of the pocket of the local taxpayer. The city had been willing to expend £10,000 in improving the old site, and, as had been already said by the hon. Member for South Norfolk (Mr. Read), facts proved that the cures there were up to the average. But this would not satisfy the Lunacy Commissioners—they required the asylum to be built, and ordered this expenditure without contributing towards it. In his opinion, when commands of this sort were issued by the central authority, at least some portion of the expense their execution entailed ought to come out of the 1381 Consolidated Fund. This subject ought not to be regarded in the light of a party question in that House, any more than it was so regarded out of doors. Men of all parties in the city he had the honour to represent felt very strongly upon this subject, and, therefore, he trusted that Parliament would give it their fullest consideration. He was there that night to plead the cause not of the wealthy landed proprietors, but of the poorer ratepayers in the cities and towns, who were so heavily oppressed by the continually increasing burden of local taxation. The weight of this taxation was crushing down the smaller tradesmen, and those who were continually struggling to keep their heads above water. He would not discuss the question as to whether the Return of August, 1870, was accurate to a fraction; but, speaking broadly, the rates for rural unions were 2s. 6d. to 3s., and for town unions 4s. But Norwich, for the year 1868—referred to in the Returns—was 7 s. 2d., and since then they had risen to 8s. or 8s. 6d. While both the Resolutions before the House, to a certain extent, met with his approval, still he should have been better pleased with them had they been a little more definite. The hon. Baronet had expressed a hope that certain charges would be defrayed out of the Consolidated Fund, instead of being, as hitherto, thrown upon local taxation; but he was afraid, from expressions that had fallen from the front benches on either side of the House, that there was a determination on the part of both the present and the late Administration not to allow any local charges to be defrayed out of that fund. He thought that the proposal of the right hon. Gentleman the former President of the Poor Law Board (Mr. Goschen), to hand over the house tax for the relief of the local taxation, was a most wise and proper one; because, while the Chancellor of the Exchequer had the power of taxing them when they ate and drank for national purposes, and could tax their trade by stamps, their incomes whilst they lived, and their executors after them, it was only reasonable that the tax on their houses should be applied for local purposes.
§ SIR GEORGE JENKINSON
said, he wished to allude to some of the figures contained in the Report of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Goschen) last 1382 year. In that Report the right hon. Gentleman alluded to the proportion of taxation levied upon real property, and that which had not fallen upon real property.
§ SIR GEORGE JENKINSON
said, it must fall on the owners of some property, and he hoped that as the House had not heard much from Members of the Government, some right hon. Gentleman opposite would make clear what were the views of the Government on this question. It was fallacious to suppose that those who were heavily taxed upon real property paid upon nothing but that real property. Did not such persons contribute in great proportion to the Customs and Excise? Did not such persons drink wine? Did they not ride in carriages? Did not such persons, in various ways, contribute to the £30,000,000 and odd, which was the amount of Imperial taxation levied under such a variety of heads, and which the right hon. Gentleman said did not fall on real property? Did not such persons contribute largely to the Post Office revenue? He confessed that he did, considering the number of letters that he received, and which he was expected to answer. A remark was made by the hon. Baronet the Member for North Devon (Sir Thomas Acland), as to the sale back to the landowners of counties of the Militia barracks, built, as he said, with the hard-earned money of the tenants. But if the Government were going to relieve the ratelayers of counties from the charge of building and maintaining those barracks, would not the tenants, as ratepayers, be benefited? The relief of the poor in towns was one of the most important parts of the question, and that was not touched on by the Amendment moved by the hon. Member for North Devon. The Report of the Select Committee of the House of Lords in 1850 stated that the relief of the poor was a national object, to which every description of property should be liable, and that all mines should be assessed, inasmuch as the exemption of mineral 1383 mines was founded on no sound principle. In the opinion so expressed he entirely agreed, and though at the time when the Act of Elizabeth for the relief of the poor was passed there was no property, except real property, on which the assessment for the relief of the poor could be levied, it was not just that no cognizance should now he taken for that object of all the various kinds of property since created in this country. Every new burden, such as the expense for the administration of justice, the maintenance of lunatics, of turnpike roads, and for education, was now put on the poor rates. He did not say that those things were not important; but he maintained that they should be supported out of the national funds. These new burdens should be fairly distributed, and ought not to be placed on one particular class of property only. He had always advocated that the poor rates should be confined to their original object—namely, the relief of the poor, sick, and aged—that they should be locally raised and assessed, and that a grant should be made for the establishment charges. He would also have a county fund raised for the maintenance of the police and lunatics, and other charges so often alluded to; and into this fund he would have paid the proceeds of all licenses collected within each county, such as public-house licenses, gun and shooting licenses, and all horse and carriage licenses. Then, instead of a lump sum from the Consolidated Fund, he should like to see a separate schedule of the income tax, to be called the county rate schedule, devoted to the relief of local burdens. The average rates in counties had been stated at 2s. 6d., and in boroughs at 3s. 4d. and 4s., and sometimes as much as 8s. in the pound; but an income tax of something like 4d. in the pound would be a great relief to the ratepayers instead of such high local rates. It would be spread over the whole community, would take in the owners of all property, and would be a very proper subvention in aid of those charges which were national. One important reason why a great deal of capital was kept out of the land was because capital so employed was liable to increased taxation; whereas capital put into business or invested in the public funds escaped local taxation altogether. The payment of justices' 1384 clerks by salaries instead of fees—a measure felt to be necessary in the interests of justice—was stopped by the fear that the rates would thereby be increased. This was a great evil, actually interfering with the due administration of justice. He denied that they came to the House begging. They simply asked for an inquiry, and that justice should be done.
§ MR. CRAUFURD
, in supporting the Motion, said, that the grievances complained of by the hon. Baronet the Member for South Devon (Sir Massey Lopes) were equally felt in Scotland. There, county rates were all paid by owners; the poor rates were paid half by owners and half by occupiers. In towns the principal burden fell on the occupiers, and those burdens were grievous. On this subject he held the views of the hon. Baronet; they were entitled to contribution from Imperial funds in aid of local rates expended for national purposes. The hon. Baronet the Member for North Devon (Sir Thomas Acland) had quoted a passage from the Report of the Committee on the Scotch Poor Law, of which he (Mr. Craufurd) was Chairman; but the Committee felt the necessity of relieving local taxation, and specifically recommended that the Imperial funds should contribute towards the support of pauper lunatics. The Lord Advocate was then present, and did not endeavour to procure the rejection of that proposal. So far, therefore, the Government must admit the principle contended for by the hon. Baronet. No hon. Member had controverted the argument of the hon. Baronet (Sir Massey Lopes); even the hon. Mover of the Amendment admitted, by the preamble of his Amendment, that some fairness and equity ought to be observed in regard to the burdens on land. In legal phraseology he had met the Motion by confession and avoidance. It was attempted to treat this subject as if it were merely a landowners' question, but he must decline to view it in that light. Perhaps as a Scotchman he read the word "land" differently from others; but in Scotland houses were not distinguished from land. Land and houses, and all fixed property, were classed in the same category. For his part, he cordially supported the Motion, not as a landowner, but as a representative of a burgh constituency whose interests were involved in the question. The landed 1385 interest was strong enough to take care of itself; and he spoke rather in behalf of the smaller class of ratepayers in towns and agricultural districts, who were grievously oppressed under local taxation. Last year the Government had offered to surrender the house tax for local purposes, and although that proposal would not have equitably met the requirements of the whole country, it was valuable as a recognition of the principle upon which the present Motion was based. Having thus admitted that Imperial taxation should contribute to local taxation, the Government, he hoped, would accede to the reasonable and moderate proposal of his hon. Friend.
said, no one could doubt that during the last six or seven years there had been a growing impatience on the subject of local taxation. There was also a great disposition to reopen the inquiry as to what sort of property should bear local burdens. It was impossible not to see that the question was beset by vast difficulties. In its origin this taxation was imposed upon all property; but the difficulty of carrying out that principle led in a great degree to its abandonment, and within the last few years it had been legislatively put an end to. The hon. Baronet the Member for South Devon (Sir Massey Lopes) had acted wisely in steering clear of that difficulty. The hon. Baronet who moved the Amendment (Sir Thomas Acland), commenced it with the admission that all property should bear the burden of local taxation; but, curiously enough, the hon. Baronet introduced a wholly different subject. In legal language he had avoided, and in sporting language he had drawn a red herring across the scent. If a man carried a sack weighing a hundred weight upon his back, how would his burden be lightened by cutting the sack in two? And the hon. Baronet did not say how the burden could be divided in the difficult case of lease under lease. The difficulty, however, was not confined to country districts. The burden was felt even more severely in towns where the demand for labour was increasing, and giving rise also to much drunkenness and untimely death, which, in their turn, added to the local burdens. The hon. Baronet (Sir Massey Lopes), wisely following the lead of the Government in its proposal with regard to the house 1386 tax, suggested that three charges might very fairly come upon the Consolidated Fund. His proposal was not only wise but moderate, and deserved the support of the House. The burdens had not been increased or exaggerated by any action of the Executive Government. The Legislature had increased the burdens, and, as far as his experience went, he had found that the authorities to whom the Legislature had intrusted the taxation had acted purely according to the intention of the Legislature. It was not fair to throw on the Commissioners that which the Legislature had compelled them to do. He did not agree with the suggestion that the lunatics had been too expensively treated. Not only did humanity suggest liberal treatment of lunatics, but economy. This was so well understood now, that the keepers of private asylums had discovered that liberal treatment induced quiet in the patients, and enabled them to do with a much less expensive staff of attendants. Never had the old proverb—"When the belly is full the bones are at rest," been more truly exemplified than in the case of these unfortunate creatures. The agitation on this question would proceed not from the country, but from the towns, and everybody knew that they were customers who were not very easily satisfied. They had a great command over the "noses" in that House, and when the shoe pinched, the towns would give a good deal of trouble.
§ MR. STANSFELD
said, no one could have more respect than he entertained for the sagacious counsels of the right hon. Gentleman who had just resumed his seat. The right hon. Gentleman had advised the Government to seize this favourable opportunity of terminating a growing difficulty in connection with a question which, if not settled now, would assume larger dimensions. He should be very glad if it were his portion to accept that counsel on the part of the Government; but it was his duty to recall to the House the terms of the Resolution proposed by the hon. Baronet the Member for South Devon (Sir Massey Lopes) and the terms of the hon. Baronet's speech. He might remind the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Oxfordshire (Mr. Henley) that the hon. Baronet in moving his Resolution expressly informed the Government and the House that no one was committed 1387 by the definite proposition with which he concluded his speech, and that many people outside the House would be discontented with it. In fact, the hon. Baronet gave the House fair warning, while he was expounding his Resolution as a fair proposal, that he did not think it was one which was likely to be accepted as a termination of this question by the country at large. [Sir MASSEY LOPES: No, no!] He would not do his hon. Friend the injustice of deliberately misinterpreting his remarks, nor did he think he had misinterpreted them; for he distinctly heard the hon. Baronet tell the House that there would be considerable discontent—discontent was the word his hon. Friend used—at the acceptance of this too moderate proposal. ["No, no!"]
§ SIR MASSEY LOPES
admitted he had said that he thought many persons outside the House would not be satisfied with his moderate proposal; but that it was one which he was nevertheless prepared to recommend to the House as one which would satisfy him.
§ MR. STANSFELD
remarked that his statement had been entirely confirmed by his hon. Friend. ["No, no!"] He did not accuse his hon. Friend of making a proposal the acceptance of which would not satisfy him; but the hon. Baronet certainly stated that in the minds of many persons, both in and out of the House, his was a too moderate proposal. From that he believed he might fairly infer that the hon. Baronet had held out to the Government no reasonable expectation of a termination of this question if they accepted his proposal. He would refer to the Resolution itself, because if it were accepted the Government would be bound by its terms, and not by the speech of the hon. Baronet. It was his duty to state the intentions of the Government with regard both to the Resolution and the Amendment. The Government did not, for reasons which he would state as clearly, though as succinctly, as he could, accept the Resolution of the hon. Baronet. The Government did, however, feel itself able, with certain reserves, to accept the Amendment of the hon. Baronet (Sir Thomas Acland). [Laughter.] He did not suppose that laughter was the laughter of surprise; but he might say—and he should not say so if it were not strictly correct—that he had had nothing to do 1388 with the Amendment of his hon. Friend, and that to his knowledge the Government had had nothing to do with it. It was placed upon the Paper of the mere motion and will and individual judgment of the hon. Baronet after consulting many of his friends, and it had not received, directly or indirectly, the sanction or approval of the Government. And if the Government supported the Amendment, they only did so with certain "reserves." In the first place, the Amendment recited in its preamble—That it was desirable to relieve Ratepayers, in whole or in part, from payments for national purposes not under local control.Now, the Government had no objection to that preamble, save with this reservation, which, in his opinion, it would only be straightforward to express to the House. The Government must reserve to themselves the free right and full discretion as occasion arose, to judge and to act upon their own judgment, of the cases coming within the category of payments for national purposes not under local control. On behalf of the Government, he wished to say they must reserve their own discretion and right of judgment in acceding to a preamble and general proposition of that kind. The second reservation had reference to the conclusion of his hon. Friend's Amendment; and with that portion of it he had no quarrel, for he thought it would be a wise thing that rates—and he was disposed to say not merely for new objects, but for all objects—should be divided between owners and occupiers. But although he thought so, and although the Government were quite prepared to accept the view which was unanimously adopted by the Committee presided over by his right hon. Friend beside him (Mr. Goschen)—["No, no!"]—he believed he could satisfy the House that he was right on this point. There were divisions in the Committee on the question of the difference between current expenditure and permanent works; but if his memory served him aright there was no division upon the question of severing new objects from existing expenditure with reference to the incidence of local taxation on the owners and occupiers of property. There was no objection, therefore, on the part of the Government to accept the concluding part of the Amendment; 1389 but he would like to make this reservation. He did not look upon it so much as a financial question, for he thought it was perfectly true, as had been said that night, that in the long run the incidence of taxation of that kind was not settled and decided by artificial or statutory regulations. It depended upon influences superior to mere law—upon contract, upon supply and demand, and upon various social and moral considerations, which economists ought not to lose sight of, and which dominated the relations between the owners of the soil and the occupiers. He felt with his hon. Friend that it was of immense advantage that the most wealthy, leisurely, and most educated people in the country should be interested in local affairs, and therefore he desired that such persons should be placed upon a footing of direct contribution to the rates, in order that the community might have the advantage of their co-operation in the conduct of local government. There were one or two objections alike to the meaning and the wording of the Resolution of the hon. Member, to which the House would do well to pay attention. In the first place, when the hon. Member spoke of the injustice of imposing taxation for national objects upon one description of property only, he must mean for objects which were national only and not local. This being so, the hon. Member was bound to show that the matters in reference to which they desired the burden should be placed on the National Exchequer were not only national, but that they were in no degree local. He could not but admit that there was some force in the objection of the hon. Member to the burden being placed upon one description of property only. He quite agreed in the opinion that it would be advisable, if possible, to tax everybody, and to rate everybody simply in proportion to their means; but the hon. Member had failed to show how far the rate-ability of property was or was not to be taken as a fair exponent of the income-ability—to use the word which his hon. Friend coined—of the owner or occupier. The real question was, whether those persons on whom rates fell were, upon the whole, fairly or unfairly rated to their proportion of local expenditure. In the second branch of his Resolution his hon. Friend propounded the principle that— 1390No legislation with reference to Local Taxation would be satisfactory which did not provide, either in whole or in part, for the relief of occupiers and owners in counties and boroughs from the charges imposed on ratepayers for the administration of justice, police, and lunatics, the expenditure for such purposes being almost entirely independent of local control.Now, if it were only on account of the last words, it would be impossible to adopt the Resolution; for could it be truly said that the administration of justice, police, and lunatics was almost entirely without local control? Could it be said that the administration of justice was a matter, not of local, but of purely national interest? Whatever might be the result in point of taxation, and whether such a view should be adopted by the House or not, he must, in the interests of local independence and local life, protest against such sweeping assertions. Let the House consider the administration of justice. What was meant by saying that it was not of local interest or under local control? The hon. Gentleman had said that the bench of magistrates had very little control over the police; but surely in other respects the administration of justice was of deep interest and concern to the locality. In what the hon. Gentleman had said with regard to the share of the expenses borne by the local and the Imperial funds respectively, he had forgotten the sums that appeared on the Estimates of the House.
§ SIR MASSEY LOPES
said, he stated in the course of his speech that the Government paid the salaries of the Judges, and used that fact as an argument against their going further in the same direction.
§ MR. STANSFELD
said, the result of removing the local charges of the administration of justice would be the absorption of all those local administrations by the State, and what would then become of the bench of magistrates? He had been used to think that the administration of justice, the management of the county funds, and other local work, lent dignity and interest to the life of gentlemen residing on their estates, and that in this respect England presented a favourable contrast with the state of things existing in France. He would ask the landowners whether, in return for a small reduction of the rates, they would sanction the initiation by Government of the principle of centralization, which would denationalize the 1391 provinces and transform the counties of England into so many departments. Taking the case of the police, his hon. Friend proposed that the State should pay one-half of the cost; but his argument went logically to the length of involving the State in the payment of the whole charge, because his Resolution involved the conclusion that the police was entirely a national instead of a local branch of the public service. He had another authority on the subject, who ought not to be omitted—namely, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for North Northamptonshire (Mr. Hunt), who, at a recent agricultural meeting at Kettering said that, in his opinion, the whole of the cost of the county police ought to be borne by the State, and that he did not shrink from the conclusion that the whole control of the force should be taken out of the hands of the localities and vested in the Secretary of State for the Home Department. He scarcely knew what to make of such an announcement as that; but it struck him as a portent of coming events, and it seemed to him that when—sooner or later—the Conservative party came into office, and the Liberals were in a minority, the right hon. Gentleman, who was an ex-Chancellor of the Exchequer, might possibly find himself at the Home Office, and that there he might perhaps be seen erect upon the ruins of the system of local government which he had himself destroyed. He was not disposed to say that his hon. Friend did wrong in proposing that the State should contribute towards the maintenance of pauper lunatics. The cost of pauper lunatics was much greater than that of paupers who were not lunatics, and as this was partly in consequence of Imperial legislation, he scarcely saw why the Imperial Exchequer should not defray part of the cost. At any rate, he must admit that the proposition of his hon. Friend with regard to this branch of the subject was not open to the same objection which applied to the proposals in reference to administration of justice and the maintenance of the police. While, however, he was inclined to take that view, his inclination was not strengthened by the speech of his hon. Friend, because though he severed the general cost of the administration of the Poor Law from the charge of lunatics, yet in 1392 the beginning of his speech he seemed to intimate that justice required we should throw the charge of the Poor Law upon a wider area than that on which it was now levied. There were words in the Motion which made it impossible that the Government could accept it. It said that no legislation on this subject could be satisfactory which did not provide for this expenditure being thrown in whole or in part upon the Imperial Exchequer. But when these charges were so thrown, it was not in consequence of legislation. The charges for medical officers and schoolmasters were upon the Estimates, and had not been the subject of legislation. The same remark held true of the contributions towards the cost of criminal prosecutions and the police. If the Resolution were accepted, the Government would be bound in this way—they had prepared a Bill to repeal exemptions from rates. But the Resolution said no legislation on this subject would be acceptable unless these charges were placed not upon the localities, but upon the Exchequer. The Government could not, therefore, propose its Bill repealing existing exemptions unless it was prepared to deal with this subject and with all the administrative consequences and difficulties arising out of it. He did not deny that the subject was worthy of attention; but if the principles laid down in the Resolution were to be taken as clear indications of a settled purpose and policy of the opposite party, they seemed to him highly dangerous. He regarded them as leading to a system of centralization. It was easy to say that the State might pay and that the localities might control. The House knew better. It knew perfectly well that whatever party was in power, if the State paid, it would manage and control, and if the State paid and did not manage and control, the localities would not exercise proper economy. He would put it to hon. Members interested in the incidence of taxation upon real property, whether there was wisdom in raising the question in this large and portentous way, because it undoubtedly involved in the public mind, and in Parliamentary treatment sooner or later, the whole question of the incidence of taxation, and would also involve something more—a consideration of the rights and duties of property, and the conditions under which property should be enjoyed. 1393 It was right that this question should be considered calmly from time to time; but from the point of view of hon. Gentlemen opposite, he doubted whether it was advisable to summon the country by an appeal like this to consider all these matters at once. A word as to the increase of rates. They had largely increased, owing, in great part, to an expenditure upon constructions which added directly to the value of the land, and, therefore, could not be said to have added to the burdens of the land. A considerable increase was owing to the humanity of the age; but if they left out of consideration these constructive works, he did not believe in the continuance of the increase of rates; and he could speak with confidence with respect to the poor rate, so far, at any rate, as the expenditure upon the poor was concerned, that they had reached the maximum, and that they might now hope for a decline. The last poor rate Return showed that for the first time within the last 12 months there was now a decrease in the number of paupers. That decrease now amounted to between 12 and 13 per cent upon the number of paupers a year ago. He saw no reason why that decrease should not continue; and he saw no reason, therefore, with the increasing value of land and other property, why they should not look forward to a decrease instead of an increase in the burden upon property. He would remind his hon. Friend of one or two inaccuracies and vaguenesses of expression of his which would not bear close criticism. He talked of the income of those who paid rates as being only one-seventh of that of the country. He said the rateable value of the country was only £100,000,000; it was, in fact, £108,000,000. [Sir MASSEY LOPES: I referred to 1870.] He (Mr. Stansfeld) was not going to found any argument upon that; still the last Returns showed that there was an increase in the income of the country. The hon. Member valued the income of the country at £700,000,000, and he said that the taxation fell not upon property, but upon persons; but if it fell not upon property but upon persons, he would ask him whether it was not an exaggeration to say that the income of the owners and occupiers of property who paid the rates was only one-seventh of the income of the community. It was impossible to 1394 maintain that argument, and therefore this figure of speech was an exaggeration. Then the hon. Member spoke of local rates amounting to £36,000,000, and afterwards to £40,000,000, and he compared that with the Imperial taxation of £41,000,000. [Sir MASSEY LOPES: I said £68,000,000, and I took from that £27,000,000 for the interest of the Debt.] Just so. The hon. Member compared £36,000,000 or £40,000,000 with £41,000,000 of Imperial taxation; but from the £36,000,000 or £40,000,000 he did not deduct the amount of the receipts in aid of rates, which left the rates for England and Wales at £17,000,000, whilst from the Imperial taxation he deducted the whole payment for the National Debt. The general conclusion to which he hoped the House would come was, that they should avoid generalization on the question, but should proceed practically, following the policy which Sir Robert Peel pursued in 1846. Something had been said as to County Boards. He was in favour of the institution of County Boards; but if they took from the counties the administration of justice and the control of the police, for what purpose were County Financial Boards to be created? There would remain no functions for them to fulfil. He was anxious to introduce a Bill for the repeal of all total exemption from rating, including that of Government property. Let the Government do that, and not bind them to provide in the Bill for all the administrative consequences which must follow from the adoption of the Resolution. Lastly, he said the Government were perfectly willing to consider those cases one by one; and he asked the House not to commit itself to a general proposition of this kind, so wide, so uncertain, and, he might almost say, so portentous, depriving itself of the power of free judgment upon these cases as they arose.
§ MR. DISRAELI
I should have thought it was unnecessary to remind the House that this is not a new question; but the right hon. Gentleman has discussed it as if it were brought forward for the first time. It has now been for a quarter of a century before our consideration; and the original ground on which the attention of Parliament was called to the incidence of taxation in this respect was founded upon a fact which is not denied—that a certain 1395 amount of taxation is levied for national purposes and levied only from a small portion of the national property. Now, it is all very well to talk of statements of that kind as being generalizations, and as if it were expedient to avoid them; but generalization is the result of the experience by mankind of a great amount of facts, and they must express their opinion in a general manner. Now, several appeals have been made in consequence of this anomalous taxation at different times to the House of Commons; but none has been brought forward in a manner more moderate and, I think, more practical, dealing as it does generally with the subject, than the proposition which has been made by my hon. Friend the Member for South Devon (Sir Massey Lopes). It is a consequence of taxpayers' experience, and the opinion of Parliament, and the result of repeated discussions during the long interval of time to which I have alluded—it is that which has allowed my hon. Friend to have the matter brought under our consideration in such a manner as he has done—moderate and practical. The right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Stansfeld) really advanced no argument against the statement of my hon. Friend. He made a number of observations, some ingenious, some sensible, founded upon official knowledge of the subject and on small matters of detail—all in themselves well worthy of our attention; but they did not meet the broad issue placed before the House by my hon. Friend. It cannot be denied that, to use his own words, taxation is imposed for national purposes on one description of property only. My hon. Friend has denoted the modes by which a remedy might be furnished by the House for the grievance complained of. Is there anything unreasonable or immoderate in the manner which he has indicated to the House? He has scrupulously guarded himself in his language by words in which he maintains that the relief should be furnished "either in whole or in part." The Resolution does not bind the House to any indefinite and unreasonable amount, and my hon. Friend even gave an estimate of the aggregate relief on the three important heads of the administration of justice, police, and the charge of lunatics. What is that estimate? 1396 He said it might amount probably to £2,000,000. Now, we cannot forget that Her Majesty's Government some little time ago made a proposition which acknowledged that this peculiar portion of property, amerced in this anomalous manner, was indebted to relief to the amount of £12,000 per annum. The hon. Member for the city of Norwich (Mr. Colman), alluding to that proposal to apply the house tax to the relief of real property in houses, stated that it was mentioned to-night with general approbation, while it received a different welcome when first submitted. Now, I must guard myself against being counted a supporter of such a proposition. I spoke against it at the time, and had an opportunity been given I should certainly have voted against it, for it would really increase the anomalies of which we complain. Instead of redressing or mitigating the injustice, it would, by sacrificing a large portion of the Imperial Revenue to the relief of only a part of real property, create a fresh anomaly, thus strengthening the claims of that portion of real property which did not receive its share of relief. The proposition, however, is of value in this discussion as clear demonstration that, in the opinion of the Government, so large an amount of Imperial Revenue might have been sacrificed to the claims of a portion of real property on account of the unanswerable character of those claims. When a Government makes such a proposition we know very well that their estimates of the legitimate amount that might be claimed is not to be appraised by the sum which they offer. If a Government offered £1,200,000 a-year, they must have felt that, though not an inconsiderable, it was only a partial redress. The same hon. Gentleman referred to a determination expressed on both sides of this Table to defend the Consolidated Fund. Now I trust I have never shown any great disposition unwisely and unnecessarily to invade that fund; but what is the object of defending it from improper and unwarrantable attacks? It is because it is the treasury of the country, and should be preserved for a case of real necessity, so that when its aid is required in order to establish a more satisfactory state of affairs, you may have something to which you can appeal. The Consolidated Fund is spoken of as if it was to be shut up in 1397 a box and never used for any purpose; whereas our duty is to see that it is used for purposes conducive to the public welfare. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Stansfeld) has addressed this side of the House in words of warning, and almost of menace. He says he admits that, abstractedly, there is much in our demands which cannot be denied, but that if we pursue these claims, the duties and rights of property will be inquired into. Now, I must say—and I speak for Gentlemen on both sides of the House equally interested in the matter—that if we are not sufficiently acquainted with the duties and rights of property, it is most unfortunate for this country and for ourselves. I believe the duties of property are in this country fulfilled, and I hope, therefore, that the rights of property will be maintained; but if we have alleged rights which cannot be supported, and duties which are neglected, rest assured that avoiding to urge a just claim will not release us from the responsibility which we cannot escape from, or from results which, however injurious to our fortunes, we have properly incurred. This question, it must be remembered, has been actively before us for at least a quarter of a century. When it was first introduced to the notice of the House, the burdens of real property, though considerable, were by no means as excessive as at present; but during that period the expenses of the possessors of real property have constantly increased for public purposes, their control over that expenditure having almost proportionately diminished. Look at the circumstances which have, no doubt, forced this question upon our attention. The mind of the country is at present fixed upon two of the greatest questions which can engage the attention of a Government or the interest of a nation—public education and the public health. They are engaging the attention of our leading men, and the mind of the country is concentrated on them. Now, is it not extraordinary that with a country like England, so rich, prosperous, and intelligent, so active in its civilization, the only means to which it can have resource to accomplish these Imperial purposes is to increase the rates of the country? Why, there is almost a degree of bathos in a country acting in such a spirit. When you consider the meetings held in every part of the country, and the leading 1398 subjects which engage the public mind, you would naturally say—"This great country will hesitate at no sacrifice to accomplish these great ends." Instead of that, the complaint is that the poor ratepayer is the person called upon to fulfil these Imperial duties. I cannot understand how this question can be advanced in a more satisfactory manner than by the Resolution of my hon. Friend (Sir Massey Lopes). I was in hopes that when the right hon. Gentleman rose he was going to finish this debate, and that it would, not have been necessary for me make any observations or for the House to proceed to a division. I was in hopes from his tone when he rose, and also from the nature of this question, and from the general feeling of society and the state of opinion upon it, that the right hon. Gentleman was about to intimate that Her Majesty's Government had resolved to enter upon a course of wise concession upon this matter. And I am sure that, as far as I am concerned, I should have been happy to have left it in their hands, and should have assisted them as far as I could in any moderate proposition which they might have brought forward, knowing that it is for Her Majesty's Ministers to select the time and make the arrangements which, on the whole, are most conducive to the public convenience in such matters. But the right hon. Gentleman really ended by giving us no ray of hope, no crumb of comfort; all he said was that he was prepared to support the queer Amendment of the hon. Member for North Devon (Sir Thomas Acland). The hon. Member for North Devon, in the autobiographical speech with which he favoured the House, imparted to us a great deal of his personal experience. He quoted something which I said, and I thought he was going to make a comment upon it; but he only recalled to my memory observations which I had delivered myself. The hon. Member for North Devon always tells us that he has been 18 years absent from this House. I think it quite unnecessary on his part to inform us of that fact. I observed it in his speech; because the hon. Member for North Devon rose to-night, and following the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for the southern division of the county, who, both in framing his Resolution and in the whole of his remarks, kept himself closely to the real question— 1399 namely, the unjust incidence of taxation on the real property of this country—as much upon houses as upon mere land, and, from the amount of their taxation, more upon houses than upon mere land—the hon. Member for North Devon rose, and immediately made an attack upon country gentlemen, and said, in effect, "This is a mere attempt to study your own advantage and to increase the profits of landed proprietors." He took up the tone which used to be adopted in this House about 25 years ago, before he unfortunately lost his seat. I must entirely protest against the whole tone of that hon. Member's speech, which was I think neither conceived in a spirit of justice to the landed proprietors of the country on either side of the House, nor did it really meet the fair and clear issue placed before us for consideration tonight. That issue appears to me to have been temperately expressed, both in my hon. Friend's (Sir Massey Lopes) speech and in his Resolution. I was in hopes that Her Majesty's Ministers were going to meet that Resolution in the spirit in which it was framed. But as I have been disappointed in that I have only one course to take and only one counsel to give to my Friends, which is to support the Motion of my hon. Friend the Member for South Devon. I think if that Resolution is passed it will not lead to any disaster, nor to any of those public inconveniences, difficulties, or perplexities which the right hon. Gentleman who last addressed us intimates. But I believe the House of Commons will, after a quarter of a century's discussion, have arrived at a sound and temperate expression of the real state of affairs, and on that state of affairs I think the opinion of the House of Commons ought to be taken.
§ MR. GOSCHEN
Sir, I shall follow the example set by the last two speakers in being exceedingly brief. The right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down told us it is a very simple and a very moderate issue which is put before us to-night. That issue is whether or not we shall place £2,037,000 on the Consolidated Fund by way of a beginning. I feel as confident as that I am standing here that if that proposition had been made when the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire (Mr. Disraeli) was in office he and his Colleagues would not have felt it to be a 1400 moderate proposal which could have been accepted as a mere matter of course by the Government of the day. The right hon. Gentleman—an ex-Prime Minister and (what on this occasion is more to the purpose) an ex-Chancellor of the Exchequer—spoke of the Consolidated Fund in a way in which it is frequently spoken of outside the walls of this House, but seldom by those who are conversant with finance. He spoke of it as if it were a treasure stored up in a box, on which we could come in times of emergency, instead of its being simply the annual result of the heavy taxation of the people. And, I ask has there been a single Member who has addressed the House to-night who has spoken of the mode and the means by which these £2,000,000 which are to be thrown on the Consolidated Fund are to be raised? It is a very easy, popular, and agreeable thing to propose a relief to ratepayers in town or country, whether as owners or as occupiers. But I contend that the House will never be in a position to judge of the expediency of that course, and that the difficulty of that course will never appear, until side by side with that proposal for the reduction of rates we are informed of the source from which the £2,000,000 are to be obtained. Suppose the Government had undertaken so to reduce the rates this year, would the right hon. Gentleman opposite have been prepared to say that he would have preferred that the reduction of the income tax, or the proposed remission of that tax upon incomes below £300, should have been abandoned; or would he have been ready, for the sake of relieving the classes whose cause he now advocates, to increase the Imperial taxation borne by the great consuming classes of the people? Where is the money to come from? That is a fair question to ask the House of Commons in dealing with such a subject. The right hon. Gentleman stated, and stated correctly, that the Government last year proposed the cession of £1,200,000. Well, I think that was a very great concession. I remember the phrase used by the right hon. Gentleman last year. It was that we were going to hand over Imperial revenues to "obscure vestries." I have been told, too, to-night, that last year we brought in a Bill and withdrew it again without giving hon. Members opposite an opportunity of discussing it. Well, if there 1401 was one person who deplored that more than another it was myself, who had not an opportunity of answering many of the arguments brought against my Bill on the second reading. But who prevented its second reading? The same Gentlemen who are preventing the discussion of many important subjects night by night during this Session. If there be one subject with which the Government has been and is anxious to deal, it is that of local taxation. The pains taken with the measures proposed last year were an earnest of our intention to deal with the question; and the fact that those measures having in many of their details received the approval of hon. Members opposite distinctly shows that the Government were prepared to deal in a comprehensive form with these questions of local taxation. How is it proposed to deal with the question this evening? Only in one way. You are not to improve the administration, nor to improve the relations between county owners and occupiers; you are not asked by hon. Members opposite to divide the rates between the owners and the occupiers. These are matters which can wait; but the one point which must be achieved this Session, and, if possible, to-night, is the transfer of £2,000,000 from the Consolidated Fund. The right hon. Gentleman opposite complains that he has not received one crumb of comfort from the speech of my right hon. Friend (Mr. Stansfeld). But I am prepared to repeat, what was stated by my right hon. Friend and the Government, that there are many means by which local taxation can be improved and relief given to the ratepayers; but of all those means I believe that the constant grasping at the Consolidated Fund, without any accompanying measures of improvement, is the very worst. We are prepared to consider this question rather from any other point of view, by the surrender of revenue, or by means which have been indicated tonight, or by any other means rather than than that which is, no doubt, very easy and seductive, but which is likely to be the most extravagant—namely, by indiscriminate contributions from the Consolidated Fund. The able arguments of my right hon. Friend (Mr. Stansfeld) showed the effects of these grants on local administration. Few hon. Gentlemen have spoken to-night with more good 1402 sense than the hon. Baronet the Member for Wiltshire (Sir George Jenkinson), who indicated that certain sources of revenue, such as the license duties, should be appropriated to county finance. I regard that as a far better proposal than that of giving relief from the Consolidated Fund. The Government have admitted—and the right hon. Gentleman opposite may take comfort from this fact—that the question of local taxation requires to be dealt with. And if the House will support the Government in making progress with the Public Business, it will be seen whether or not we are disposed to deal with this question. I have been asked questions with regard to the Returns on the subject of local taxation by one or two hon. Members who have spoken this evening. I have been asked on what authority those Returns were made. The hon. Baronet (Sir Massey Lopes) has spoken of them as if nobody was responsible for them. In that respect he has not been quite fair, because the very tables themselves show that they were derived from official sources either in this country or in others. There is not a figure in them which I have not carefully checked. It was not, of course, possible that these Returns could have been compiled by a single department, because their very object was to collect into one focus the expenditure of various departments. The hon. Baronet used a very strong term when he spoke of their gross inaccuracy; but I venture to tell him that the figures, though they have been for a considerable time before the public, have never been impugned. The hon. Baronet seemed to assume that I drew a distinction between real and personal property, and then somewhat un-candidly mixed up some of the general taxation as falling on personal property. I, however, did nothing of the kind. I referred in the Return to the taxation of real property, and to the remaining taxation, and my object was to show what amount is paid by real property out of the whole taxation of the country. The hon. Baronet went on to say that the Report had for its object to prove two propositions; but it had no other object than to elicit the truth and to collect the whole of the information at the command of the Government. There was no foregone conclusion. Allusion was also made to the name of the 1403 gentleman who assisted me; but I would observe that he assisted me only as a private secretary would, and that he did his work exceedingly well. I will now, in conclusion, recall to the House for a moment the nature of the Motion under discussion. While we acknowledge, and have acknowledged and will acknowledge that this subject is one of the greatest importance—that it has engaged our attention and will continue to engage our attention—while we do not approach it in a manner hostile to the land or to the farmer, we are not prepared to sanction the wholesale proposal that £2,000,000 should be placed on the Consolidated Fund. Why does the hon. Member for Norfolk (Mr. Colman) support the Motion? Because a lunatic asylum is about to be built in his county. This is a specimen of the local considerations which determine many votes on this important Imperial question. Now, is it, I would ask, for the sake of a particular locality that the House is to give its assent to so sweeping a Resolution? I wish hon. Members to reflect on the troubles which will arise in this House, and in the constituencies, when the question comes to be discussed how these £2,000,000 are to be obtained, and who is to be relieved by this proposal. Let me ask the hon. Baronet whether he is prepared to leave out of his Resolution the words "and owners?" According to his Motion there are two classes to be relieved, the owners and occupiers. Generally speaking, the owners say they pay the whole rate, while the occupiers contend that they pay it. If it is the owners who are to be relieved, are we prepared to replace these £2,000,000 by the general taxation of the country? If that be a right proposition, let the division of the rate between the owners and the occupiers form a part of any plan which is proposed. It has been said that the Amendment is intended to evade the Resolution of the hon. Baronet; but I contend that the Resolution is a means of evading the division of the rates between the owner and the occupier. The hon. Baronet has stated that he was opposed to that division because it would diminish the resistance to the rates which was now made by the two together. But, at all events, I trust the House will not agree to his proposition. There is no disposition on the part of the Government to evade the 1404 question of local taxation. We are prepared to give relief where relief is due; but we prefer any other way to that extravagant way of taking the money out of the Consolidated Fund, which is calculated to bring with it administrative evils to which the majority of the House would, I believe, greatly object.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes 259; Noes 159: Majority 100.
Main Question put, and agreed to.
Resolved, That it is expedient to remedy the injustice of imposing Taxation for National objects on one description of property only, and therefore that no legislation with reference to Local Taxation will be satisfactory which does not provide, either in whole or in part, for the relief of occupiers and owners in counties and boroughs from charges imposed on ratepayers for the administration of justice, police, and lunatics, the expenditure for such purposes being almost entirely independent of local control.—(Sir Massey Lopes.)
|Adderley, rt. hn. Sir C.||Chaplin, H.|
|Amphlett, R. P.||Charley, W. T.|
|Anstruther, Sir K.||Child, Sir S.|
|Arbuthnot, Major G.||Cholmeley, Captain|
|Arkwright, A. P.||Cholmeley, Sir M.|
|Arkwright, R.||Clive, Col. hon. G. W.|
|Assheton, R.||Clowes, S. W.|
|Backhouse, E.||Cole, Col. hon. H. A.|
|Baggallay, Sir R.||Collins, T.|
|Bagge, Sir W.||Colman, J. J.|
|Bailey, Sir J. R.||Corbett, Colonel|
|Barnett, H.||Corrance, F. S.|
|Barrington, Viscount||Corry, rt. hon. H. T. L.|
|Barttelot, Colonel||Cowper, hon. H. F.|
|Bates, E.||Cowper-Temple, right hon. W.|
|Bateson, Sir T.||Craufurd, E. H. J.|
|Beach, Sir M. Hicks-||Crichton, Viscount|
|Beach, W. W. B.||Croft, Sir H. G. D.|
|Bentinck, G. C.||Cross, R. A.|
|Bentinck, G. W. P.||Cubitt, G.|
|Benyon, R.||Dalrymple, C.|
|Beresford, Lt.-Col. M.||Damer, Capt. Dawson-|
|Bingham, Lord||Davenport, W. B.|
|Birley, H.||Denison, C. B.|
|Bourne, Colonel||Dent, J. D.|
|Bouverie, rt. hon. E. P.||Dimsdale, R.|
|Brand, H. R.||Disraeli, rt. hon. B.|
|Brewer, Dr.||Dodson, J. G.|
|Bright, R.||Dowdeswell, W. E.|
|Brise, Colonel R.||Duff, R. W.|
|Broadley, W. H. H.||Duncombe, hon. Col.|
|Brooks, W. C.||Dyke, W. H.|
|Browne, G. E.||Dyott, Colonel R.|
|Bruce, Sir H. H.||Eaton, H. W.|
|Buckley, Sir E.||Egerton, hon. A. F.|
|Burrell, Sir P.||Egerton, Sir P. G.|
|Cadogan, hon. F. W.||Egerton, hon. W.|
|Cartwright, F.||Elcho, Lord|
|Cave, rt. hon. S.||Elliott, G.|
|Cawley, C. E.||Elphinstone, Sir J. D. H.|
|Cecil, Lord E. H. B. G.|
|Ewing, A. Orr-||Lennox, Lord G. G.|
|Fellowes, E.||Lennox, Lord H. G.|
|Fielden, J.||Lewis, H.|
|Figgins, J.||Liddell, hon. H. G.|
|Finch, G. H.||Lindsay, hon. Col. C.|
|Finnie, W.||Lindsay, Colonel R. L.|
|Fitzwilliam, hn. C. W. W.||Lopes, H. C.|
|Floyer, J.||Lowther, W.|
|Foljambe, F. J. S.||Lusk, A.|
|Forde, Colonel||M'Combie, W.|
|Forester, rt. hon. Gen.||Mahon, Viscount|
|Fowler, R. N.||Maitland, Sir A. C. R. G.|
|Galway, Viscount||Malcolm, J. W.|
|Garlies, Lord||Manners, rt. hn. Lord J.|
|Gilpin, Colonel||Manners, Lord G. J.|
|Goldney, G.||March, Earl of|
|Goldsmid, J.||Matthews, H.|
|Gooch, Sir D.||Maxwell, W. H.|
|Gore, J. R. O.||Mellor, T. W.|
|Gore, W. R. O.||Meyrick, T.|
|Graves, S. R.||Milles, hon. G. W.|
|Gray, Lieut.-Colonel||Mills, C. H.|
|Greaves, E.||Mitford, W. T.|
|Greene, E.||Monckton, F.|
|Gregory, G. B.||Monckton, hon. G.|
|Grove, T. F.||Monk, C. J.|
|Guest, A. E.||Montagu, rt. hn. Lord R.|
|Guest, M. J.||Montgomery, Sir G. G.|
|Hambro, C.||Morgan, C. O.|
|Hamilton, Lord C.||Morgan, hon. Major|
|Hamilton, Lord C. J.||Mowbray, rt. hon. J. R.|
|Hamilton, Lord G.||Muncaster, Lord|
|Hamilton, J. G. C.||Neville-Grenville, R.|
|Hardy, J.||Newdegate, C. N.|
|Hardy, J. S.||Newport, Viscount|
|Hay, Sir J. C. D.||Noel, hon. G. J.|
|Headlam, rt. hon. T. E.||North, Colonel|
|Henley, rt. hon. J. W.||Northcote, rt. hn. Sir S. H.|
|Henley, Lord||Paget, R. H.|
|Henry, J. S.||Pakington, rt. hn. Sir J.|
|Herbert, rt. hon. Gen. Sir P.||Palk, Sir L.|
|Hermon, E.||Parker, Lt.-Colonel W.|
|Heygate, W. U.||Parry, L. Jones-|
|Hildyard, T. B. T.||Patten, rt. hon. Col. W.|
|Hill, A. S.||Peel, J.|
|Hoare, Sir H. A.||Pemberton, E. L.|
|Hoare, P. M.||Phipps, C. P.|
|Hodgson, W. N.||Plunket, hon. D. R.|
|Hogg, J. M.||Powell, F. S.|
|Holford, J. P. G.||Powell, W.|
|Holmesdale, Viscount||Raikes, H. C.|
|Holt, J. M.||Read, C. S.|
|Hood, Capt. hon. A. W. A. N.||Ridley, M. W.|
|Hope, A. J. B. B.||Round, J.|
|Hornby, E. K.||Royston, Viscount|
|Hunt, rt. hon. G. W.||Sackville, S. G. Stopford-|
|Jackson, R. W.||St. Aubyn, J.|
|Jenkinson, Sir G. S.||Salt, T.|
|Jones, J.||Samuda, J. D'A.|
|Kavanagh, A. Mac M.||Sclater-Booth, G.|
|Kekewich, S. T.||Scott, Lord H. J. M. D.|
|Kennaway, J. H.||Scourfield, J. H.|
|Keown, W.||Selwin-Ibbetson, Sir H. J.|
|Kingscote, Colonel||Shirley, S. E.|
|Knightley, Sir R.||Sinclair, Sir J. G. T.|
|Lacon, Sir E. H. K.||Smith, A.|
|Laird, J.||Smith, F. C.|
|Langton, W. G.||Smith, R.|
|Laslett, W.||Smith, S. G.|
|Learmonth, A.||Smith, W. H.|
|Legh, W. J.||Somerset, Lord H. R. C.|
|Stanley, hon. F.|
|Starkie, J. P. C.||Walsh, hon. A.|
|Steere, L.||Waterhouse, S.|
|Stone, W. H.||Watney, J.|
|Straight, D.||Wedderburn, Sir D.|
|Stronge, Sir J. M.||Welby, W. E.|
|Sturt, H. G.||Wells, E.|
|Sturt, Lt.-Col. N.||Wells, W.|
|Sykes, C.||Wethered, T. O.|
|Talbot, J. G.||Wheelhouse, W. S. J.|
|Thynne, Lord H. F.||Williams, C. H.|
|Tipping, W.||Winn, R.|
|Tollemache, Major W.F.||Wise, H. C.|
|Tomline, G.||Wyndham, hon. P.|
|Torrens, W. T. M'C.||Wynn, C. W. W.|
|Turner, C.||Yorke, J. R.|
|Walker, Major G. G.||Amcotts, Colonel W. C.|
|Walpole, hon. F.||Lopes, Sir M.|
|Walpole, rt. hon. S. H.|
|Acland, Sir T. D.||Ewing, H. E. Crum-|
|Anderson, G.||Eykyn, R.|
|Armitstead, G.||Fawcett, H.|
|Ayrton, rt. hon. A. S.||Forster, C.|
|Bagwell, J.||Forster, rt. hon. W. E.|
|Baines, E.||Fortescue, rt. hon. C. P.|
|Baker, R. B. W.||Fortescue, hon. D. F.|
|Barry, A. H. S.||Foster, W. H.|
|Baxter, W. E.||Gladstone, rt. hn. W. E.|
|Bazley, Sir T.||Gladstone, W. H.|
|Beaumont, Capt. F.||Goldsmid, Sir F.|
|Beaumont, S. A.||Goschen, rt. hon. G. J.|
|Beaumont, W. B.||Gourley, E. T.|
|Bective, Earl of||Gower, hon. E. F. L.|
|Biddulph, M.||Gray, Sir J.|
|Blennerhassett, R.||Greville-Nugent, hon. G. F.|
|Bonham-Carter, J.||Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.|
|Bowmont, Marquess of||Grieve, J. J.|
|Bowring, E. A.||Grosvenor, hon. N.|
|Brassey, T.||Hanmer, Sir J.|
|Bright, J. (Manchester)||Hardcastle, J. A.|
|Brinckman, Captain||Harris, J. D.|
|Brown, A. H.||Hartington, Marquess of|
|Bruce, Lord C.||Hibbert, J. T.|
|Bruce, rt. hon. Lord E.||Holland, S.|
|Bruce, rt. hon. H. A.||Holms, J.|
|Buckley, N.||Hoskyns, C. Wren-|
|Bury, Viscount||Howard, hon. C. W. G.|
|Campbell, H.||Hughes, T.|
|Candlish, J.||Hurst, R. H.|
|Cardwell, rt. hon. E.||Hutt, rt. hon. Sir W.|
|Carnegie, hon. C.||Illingworth, A.|
|Carter, R. M.||James, H.|
|Cartwright, W. C.||Jardine, R.|
|Cavendish, Lord F. C.||Jessel, Sir G.|
|Cavendish, Lord G.||Johnston, A.|
|Chad wick, D.||Kay-Shuttleworth, U. J.|
|Childers, rt. hn. H. C. E.||Kensington, Lord|
|Clifford, C. C.||King, hon. P. J. L.|
|Coleridge, Sir J. D.||Knatchbull-Hugessen, E. H.|
|Dalglish, R.||Lancaster, J.|
|Dalrymple, D.||Lawrence, W.|
|Davies, R.||Lawson, Sir W.|
|Delahunty, J.||Lea, T.|
|Denman, hon. G.||Leeman, G.|
|Dickinson, S. S.||Lefevre, G. J. S.|
|Dowse, rt. hon. R.||Locke, J.|
|Duff, M. E. G.||Lowe, rt. hon. R.|
|Egerton, Capt. hon. F.|
|Lubbook, Sir J.||Russell, H.|
|Lyttelton, hon. C. G.||Seely, C. (Nottingham)|
|Macfie, R. A.||Shaw, R.|
|Mackintosh, E. W.||Sheridan, H. B.|
|M'Clure, T.||Simon, Mr. Serjeant|
|Magniac, C.||Smith, R.|
|Marling, S. S.||Stansfeld, rt. hon. J.|
|Melly, G.||Stapleton, J.|
|Miller, J.||Stepney, Sir J.|
|Monsell, rt. hon. W.||Stevenson, J. C.|
|Morgan, G. Osborne||Storks, rt. hn. Sir H. K.|
|Morrison, W.||Strutt, hon. H.|
|Mundella, A. J.||Stuart, Colonel|
|O'Conor, D. M.||Tollemaohe, hon. F. J.|
|O'Reilly-Dease, M.||Tracy, hon. C. R. D. Hanbury-|
|Palmer, J. H.||Trevelyan, G. O.|
|Parker, C. S.||Verney, Sir H.|
|Peel, A. W.||Vivian, H. H.|
|Pelham, Lord||Walter, J.|
|Pender, J.||West, H. W.|
|Philips, R. N.||Whitbread, S.|
|Pim, J.||Whitwell, J.|
|Playfair, L.||Whitworth, T.|
|Plimsoll, S.||Williams, W.|
|Portman, hon. W. H. B.||Winterbotham, H. S. P.|
|Potter, E.||Woods, H.|
|Potter, T. B.||Young, A. W.|
|Price, W. P.||Young, G.|
|Robertson, D.||Adam, W. P.|
|Roden, W. S.||Glyn, hon. G. G.|