HC Deb 27 June 1873 vol 216 cc1522-3

in rising to move— That the levying of local rates and assessments on lands and houses for the erection and repair of Churches and Manses in Scotland, for the supposed benefit of a minority of the population, is unjust in principle, and the cause of great dissatisfaction amongst the people; and looking to the hopes held out by the Government on the subject, this House is of opinion that a Bill should be introduced by the Government during the present Session of Parliament, to remove the existing grievance. said, that the Motion of which he had given Notice was to the effect, that the House was of opinion that Her Majesty's Government should during the present Session introduce a Bill for the abolition of rates for the building and repair of churches and manses in Scotland. He should like the House to understand that the people of Scotland were asking no peculiar privileges. Similar rates were abolished in Ireland a very long time ago, and in England they were abolished within the last few years. In England, the rates were not exactly abolished out and out, but the power of distraint in order to compel their payment was taken from the Church. In like manner, all the people of Scotland desired was to be placed on a footing of equality with their English brethren; not that church rates should be peremptorily abolished by Act of Parliament, but that the power of distraining for church rates should be abolished. The people of Scotland thought that in all parts of the Empire equal justice should be done, and that what was found a good law for England could not possibly be found other than a good law for Scotland. There was a distinction to be drawn between the church rates as they were levied in England and church rates levied in Scotland—namely, that although in England the burden of the church rates fell upon land, yet they were, in the first instance, paid by the occupiers. In Scotland, the rate was not disguised in that manner, because it was directly payable by the landowner. The hon. Member having read a Petition of the Synod of the United Presbyterian Church of Scotland, was proceeding, when—

Notice taken, that 40 Members were not present; House counted, and 40 Members not being present,

House adjourned at a quarter after Nine o'clock till Monday next.