HC Deb 21 May 1874 vol 219 cc669-71

Order for Second Reading read.


, in moving that the Bill be now read a second time, said, that under a statute passed in the 11th year of the present reign, known as "Jervis's Act," it was enacted that all penalties inflicted by certain local statutes under which summary convictions were had, if there was no special direction for their application, should be paid to "the treasurer of the county, riding, division, liberty, city, borough, or place," where such convictions occurred. Accordingly, when a person was brought up, for instance, under the Beer House Act or the Pedlars Act, the fines levied had been paid into the borough fund. In 1868, however, the meaning of the term "borough or place" was questioned, and in a case which occurred at Reigate the matter was submitted to the Court of Queen's Bench, which decided that the term "borough or place" applied only to boroughs having separate Courts of Quarter Sessions. The boroughs which had no separate Courts, but had their own police and their own magistracy, still continued paying these fines, fees, and penalties into the borough fund; but in a case of the borough of Bradford, which occurred in 1869, the question was submitted to the Court of Exchequer, when the same decision pronounced in the Reigate case was also pronounced in that case. By this Bill he was merely asking the House to restore what had been the practice before these decisions were given. He believed there were no less than 60 boroughs concerned in this matter, boroughs not having separate Courts of Quarter Sessions, but having their own police and magistracy paid and supported out of their rates. Those boroughs paid county rates, and they alleged that the fines, fees, and penalties recovered under summary convictions far exceeded the amount of the cost and maintenance of the prisoners committed in default of payment; and in addition to that they asserted that the county rates were more than sufficient to cover all the costs and charges of those prisoners. The hon. and learned Member having referred to a Return presented to the House, which showed that certain boroughs paid over to the counties larger sums than the prisoners of those boroughs cost the counties, said, he would submit that the boroughs should be allowed to receive all their fees, fines, and penalties into the borough funds.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."—(Mr. Serjeant Simon.)


said, he was anxious that the question should not assume the proportion of one between the counties and boroughs, and he did not think that the county Members had any desire to put their hands into the pockets of the boroughs. He would remind the hon. and learned Member that the sum paid by boroughs in contribution to the county rate, embraced a large area over which that money was spread, and the maintenance of these short time prisoners was but a very small item. He would suggest, as a practical solution of the question, that the boroughs should retain their fees, fines, and penalties, and pay to the counties the actual cost of maintenance for the prisoners they sent into the county gaol. If the boroughs were prepared to accept such a solution, the Government would not oppose the second reading, with the understanding that a clause in Committee would be inserted to that effect.


said, he thought that the proposition was a fair one, and ought to be accepted by the House.


contended that the alteration now proposed would operate to the detriment of some boroughs, and that the ratepayers of his borough—Ashton-under-Lyne—would have to pay higher rates.


accepted the proposition of the hon. Baronet.

Motion agreed to.

Bill read a second time, and committed for Monday 1st June.