HC Deb 27 May 1875 vol 224 cc920-1

asked the President of the Local Government Board, Whether, as much misapprehension appears to exist in the minds of Boards of Guardians as to the application of the Rating Act of last year in respect of the special extra rating of land (for game) in the occupation of an owner or a tenant, be it either a farm, or a park, or coverts, he will state the conditions under which land so occupied can be legally rated under the Act referred to, viz. under section 2 of Clause 3, and Clause 6 of said Act; and, further, if he will, with a view to saving people from having to appeal from rating improperly made, issue definite instructions to rating authorities to confine themselves strictly to the powers conferred by that Act?


in reply, said, he gathered from the terms of the Question that there still existed some uncertainty upon a point which he had thought had been made perfectly clear both by the terms of the Rating Act and by various Answers which he had given in the House of Commons—namely, that any assessment of sporting rights under the Act of last Session must be exclusively in cases where the occupation of the soil was severed from the ownership of the soil. If any rating of sporting rights in respect of lands which were in the occupation of the owner was going on throughout the country, it was done, not under that Act, but in accordance with the previous law. The Local Government Board, following their usual practice, had issued a careful resumé of the Rating Act, laying down clearly the principles by which the Assessment Committees ought to be guided in their proceedings. He did not think it would be convenient to issue a further Circular, nor could he adopt the suggestion in the Question that he should give definite instructions to the rating authorities to confine themselves strictly to the powers given by the Act. He had no more authority to give such instructions than any other person. While he would be very glad if persons could be spared the annoyance and expense of appeals, it was impossible when a new Act like this came into operation to prevent legal questions from arising, and it was not in his power to do more in the matter than he had already done.