HC Deb 06 June 1878 vol 240 cc1316-8

(Mr. Sclater-Booth, Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr. Salt.)


Order for Second Reading read.


in moving that the Bill be now read a second time, said, that he had on two occasions, and at some length, explained the object with which it was introduced, and on each it was read a second time without a division. Last Session Notice was given of a number of Amendments, and those Amendments had received careful consideration at the hands of the able draftsman of the Bill, with this result—that many of the Amendments had been adopted, and would be found incorporated in the Bill which was now before the House. He was quite ready to consider any suggestion that might be made for the further improvement of the Bill, the main object of which was to consolidate two Acts—the Union Assessment Committee Act and the Metropolis Valuation Act, the latter containing most of the improvements which it was desired to incorporate into the Union Assessment Committee Acts, and apply to the country at large. He was satisfied that the Bill as it now stood was well understood, and was approved by the great majority of the authorities throughout the Kingdom by whom, when it became law, it would have to be administered.

Motion made, and Question proposed, ''That the Bill be now read a second time."—(Mr. Sclater-Booth.)


said, he did not rise to oppose the second reading of the Bill, but to protest against its being accepted as merely a Consolidation Bill. It was, in fact, something very different from a Consolidation Bill, combining, as it did, an Act which applied to the country generally with one which had reference to the Metropolis only.


regarded the Bill as one of great importance and deserving of mature consideration. Unhappily, the time of the House had been occupied—he would not say by obstructive tactics, but by methods of discussion which had deprived them of the opportunity of giving to important measures of legislation the attention to which they were entitled. It was true, as his right hon. Friend had observed, that a Valuation Bill had been twice read a second time by the House; but the present Bill was not that which the House had before them last year, as it had been materially altered by the incorporation of Amendments. The Bill, if it were passed as it now stood, would fail in this—that it would not secure uniformity of assessment in any county. The County Government Bill was, as they all knew, gone for this year, and that being so, there would be nobody to say whether the assessment in each Union was fair and equal in each county. This he could not help regarding as a great defect. He was very sorry his right hon. Friend the Member for the City of London (Mr. J. G. Hubbard) was not in his place. He had a most important Amendment upon the Paper, which certainly deserved the serious consideration of the House. If the Bill went into Committee, as he concluded it would, he hoped that Amendment would be passed, as no one could read the Bill without seeing that its intention was to raise the valuation up as high as possible. That being so, and as by the Bill all rates were to be levied on the same assessment, if they had only put that Imperial taxes as well as local should be levied on the net instead of the gross estimated rental, he would not push this question further. But he hoped that if the Bill became law, its provisions would secure equal rating throughout the country.


thought that, upon the whole, the Bill was an improvement upon that of last year. Several objectionable clauses had been removed, and new clauses of which he approved had been added. They were, however, proposing to legislate on a wrong principle. The Bill should follow, and not precede, the establishment of County Boards. Take it altogether, however, considering the difficulty in the way of proposing a county government system which would meet the wishes of the House, he was glad that the Bill was being proceeded with. Many alterations might be fairly made in it when in Committee.


saw no reason why the Bill should not go into Committee. It was an immense improvement on the Bill of last year, and he trusted that the House would agree to the second reading.

Motion agreed to.

Bill read a second time, and committed for Friday 14th June, at Two of the clock.