HC Deb 20 June 1878 vol 240 cc1990-4

Bill considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)

The following Amendments were made, and the clauses, as amended, were agreed to:

Clause 107, line 6, all the words after the word "place" in that line, down to the word "house" in line 8 were left out; Clause 191, page 69, line 6, to insert after the word "situated," "any such clerk, &c."


, in moving, after Clause 229, to insert the following Clause:—

(Incidence of rate.) Where the person occupying property out of which any money is payable under the two hundred and twenty-fourth and two hundred and twenty-seventh sections of this Act shall be liable to pay a rent in respect of the same, he may deduct from such rent, for each pound of the rent which he shall be liable to pay, one half of the sum which he shall have paid under the said sections in respect of each pound of the net annual value (whether such rent shall be greater or less than such net annual value), and so in proportion for any less sum than a pound: And be it further enacted, That where any person receiving rent in respect of any rate able property shall also pay a rent in respect of the same, he shall be entitled to deduct from the rent so paid by him a sum bearing such a proportion to the amount of rate deducted from the rent received by him as the rent paid by him bears to the rent received by him; said, it had reference to the mode of raising taxation in towns for the purposes of the Act. In rural districts sanitary rates were to be paid partly by the owner and partly by the occupier, while in towns they were to be paid entirely by the occupier. This was manifestly very unfair, for sanitary improvements in towns were far more permanent than they were in the country; and they were, therefore, of far more value to the owner than to the occupier, for the latter's interest was usually of a very transitory character, seeing that he might reside in the town only for a very short period. If owners of property had to pay some of the rates, they would be likely, also, to take far greater interest in municipal affairs. It had been suggested to him that it would be better to raise this question in the Committee which was sitting on Local Government and Taxation of Towns in Ireland; but he contended that it was properly raised on that Bill, which was an amending, as well as a consolidating, Bill. In the towns, the owners were a far wealthier class than the occupiers, and this added to the injustice of saddling the latter with the entire of the rates. Another effect which the Amendment would have would be, that it would induce owners, who were usually of the higher class, to take a practical interest in the working of municipal institutions, to which they would be freely elected if only they became candidates.


said, this was a most important question, and he could not at all dispute the right of his hon. and learned Friend to raise it. At the same time, he ventured to think the Amendment went beyond the general frame and scope of the Bill. This was essentially a Consolidation Act, bringing into a reasonable compass and united form about 20 Acts for the use of those who had to administer the law. It was true it was also, in one sense, an amending Act. When it was apparent that certain matters required amendment, and the change did not interfere with the important principles which lay beneath the sanitary system of Ireland, then amendment had been made. But, though several changes had been made in machinery, few alterations had been made in principles. The Amendment, on the other hand, involved the gravest issues that could be suggested, and, if carried, it was obvious the matter could not be left there. There was a broad and obvious distinction between the country and the town. In the country the landlord paid part of the rate, but then he had a large voice in the distribution of the money. That was not the case in the towns; and if the occupiers had to pay the entire rate, they also had the privilege of spending it. If the Amendment were adopted, it would practically involve the withdrawal of the Bill, which, he was sure, was not the desire of his hon. and learned Friend. He therefore trusted the Motion would not be pressed. He thought that the question would be more properly discussed before the Local Government and Taxation of Towns Committee, and on the Bill, which might be the outcome of their labours.


felt that the arguments were entirely in favour of his hon. and learned Friend (Mr. O'Shaughnessy); but he trusted, nevertheless, that he would not press the Amendment. No good could possibly be served by it, for this was part of a very wide question, which could scarcely be settled at the moment. He did not agree with the argument that owners were not represented in towns. They were represented even at present indirectly, and they might be much more adequately represented if they were not so apathetic, and if they did not abstain from taking any part in municipal government. The Amendment would remove one anomaly, but it would create another, by making a difference between new urban districts and the old ones. The question was a very wide one, and could be far better discussed by the Committee then sitting. His hon. and learned Friend desired to see the Bill pass, and he must be aware that his Amendment would serve no practical purpose. Therefore, he would appeal to him not to press it.


said, he had no desire to interfere with the passing of the Bill, and therefore he would withdraw the Amendment. At the same time, he protested againt the idea that in these Consolidation Bills they were to renew all defective principles, and no one was to be allowed to discuss them, but that they were always to be told that they must pass new amending Acts. If owners of property in boroughs were not represented, it was entirely their own fault; and one object he had in view in proposing this new clause was to rouse them out of their apathy, and make them take seats on the municipal councils. Only by indirect means could they induce owners to take an interest in local affairs, and one of the best was to make them pay money out of their own pockets, and so to give them an interest in its expenditure.

Clause, by leave, withdrawn.

House resumed.

Bill reported; as amended, to be considered To-morrow, at Two of the clock.