HC Deb 31 August 1886 vol 308 cc885-6
MR. MORE (Shropshire, Ludlow)

asked the President of the Local Government Board, Whether he is aware that the registration of voters is entrusted by the County Voters Act in Scotland to a public official called an assessor, who also superintends the yearly valuation of property, and who may be also an Inland Revenue officer; how the number of such assessors is determined; what is their usual salary, and how that salary is paid; and, if he would make inquiries as to whether this plan is considered satisfactory in Scotland; and, if so, if he would further consider whether the introduction of such an official would not be conducive to making the register of Parliamentary voters in England a more complete register of all persons duly qualified to vote than it is under the present system?

THE PRESIDENT (Mr. RITCHIE) (Tower Hamlets, St. George's)

said, he was very much obliged to the hon. Member for having sent him a Schedule which furnished him with materials for answering this Question; but as the Question dealt with a subject of Scottish law, in the intricacies of which he was afraid he was not competent to enter, he must refer him to his right hon. and learned Friend the Lord Advocate, who, he believed, was prepared to answer that portion of the Question. With reference to the last portion of the Question, if it should be his duty to deal with the question of the Registration Laws in England, he certainly should not fail to avail himself of all the information at his disposal.

THE LORD ADVOCATE (Mr. J. H. A. MACDONALD) (Edinburgh and St. Andrew's Universities)

said, the Assessor in Scotland made out the Valuation Roll, and it was also his duty to prepare a List of Voters, with the view to its revisal in the proper Court. His primary duty was to make up the Valuation Roll; but the separate duty was put upon him by statute. The Assessors were generally one for each county, and one for each of the principal burghs. Only one county in Scotland had two Assessors—namely, the county of Lanark—where the great size and population of the county made this necessary. A salary was paid for the work of making up the Valuation Roll. The amount of the salary was determined by the magistrates in the burghs, and by the Commissioners of Supply in the counties. It was quite usual to appoint an officer of the Inland Revenue to act as Assessor; and he believed that that arrangement had proved so satisfactory that the tendency was all in the direction—in the counties certainly—of appointing an Inland Revenue officer to act. When an Inland Revenue officer was appointed, he received no salary for the work of making up the Valuation Roll; but he was paid for the work of making up the List of Voters in preparation for the Registration Courts.