§ MR. H. R. FARQUHARSON (Dorset, W.)
asked the President of the Local Government Board, Whether it is a fact that on 1st March Mr. Walter Mumford, tax collector and assistant overseer at Crewkerne, went to the house of Mr. R. Higdon, baker, of Crewkerne, to apply for the rates due for the current quarter, and, not finding Mr. Higdon at home, declined to allow the removal of one of several sacks of flour from the house until the rates were paid; whether Mr. Higdon, on being telegraphed for, returned home at considerable inconvenience and expense, and at once paid the rates; and, whether such a mode of collecting the rates is legal, and meets with the approval of the Local Government Board; and, if not, what compensation will be paid to Mr. Higdon, and to what authorities should application be made to bring the conduct of Mr. W. Mumford, who holds the offices of tax collector and assistant overseer at Crewkerne, under the notice of his superiors?
§ THE PRESIDENT (Mr. JOSEPH CHAMBERLAIN) (Birmingham, W.)
We have made inquiry respecting this matter. Mr. Mumford is the collector of Imperial taxes, as well as the collector of the poor rate. So far as regards taxes, the Board of Inland Revenue state that a collector deeming the duties in danger would be perfectly justified in distraining. The collector of poor rates has no such power, and Mr. Mumford denies that his action as to the flour had any reference to parochial rates. The sum necessary to pay both taxes and rates was borrowed from a neighbour 1629 by Mrs. Higdon, and the payment was made by her. The telegram was not sent to Mr. Higdon until some time after the payment had been made, and Mr. Mumford had left. Mr. Higdon did not therefore return home at considerable inconvenience and expense for the purpose of paying the rates. Upon the facts at present before the Board, they see no grounds for any claim for compensation by Mr. Higdon. As collector of taxes, Mr. Mumford is responsible to the District Commissioners of Taxes, by whom he was appointed; and, as to his office of assistant overseer, the inhabitants of the parish in vestry assembled can, if they think fit, determine his appointment. Any representations which Mr. Higdon may desire to make may be made to those authorities.