§ MR. WOOTTON ISAACSON (Tower Hamlets, Stepney)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether the Government will interfere in the relief of the ratepayers, either by monopolizing the supply of water to the Metropolis, or controlling the present rates of the Water Companies; whereby the present system of assessing the inhabitants of the Metropolis to the water rate upon the gross rental of their premises rather than upon the consumption, as in the case of gas, being especially felt by the trading community of the East End of London, who are heavily rated for their business, as distinguished from other residential premises, and are consequently charged to an amount wholly disproportionate to their limited consumption?
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE (Mr. MATTHEWS) (Birmingham, E.)
My hon. Friend must be aware that the Government have no power by law to interfere 1773 with the statutory right of the Water Companies to charge water rates upon the rental of premises rather than upon the consumption. They could, doubtless, propose by legislation to buy up and extinguish the rights of the Water Companies; but they contemplate no such legislation this Session.