HC Deb 06 September 1887 vol 320 cc1359-60
MR. HOWELL (Bethnal Green, N.E.)

asked the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether, under the Acts for the Commutation of Tithes, the contributions towards compulsory redemption are payable by the occupier, or persons in possession of the land, whether as freeholders, lessees under a beneficial lease, or mortgagee; whether he is aware that tithes are subject to local rates, and that their commutation will deprive Local Authorities of the moans of recovering that source of income; and, whether, if the facts be as stated, Her Majesty's Government will introduce a measure to prevent injustice being done to leaseholders and the ratepayers generally, by the present mode of compulsory tithe redemption?

THE FIRST LORD (Mr. W. H. SMITH) () Strand, Westminster

Contributions towards the compulsory redemption of tithe rent-charge are, under the Acts for the commutation of tithes, payable by the owners of the lands chargeable therewith—that is, the persons in actual receipt of the rents or profits of the land, whether as freeholders or mortgagees, in possession. In the case of a beneficial lease (on which a rent less than two-thirds the value of the premises is reserved, and of which the term exceeds 14 years) the lessee and lossor are jointly liable according to their respective interests. In regard to the second part of the Question of the hon. Member, a rent-charge has been substituted for tithes, and this rent-charge is subject to local rates under 6 & 7 Will. IV. c. 71, ss. 69 and 70. When the rent-charge is redeemed the Local Authorities lose the rates upon it; but the rateable value of the property which was subject to the rent-charge is increased when freed from the charge; and, consequently, the rates lost in respect of the rent-charge are practically recouped by the increased sum received from rates on the property. I am not prepared, therefore, to accept the view of the hon. Member that injustice is done either to leaseholders or ratepayers.