HC Deb 05 July 1888 vol 328 cc416-7
MR. D. A. THOMAS (Merthyr Tydvil)

asked the President of the Local Government Board, Whether he is aware that, under the method proposed in the Local Government Bill of apportioning the Probate Duty grant, Wales, owing to the manner in which poor relief is there administered, will receive little more than half the grant to which ac- cording to her population she is entitled; and, whether he will consider the equity of allocating to Wales an amount proportionate to her population?

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

It is the fact that the share of the Probate Duty grant which Wales will receive under the Local Government Bill will not be so large if the grant is divided according to the indoor pauperism, as it would be if the grant were divided according to the population. But I have already shown, in the discussions on the Bill, how unfairly the distribution of the grant according to population would work in certain cases, especially in the Metropolis, where the relief to the ratepayers (excluding the Horse and Wheel Tax) would be reduced to ½d. in the £1 if this mode of distribution were adopted; whereas the average relief to the whole of England and Wales is 3½d. in the £1. The Government have always maintained that the financial proposals in the Bill must be regarded as a whole. Regarded in this way, the relief to Wales (leaving out of account the Wheel and Horse Tax) will be upwards of £89,000. If Wales were to receive exactly the same proportion as England it would obtain £93,000, or about £4,000 more than it will receive under the Bill. But if the Probate Duty grant were divided according to the population, as suggested by the hon. Member, Wales would receive £43,000 more than it will under the Bill—that is, instead of getting £4,000 less than the average relief it would obtain £39,000 more.