HC Deb 05 June 1888 vol 326 cc1159-60
MR. PRESTON BRUCE (Fifeshire, W.)

asked the Lord Advocate, Whether it is the fact that the names of householders who are workmen occupying houses belonging to their employers on a tenancy determinable with their employment, but paying rent in the shape of a periodical deduction from their wages, are in Mid Lothian and Fife inserted in the "Inhabitant Occupier" column of the Valuation Roll, whereas in Lanarkshire they are inserted in the "Tenant" column; in how many counties the former, and in how many the latter, system obtains; whether both systems are legal; and, if so, with whom lies the discretion of deciding in each case which system shall be adopted; and, whether on the adoption of the one or the other depends the having or not having of school board and municipal votes by a very large number of householders, especially in the industrial and mining districts?

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

I apologize for not being in my place when the Question was first asked. I was under examination upstairs before a Select Committee, and I assure my hon. Friend I would much rather have been here. I answer the first paragraph in the affirmative; 13 counties follow the first practice, and three the second; and in three counties the practice varies according to the mode in which the master holds the property. If he is proprietor, the occupiers are entered as tenants; if he rents the property in which his employés live, they are entered as inhabitant occupiers. The remaining counties have no cases falling under the Question. In answer to the third paragraph, I have to say that both systems cannot be legal, and the Registration Court is the proper tribunal to say which should be followed. I answer the fourth paragraph in the affirmative. It is certainly desirable that this matter should be brought to the test of legal decision, as the present position of matters is anomalous and unsatisfactory.