§ MR. DE COBAIN (Belfast, E.)
asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether the Local Government Board in Ireland has a discretionary power to amend the existing regulation, that when premises were occupied on the day when the Poor's Rate was struck, the owner of such premises, or any subsequent occupier, became responsible for a full year's rate, though 32 the said premises might have been vacant for nearly the whole of the period for which such rate was charged; and whether, if the law as it now stands establishes this liability of vacant premises, he would undertake to introduce a measure which would conform the incidence of liability to that which regulates the payment of Income Tax and municipal rates, which are only collectable for such periods as the owners or occupiers have enjoyed a beneficial interest in the premises liable to the payment of such rates and taxes?
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
The Local Government Board has not any discretionary power as to the rating liability of vacant premises. The rating and the liability to pay the rate are regulated by statute, under which (unless where the lessor is rated) the actual occupier at the time of the rate is liable, and on his default the person subsequently in occupation, who, however, if the payment is made by him after two months from the making of the rate, may deduct the entire amount from the rent payable to his landlord. I do not know that it is desirable to introduce legislation such as is suggested.