§ MR. JAMES STEVENSON (South Shields)
I beg to ask the President of the Local Government Board if his attention has been called to the circumstance that summonses have been issued and are now pending before the South Shields magistrates, against the Commanding Officer of the Artillery and Rifle Volunteers in that town, for payment of Poor Rate on their respective drill halls; whether he is aware that this is the first time that the Poor Law Authorities have sought to enforce a claim for Poor Rate on these drill halls; and whether he can give any protection in the circumstances against what is practically a new tax on the Volunteer Service in respect of buildings provided by the Volunteers for their own purposes and without any profit from their use?
§ THE SECRETARY TO THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD (Mr. LONG,) Wilts, Devizes
I understand that proceedings have been instituted in South Shields for the recovery of Poor Rates which have been assessed on Volunteer drill halls. The question as to the liability of these premises to be assessed is a question of law which must be left to the decision of the Court. The Local Government Board have no power 553 whatever to protect the Volunteer Service from assessment to local rates for premises occupied by them when the premises are legally liable to such rates.