HC Deb 02 February 1891 vol 349 cc1516-8
MR. BAUMANN (Camberwell, Peckham)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been drawn to the fast that no less than 567 appeals under "The Valuation (Metropolis) Act, 1869," are entered for trial at the approaching Quarter Sessions for the County of London, 18 of which are appeals by the London County Council, one being a test case involving the rating of some 4,000 hereditaments, and that the trial of the said appeals, which, under Section 42, Sub-section (13), of the Act must be determined before the ensuing 31st of March, now devolves, by the Local Government Act, upon Sir P. Edlin, the Chairman of the Quarter Sessions for the County of London; whether he is aware that the London County Council have refused to increase the salary of Sir P. Edlin, although the criminal business of the Quarter Sessions has, by the Local Government Act, been increased by one-third, and the trial of all assessment appeals transferred to it; whether, having regard to the enormous importance to the ratepayers of London of the re-assessment of the Metropolis, he will take steps to re-constitute the old Court of Assessment Sessions, and charge the salary of the Chairman of the same upon the Consolidated Fund, and thus make him completely independent of the London County Council, whose appeals he is required to adjudicate upon; and whether, having regard to the action of the London County Council, he will advise that the salary attaching to the office of Chairman of Quarter Sessions of London shall be supplemented, on public grounds, from the Consolidated Fund, as was the case prior to the passing of the Local Government Act?


By the Local Government Act the trial of the appeals referred to devolves upon the Quarter Sessions of the County of London, and can take place before the Chairman or before his deputies. The old Court of General Assessment Sessions could not be re-constituted without an Act of Parliament; and its revival, if possible, would not be expedient. I am aware that, although Sir P. Edlin's duties have been largely increased by the Local Government Act, there has been at present no increase made in his salary. I am not prepared to act on the suggestion in the last paragraph. It is hardly accurate to say that before the Local Government Act Sir P. Edlin's salary was supplemented out of the Consolidated Fund. He had a fixed salary, of which one-half was charged on the Consolidated Fund and one-half on the County Rate. Parliament decided by the Local Government Act that the whole of the salary shall be paid out of the County Fund.