§ MR. T. ROBINSON (Gloucester)
I beg to ask the President of the Local Government Board whether he is aware that a great many of the county boroughs in England are very dissatisfied with the decisions of the Commissioners as to the division of the sums received for Probate and Licence Duty granted under the provisions of "The Local Government Act, 1888"; whether he has been informed that in all cases the Commissioners have refused leave to appeal upon points of law and otherwise; whether it is true that the county borough of Gloucester (by the decision of the Commissioners) is only to receive the small sum of £4,050, whereas the County Council of Gloucestershire is given the large sum of £74,000; whether he is aware upon what grounds the Commissioners arrived at this decision, and that the effect of it will be to deprive the citizens of Gloucester of nearly all the advantage they expected to receive under the provisions of the aforesaid Act; whether he is aware that the City of Gloucester was an independent county of itself before the passing of the Local Government Act, and not liable to pay any sum to the then County Authority; whereas, under the decision of the Commissioners, the citizens will now have to pay to the County Council yearly, out of the sums received within the limits of the county borough for Probate and Licence Duty, the large sum of £3,000 and upwards; and whether the City Council have any, and, if so, what, remedy under the Act?
§ MR. RITCHIE
The Commissioners are discharging the duties which have been expressly entrusted to them by Parliament, and their awards are binding and conclusive to and for all in- 1610 tents and purposes, and have the like effect as if they were made by a Judge of the High Court of Justice. The Local Government Board are furnished with copies of the awards made by the Commissioners; but they obviously have no authority to inquire as to the proceedings of the Commissioners and the grounds for their decision. With respect to the statement in the question that the City of Gloucester will have to pay yearly out of the sum received within the limits of the county borough, for Probate and Licence Duty, upwards of £3,000, I must remind the hon. Member that for the purposes of the distribution of the Licence Duties and the Probate Duty grant the city is to be deemed to he situate within the county, and that the only claim which the city has is to such an amount in respect of the grant referred to as the Commissioners determine to he equitable as between the city and the county.