HC Deb 19 March 1891 vol 351 cc1419-20
MR. COBB (Warwick, S.E., Rugby)

I beg to ask the President of the Local Government Board whether he is aware that, at a large meeting of the St. James' Vestry held on 5th March, a numerous deputation of ratepayers attended as to the assessments made by the Assessment Committee, and a long debate took place; whether he is aware that it was alleged, and figures quoted to prove, that the assessments upon premises occupied by many members of the Committee had been lowered or kept at the same amount, while the assessments of adjoining or neighbouring premises, not occupied by members of the Committee, had been raised; whether the figures shown in the Valuation List books bear out this allegation; and whether he will cause an inquiry to be made, with a view to putting an end to the dissatisfaction which exists among many of the leading ratepayers in the parish?


I have communicated with the Vestry clerk on this subject, and have ascertained that at the meeting referred to a deputation of ratepayers attended, and made allegations to the effect stated in the question against the Committee of the Vestry, by whom the Valuation List for the parish was prepared. I am unable to say whether the figures in the list bear out these allegations, but I find that at the meeting the matter was referred to a Committee of the whole Vestry, and that this Committee have decided to recommend the Vestry to intimate to the deputation that the apparent anomalies to which attention has been called admit, in their opinion, of a legitimate and satisfactory explanation. Notice was given to each ratepayer of the amount at which it was proposed that he should be assessed, and if he was aggrieved by the list he could object before the Assessment Committee of the Guardians, and, if necessary, appeal against their decision. I am informed, however, that the appeals were not more numerous than at the previous quinquennial revision, and that the surveyor of taxes, who was present at each meeting of the Assessment Committee of the Vestry, did not lodge any objection to the figures entered in the list. The Local Government Board are not empowered to interfere in the matter.