§ MR. H. HOBHOUSE (Somerset, E.)
I beg to ask the President of the Local Government Board whether, in view of 93 the fact that he proposes by the Local Government Bill largely to extend the powers of rating vested in Parish Bodies, and to limit the voting power of owners and large ratepayers, thus placing the appointment of both Parish and District Councils mainly in the hands of the compound householders, he will consent to state or to grant a Return of the number of rural parishes where an order of the Vestry under Section 4 of "The Poor Rate Assessment Act, 1869," requiring owners to be rated instead of occupiers is at present in force?
§ THE PRESIDENT OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD (Mr. H. H. FOWLER,) Wolverhampton, E.
I have no information as to the number of parishes in which Orders have been made by the Vestries under Section 4 of the Poor Rate Assessment and Collection Act, 1869, for the rating of owners instead of occupiers. In order to obtain the information it would be necessary to get Returns from the Overseers of about 13,000 parishes. There is not only great difficulty and delay in obtaining Returns from Overseers, who are unpaid officers; but if the particulars suggested wore furnished by them, the information would be of little practical use. It would afford no means of making any estimate of the number of compound householders under Section 4; and there are, of course, many parishes where, although Section 4 of the Act has not been put in force, the rates are paid by the owners instead of the occupiers under voluntary agreements between the owners and the Overseers under Section 3 of the Act.
§ MR. JEFFREYS (Hants, Basingstoke)
Might I ask the right hon. Gentleman if he will communicate with the clerks of the various Boards of Guardians in the country asking them to send circulars round to Overseers in order to gain the required information on this point?
§ MR. H. H. FOWLER
That would be trying to obtain by two steps that which I think cannot be obtained by one.