HC Deb 23 March 1893 vol 10 cc900-1

I beg to ask the Secretary for Scotland what class or classes of persons Her Majesty's Government expect to enfranchise in Scotland by the abolition of the disqualification from non-payment of rates; and whether he has considered that it may be more difficult to secure the payment of rates when the motive for paying, as a condition of exercising the franchise, has been removed.


Parliament has enacted that the payment of rates should not be a condition of the Franchise with regard to owners, and the Government, holding that to be a right decision, desire to place occupiers in the same position as owners. As to the class who will be enfranchised, occupiers who have been exempted by the Parochial Board from the payment of rates, and occupiers who have failed to pay their rates by the 20th June will enjoy the Franchise, just as owners enjoy it now. As to the last part of the question, there is no reason for employing the Franchise as a motive for inducing men to pay their rates, which ought to be enforced by the ordinary legal process.


My question has not been answered at all. I do not gather what class is to be enfranchised.


Broadly speaking, the occupiers who have been exempted by Parochial Boards from payment of rates, and those who have not paid their rates by a given day. Now under this Bill these occupiers will be placed in the same position as owners.

MR. RENSHAW (Renfrew, W.)

I beg to ask the Secretary for Scotland whether the Government will delay taking the Second Reading of the Registration of Voters (Scotland) Amendment Bill until the Return ordered by the House on 28th February has been presented and circulated.


No, Sir. In the opinion of the Government, the question of the payment of rates ought to have no connection with the Franchise.