§ SIR CHARLES DILKE (Gloucester, Forest of Dean)
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, what will be the position of enclosed Crown woodlands as regards contribution in lieu of rates after the coming into operation of the Agricultural Land Rating Bill?
THE SECRETARY TO THE TREASURY (Mr. R, W. HANBURY,) Preston
My right hon. Friend's Question raises an interesting legal point, though not, perhaps, one of great practical importance, seeing that the contribution payable by Crown woodlands is of small amount. I am disposed to think that the Bill will not affect Crown woodlands, on the ground that it only applies to rateable lands, and Crown woodlands are not legally rateable. But, under section 30 of the Union Assessment Committee Act, 1862, the annual values of non-rateable Government property paying contributions in lieu of poor-rates have to be added to the rateable value of their parish in computing the amount of contribution to the common fund of the union. This, however, only applies to poor-rates, and I doubt whether the rateable value of such property could be held to be part of the rateable value of the parish for other purposes such as those of this Bill. If it can, then I assume that the Crown woodlands should be treated exactly on all fours with rateable property; but, if it cannot, I assume that contributions should be given for such woodlands in the same manner as at present. I will have the matter carefully investigated.