§ On the Order for Second reading,
§ MR. CALDWELL
explained that the Bill sought to remedy what was said to be a defect in one of the Acts passed in 1892. That defect was that the Act did not give the right to urban authorities to borrow money for the housing of the working classes. Undoubtedly, this Bill would give urban authorities such power. There was, however, an important point to be considered, and it was upon whom would the rating in respect of the housing of the working classes fall? In Scotland, as a rule, the rates were levied one-half upon the owner and one-half upon the occupier, but if the Bill were passed in 787 its present form the rates in the burghs would be levied solely upon the occupiers. They ought to have some clear indication from the Government that if they were giving the power to the burghs to assess and borrow money for these purposes, they would give to the occupier in the burghs the same protection which the occupier in the counties had, of being liable for only one-half the rate. The division of rates between owner and occupier was one which might be applied to other parts of the United Kingdom.
§ MR. J. SAMUEL moved that the Debate be adjourned, on the ground that Scotch Members on that side of the House had gone home under the impression that this Bill would not be taken.
§ * THE LORD ADVOCATE (Mr. GRAHAM MURRAY,) Buteshire
said the Bill was intended merely to repair an error in a previous Act. The Housing of the Working Classes Act of 1890 gave the burghs power to borrow. In 1892 an amending Act was passed, but by a slip in amending a clause, the power of borrowing, which the burghs had before, was inadvertently taken away from them. The object of the Bill was to restore those powers to the burghs, and the House would agree that the occasion for establishing a new system of rating was hardly afforded by such a Bill.
§ Bill read a Second time, and committed for Thursday.