§ Section ninety-six, Sub-section two of the Housing of the Working Classes Act, 1890, shall he read and construed as if the words "and any Acts amending the same" had been inserted after "1871,"and as if the words" in the ease of a rural sanitary authority" had been inserted after the words "provided that" occurring in that sub-section.
MR. CALDWELL moved to add at the end of the clause—
Provided that any expenditure that any burgh within the meaning of the Burgh Police (Scotland) Act, 1892, may make under the provisions of this or of the recited Acts shall be defrayed out of a rate to be levied along with but as a separate rate from the general improvement rate leviable under said Burgh Police (Scotland) Act whore such general improvement rate is levied, but where such rate is not levied then by a rate to be imposed and levied in the same manner as if it were the general improvement rate, with all the powers of imposition, collection, and recovery applicable to that rate.
The object of the clause was to remove a defect in the Housing of Working Classes Act which prevented burghs from borrowing money for the purposes of the Act. But it happened that the powers to which the section, if passed, would give vitality, imposed the rate in burghs solely on the occupiers, whereas in the counties under the same Act the rate was divided between the owner and occupier. What had been the effect of this legislation? Why, that with the one only
exception of Peterhead, the burghs of Scotland had not taken advantage of the Ant, and the reason was, because the rates had been wholly and most unfairly imposed on the ratepayer. [Cries of "Divide!"] The burghs of Scotland maintained that there should be a fail-division of the rates between the occupier and owner; but whenever the question of rating had been raised in Parliament, the rates had been thrown wholly on the occupier. [Cries of "Divide!" and interruption.] He and others had made up their minds in future, whenever that was again sought to be done, to move Amendments, and take Divisions of the House against it. Sympathy and respect could only be expected for the law when it was based on equitable principles, and there could be no pretence to equity when the rates, which should in fairness be equally divided between the owner and occupier, were thrown on the tenants alone. He begged to move the Amendment standing on the Paper in his name.
§ MR. ASHER
said he should oppose the Amendment. The Bill had been introduced by the Government for the purpose of rectifying a mistake that occurred in the Act of 1892. By that mistake boroughs were excluded from the benefits of the Housing of the Working Classes Act, 1890. ["Hear, hear!"] The Bill, as introduced, was strictly limited to the correction of that mistake. ["Hear, hear!"] The Amendment of his learned Friend introduced the highly contentious question of the incidence of rating. He did not oppose the Amendment on its merits or demerits, but on the ground that it was not germane to the Bill for the introduction of which he was much obliged to the Government.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ Bill reported.
§ Motion moved, "That the Bill be put down for to-morrow."1142
§ * SIR C. DILKE
asked what was meant by "to-morrow," Friday or Saturday? If Saturday, would the Leader of the House state what Business he intended to take on that day.
THE FTRST LORD OF THE TREASURY
said that, as regarded Saturday's sitting, it was very important in the general interest of the House that they should get on. He was not desirous that there should be a long sitting; indeed, he hoped that the sitting would be a short and fruitful one.
§ Bill, as amended, to be considered upon Saturday.