HC Deb 23 June 1896 vol 41 cc1701-4

Page 4, after Clause 5, to insert the following clause:— During the continuance of this Act every rating authority shall be at liberty, unless otherwise directed by the Local Government Board, to continue any customary or conventional system of ascertaining the gross estimated rental or the rateable value of any rateable hereditament not consisting of agricultural land, which may be in use by them at the time of the passing of this Act.


I must tell the hon. Member for Preston that his proposed new clause is out of order, as also is that of the hon. Member for Shore-ditch which follows. This is a Bill which allocates certain funds out of the revenue for relieving the occupiers of agricultural land from payment of half their rates; and it is not germane to that Bill to deal with a question of the mode of rating. These two clauses both deal with the amendment of rating laws generally; and if they were admitted, I should be compelled, if anyone proposed it, to admit all the clauses of the Rating of Machinery Bill as Amendments to this Bill. The clause proposed by the hon. Member for Linlith-gowshire—(Mr. Ure)—("Division of Rate")— After the commencement of any new tenancy of agricultural land after the thirty-first day of March next, or after any new agreement after the said day, as to the rent to be paid on any existing and continuing tenancy of the said land, the occupier shall be entitled to deduct for every pound of rent he is liable to pay one-half of the sum in the pound which he has paid as rate, any contract or agreement to the contrary not withstanding"— is also out of order, because it proposes to put taxation upon the owner which he is not now liable to pay, a thing which cannot be done upon Report. The new clause of the hon. Member for Aberdeen (Mr. E. Robertson)—("Postponement of commencement of Act till after a similar Act for Scotland has been passed")— This Act shall have no effect unless and until provision shall have been made by Act of Parliament authorising for Scotland a grant corresponding to the annual grant by this Act authorised for England— is also out of order. The Bill is a Bill relating to England only. It is not relevant to the Bill to propose that it shall not come into operation until another Bill has been passed which has no relation whatever to England. It may have an argumentative connection, but it has no statutory or legislative connection. It is obvious that the argument on the clause would refer to Scotland and the Scotch Bill, and not to the provisions of this Bill.


, on a point of Order, desired to say that he had put down this clause because the grant for Scotland was named by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in his Budget speech, out of which this Bill proceeded, as being part of the same Scheme to which this Bill related. The right hon. Gentleman distinctly said that the proposal for England would be accompanied by corresponding grants in the established ratio of, he thought, 11 for Ireland and nine for Scotland. It was in order to secure that the grant for England should not be made unless the corresponding grant promised by the Chancellor of the Exchequer was made to Scotland that he put the clause down. He submitted that this did make a connection between the two, and did make the clause in order.


I had already fully considered the argument which the hon. Gentleman has addressed to me, but it does not affect the view I have expressed. The new clause standing in the name of the hon. Member for Anglesey (Mr. Ellis Griffith)—("Official Valuers")— The separation of the valuations of land and buildings shall be made by official valuers appointed for the purpose by the Local Government Board"— and that in the name of the hon. Member for the Attercliffe Division of Sheffield (Mr. Langley)—("Application of Act.") This Act shall not apply to any rate raised or levied in a municipal or county borough"— ought to be brought on as Amendments to the clauses to which they relate, and not as new clauses. It is a very objectionable practice to put down as new clauses, for the purpose of securing precedence, matters which are simply matters of amendment to the clauses already in the Bill, and these two clauses come under that head. The proposed new clause of the hon. Member for Anglesey will come in naturally as an Amendment at the end of Clause 5. As regards the Amendment of the hon. Member for Sheffield, there is an Amendment on the Paper in the name of the hon. Member for Shoreditch (Mr. J. Stuart) to the same effect, which has been properly set down as an Amendment to Clause 1, but not as a new clause.

MR. JAMES STUART (Shoreditch, Hoxton)

desired to ask the Speaker whether his ruling also applied to the second clause which he had proposed to move?— The Council of every county shall, in the first year after the passing of this Act, and thereafter once in every three years, convene a conference of representatives of the Overseers and Assessment Committees within the county, for the purpose of deliberating on any questions relating to the practice of assessment within the county"— The first clause, he admitted, proposed an alteration in the law, but the second clause proposed only a method of procedure referring to and bearing only upon administration and practice.


The second clause referred to by the hon. Member does not, it is true, effect an alteration in the law of rating, but, as I said before, the point is whether the subject matter is relevant to this Agricultural Relief Bill. The subject matter of this second clause is the mode in which property shall be assessed, and that is subject matter which is not relevant to the Bill.

Clause 1,—