§ On the Motion for the Second Reading of this Bill,
§ * SIR CHARLES DILKE (Gloucester, Forest of Dean)
protested against the continuance of the law in its present form. The importance of the land tax Commissioners was a double one, the Land Tax importance was very much less than the Income Tax importance. The Commissioners in some parishes had to assess a Land Tax, which was increasing in amount upon the small freeholds because it was diminishing in amount upon the, larger estates. The Commissioners of Land Tax might be said to belong to one class of the community, in addition to which the qualification was objectionable, and in some few counties did not exist.
§ MR. LLOYD-GEORGE
asked whether the Land Tax Commissions were ever summoned in his district. They did not know who imposed the tax.
§ MR. DALZIEL
said, the practice was that the county Members of that House actually had the power of electing the Land Tax Commissioners for a particular county. That did not seem to him a very desirable state of affairs. He did not think the county Member was most qualified to do this work. They never knew the persons who were going to be nominated. Could 517 the right hon. Gentleman do anything whereby the actual names of the Commissioners might appear? He hoped he would give them an assurance that these appointments by county Members should be entirely abolished.
§ MR. H. C. F. LUTTRELL (Devon, Tavistock)
wished to point out the difficulties in which county Members, at least on his side of the House, were placed. The names of those who were eligible were extremely small. They ought to have a larger choice. He thought the day was past when they ought to have these property qualifications. They ought to give to the people the power to select the best men. He hoped, therefore, that the Government would select an Amendment which he trusted would be moved that there should be no property qualification whatever to hamper the people in the choice of a suitable man.
§ * MR. HANBURY
said that the Bill providing for the appointment of additional Land Tax Commissioners was introduced at the beginning of every Parliament. A list of the proposed names was prepared by the Clerks to the Commissioners and submitted to the local Members of Parliament, who had to approve it and to deposit it at the Public Bill Office in that House. The names were nowadays never mentioned in the Bill, for it would make it too long, but they were ultimately published in the London Gazette. That was the whole process. As to the remarks of the right hon. Baronet (Sir C. Dilke), who drew attention to the importance of the fact that these Land Tax Commissioners had to nominate the Income Tax Commissioners, he had given directions that special attention should be called to the fact. Then it was said that the Land Tax Commissioners were nominated locally. That was so, the Government had no control over the nomination. As to the qualifications, they were mixed up with the qualifications of the justices of the peace and of Income Tax Commissioners. All these qualifications must stand or fall together.
MR. HERBERT ROBERTS (Denbighshire, W.),
hoped the right hon. Gentleman, would give them some further assurance as to the intention of the Government to deal with this 518 very unsatisfactory state of affairs. In Wales it was a great grievance.
§ Read a Second time, and committed for To-morrow.
§ Ordered, that the Members for counties do prepare Lists of the Christian and Surnames of Commissioners for executing the Land Tax Acts for their respective counties.
§ Ordered, that Members for boroughs and places having Commissioners executing exclusive jurisdiction within the same under the said Acts do prepare similar Lists of Commissioners for executing the said Acts within such boroughs and places respectively.
§ Ordered, that Members for other boroughs and places do prepare similar Lists of Commissioners for executing the said Acts for the counties in which such last-mentioned boroughs and places are situate.—(Mr. Hanbury.)