§ MR. KNOX
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Local Government Board whether he can now state approximately the total area and valuation, and the average rate per pound, of the land relieved by the Agricultural Eating Act, 1896?
§ MR. T. W. RUSSELL
The rateable value of the "agricultural land" in England and Wales at the date of the passing of the Act referred to was, according to the Returns furnished by the Assessment Committees, £24,563,000. I am unable to state what is the acreage of this land, or the average rate in the pound of the several rates levied in respect of it.
§ MR. KNOX
said that the answer of the hen. Member was really an evasion of the Question which had been, put to him. [Cries of "Order!"] He asked for two things—the valuation and the poundage rate. The hon. Member gave the valuation, and could have also given the amount paid by the Government. It was clear that if he knew the amount paid by the Government he could have given the poundage rate. ["Order, order!"]
§ * MR. SPEAKER
repeated that the Question was out of order; the Question on the Paper had been fully answered.
§ MR. JOHN REDMOND (Waterford)
On behalf of the hon. Member for Dublin, St. Patrick (Mr. FIELD), I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury whether any interest has been allowed on the money which is accruing to Ireland from the Agricultural Rating Act of last year; and whether he can state what rate will be given by the Government?
§ MR. HANBURY
The hon. Member is mistaken in supposing that the money is accruing in the Exchequer. The Local Taxation (Ireland) Estate Duty Act 1611 of last Session requires the Inland Revenue Board to pay over to the Irish Local Taxation Account periodically sums equal to 9–80ths of the sums payable to the English Local Taxation Account under the Agricultural Land Rating Act. The first of such payments, amounting to £74,870 13s. 2d. was made at the end of last March, as required by the Act, so no claim upon the Exchequer for interest can possibly arise.
§ MR. J. DILLON
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether he will grant a Return showing the extent to which the local ratepayers in Ireland would be relieved if the Agricultural Rates Act of last year were extended to Ireland?
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
I am not prepared to give this Return. It could not be compiled with any degree of accuracy without much labour and expense. I doubt whether it could be compiled at all in the absence of regulations similar to those prepared in connection with the English Rating Bill.