§ MR. DILLON
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether he will grant, as an Unopposed Return, the Return in reference to Irish Rates which stands on the Paper to-day?
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
The Return asked for would cost £500 to prepare, and could not be ready for several months. Moreover, the materials for the year 1897–98 are not yet available, nor could the figures for that year be checked till after the audit of the Local Government Board at the end of the year. The following figures, taken from the Local Taxation Returns, may, I think, be taken as an indication that if, instead of adopting 1896–97 as the standard year, we had taken the average of the preceding years, the result would probably have been to diminish, and not to increase, the amount of the Agricultural Grant. The total amount of the Poor Rate in 1894 was £997,090; in 1895, £1,025,619; and in 1896, £1,083,965. The amount of the County Cess in 1894 was £1,217,426; in 1895, £1,263,839; and in 1896, £1,259,496. In 1896–97 the assessment to Poor Rate amounts to £1,049,857, and to County Cess, £1,323,206.