Page 16, line 2, at beginning of clause, insert 'for the period of five years.'"—(Mr. Strachey.)
§ MR. STRACHEY (Somerset, S.)
The Amendment which I am about to move raises the whole question of the agricultural grant, and whether it is desirable 1388 that the grant should be of a permanent or a temporary nature. Sir, I wish to ask the Committee to follow the precedent set by the English Act in this matter, in order that when the House sees the working of the grant it may be able to decide whether it is too large or too small, or whether it is desirable to alter the conditions laid down in the Bill. Another reason for limiting the operations of the grant was given in the speech of the honourable Member for East Mayo, when he addressed the House on the Second Reading of the Bill. He said that under the grant a sum of about £400,000 would be handed over to the landlords of Ireland, not, remember, in accordance with the precedent set by the English Act, but handed over direct to the amount of £250,000 or £300,000, in addition to what they would get if the same Bill were applied to Ireland as has been applied to England. The Committee will understand from that that the honourable Member for East Mayo considers that the agricultural grant under this Bill is very excessive, having regard to what has been given in relief of local taxation in England.
§ MR. DILLON (Mayo, E.)
Oh, no! The honourable Member is quite mistaken. What I said had reference to the distribution of the grant as between occupiers and owners. I did not say that the grant was excessive.
§ MR. STRACHEY
I do not think honourable Members from Ireland will disagree with me that it would be very much better from the Irish point of view if this question were regarded not from an Imperial standpoint, but looked at from the point of view as to whether Ireland received the same grant-in-aid of local taxation as England received under the Agricultural Rating Act. Putting aside the Imperial taxation, there remains the question as to "whether the grant now proposed is too great or too small in comparison with England. When the Government passed the English Act they gave in relief of rates in Ireland £150,000. Now they propose to provide the Irish landlords with a sum variously estimated at from £250,000 to £400,000, out of a total sum of £749,000 for the relief of local taxation. Certainly this 1389 seems a very excessive amount in view of the fact that the Government themselves were of opinion that the equivalent grant to Ireland as a set-off to the agricultural grant to England was only £150,000. That is one of the reasons why I ask the Government to accept this Amendment because, if it is found at the end of five years that the grant has been too large it can be reconsidered. The five years' limit was not originally in the English Bill. It was inserted as an Amendment in Committee in exactly the same terms as my Amendment for the express purpose of enabling the grant to be reconsidered at the end of five years. Again a Royal Commission has been appointed, which, as the Chief Secretary stated the other day, is not only to inquire into the system of local taxation in Great Britain, but also into the whole question of local taxation in Ireland. It is a curious way of doing business for the Government to appoint a Royal Commission to inquire into Irish local taxation, and at the same time make a grant in perpetuity to Ireland without waiting for it to report. It seems to me, from the ordinary business point of view, that it is desirable to limit the grant to a term of five years, so that it can be revised if the British grant will be revised. The Government have given no reason why Ireland should be treated differently from Great Britain. Honourable Members opposite are always Baying that Ireland is to be treated the same as Great Britain; why, then, has she not been treated the same in connection with this agricultural grant? I cannot understand. I very much doubt if farmers in Ireland have suffered nearly so much as farmers in England and Scotland; but even if honourable Members from Ireland say there is greater distress in Ireland as regards farmers, I do not think that they will say that the landlords in Ireland deserve better treatment than the Landlords in England. Under this Bill the landlords in Ireland are treated exceptionally. In England the whole amount of the grant went directly to the farmers, but under this Bill an enormous sum goes direct to the landlords in perpetuity. That seems to me a very strong argument indeed why it should not be made a permanent grant. I do not want to enter into controversy, 1390 but it does seem to me that landlords like Lord Clanricarde deserve to be treated better in this manner than English landlords. It may be said we have to do this as regards the Irish landlords because they would be likely to be overrated. But that is an argument which does not detract at all from the view that the grant should be limited to five years, because that will give the Government and the landlords ample time to see whether the fear of over-taxation is real. If those fears are justified at the end of five years you can then deal with the question. But it is an experiment, and as an experiment surely there is no harm in limiting it to five years. There is, however, another point, and I am surprised more has not been made of it by honourable Gentlemen from Ireland. It seems to me rather curious that the Government should make another difference between the English Act and the Irish Bill—viz., that no relief is to be given to land in towns. Of course, I know the Chief Secretary has said that there is a set-off, but it seems to me to be a very poor set-off—namely, that the landlords should have their parks, pleasure grounds, gardens, or woods exempted from half the rates. It would be better, instead of prejudging this matter, that land in towns should receive a grant for five years, instead of no grant in perpetuity. As regards this question of the agricultural grant, part of it is an equivalent grant for local licences.
§ MR. STRACHEY
The Irish local ratepayer will then be in a much better position than the English ratepayer, as licences which he now pays need not be paid at all in future. It appears to me to be very necessary that this House should not allow the question of any revision to pass entirely out of its control, because we know that if there is no limit it will be very difficult to revise the grant hereafter. It is a question of taxation, and it is necessary that this House should maintain a close and strong control in matters of that sort. There is another reason why there should be an opportunity of revising the amount at the end of five years. It is that, unless a time limit is made to this agricultural grant, 1391 the House of Lords can refuse to allow this House to revise or alter the grant on a future occasion. To my mind this House, in all questions of taxation, should retain an absolute power of revision. This Measure is an effort to compensate the landlord interest in Ireland for loss of influence in local government. For the reasons which I have given, and also because it is most undesirable to prejudge the whole question of Irish local taxation before the Royal Commission has reported, I move the Amendment standing in my name.
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
The principal reason advanced by the honourable Member in favour of this Amendment is that, whereas we proposed, a few years ago, an equivalent grant of £150,000 in favour of Ireland, by this Bill we propose a grant of over £700,000, and he appears to imagine that this should be a matter of five years' experiment, and that after the end of that period we should consider whether the grant is or is not excessive. I am bound to say I do not see how we can be any wiser in five years than we are now. There is, however, one strong argument why the Government find it impossible to accept this Amendment. When we proposed a grant of £150,000 a year as a set-off against the money given in relief of the agricultural rates in England, we proposed an equivalent grant. What we are now proposing is identical treatment, and we make it a condition of identical treatment that there should be at the same time this Local Government Bill to establish popularly-elected bodies in Ireland, similar to those already established in England and Scotland. In making this great change in the local administration of Ireland, we also found it necessary—and from the outset we announced that it would be necessary—to alter the system of local taxation in Ireland. If the Government were prepared to go back in five years on this proposal for establishing a new system of local government, and were also prepared to go back on the proposal to alter the system of local taxation in Ireland, something might be said for going back on 1392 the grant also. But as the agricultural grant and the new system of local government essentially held together, I think it must be patent to the Committee that we cannot accept the Amendment. I am not prepared to make a revolution in the local government of Ireland to be reconsidered in five years, and equally, I am not prepared to limit the grant to five years.
§ MR. MCKENNA (Monmouth, N.)
The right honourable Gentleman has given two of the most extraordinary reasons for refusing the Amendment which it could be possible to give. His first ground why he cannot accept the Amendment is because of the promise of identical treatment for Great Britain and Ireland. But in this matter the English Act only runs for five years; consequently, he is not fulfilling his promise of identity of treatment as far as the grant is concerned. He is giving to the Irish landlords a perpetual grant, whereas in England only a five years grant has been made. His second ground for refusing the Amendment is that it was stated, in introducing the Measure, that there would be an alteration in the system of Irish local taxation, but that has nothing whatever to do with the grant from the Exchequer. The alteration in the system of local taxation transferred the onus of the burden from the shoulders of the landlords to the shoulders of the tenants. There is not the least necessity in principle for removing the existing burden from the landlords to the tenants. I fully admit that it is essential that the tenants in Ireland should be responsible for any fluctuations of expenditure, and that for that you must alter the existing system of local taxation, but there is not the least necessity for removing the existing burdens from the landlords. The right honourable Gentleman gives the answer to his own objection, for in the Bill as it stands half the existing burden will continue to fall on the landlords. It is only half the burden that you remove from the landlords, and the whole might be left on them without in the least touching your desirable object, to make the 1393 tenants directly responsible for fluctuations in expenditure. The honourable and learned Member for Stroud stated the other day that he only voted for the Resolution on which this Bill is founded because he believed it to be just, and if he did not believe it to be just he would vote against it. I think we can claim the support of the honourable and learned Member on the very ground that he has chosen that this Amendment, introduced by my honourable Friend, is a just Amendment. I do not suppose for one moment—I do not think it or allege it—that honourable Members opposite are merely engaged in a struggle for public money. I cannot conceive that. They must have justified themselves in their own minds for throwing open the public purse to the Irish landlords, and I must assume they have grounds for that action. The honourable and learned Member for Stroud stated the other day that our present system of local taxation falls unfairly on land, and that owners and occupiers have a just grievance, and are entitled to be relieved at the expense of the general taxpayers. That is his ground. I would appeal to the honourable and learned Member to consider the matter from a different point of view. Take the case of an Irish landlord who bought his land during the present century. He bought it subject to certain rates—that is to say, he was not able to obtain rent from any occupier except on the condition that the tenant should pay rates. I think that the honourable and learned Member will agree with me that under those circumstances the fact of the existence of those rates entered into the price paid for the land, and the purchaser got the land cheaper because there were rates raised upon it. I do not think that can be disputed. If the value of the landlord's interest has not been injured by the present rates, the rates do not fall on the landlord; if it is injured, seeing that he bought the land subject to these burdens, I would appeal to the honourable and learned Member to answer my point, inasmuch as the rates in the pound in Ireland are at this moment lower than at any time during the present century. I am not taking the standard year, but the last few years.
§ MR. MCKENNA
I admit the Returns are very unsatisfactory and incomplete. My honourable Friend says the rates are four times higher. I understand that the rates from agricultural land are between 3s. and 4s. in the pound, and my honourable Friend tells me that at the beginning of the century they were under a shilling. But, as I have said, the Returns are very incomplete, and any argument founded on them is bound to be more or less uncertain. But, going back to the period of 1837—going back even 20 years—the rates on land are now much lower.
§ MR. MCKENNA
My honourable Friend may be referring to the period of the Irish famine, when a great many unions in Ireland were bankrupt.
§ MR. MCKENNA
Assuming that 50 years ago the rates on agricultural land in Ireland were higher than they are to-day, I put to the honourable and learned Gentleman opposite the supposition that any land purchased during the last 50 years was bought subject to a higher burden than it now bears. That burden entered into the price of the land, and if you suddenly hand back to the present owner half of the rates you are making him a present for which there is not a shadow of justification. Apart from the question of financial justice in this matter, there is also another important point to be considered. When the English Agricultural Rating Bill was under discussion, the limitation of five years was introduced as an Amendment. The ground of that Amendment was that the whole of our system of local taxation was in a most unsatisfactory condition, that a Royal Commission was about to be appointed to inquire into it, and that it was better not to come to a final decision until the whole question had been examined, and the incidence of rates 1395 as between rural and urban districts found out. It is admitted, therefore, that the present system of rating is unsatisfactory; but under this Bill you propose to take this worn-out English system and hand it over to the Irish representatives as the best you can do for them. Our old clothes which we are about to cast off (having appointed a commission of tailors to provide us with a new suit) are to be given to the Irish people, not as a temporary expedient to meet the exigencies of the moment, but these worn-out trappings of British legislation are to be sent to Ireland as a properly established principle of local taxation, when everyone in the country knows that our whole system requires the fullest and most careful inquiry. I appeal to the right honourable Gentleman to reconsider his determination in this matter. If you are to have a satisfactory settlement in Ireland, you must satisfy the British as well as the Irish people. You must satisfy both parties that the Irish land lords will not get more than they are entitled to. Under the provisions of this Bill you cannot satisfy either the Irish or the English people on that point. The honourable Member for East Mayo stated the other day that he looked upon this grant as blackmail, but that he was going to vote for it. Do honourable Members opposite who represent English constituencies, and who go into the same Lobby as the honourable Member for East Mayo, consider that satisfactory, either to themselves or to their constituencies? It is undoubtedly felt, although for the moment honourable Members may express themselves differently, by every representative of an urban constituency, with certain exceptions, that this legislation is handing over, at the expense of the whole community, millions of money to Irish landlords who are not for one moment entitled to it, and you cannot satisfy public opinion on this point until you make the grant temporary, and enable us during the next five years to satisfy ourselves that what we are doing is grounded on principles of equity and justice.
§ MR. LOUGH
A year ago almost to a day the honourable Member joined an unanimous Liberal party in asking the 1396 Government to make this agricultural grant. He voted for a proposal in almost exactly the precise terms embodied in this clause, and now he stands up and makes a speech against the Government for doing exactly what he asked them to do last year. I think it is one of the most contemptible exhibitions of Party feeling that I have ever seen in this House. The honourable Member says there is no ground or principle why this grant should be made permanent. The principle of this Bill is that half the agricultural rates should be paid out of moneys provided by Parliament. As half the rates are paid by the landlord, if the other half is paid by Parliament, then the tenant would pay nothing at all. Therefore, I think there is a ground on principle that the tenant who gets some control should make some contribution. The great mistake of my honourable Friend is in supposing that the conditions of the two countries are exactly the same. This is the fatal mistake he has fallen into, and hence this heat of Party zeal, though a year ago he was satisfied.
§ MR. LOUGH
Now my honourable Friend wishes to narrow me down to the question of time, to which I will refer in a moment. My two honourable Friends dealt with the whole question of the principle, and it is only when they are cornered on that that they wish to confine me to the duration of the grant. The argument of my honourable Friends is that the conditions of the two countries are the same. That is not so. The argument used against the agricultural grant from these Benches, from the right honourable Gentleman the Member for Monmouth down to the humblest speaker, was that the Government had singled out a small and unimportant industry, compared with the great industries of the country, for special favour by paying half the rate. If we turn to Ireland this is not the case. There the land industry is an important industry, and the proposal of the Government is conceived in the spirit of the very Amendment advocated from these Benches 1397 during the Debates on the English Bill. It was then said, in numerous speeches, "Deal with the towns," "Deal with wide national interests." In Ireland we are now dealing with a great national interest. We are also applying identity of principle, because we are paying half the rates, as in Great Britain. Now I come to the question of time. The Amendment is that we shall put in some limit, as in the English Bill. This is really the point we have to discuss, and if the Committee will give it some thought they will see there is no case made out for its adoption. Suppose you did embody this Amendment, the grant would not expire for two years after the English grant would terminate—that is, if the English grant terminates. Does anybody suppose it will terminate? There is not the Slightest chance of it. The course likely to be pursued is that some principle will be adopted with regard to local rates in towns, and that an equivalent will be made. If, by chance, any change were made in the law with regard to England there would be plenty of time after that to make any change in the law with regard to Ireland that might be considered necessary. Apart from the question of time, I think we must also take into account that our system of taxation at present is based on the maintenance of these grants. We raise something like eight or ten millions a year more than we want, and we give it back in these large local grants, and the Committee will see that if the collection of these large grants ceased and a new principle were adopted it would be such a change in the system of the country that we might then very well consider what changes it was necessary to make in any part of the United Kingdom. I think it much more likely that this system of grants will be extended so that any industry neglected up to the present may be included rather than that the grants themselves should be abandoned. Now, to deal with the marrow question before us, I think the Committee will not have any difficulty in deciding it. This is the third discussion we have had on this question. The first was in May, 1896, when the Liberal Party—except 16 or 17 Members who did not fully understand the question—voted in favour of 1398 this Measure being introduced. Then, in May, 1897, my honourable Friend himself voted in favour of the grant being extended to Ireland.
§ MR. MCKENNA
I must point out to the honourable Member that I am now supporting an Amendment limiting the grant to five years as in the English Act.
§ MR. LOUGH
My honourable Friend also dealt with the amount the landlords will get under the Bill, and he raised every question that could be raised against the grant, and my answer is that he himself has voted with the Liberal Party for the extension of the grant to Ireland. For the reasons already given, and also the reasons given on the Government Benches, I think the matter will not bear examination, and I hope that those gentlemen who voted in favour of the Government taking this course a year ago will not vote against this Amendment.
§ MR. LLOYD-GEORGE (Carnarvon)
The honourable Member complains that the honourable Member for Monmouth confined himself to the narrow issue of five years. I think it would be hard on the honourable Member himself to ask him to confine his attention to the question before the House; but as a matter of fact the real question raised by the Amendment was not the merits or demerits of making a grant of £750,000, either to Irish landlords or to Irish tenants, but whether that grant was to be confined to five years. That is the whole question at issue. The honourable Member for Islington is one of those who opposed the grant to English landlords and tenants, but I now understand he is an Irish landlord himself, and consequently that rather alters the case.
§ MR. LLOYD-GEORGE
I am very sorry to hear that my honourable Friend is not an Irish, landlord, because he will not get any part of the money provided by the Bill, but as a tenant I believe be may benefit.
§ MR. LLOYD-GEORGE
My honourable Friend supported the Amendment in favour of confining the English grant to five years on the same ground that we now support the Amendment limiting the Irish grant. It is all a question of identical treatment. Other honourable Members are not gifted with the same intelligent comprehension as my honourable Friend. He says they do not understand the question properly, but I think he does not understand it himself. My honourable Friend supported an Amendment in favour of limiting the grant to England; why should he be in favour of making the grant permanent in Ireland? It is not a question of making a grant to Ireland, but whether it is or is not to be a permanent grant. A Royal Commission is at present considering the question of taxation. It is not a question whether you are about to withdraw a subvention to taxation in England, but the whole question is whether taxation is at present properly adjusted as between town and country. Why should not the same question be considered with regard to Ireland? I do not suppose that any Party in this House would at any future time propose that this sum should be withdrawn from Ireland, but I think it should be open to the House of Commons, or to a Home Rule Parliament, as the case may be, to consider whether towns in Ireland should not get a share in the distribution of this sum. I object from the British point of view to the grant being made permanent. The grant was made to England and Scotland for a terminable period, in order to afford an opportunity to the Government of the day, be it Liberal or Unionist, to consider whether some fresh arrangement should not be made in connection with local taxation. The Commissioners have already discovered that the burden of taxation is now very heavy in the towns, and nobody who read the Report can avoid coming to the conclusion that no Government can possibly avoid facing that issue. If we make this grant permanent we shall be absolutely prejudging the British case for reconsideration. We cannot say to Eng- 1400 land and Wales that we will consider the readjustment of the grant, giving a fairer share to the towns, when we are paying half the burden of taxation for the landlords in Ireland. If we are to have identical treatment now it must be fair identical treatment. If you treat Ireland as well as Britain you must treat Britain as well as Ireland. If you give a different distribution, as between town and country, you must do the same for Ireland as for Great Britain. That is one of the reasons why I will vote for the Amendment. Then there is another reason. I think the electors of this country ought to have an opportunity of expressing an opinion on this grant. I have no doubt whatever it will be one of the questions on which the country will have to express an opinion at the next general election. I do not think the Government ought to ask the Committee to make this grant permanent. It would be prejudging the issue and depriving the electors of an opportunity of readjusting the distribution of the grant.
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
I desire to point out to the Committee that the permanency of this grant is really essential to the Government scheme. We are creating a new system of local government in Ireland, and as an essential condition of the change, we are altering the system of taxation in connection with the agricultural grant. If the agricultural grant were to be a temporary grant the basis of our entire scheme would be rendered absolutely unsafe. What would the representatives of the grand jury class, who have accepted this Bill, say of the action of the Government if we were now to insert a provision of this sort, the result of which would be that all the arrangements which we have carefully provided for the protection of the large cesspayers should automatically come to an end? The matter is really too clear for argument. It might have been urged as an objection to our entire scheme, but the House decided that point when it passed the Second Reading, and I think it is wasting the time of the Committee to continue the discussion. I earnestly ask the Committee to come to a decision.
§ MR. DAVITT (Mayo, S.)
It is obvious that this money will be granted, but why should it be necessary in giving county government to Ireland to give a perpetual subsidy to Irish landlords? The honourable Member for Islington said he supported this clause, because the money would go to the benefit of a wide national interest in Ireland. Possibly he will agree with me that I am in a position to form as good an opinion as to what has a wide national interest as he is. My conception of it is that relief or assistance should not be given to one particular industry or interest, but to all the industries of the country, including the linen and woollen industries, the fishing industry, and the mechanics and artisans. Can my honourable Friend tell me of any of these classes which will be one penny the better when this Bill becomes law?
§ MR. DAVITT
This proposal is supposed to be of national interest, but it is anti-national, and that is why I shall not support it.
§ MR. D. H. COGHILL (Stoke-upon-Trent)
I do not think that honourable Members quite realise that this grant was to be perpetual, for I understood that Ireland was to be treated in the same manner as England and Scotland. I certainly do not feel inclined to vote for this grant being given to Ireland as proposed, because in case the question comes up for reconsideration at the end of five years in England it would be an obstacle in the way of impartially considering the question when it comes before the House of Commons again.
§ MR. G. LAMBERT (Devon, South Molton)
I am glad to notice that the arguments of the Chief Secretary have been sufficient to convince one at least of the supporters of the Government that this proposal is absolutely wrong, and that he intends supporting the Amendment. I asked the Leader of the House if the Royal Commission would visit Ireland and report upon it, and he said it would. I want to know, if the Government are going to make this large permanent grant, why do they do this 1402 and then institute an inquiry as to whether that system is right or wrong, and as to whether the system of local taxation is or is not fair? Either this Commission is a fraud or it is not. If is not a fraud, then, Sir, let this grant be for five years, and then we shall know perfectly well whether the Government intend to pay any attention to the findings of the Royal Commission. If they do not do this what is the good of appointing a Commission to inquire into a state of affairs which you intend to make permanent in Ireland? It does seem to be putting the Commission to a great deal of inconvenience to visit Ireland if the Government have already settled the matter. It is for this reason that you should have identical treatment—although I am not so sure that identical treatment is so necessary in Ireland as in England—that I shall support the Amendment, because the Government have appointed a Commission to inquire into local taxation in Ireland, and they ought not to prejudge the matter before that Commission has reported.
§ MR. J. C. FLYNN (Cork, N.)
In putting in this clause it has been so altered that there are practically the proposals of three Bills in one. We have been entitled to this Measure of local government ever since the declaration of the Leader of the Conservative Party, twelve years ago; but honourable Gentlemen above the Gangway will have to recognise at the same time that a change of this kind has been made by which the whole superstructure of the county councils has been altered. Why, the whole thing is useless. The Government, in my opinion, should have brought in a Bill giving Ireland local self-government for her own affairs, as in England and Scotland, without any consideration of this kind.
§ MR. G. WHITELEY (Stockport)
Although some honourable Members may agree with the Chief Secretary that the Government could not possibly accept this Amendment, I certainly cannot agree with him at all when he states that all those who voted for the Second Reading of this Bill are bound by the principle 1403 of these financial clauses. That is quite a new doctrine which has been sprung upon the House, that if you accept a Second Reading of a Measure you must accept all its primary clauses. I need hardly say that I shall support the Amendment of my honourable Friend, because I am opposed in toto to these grants in aid of any particular industry. Now, what is the position? Owing to the opposition of certain Members representing urban constituencies, the clause in the English Act was limited to five years, and that was done because it was thought to be an injustice to all the ratepayers of this country to make a permanent grant to any section of the ratepayers of this country. Although the Government have made this proposal for five years, they have appointed a Commission to inquire into the whole subject of taxation, and make a Report to Parliament. But notwithstanding that fact—notwithstanding that the arguments in favour of deferring this question are as powerful and potent to-day as they were two years ago—it is now proposed by the Government to make a permanent grant to the landlords in Ireland, which can never be withdrawn. I believe that is a mistaken step. The interests of urban and rural ratepayers are conflicting, and I believe with my honourable Friend who has just spoken that by this proposal you are entirely prejudging the matter, and you will prejudice it against urban ratepayers if you make an irrevocable grant to any one section of the community, for by doing that you are tying the hands of the Committee. One can imagine members of the Commission asking what is the use of us sitting inquiring as to how this grant should be made when practically it has been agreed upon and disposed of? By this proposition you are practically cutting the ground from under the feet of the Commission, and also injuring the interests of the general community. The Chief Secretary has said that the permanence of this grant is one of its essential conditions, but I cannot agree with that at all. It seems to me that the maximum amount of the rates payable should be the rates payable by 1404 the landlords in the last year. You would then safeguard the interests of the landlords, and prevent taxation being heaped upon them, and if that were done they would be placed in a position identical with those in England. I believe all sections would agree with that. I am very sorry to oppose the Government on this question, but I have opposed consistently and honestly these grants whenever they have come before this House. I am extremely sorry, but I must remind the right honourable Gentleman that many of us obtained our seats at the last general election upon our pledges with regard to poor law relief, old age pensions, and other measures, and I feel that I should be "diddling" my constituency by supporting this clause. This money will go, if accepted by the House of Commons, in the interests of one section of the ratepayers without benefiting the working classes of this country. I regret this very much, and this is the last time I shall speak upon this question in the House. I feel myself actually pledged upon this question, and I think we should face the country with a better grace and more confidence if we had acted up to the professions we made at the last election. We ought to have done that instead of distributing the first money which came into our pockets among one particular section of the ratepayers in the manner proposed in this section.
§ MR. MENDL (Plymouth)
I hope that the Government, after the opinions which have been expressed by two Members on the other side, will be disposed to reconsider this question. We have heard expressed the views of two Members, both representing important boroughs, with regard to this clause. I really cannot see that there has been any ground put forward by the Chief Secretary in support of this clause, except that the members of the grand jury class in Ireland would not be inclined to accept this Bill unless this were made a perpetual clause. However that may be, it is not at all in the interests of the community generally that this grant 1405 should be made perpetual, and I can conceive no better electioneering cry than that of endowing in perpetuity the Irish landlords under this Bill. But on the ground of identity of treatment, which the right honourable Gentleman the Chief Secretary pleaded for in introducing the financial provisions of this Bill, I cannot conceive what reason there is for giving a perpetual grant to Irish landlords which was not given to the English landlords. I have no feeling against Irish landlords, but I think, of the two classes, English landlords are more entitled to consideration. I am surprised to hear my honourable Friend the Member for Islington suggest that, because at the end of five years, the English grant will be made permanent, we should make this permanent now. I think, when it is proposed to make this clause permanent in the English Act, some of us
§ will have something to say upon it. I do not think it will be suggested that there are any special circumstances that would justify the Government, or make it necessary, that this grant should be made permanent. My honourable Friend the Member for East Mayo has spoken frankly with regard to blackmailing, but I think that he will find, as a great many other people have found, that the very worst way to deal with a blackmailer is to pay him what he asks for. The House should retain control over these grants, to enable it to deal with the whole matter when the Report of the Commission has been received.
That those words be there inserted.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 107; Noes 258.—(Division List No. 98.)1409
|Allan, Wm. (Gateshead)||Hedderwick, Thos. Chas. H.||Pickersgill, Edward Hare|
|Allen, Wm. (Newc.-under-L.)||Holburn, J. G.||Price, Robert John|
|Allison, Robert Andrew||Holden, Sir Angus||Reckitt, Harold James|
|Asher, Alexander||Horniman, Frederick John||Richardson, J. (Durham)|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Humphreys-Owen, A. C.||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. H. H.||Hutton, Alfred E. (Morley)||Roberts, J. H. (Denbighsh.)|
|Austin, M. (Limerick, W.)||Jacoby, James Alfred||Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)|
|Barlow, John Emmott||Joicey, Sir James||Robson, William Snowdon|
|Beaumont, Wentworth C. B.||Jones, D. B. (Swansea)||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Billson, Alfred||Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire)||Shaw, Chas. E. (Stafford)|
|Birrell, Augustine||Kay-Shuttleworth, Rt. Hn. Sir U.||Shaw, Thos. (Hawick B.)|
|Brigg, John||Kearley, Hudson E.||Sinclair, Capt. J. (Forfarsh.)|
|Brunner, Sir J. Tomlinson||Kinloch, Sir John G. Smyth||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Kitson, Sir James||Souttar, Robinson|
|Burt, Thomas||Lambert, George||Spicer, Albert|
|Caldwell, James||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumberland)||Steadman, William Charles|
|Cameron, Sir C. (Glasgow)||Leese, Sir J. F. (Accrington)||Stevenson, Francis S.|
|Cameron, Robert (Durham)||Leng, Sir John||Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen)|
|Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Lewis, John Herbert||Thomas, Alf. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Channing, Francis Allston||Lloyd-George, David||Ure, Alexander|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Logan, John William||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Colville, John||Lyell, Sir Leonard||Wayman, Thomas|
|Crombie, John William||McEwan, William||Whiteley, George (Stockport)|
|Cross, Alex. (Glasgow)||McKenna, Reginald||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Doughty, George||Maddison, Fred.||Williams, J. Carvell (Notts)|
|Duckworth, James||Maden, John Henry||Wills, Sir William Henry|
|Dunn, Sir William||Mappin, Sir Frederick Thorpe||Wilson, Charles H. (Hull)|
|Ellis, John Edw. (Notts)||Morgan, J. L. (Carmarthen)||Wilson, Fred. W. (Norfolk)|
|Evans, Sir F. H. (South'ton)||Nussey, Thomas Willans||Wilson, H. J. (York, W. R.)|
|Fenwick, Charles||Owen, Thomas||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond||Palmer, Sir C. M. (Durham)||Wilson, John (Govan)|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||Paulton, James Mellor||Woodhouse, Sir J. T. (Hud'ld)|
|Gold, Charles||Pease, Alfred E. (Cleveland)||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Gourley, Sir E. Temperley||Pease, Joseph A. (Northumb.)|
|Griffith, Ellis J.||Pease, Sir J. W. (Durham)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Harwood, George||Perks, Robert William||Mr. Strachey and Mr. Mendl.|
|Hazell, Walter||Philipps, John Wynford|
|Abraham, Wm. (Cork, N. E.)||Drage, Geoffrey||Johnston, William (Belfast)|
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir A. F.||Duncombe, Hon. Hubert V.||Johnstone, J. H. (Sussex)|
|Allhusen, A. H. E.||Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton||Jolliffe, Hon. H. George|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Esmonde, Sir Thomas||Jordan, Jeremiah|
|Austin, Sir John (Yorkshire)||Fardell, Sir T. George||Kennaway, Rt. Hn. Sir J. H.|
|Bagot, Capt. J. FitzRoy||Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edw||Kilbride, Denis|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J. (Manc.)||Kimber, Henry|
|Baird, John G. Alexander||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Knowles, Lees|
|Balcarres, Lord||Fisher, William Hayes||Knox, Edmund F. Vesey|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Manch.)||Fison, Frederick William||Lafone, Alfred|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. G. W. (Leeds)||FitzGerald, Sir R. Penrose-||Lawrence, Sir E. (Cornwall)|
|Banbury, Frederick George||FitzWygram, General Sir F.||Lawson, John Grant (Yorks.)|
|Barnes, Frederic Gorell||Flannery, Fortescue||Lea, Sir Thos. (Londonderry)|
|Barry, Rt. Hn. A. H. Smith-(Hunts||Flavin, Michael Joseph||Lecky, Rt. Hon. W. E. H.|
|Barry, Francis T. (Windsor)||Fletcher, Sir Henry||Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead)|
|Bartley, George C. T.||Flower, Ernest||Leigh-Bennett, Hy. Currie|
|Barton, Dunbar Plunket||Flynn, James Christopher||Llewelyn, Sir Dillwyn- (Sw'ns'a)|
|Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M. H. (Brist'l)||Folkestone, Viscount||Lockwood, Lieut.-Col. A. R.|
|Beresford, Lord Charles||Forwood, Rt. Hon. Sir A. B.||Loder, Gerald Walter E.|
|Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Foster, Colonel (Lancaster)||Long, Col. C. W. (Evesham)|
|Biddulph, Michael||Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir H.||Lough, Thomas|
|Blake, Edward||Fox, Dr. Joseph Francis||Lowe, Francis William|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Fry, Lewis||Loyd, Archie Kirkman|
|Boscawen, A. Griffith-||Garfit, William||Lubbock, Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Boulnois, Edmund||Gedge, Sydney||Macaleese, Daniel|
|Bowles, T. G. (King's Lynn)||Gibbons, J. Lloyd||Maclean, James Mackenzie|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Giles, Charles Tyrrell||MacNeill, John Gordon S.|
|Brookfield, A. Montagu||Gilliat, John Saunders||McArthur, Chas. (Liverpool)|
|Brown, Alexander H.||Goldsworthy, Major-General||McCalmont, H. L. B. (Cambs.)|
|Brymer, William Ernest||Gordon, Hon. John Edward||McCalmont, Gen. (Antrim, N.)|
|Campbell, J. H. M. (Dublin)||Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir J. Eldon||McCartan, Michael|
|Carew, James Laurence||Goschen, Rt. Hn. G. J. (St. Geo's)||M'Ghee, Richard|
|Carlile, William Walter||Goschen, George J. (Sussex)||M'Hugh, Patrick A. (Leitrim)|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Edward||Goulding, Edward Alfred||McIver, Sir Lewis|
|Carvill, Patrick G. Hamilton||Graham, Henry Robert||Malcolm, Ian|
|Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbysh.)||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Maple, Sir John Blundell|
|Chaloner, Captain R. G. W.||Green, W. D. (Wednesbury)||Maxwell, Rt. Hon. Sir H. E.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. (Birm.)||Gull, Sir Cameron||Mellor, Col. (Lancashire)|
|Chamberlain, J. A. (Worc'r)||Hall, Sir Charles||Meysey-Thompson, Sir H. M.|
|Chelsea, Viscount||Halsey, Thomas Frederick||Milbank, Powlett Chas. J.|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Hamilton, Rt. Hon. Lord G.||Milward, Col. Victor|
|Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Hammond, John (Carlow)||Molloy, Bernard Charles|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Hanbury, Rt. Hon. R. W.||Monk, Charles James|
|Colomb, Sir John C. Ready||Hardy, Laurence||Montagu, Hon. J. S. (Hants.)|
|Colston, Chas. Edw. H. A.||Haslett, Sir James Horner||Moon, Edward Robert Pacy|
|Commins, Andrew||Hayden, John Patrick||More, Robert Jasper|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Healy, Maurice (Cork)||Morley, Rt. Hn. J. (Montrose)|
|Corbett, A. C. (Glasgow)||Healy, T. M. (Louth, N.)||Morton, A. H. A. (Deptford)|
|Cotton-Jodrell, Col. E. T. D.||Heath, James||Murnaghan, George|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Heaton, John Henniker||Murray, Rt. Hn. A. G. (Bute)|
|Crean, Eugene||Helder, Augustus||Myers, William Henry|
|Crilly, Daniel||Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Chas. H.||Nicol, Donald Ninian|
|Cripps, Charles Alfred||Henderson, Alexander||Northcote, Hon. Sir H. S.|
|Cross, H. S. (Bolton)||Hickman, Sir Alfred||O'Brien, Jas. F. X. (Cork)|
|Cubitt, Hn. Henry||Hill, Rt. Hn. Lord A. (Down)||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Curran, Thos. (Sligo, S.)||Hoare, Samuel (Norwich)||O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary)|
|Curzon, Rt. Hn. G. N. (Lancs.)||Hobhouse, Henry||O'Connor, Arthur (Donegal)|
|Curzon, Viscount (Bucks)||Holland, Hon. Lionel Raleigh||O'Connor, J. (Wicklow, W.)|
|Dalbiac, Colonel Philip Hugh||Hornby, William Henry||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Houldsworth, Sir Wm. Henry||O'Kelly, James|
|Daly, James||Howell, William Tudor||Plunkett, Rt. Hon. H. C.|
|Davenport, W. Bromley-||Howorth, Sir Henry Hoyle||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Dickson-Poynder, Sir J. P.||Hozier, Hon. James Henry C.||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Dillon, John||Hubbard, Hon. Evelyn||Priestley, Sir W. O. (Edin.)|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Hutchinson, Capt. G. W. Grice-||Purvis, Robert|
|Doogan, P. C.||Jameson, Major J. Eustace||Rasch, Major Frederic Carne|
|Dorington, Sir John Edward||Jeffreys, Arthur Frederick||Redmond, J. E. (Waterford)|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Jenkins, Sir John Jones||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Rentoul, James Alexander||Simeon, Sir Barrington||Ward, Hon. Robt. A. (Crewe)|
|Richardson, Sir T. (Hartlep'l)||Sinclair, Louis (Romford)||Waring, Colonel Thomas|
|Ridley, Rt. Hon. Sir M. W.||Smith, Abel (Herts)||Warkworth, Lord|
|Ritchie, Rt. Hon. C. T.||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)||Warr, Augustus Frederick|
|Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)||Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)||Webster, Sir R. E. (I. of W.)|
|Roche, Hon. J. (Kerry, E.)||Stanley, Henry M. (Lambeth)||Williams, J. Powell (Birm.)|
|Roche, John (Galway, E.)||Stewart, Sir M. J. M'Taggart||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Royds, Clement Molyneux||Strauss, Arthur||Wilson, J. W. (Worc, N.)|
|Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)||Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley||Wilson-Todd, W. H. (Yorks)|
|Samuel, H. S. (Limehouse)||Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Savory, Sir Joseph||Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)||Wortley, Rt. Hn. C. B. Stuart-|
|Scott, Chas. P. (Leigh)||Sullivan, T. D. (Donegal, W.)||Wyvill, Marmaduke D'Arcy|
|Seely, Charles Hilton||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)||Yerburgh, Robert Armstrong|
|Seton-Karr, Henry||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. (Oxf'd Uny)||Young, Com. (Berks, E.)|
|Sharpe, Wm. Edward T.||Thorburn, Walter||Young, Samuel (Cavan, E.)|
|Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renfrew)||Tritton, Charles Ernest||Younger, William|
|Sheehy, David||Tully, Jasper||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Sidebotham, J. W. (Cheshire)||Valentia, Viscount||Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Sidebottom, Wm. (Derbysh.)||Vincent, Col. Sir C. E. H.|
Page 16, line 2, leave out the words '29th day of September,' and insert instead the words '31st March, 1898.'"—(Mr. Dillon.)
§ MR. DILLON
The object of that Amendment is to mitigate to some extent the injustice which I claim is being done by the Government in making no provision whatever in respect of the arrears, amounting to upwards of a million of money, which are due to Ireland, because of the delay which has taken place in giving us our full equivalent for the grant given to England two years ago by the Agricultural Rating Act. It was admitted by the honourable Member for Stroud, in a speech to which I listened with very great interest, that the reason why he supported this proposal, and the only reason why he supported it, was that he believed that it was possible to do justice and to give to Ireland what she was entitled to at the English hands. I was very glad to hear that laid down by so influential a supporter of the Government as the honourable Member for Stroud, but he will see that that proposition carries us a step further, because, if it would be only bare justice to give to Ireland this present grant, estimated to be about £730,000, as an equivalent to the grant which England obtained under the Agricultural Rating Act, then it would be the barest justice that that grant should date from the same date as the English grant. What has been the history of this transaction? The grant ought to date from the same day; but according to the 1410 proposal of this Bill it will only commence to operate two years after the English grant, and for these two years, as I understand the proposal of the Government, we should be put off with a grant of £140,000 per annum, instead of £730,000, or, in other words, that we should be the losers of about £500,000 a year. If I am in error, although, of course, the whole question cannot be raised on this Amendment, yet it may at least lay the foundation for Ireland getting, perhaps, a half of what I contend she ought to have received. We accept the principle laid down by the honourable Member for Stroud, and our acceptance of that was my object in moving this Amendment. To my mind, the issue raised is a very simple one.
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
The Government have no wish that any injustice should be done to Ireland, and none would have been done if neither this Bill nor the agricultural grant had been given to Ireland at all. In this Bill we have, as a matter of fact, followed the analogy of the English Agricultural Ratings Bill of 1896 for the period in which the grant is to be taken after the Bill passes. We have just listened to a discussion as to whether the period should not be limited to five years. The English grant has been limited to five years; and supposing, apart from any question of local government, we had now passed the Bill into law, giving Ireland the grant for five years, from the time when the grant commenced, we should, from one point of view, be treating Ireland identically as 1411 we treated England. But, instead of being for five years only, we have made the grant to Ireland perpetual. How, then, can the honourable Member contend that he is entitled, not merely to have the grant made perpetual, but that he is entitled to go back for another two years? It seems to me to be preposterous.
§ MR. DILLON
I should like to hear a word from the honourable Member for Stroud upon this question. He has heard the Chief Secretary say now that the Government do not admit the justice of Ireland's claim. The only attempt at a reply which the right honourable Gentleman has made in regard to the contention as to the arrears of this grant, which arrears, I contend, are due to Ireland, is that he is giving us a permanent grant, as compared with the temporary grant given to England. Does any man in this House believe that the grant to England is to be temporary, or does he believe that if in the future that five years' grant to England were to be taken away, something of a similar character would not be done in the case of Ireland? No Act of Parliament can withdraw the power of this House to alter it. We know perfectly well that the English grant may be nominally temporary; but whatever alternatives may be made in the future, so far as one can judge from the tendency of this House, the sum will not be reduced, but rather increased. There is no force whatever in the argument of the right honourable Gentleman in comparing the temporary character of the English grant with the permanent character of the Irish grant, and I contend, on the principle laid down by the honourable Member for Stroud that this proposal was only doing justice to Ireland, that we are entitled to the arrears of £1,200,000, which is due from the Imperial Treasury to Ireland. Perhaps the right honourable Gentleman will see his way to giving us £100,000 on account, in order to feed the starving peasantry in the west of Ireland. At any rate, the money is due, and it would be unjust if we did not take this opportunity of protesting against the attitude of the Government in refusing to take into consideration Ireland's just claim to these arrears.
§ MR. FLYNN
The right honourable Gentleman says that this Bill confers favours upon the Irish people. We say it is only giving us our rights, and on the principle of equality of treatment we are entitled to the very same concessions as were given to the agriculturists of England or of Scotland. The Bill for giving relief to the English farmer was brought in to relieve agricultural distress, to relieve an industry which was in a depressed condition. No one can say that agriculture is not in a depressed condition in Ireland. Foreign competition, bad harvests, and low prices—all these things have brought it to a depressed condition; aye, even more so than in England and Scotland; and, that being so, the very reasons for which relief was given to agriculturists in this country apply with much greater force to Ireland. Upon these lines, and upon the principle of equality of treatment, we are entitled to the grant for quite as long a period as England has received it. As to the argument about the English relief being limited to five years, I do not think that the right honourable Gentleman will impress the House by taking up the rôle of a prophet. He cannot tell whether that limit of five years will be adhered to or not. The odds are that the grant once given will not be withdrawn, and that it will become as permanent as the Irish grant, and therefore he is not entitled to use the argument, because he cannot tell what will happen, and the probabilities are that the grant in aid of English agriculturists will be continued. Under these circumstances, I think my honourable Friend the Member for Mayo is perfectly justified in bringing forward this Amendment, and perfectly justified in demanding that we should receive some equivalent, as against the amount of money that has already been paid to England and Scotland.
§ MR. CARSON (Dublin University)
What is the objection to this Amendment? Why should not the grant commence in September, if the Bill is passed now?
§ MR. CARSON
Very well. Notwithstanding that I have mistaken the month, the point is exactly the same, and I again ask what is the objection to the Amendment? As far as I understand, the only reason the Chief Secretary has given as to why he refuses this Amendment is that he is taking the same date as was given in the English Act. Yes, but the English Act was passed two years ago, and the English ratepayers have had the benefit of that Act for that period. I cannot see why this grant should not commence the very moment the Act passes, and I do not think the Chief Secretary has given any reason whatsoever why it should not.
§ MR. CARSON
I know; but you have to take some starting-point, and why you should commence several months after the Act passes is a point upon which I wish for an explanation. If my right honourable Friend wishes to take the exact date on which the Act passes as the date from which the grant is to commence he can apportion it—that would be a reasonable proposition, but there is no reason whatsoever for waiting till September. As to the statement that we are getting this relief in perpetuity, whereas the English Act is only for five years, I do not suppose that anyone believes that there is any seriousness in that argument whatever. No one will suppose that the agricultural constituents will be offended by any person proposing that the grant in relief of the English rates should not be taken away. There is really in this case no reason for not agreeing with this Amendment, excepting for the purpose of clipping the benefit as much as possible. There is another reason why I think it might be admitted that this rate should commence at once on the passing of the Act. Under the English Act you gave the rate, pure and simple, to the ratepayers without any restriction. You are only giving it to us, at all events, on condition that we swallow this Act. That seems to me, Sir, to be a good reason why we should not be asked to take any portion of the pill until it is properly gilded. Under these cir- 1414 cumstances, it does seem to me that, so far from having a worse case than the English ratepayers, we have a much stronger one; and while I quite agree with the honourable Member opposite that there was no reason in the world why the Agricultural Rating Act should not have been extended to Ireland at the same time as it was extended to England, I agree that this Amendment is only asking for a very small portion of the arrears of that money which would have been due to us had the very same legislation been given to us at the same time as it was given to England.
§ MR. DILLON
In reality, according to the Bill, the relief will not come into operation until the half-year ending 31st March next year. That is the way it operates, because the grants will not be paid to the local bodies until that date.
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
The grant will begin to accrue as from the end of September. It will be paid over to the new local bodies, who will not come into power until March. It is to be paid over when they come into power, and then they will find that there is a half-year's payment of the agricultural grant due to them. By the Amendment of the honourable Member, he proposes that when these new bodies are elected they should have not a half-year's grant, but a whole year's grant.
§ MR. DILLON
If you look at sub-section 3 of the clause you will find these words—So as to make up the sum required to meet the half-yearly payments to the county councils on account of the six months next ensuing on such last day of March, but such half-yearly-payments shall not be applied towards the cost of work done, or expenses incurred, before such six months.The first half-year's grant is to go to the services of the half-year ending the 31st March next year.
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
Yes, no doubt, on the 31st March next year there will be the grant due which has been accruing during the previous half-year.
§ MR. DILLON
Yes, but there will be no relief to the Irish rates until the 31st March next year, and the relief will go to the rates struck in the half-year ensuing 1415 after that. This Bill has been so drafted as to secure that there shall be as against Ireland two years unprovided for, whereas, by accepting my Amendment, it can be so arranged that Ireland shall be only to the bad to the extent of a year and a half, and there is, so far as I can see, no financial difficulty whatever in accepting my Amendment, because I do not propose to go back on the last financial year, the accounts of which have been closed. My Amendment only applies to the current financial year. The whole question turns upon this: are the Irish local bodies—the existing ones—to be bound to strike a full rate for the six months ending on the 31st March next year, or are they not? If they were going to get the half-year's grant from the 31st March to the 29th September, of course they would provide for that by striking a lower rate, and accordingly the relief would come to the ratepayers sooner than it otherwise would; or if the right honourable Gentleman insisted, though I do not think it would be reasonable to expect it, he could give a total relief during the first year of the new boards by a slight alteration in the financial clause. The simple difficulty comes to this: that there are due to us £1,200,000 for arrears, and we ask that in reduction of this enormous sum we shall be given a quarter of it, and the right honourable Gentleman says "No."
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
The difference between us is perfectly simple. The honourable Member for East Mayo considers that he is entitled to arrears of £1,200,000. The Government are not of that opinion. If the honourable Member is right he would be entitled, not merely to a fourth of that £1,200,000, but to the whole of it.
§ MR. WHITTAKER (Yorkshire, Spen Valley)
These arguments are somewhat confusing. If this money be a shameful bribe, if it be a flagitious waste of public money, where comes in the argument
§ for going back? And in what way is the honourable Member for East Mayo justified in claiming that the money is due?
§ MR. DILLON
Because I want to get as much money as I possibly can. It was not the amount I objected to when I spoke of flagitious waste, it was the distribution with which this proposal has nothing to do.
§ MR. WHITTAKER
The distribution of the extra portion of it is to be on the same basis. The money which is due can scarcely be described as a shameful bribe. It seems to me that there is a little confusion of thought. I also cannot help asking, if it be considered that the five years' limit means nothing, why vote against it on the last Division? If that limit is not meant seriously there was no necessity to oppose it. Why, therefore, did honourable Members vote against it?
§ MR. WHITTAKER
The only argument that holds water is the suggestion that this grant is equivalent to the English agriculture grant, and that, therefore, Ireland is entitled to it. I do not admit that for one moment; but if that be so I cannot understand the vote of the honourable Member for Stroud, who based his defence of the grant upon that ground, and yet he declined, in the last Division, to put this grant to Ireland on the same footing as the English grant. You cannot have it both ways. If this grant is to be permanent then it is on a different footing to the English grant. If it is due, it cannot be a shameful bribe.
That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the clause.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 276; Noes 96.—(Division List No. 99.)1419
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir A. F.||Bagot, Capt. J. FitzRoy||Barnes, Frederic Gorell|
|Allen, Wm. (Newc.-under-L.)||Bailey, James (Walworth)||Barry, Francis T. (Windsor)|
|Allhusen, Augustus H. Eden||Baird, John George Alex.||Bartley, George C. T.|
|Allison, Robert Andrew||Balcarres, Lord||Barton, Dunbar Plunkett|
|Asher, Alexander||Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Manch.)||Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M. H. (Brist'l)|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Balfour, Rt. Hn. G. W. (Leeds)||Beach, W. W. B. (Hants)|
|Austin, Sir J. (Yorkshire)||Banbury, Frederick George||Beaumont, Wentworth C. B.|
|Beresford, Lord Charles||Gibbons, J. Lloyd||Lowe, Francis William|
|Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Giles, Charles Tyrrell||Loyd, Archie Kirkman|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Gilliat, John Saunders||Lubbock, Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-||Goddard, Daniel Ford||Lucas-Shadwell, William|
|Boulnois, Edmund||Gold, Charles||Lyell, Sir Leonard|
|Bowles, Major H. F. (Mdsx.)||Goldsworthy, Major-General||Maclean, James Mackenzie|
|Bowles, T. G. (King's Lynn)||Gordon, Hon. John Edward||McArthur, Chas. (Liverpool)|
|Brigg, John||Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John E.||McCalmont, H. L. B. (Cambs.)|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Goschen, Rt. Hn. G. J. (St. Geo's)||McEwan, William|
|Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Goschen, George J. (Sussex)||McIver, Sir Lewis|
|Bullard, Sir Harry||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Maddison, Fred.|
|Caldwell, James||Graham, Henry Robert||Malcolm, Ian|
|Cameron, Sir C. (Glasgow)||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Manners, Lord Edw. W. J.|
|Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Green, W. D. (Wednesbury)||Maple, Sir John Blundell|
|Carlile, William Walter||Greene, H. D. (Shrewsbury)||Mappin, Sir Frederick T.|
|Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbysh.)||Griffith, Ellis J.||Martin, Richard Biddulph|
|Cayzer, Sir Charles William||Gull, Sir Cameron||Mellor, Colonel (Lancashire)|
|Chaloner, Capt. R. G. W.||Hall, Sir Charles||Mendl, Sigismund Ferdinand|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. (Birm.)||Halsey, Thomas Frederick||Meysey-Thompson, Sir H. M.|
|Chamberlain, J. A. (Worc.)||Hamilton, Rt. Hon. Lord G.||Milbank, Powlett Charles J.|
|Channing, Francis Allston||Hanbury, Rt. Hon. R. W.||Milward, Colonel Victor|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Hardy, Laurence||Monckton, Edward Philip|
|Chelsea, Viscount||Haslett, Sir James Horner||Monk, Charles James|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Hazell, Walter||Montagu, Hon. J. S. (Hants)|
|Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Heath, James||Moon, Edward Robert Pacy|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Hedderwick, Thos. Chas. H.||More, Robert Jasper|
|Colomb, Sir John Chas. R.||Helder, Augustus||Morgan, J. L. (Carmarthen)|
|Colston, Chas. E. H. Athole||Henderson, Alexander||Morton, A. H. A. (Deptford)|
|Colville, John||Hermon-Hodge, Robert T.||Murray, Rt. Hn. A. G. (Bute)|
|Cook, Fred. L. (Lambeth)||Hill, Rt. Hn. Lord A. (Down)||Myers, William Henry|
|Corbett, A. C. (Glasgow)||Hoare, Samuel (Norwich)||Nicol, Donald Ninian|
|Cotton-Jodrell, Col. E. T. D.||Hobhouse, Henry||Northcote, Hon. Sir H. S.|
|Cox, Robert||Holburn, J. G.||Palmer, Sir C. M. (Durham)|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Holden, Sir Angus||Pease, Alfred E. (Cleveland)|
|Cripps, Charles Alfred||Hornby, William Henry||Pease, J. A. (Northumb.)|
|Crombie, John William||Horniman, Frederick John||Pease, Sir J. W. (Durham)|
|Cross, Alexander (Glasgow)||Howell, William Tudor||Philipps, John Wynford|
|Cross, H. S. (Bolton)||Howorth, Sir Henry Hoyle||Pickersgill, Edward Hare|
|Cubitt, Hon. Henry||Hozier, Hon. James H. C.||Pierpoint, Robert|
|Currie, Sir Donald||Hubbard, Hon. Evelyn.||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Curzon, Rt. Hn. G. N. (Lancs.)||Hutchinson, Capt. G. W. Grice-||Price, Robert John|
|Curzon, Viscount (Bucks)||Jacoby, James Alfred||Priestley, Sir W. O. (Edin.)|
|Dalbiac, Colonel Philip Hugh||Jeffreys, Arthur Frederick||Purvis, Robert|
|Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Jenkins, Sir John Jones||Pym, C. Guy|
|Davenport, W. Bromley-||Johnson-Ferguson, Jabez E.||Rasch, Major Frederic Carne|
|Dickson-Poynder, Sir J. P.||Johnston, William (Belfast)||Reid, Sir Robert T.|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Chas.||Johnstone, John H. (Sussex)||Richardson, Sir T. (Hartlep'l)|
|Dixon-Hartland, Sir F. D.||Joicey, Sir James||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Dorington, Sir John Edward||Jolliffe, Hon. H. George||Ridley, Rt. Hon. Sir M. W.|
|Doughty, George||Kemp, George||Ritchie, Rt. Hon. Chas. T.|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Kennaway, Rt. Hn. Sir J. H.||Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)|
|Drage, Geoffrey||Kimber, Henry||Roberts, J. H. (Denbighsh.)|
|Duckworth, James||Kinloch, Sir J. G. Smyth||Royds, Clement Molyneux|
|Duncombe, Hon. Hubert V.||Kitson, Sir James||Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)|
|Dunn, Sir William||Knowles, Lees||Samuel, H. S. (Limehouse)|
|Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton||Lafone, Alfred||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Fardell, Sir T. George||Lambert, George||Savory, Sir Joseph|
|Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn E.||Laurie, Lieut.-General||Seely, Charles Hilton|
|Fenwick, Charles||Lawrence, Sir E. (Cornwall)||Seton-Karr, Henry|
|Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Lawson, J. Grant (Yorks.)||Sharpe, Wm. Edward T.|
|Firbank, Joseph Thomas||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumberland)||Shaw, Chas. E. (Stafford)|
|Fisher, William Hayes||Lea, Sir T. (Londonderry)||Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)|
|Fison, Frederick William||Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead)||Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renf)|
|FitzWygram, Gen. Sir F.||Leese, Sir J. F. (Accrington)||Sidebotham, J. W. (Cheshire)|
|Flannery Fortescue||Leng, Sir John||Sidebottom, Wm. (Derbysh.)|
|Fletcher, Sir Henry||Lewis, John Herbert||Simeon, Sir Barrington|
|Folkestone, Viscount||Llewelyn, Sir Dillwyn-(Sw'ns'a)||Sinclair, Capt. J. (Forfarsh.)|
|Forwood, Rt. Hon. Sir A. B.||Lockwood, Lieut.-Col. A. R.||Smith, Abel (Herts)|
|Foster, Colonel (Lancaster)||Loder, Gerald Walter E.||Smith, Hn. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Fry, Lewis||Logan, John William||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Garfit, William||Long, Col. C. W. (Evesham)||Souttar, Robinson|
|Gedge, Sydney||Long, Rt. Hon. W. (Liverp'l)||Spicer, Albert|
|Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)||Ure, Alexander||Williams, J. Powell (Birm.)|
|Stanley, H. M. (Lambeth)||Valentia, Viscount||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Steadman, William Charles||Vincent, Col. Sir C. E. H.||Wilson, John (Govan)|
|Stephens, Henry Charles||Wallace, Robert (Perth)||Wilson, J. W. (Worc., N.)|
|Stevenson, Francis S.||Wanklyn, James Leslie||Wilson-Todd, W. H. (Yorks.)|
|Strachey, Edward||Ward, Hon. R. A. (Crewe)||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Strauss, Arthur||Warkworth, Lord||Wortley, Rt. Hn. C. B. Stuart-|
|Strutt, Hon, Charles Hedley||Warr, Augustus Frederick||Wyvill, Marmaduke D'Arcy|
|Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier||Wayman, Thomas||Yerburgh, Robert Armstrong|
|Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)||Webster, Sir R. E. (I. of W.)||Young, Com. (Berks, E.)|
|Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. (Oxf'd Uny)||Welby, Lieut.-Col. A. C. E.||Younger, William|
|Thomas, Alf. (Glamorgan, E.)||Whiteley, H. (Ashton-und.-L.)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Thorburn, Walter||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer||Sir William Walrond and|
|Tritton, Charles Ernest||Williams, J. Carvell (Notts)||Mr. Anstruther.|
|Abraham, Wm. (Cork, N.E.)||Hammond, John (Carlow)||O'Brien, Jas. F. X. (Cork)|
|Allan, Wm. (Gateshead)||Harwood, George||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Hayden, John Patrick||O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary)|
|Austin, M. (Limerick, W.)||Healy, Maurice (Cork)||O'Connor, Arthur (Donegal)|
|Barlow, John Emmott||Healy, T. M. (N. Louth)||O'Connor, J. (Wicklow, W.)|
|Bethell, Commander||Hemphill, Rt. Hon. C. H.||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Billson, Alfred||Holland, Hon. Lionel R.||Owen, Thomas|
|Birrell, Augustine||Humphreys-Owen, A. C.||Paulton, James Mellor|
|Blake, Edward||Hutton, A. E. (Morley)||Plunkett, Rt. Hon. H. C.|
|Brunner, Sir J. Tomlinson||Jameson, Major J. Eustace||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Bryce, Rt. Hon. James||Jones, David B. (Swansea)||Reckitt, Harold James|
|Burt, Thomas||Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire)||Redmond, J. E. (Waterford)|
|Cameron, Robert (Durham)||Jordan, Jeremiah||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Campbell, J. H. M. (Dublin)||Kearley, Hudson E.||Rentoul, James Alexander|
|Carew, James Laurence||Kilbride, Denis||Richardson, J. (Durham)|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Edward||Knox, Edmund F. Vesey||Roche, Hon. Jas. (E. Kerry)|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Lecky, Rt. Hon. W. E. H.||Roche, John (East Galway)|
|Commins, Andrew||Lloyd-George, David||Sheehy, David|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Lough, Thomas||Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)|
|Crean, Eugene||Macaleese, Daniel||Sullivan, T. D. (Donegal, W.)|
|Crilly, Daniel||MacNeill, John G. Swift||Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen)|
|Curran, Thomas (Sligo, S.)||McCalmont, Mj-Gn. (Ant'm, N.)||Tully, Jasper|
|Daly, James||McCalmont, Col. J. (Ant'm, E.)||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Doogan, P. C.||McCartan, Michael||Wills, Sir William Henry|
|Ellis, John Edward (Notts)||M'Ghee, Richard||Wilson, Charles H. (Hull)|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas||M'Hugh, Patrick A. (Leitrim)||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Fitmaurice, Lord Edmund||McLaren, Charles B.||Wilson, J. H. (Middlesbro')|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||Maden, John Henry||Woodhouse, Sir J. T. (Hud'ld)|
|Flower, Ernest||Molloy, Bernard Charles||Young, Samuel (Cavan, E.)|
|Flynn, James Christopher||Montagu, Sir S. (Whitechapel)||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Fowler, Rt. Hen. Sir H.||Morton, E. J. C. (Devonport)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Fox, Dr. Joseph Francis||Murnaghan, George||Mr. Dillon and Captain|
|Gourley, Sir E. Temperley||Nussey, Thomas Willans||Donelan.|
Page 16, line 9, leave out the words 'poor rate and.'"—(Mr. Lambert.)
§ MR. LAMBERT (Devonshire, S. Molton)
The effect of this Amendment will be to cut off entirely the landlord's portion of this grant and leave the tenant in a far better position than that in which he is proposed to be placed by the Government in this Bill. This grant amounts to £300,000 a year, and represents the interest on a capitalised sum of something like £10,000,000. For my own part, I have never been able 1420 to discover what the Irish landlords have done to entitle them to receive a gratuity which represents the interest of such an enormous sum of money, in addition to the fact that they have swallowed this Act of Parliament. But if this Act of Parliament is a reasonable Act and a right and proper Act to pass, I cannot see that you want in any way to bribe the Irish landlords to accept it. We have had several admissions from the right honourable Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury that this was not a debt due to the landlord. Very well, I am quite certain it is not a demand by the Irish 1421 people that this money should be taken but of the pockets of the people to endow the Irish landlords in order to buy off their opposition to this Bill. In my opinion, it is a piece of gratuitous bribery to the Irish landlords, and I think this money could be made use of and disposed of in a very much more profitable way for the benefit of Ireland. We are told that this country confers the same treatment upon Ireland as that which England received under the Agricultural Rating Bill, but I would venture to remind the Committee that in that case the money went first into the pockets of the occupier. If it ultimately went to the landlord it did so by a process of filtration, through the pockets of the occupier. But in this case it goes direct to the landlord. The other point is that the Irish Secretary will not accept the five years' limit, but he made it permanent, and that also makes it different. The Irish landlords, under this Bill, will be in a far better position than the landlords of England ever were, because not only will they have this grant, but they will not pay any rates. They will derive a certain income from their land, and they not only get this £300,000 a year, but other privileges as well. I do not myself see what they have done to merit this generous treatment at the hands of the taxpayers. An honourable Member said that they had driven the people mad or to America. You surely do not want to compensate them for that. I am quite certain that no one who has gone very deeply into this question can have done otherwise than have noticed that, to a very large extent, the disturbances in Ireland have been due to, and caused by, the rapacity of the Irish landlords. It was their handiwork in 1880, when they drew up Mr. Forster's Compensation Bill, and all the disturbance and violence which has taken place in Ireland has been largely due to the landlords demanding rents which it was impossible for the tenants to pay. Since the Act of 1881, which was strengthened by the right honourable Gentleman the Chief Secretary in 1895—the Land Act, by which fair rents were fixed—it will be seen that, to a very large degree, the disturbances have been mitigated. That has been because the people have been able to get fair rents, and have not been driven to the extremities to which starvation will reduce a man, whatever part of 1422 the globe he may inhabit. What, may I ask, has Lord Clanricarde done to deserve that £500 a year should be paid into his pocket? I asked that question the other day of the Chief Secretary, but the right honourable Gentleman did not give me any answer, nor has any honourable Member, so far as I am aware, given any answer to the question as to what this man has done to deserve that this money should be taken out of the pockets of the taxpayer and put into his own.
§ MR. LAMBERT
I accept my honourable Friend's explanation. Is that what we are to pay it for? Now, the English landlords, in their degree, have never been guilty of the same atrocities as have their Irish confréres. You have no starving tenantry in England as they have in Ireland, and I think that it is a scandalous shame that in this country, overflowing with wealth as it is, there should be any people who are unable to get a decent meal, when they are able and willing to work, as the Irish peasantry are. I asked, the other day, who were the chief landlords in Ireland, and I find, from Mr. Thorn's Directory, an official directory, and one which can be taken as reliable—
§ MR. LAMBERT
The right honourable Gentleman says it cannot be taken as reliable, but I think it can.
§ MR. LAMBERT
Well, it is not official, but it may be taken as a reliable work. I find that in the west of Ireland Lord Dillon is now receiving, making allowance for the 25 per cent. reduction in rent now made, £14,323. He will get under this Bill a poor rate of 8d. in the £, amounting to £477 a year. The Marquess of Sligo—I take the figures from the same authority—will get on poor rate £300 a year. This is very different treatment from that which the 1423 Government is meting out to the starving tenantry in that district. They give them a very small amount indeed—some 2s. 6d. or 3s. a week—provided that they work very hard for it. These two landlords get sufficient, at all events, to provide them with champagne. Now, I cannot understand by what right or title men who have neglected their duties in the past should be endowed with this gigantic sum. The only reason which I could obtain was that I, as a Member of this House, voted for the Second Reading of the Agricultural Rates Bill. I supported the Government in 1886, when they opposed the Act which they are now advocating, the extension of the Agricultural Rating Act to Ireland. In 1897 the Government rejected a proposal of the honourable Member for Derry City that the Agricultural Rating Act of England should be extended to Ireland. In May, 1898—this year—they advocate very strongly that this Bill should be extended to Ireland. I was very much taken to task by the honourable Member for Stroud for my inconsistency in this matter. He came down here with a great show of principle, and held up his hands in holy horror at the very suggestion that anything like bribery was in any way contemplated. The honourable Gentleman said just now, "We get, on condition that we swallow this Act, a certain amount of money." That seemed to me to sound somewhat like bribery. I would like to examine a little into the consistency of the honourable Gentleman upon this question. In 1896 he gave a silent vote on the Government side rejecting the extension of the Agricultural Rating Act to Ireland. In 1897 he came down and spoke, and voted in favour of its rejection. He said it was not fair to extend the Agricultural Rating Act to Ireland because the circumstances of the two countries were not at all similar. Now, if it was not fair to extend this Act to Ireland in 1897, because of the dissimilarity of the circumstances, how does the honourable Gentleman reconcile it to his mind that it is fair in 1898? I should like to have an answer to that question. It appears to me that the honourable and learned Gentleman supports the Government through thick and thin. He is a very accomplished lawyer, we know, but I am very much afraid that the advocate 1424 is very much overcome by the politician. If the Government says, as they sometimes do, that a thing is very black, he puts on the robe of mourning; but when they say that it is bright and shining, he dons the wedding garment. Under those circumstances, I deprecate his coming down here to criticise my consistency. I object to this grant upon the ground also that, whilst going into the pockets of the landlords of Ireland, it will perpetuate a system already wasteful and extravagant, which, rich as we are, we ought not to allow. The Imperial expenditure of this country is something like £70,000,000, the contribution of Ireland towards that expenditure is something like £2,000,000; When this Bill is passed it will only be £1,200,000, and I think, as an English Member of this House, I have a right to speak and vote on this matter, which is one in which the English constituencies are so vitally interested. I contend that although such a measure as the Agricultural Rates Bill was given to England, there is no reason for a similar Bill being given to Ireland. The circumstances are not the same in the two countries. England is a rich country, and if she likes to give a certain amount of money to the landlords of the country it is a matter which only concerns herself; but Ireland, on the other hand, is a poor country, and she cannot afford to put this money into her landlords' pockets. There is no getting away from the fact that this grant will be taken into account when the next discussion upon the financial relations of Ireland and England comes before this House. I am perfectly certain that honourable Gentlemen will rise in their places then and say there is £300,000 going to the landlords of Ireland, and that must be taken into account when the contribution she is to pay comes to be considered. I candidly admit that I do not believe in this similarity of treatment for the two countries. I voted for Home Rule, and I hope I am consistent in opposing the Rating Act as applied to Ireland. It is not necessary for Ireland; and I contend that this amount of £300,000 a year could be more advantageously applied in other ways. The honourable Member for Derry City said, the other day, that if nothing were done for the landlords of 1425 Ireland everybody knew the fate which this Bill might expect to meet with in another place. I object to pay £300,000 a year in order to pass this Bill into law. It is not the habit or the tradition of the Liberal Party to bribe the House of Lords in order that they may obtain their consent to proper and good legislation. This is an act of political corruption of the deepest dye. Let me give one instance of this policy. Suppose that the London County Council had made up its mind to effect a desirable, improvement in the city of London, and suppose that council had decided to pay two of the members of the county council for the purpose of buying their consent to the improvement being made, honourable Gentleman opposite would go about the country and denounce the London County Council in the most unmeasured terms as guilty of bribery and corruption; but what is happening here? Two of the Members of the Cabinet are going under this Bill to receive a very large sum of money. They will get under this Bill £1,646 a year.
§ MR. LAMBERT
According to Thom's Directory he will get half the poor rate of 1s. 4d. in the £—that is to say, 8d. in the £. So that he will receive £932 poor rate; and, if we take into account what he will receive out of the county cess, he will get £1,395.
§ COLONEL WARING (Down, N.)
I would like to correct the honourable Gentleman upon this point. Lord Londonderry has sold the greater part of his Irish property, and will, therefore, not receive any such amount. All that which the honourable Gentleman has given us is ancient history.
§ MR. LAMBERT
I am quoting front Thom's Official Directory, 1898, and honourable Gentlemen opposite have already admitted that it is a reliable authority.
§ MR. LAMBERT
The honourable Gentleman has anticipated what I was about to say. When it suits honourable Gentlemen they will quote it, but when it does not, then it is not reliable. Now I observe that Lord Londonderry wrote a letter—which has only reached my hands since I have been in the House, to the Times—but if Lord Londonderry will only do me the honour to read my speech, he will see that I quoted the figures from the directory. It was the 1873 valuation from which I deducted 25 per cent. for agricultural depression. I gave those figures when I commenced my speech, and also the authority upon which I gave them; therefore, I cannot for the life of me see why he should question my accuracy in the matter. If there is any inaccuracy at all, then it is on the part of the directory, which is reliable when it suits the honourable Gentlemen opposite, and untrustworthy when it does not. Here is a splendid opportunity for doing something for Ireland, in the way of education, for instance. The very first part of this Bill proposes to disfranchise the illiterate voters. Now, this money might be used to educate them; but if you give it to the Irish landlords it will not do so. Lord Londonderry admits that he will receive £180 a year under this Bill. Will any of the money which he receives educate a single one of the peasants in Ireland, or, in the way of education, give any assistance to one out of five of these illiterate people in Ireland, who are unable to read or write? Not one. There is again a good opportunity of spending this £300,000 a year in another way. You may give it to the county councils of Ireland, following the precedent of the English county councils. £3,000,000 was given to the English county councils for the purpose of effecting any desirable improvement. All the county councils of Ireland have to depend upon, and 1427 upon which they will have to rely, are the rates levied off the poorest portion of the population of the United Kingdom; and we know that in many instances the distress is so acute, as the honourable Member for East Mayo and other honourable Gentlemen have pointed out in this House, that these people cannot keep body and soul together. The money which goes to the Irish landlords will have to come out of the pockets of the taxpayer, and I protest against it. If my Amendment is carried the tenants will get their relief, while the effect of it will be to prevent any sum going to the Irish landlords, who, in my opinion, and, as I contend, do not deserve it. And there is another thing—it is not a precedent to be followed that we, as Members of Parliament, should bribe a particular interest to accept proper and just legislation. I beg to move the Amendment which stands in my name.
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
The honourable Gentleman seems to think that by constantly reiterating exactly the same arguments over and over again he can convert the Committee to a view which it has two or three times rejected by a large majority. The honourable Gentleman has given us absolutely nothing but the same speech three times over. He has not offered a single fresh argument to those which failed to convince the Committee on former occasions. The only thing he has done is to add the names of two more landlords to his black list. The honourable Member complains that his arguments have never been met. The answer is obvious to everybody in the House except, perhaps, to the very small party to which he belongs.
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
The whole matter can be put into a nutshell. In the first place it is universally admitted that it is not unreasonable that some relief should be given to Irish agriculture and to those interested in it. It 1428 is universally admitted that it is desirable to assimilate the local government of Ireland to that of England, but it is also generally admitted that in order to do that we must introduce certain safeguards, and this is what we desire to do. The Bill combines these two things; and I venture to say that not only the House, but the country generally, accepts the proposal.
§ MR. DAVITT
The Chief Secretary complains that my honourable Friend's speech has been delivered more than once. I am very glad of it. I think it is a very good speech, and I wish I were able to deliver it again myself. My honourable Friend, in the beginning of his observations, expressed himself as being unable to understand why all this money was going to the Irish landlords. My honourable Friend, in that remarks, was only showing the usual ignorance of the average Englishman in connection with Irish affairs: otherwise he would understand why the Clanricardes and Londonderrys and the rest were going to get this bribe. In the first place they are the deadliest enemies of the national sentiment of Ireland: they have harried the people, and they have unroofed the cabins of the peasantry: they have inflicted rack rents: they have studded the country with workhouses; and they are responsible for the poverty of Ireland to-day. Surely that is some work for which they deserve a reward from England. They have carried out England's dirty work for centuries, and that is why they are going to be relieved to the extent of £300,000 every year under this Bill, whilst the Irish agriculturists have £20,000 for one year, for 50,000 people who are in a state of semi-starvation. Let me add this—that, notwithstanding the fact that the landlords are to receive this large sum every year, I am not aware that a single man among them, in anticipation of this addition to their incomes, has subscribed one cent towards the relief of the starving peasantry. I support this Amendment. I am opposed to the principle embodied in this clause. It is a nefarious principle. It is taking off their shoulders the obligation which is legally and morally theirs, 1429 namely, that the landlords should subscribe to the relief of that poverty which is the result of their own acts. I will quote a few words which appeared in the Times more than a generation ago, when public money was being voted for the relief of agricultural distress in Ireland. On the 6th January, 1847, it was stated—For the future we will take no denial. We in England maintain our own poor; and unless the Irish landlords are prepared to see the British public deliberately, formally, and explicitly demanding a summary confiscation of the whole soil of Ireland, they must and shall maintain them.I am sorry that the Times of to-day does not reiterate its principles of a generation ago. Then it believed that the Irish landlords should support the whole poor of Ireland out of their land revenues. And now what the Government propose is that the starving peasantry of Ireland should be saddled with these burdens, and that the Duke of Devonshire, and the Marquess of Londonderry, and other poor men who have to live on only £100 000 or £150,000 a year, shall have £1,000 or £2,000 a year added to their incomes out of the earnings of the taxpaying mechanics of Ireland and the working men of Great Britain. That same paper, speaking on this very subject of granting money to the privileged interest, wrote—A confederacy of rich proprietors to dun the National Exchequer, and eke out of their resources that employment for the poor which they themselves are bound to provide by every sense of duty to a land from which they derive their incomes. It is too bad that the Irish landlords should come and ask charity of the English and Scotch mechanic; but it seems that those who forget their duties, forget all shame. The Irish rent must be paid twice ever.The Irish landlords exact a rent out of all proportion to the economic value of the land, and now they must come to this House and get another contribution out of the pockets of the taxpayers of these three countries. But I have a strong view in support of my opposition to this clause—a view which I am sure will recommend itself to the Committee. It was also expressed in connection with one of those many periodical grants of public money to the so-called loyal landlord garrison of Ireland. The 1430 Duke of Wellington, writing on the 7th July, 1830, on an occasion when some relief was being asked from Parliament for the Irish landlords, used these words—I confess that the annual recurring starvation in Ireland for a period differing, according to the goodness or badness of the season, from one week to three months, gives me more uneasiness than any other evil existing in the United Kingdom. Now, when this misfortune occurs, there is no relief or mitigation, except a recourse to public money, The proprietors of the country, those who ought to think for the people, to foresee their misfortune, and to provide beforehand a remedy for it, are amusing themselves in the clubs of London, in Cheltenham or Bath, or on the Continent, and the Government are made responsible for the evil, and they must find the remedy for it where they can—anywhere, excepting in the pockets of the Irish gentlemen. Then, if they give public money to provide a remedy for this distress, it is applied to all purposes excepting the one for which it is given; and most particularly to that one—the payment of the arrears of an exorbitant rent.Those are views which ought to make some impression upon the Committee. I say that there has been agricultural distress in Ireland, and there is agricultural distress in Ireland; but how are you going to relieve it? By coming to the assistance of your own political friends and supporters. If you are prepared honestly to extend the helping hand to the cultivators of the soil in Ireland, and devote this money directly to those who work on the land, then I believe you will meet with very little opposition on this side of the House. But you are taking advantage of the fact that the landlord interest owns both branches of the Legislature. When this is done in America they call it "boodle," and when the "boodler" is caught in that work he is sent to Sing-Sing. You have only to do the same thing under another name here, and you are promoted to the Privy Council. I do not care if I am only one voice amongst the five millions of Irish people; I would denounce this nefarious work. It will make the solution of the Irish land difficulty all the more difficult. The moment Her Majesty's signature is put to this Measure you are adding at least 20 millions to the value of Irish landlord property. If you are going to solve the agrarian difficulty in 1431 this generation you will make the tenants in Ireland pay all this, in addition to what will otherwise have to be paid. And this is your Imperial legislation. I say that there never was in the history of any constitutionally governed country a more infamous, or more dishonest proposal than this.
§ MR. LOUGH (Islington, W.)
It is very hard for anyone to remember what is the precise proposal before the Committee, after hearing the very strong speeches that have been delivered. These speeches have been entirely about Irish landlords, and there is not a word about landlords in the clause we are dealing with. The proposal is that in extending this agricultural grant to Ireland half of the poor rate should not be paid, as has been done in Great Britain. With regard to the landlords, I object to the releasing of any class of its fair contribution of taxation. Such an exemption, however, as that ought to be dealt with on broad lines in a Bill that would apply equally to this country and to Ireland. It ought not to be dragged like a red herring across this proposal. The proposal is that half the cost of maintaining the Irish poor law system in the agricultural districts should be paid by the Government. There never was a more infamous burden cast upon Ireland than the poor law system which this House cast upon it, and now, at the eleventh hour, nothing could be more just than that it should fall upon the shoulders of the Parliament that invented it. I am told it will only relieve one class, and that is the landlords. That is totally untrue. I venture to say that one of the largest and most deserving classes in Ireland is the class of tenant farmers who have bought their land, and who will share with the landlords the full relief of this grant. My honourable Friends ask how much the landlords will get. They are waiting to tempt me into these doubtful statistics, of which the Committee has already heard too much. My honourable Friend said the other day that a certain landlord would get altogether £2,000 by this clause; but the landlord wrote to the Times on Saturday and explained that he would 1432 only get £180. I think my honourable Friend made a very inadequate withdrawal of that statement. I think there has been the grossest exaggeration as to what the landlords will get under this particular clause. I will say to my honourable Friends on this side of the House below the Gangway, that within the limits of justice I am as ready to do what is right to the Irish landlord as to the Irish tenant. We have already dealt with the same subject in England and Wales. In these places we have given the relief of half the poor rate. How, then, can we exclude the poor rate from the grant in Ireland? I should like for a moment to glance at one or two of the arguments my honourable Friend who has moved the Amendment has so often used. He said that if the money were applied to good purposes he would vote for it. With great respect I question that. I put it in this way: we had this proposal before us with regard to Devonshire. The South Molton division of Devonshire is very much like Ireland; but when we had the proposal before us with regard to South Molton my honourable Friend said nothing about education. He did not speak of the admirable purposes to which the grant might be applied. He said—"Pay half our rates, and you can confer no greater benefit upon us." I think the House should attach some weight to what my honourable Friend said on that occasion. He said also, as a further argument why this grant should not be given to Ireland, that in Lord Farrer's Report it was stated that Ireland ought to contribute the sum of £3,000,000 to the Imperial taxation instead of the amount she does contribute. No statement appears in Lord Farrer's Report.
§ MR. LAMBERT
I take leave to say that in the Report a fair contribution towards the Imperial taxation was put as one-twentieth. The Imperial expenditure is £60,000,000 a year, and one-twentieth of £60,000,000 would be £3,000,000 a year.
§ MR. LOUGH
He used the specific words "£3,000,000." I put Lord Farrer's Report into his hand, and asked him to show me the statement. It was because he did not that I venture to make the 1433 statement I have done. All I have got to add is that if the Irish landlord gets some relief under the Bill, it only places him in the same position as the English landlords. They do not pay any of the rate, and the Irish landlord will not pay any of the rate. As I have said, then, this immunity ought to be dealt with under a general law, that landlords should contribute their share to the general taxation. But if we are to consider the case of the two sets of landlords, I think the best defence could be made out for the Irish landlord. He is not like the London ground landlord, or the English landlord in rural districts. He cannot do what he likes with his own. A court is set up, and he gets no rent except that which the court gives him. That puts the Irish landlord in a very different position from the English landlord.
§ MR. LOUGH
The difference between my honourable Friend and myself is that he exclusively blames the Irish landlord for the misgovernment of the country. I blame this House, and not the Irish landlords, for all that is wrong in the system there. The Irish landlord does not exercise any right in Ireland which this House has not permitted him to exercise. If there is anything unjust in the system the House is here to put it right. My argument is, that we are only allowing half the poor rate—a precedent set in England and Wales—and that the Irish landlord does not benefit any more than the English landlord.
§ SIR WILFRID LAWSON (Cumberland, Cockermouth)
The Chief Secretary objected very much to reiteration; but if there were no reiteration the Session would end in two months. He also objected to my honourable Friends below me for making their speeches in the same 1434 direction, and using the same arguments; he objected because neither of these speeches was an answer. I hope the right honourable Gentleman will make another speech on the Report in the same direction. My honourable Friend below me has been rather unfairly attacked because he did not go straight on the English Bill. I spoke to my honourable Friend at the time, but it had no effect. But his sins have found him out, and I forgive him because of the gallant fight he has made on this Bill. This is an important clause and an important discussion. The other night the Chancellor of the Exchequer said that this part of the Bill was vital to the whole Bill. I quite agree with that; it is the grease of the wheel, and the wheel cannot go round without it. What we have to consider is whether a certain portion of public money of this country should be paid to a certain set of people. I do not see why we should do that in this House. Whether this clause is in or not, the Bill will pass through this House. Of course, the Ministerialists will support it. It is supported on this side of the House by Members of the Liberal Party—it was carried unanimously on the Second Reading, and Irish Members will support it without this clause in it. Why is it thought to be necessary to speak on this Bill? It seems to me that the real reason is that you cannot carry the Bill through in another place without this clause in it.
§ SIR W. LAWSON
My honourable Friend appears to be a warm supporter of the House of Lords, but I am not sure we are not responsible to the House of Lords. Every Member of this House is responsible to his own conscience and his constituents, and to nothing else in the world, especially in the matter of spending public money, which, after all, is one of the most important functions we have to perform. When we vote public money we vote it for some public service. We vote it to soldiers, to inventors, to men who discover new lands. But what has this class done? They have invented or discovered nothing for us. Have they 1435 fought for us? Well, they have bled us. In addition to those, there are other persons to whom we vote public money. We give grants now and then to destitute persons; but they must be very destitute. Last Friday we spent the whole evening discussing whether we should vote public money to those who, we all admitted, were very destitute. The Bill, the Second Reading of which my honourable Friend voted for two years ago, was for the benefit of people who were said to be very much distressed—persons connected with British agriculture. I was one of those persons; I was a destitute person. I sat up all night and voted against any money being given to these people; but the House persisted in giving it to them, and last year, for the relief of my poverty and distress, I got £37 5s. under the Agricultural Rating Act. Just after all that money had been voted to the English—I must not say landlords, or I should be shouted at—the English agriculturists, what did Lord Cobham say? He was Chairman of that Royal Commission which sat so long, and he made a speech soon after the passing of the Act in which he said that if there was a business in the world which was pleasant and satisfactory and profitable, it was the business of agriculture. Those are the people to whom you vote this money—those destitute people. I thought we made a mistake there. We voted money to people who were not so destitute as we thought. Prices are going up, and surely the landlords are not so destitute. It seems to me that the policy of this Government is to vote these doles. We are reversing the practice of Robin Hood. Robin Hood, we are told, robbed the rich to give to the poor; but this Government robs the poor to give to the rich. The rich are filled with good things, and the poor go away empty. It reminds me of an American who, the other day, when he was standing on a Cunard boat at Liverpool, said, "Is there any man, woman, or child in this country whom I have not tipped? If so, now is their time." I cannot see for the life of me that this is a proper expenditure of public money. What is a landlord? I am a landlord. A landlord quâ landlord is nothing more than a drawer of rent. An English landlord is no use, and an Irish landlord is worse than an English 1436 landlord. I have been in this House as long as many of my Irish friends. For many years my ears have been deafened with the denunciations of Irish landlords; and, although they have not been so bad as they have been made out, yet, at any rate, they are the cause of all the Irish troubles. It is said, "Those who live long see hope." If anybody had told me that I should live to see what I see in this House to-day I should have called him a lunatic. But I have lived to see a combination of English Tories and Irish Nationalists rob the taxpayers of this country—
§ SIR W. LAWSON
TO rob the ratepayers of the United Kingdom, to blackmail and to fill the pockets of the Irish landlords. I say that is not a state of things which is creditable to this House. It is to me One of the shadiest and least reputable things this House has done for many a year. I think it will bring this House into contempt. For my part I am glad to give my voice and vote to aid those who have declared that it is not the duty of the House to spend money in this flagitious manner.
§ MR. CRIPPS (Gloucester, Stroud)
I want to say a few words only. I join issue entirely with what the honourable Baronet said who has just sat down. He has expressed the view that this is flagitious robbery. In my opinion the clause is absolutely just for two reasons. I want to state very shortly why. I wish it to be supported in this House and in the country at large. The first reason undoubtedly is that a grant similar in amount and similar in principle has been given in England. There is an unanswerable claim that Ireland should be treated in the same way. I have not heard on either side of the House any speech which, in my opinion, gave an answer to this unanswerable claim that Ireland should be treated on the same basis as England herself was treated under the Agricultural Rating Act in 1896. I want to appeal on one other point. Not only has Ireland this, unanswerable claim, but the principle we are extending to Ireland is in itself an 1437 absolutely just and righteous principle. It is not a matter to which the honourable Member for South Molton referred—that he voted one way last year, or that he is voting another way this year. It is simply this: that everyone who has studied this rating question will agree that as regards the incidence of rating, an unfair burden is placed on real property. Well, I think everybody was agreed that that was the case. The right honourable Gentleman who represents Wolverhampton—and there is not a greater authority upon rating questions than he is—agrees upon this point, and I believe that nearly every Member who has looked into this question does allow that the burden of rating is unfair upon real property as compared with the burden of rating on personal property. And it was because of this experience that the Royal Commission on Local Taxation, amongst other reasons, considered how far inequalities could be adjusted on the question of rating. Now, starting from that point, what was the principle of the Rating Act of England—the principle of which we propose to extend to Ireland? It was simply this: that as regards agricultural land we should make a start in rating reform, in order to take the first step, so far as we could, in equalising the burden as between real and personal property. There was no question of doles or of bribery, and far less any question of political corruption. The simple question was whether, and how far, we could put an end to what was almost admitted to be an injustice known to people who are familiar with these rating questions.
§ MR. J. SAMUEL (Stockton)
Will the honourable and learned Member say whether that grant would have been given in England if there had not been a surplus?
§ MR. CRIPPS
I can say, in answer to the honourable Gentleman opposite, that it had nothing to do with the point as regards these rating questions. The thing was simply this, that we wanted to take this step in rating reform in order to be able to remove an admitted injustice, and there is no ground for honourable Members opposite, in dealing with a question of that kind, talking about doles or bribes or political 1438 corruption. So far from being either the one or the other, it is merely a question of relieving people interested in the land—I do not care whether you call them tenants, owners, or landlords—from an unfair burden from which, for a long period of time, they had suffered. That was the principle on which this House passed the Agricultural Rating Act for England, and that is the principle on which we ought to extend it to Ireland, in order to do away in Ireland with an injustice which has already been removed in England.
§ MR. CRIPPS
Now let me deal with one other argument. The honourable Member for South Melton says this is merely a personal matter, but I deal with the matter on a question of principle, which is far more important. I do not care whether the honourable Member for South Molton voted one way one year and one way last year, for the principle involved here is very simple. But there was an argument that I should like to say a word about. It seemed to be thought that in regard to this grant in aid of agricultural land an unfair difference was made as between urban and rural districts. I entirely deny that; I say they are equally interested in dealing with a rating injustice of this kind, and I hope the relief given to rural districts will be extended to the urban districts of either Ireland or England. Now, Sir, only one word on a personal question. The honourable Member for the Spen Valley asked me why I voted in support of the equivalent grant as proposed by the Government last Session. I voted for it for this simple reason, that I thought that until certain questions had been, dealt with as regards rating in Ireland, and that until some large Measure had been passed dealing with them, the principle of the equivalent grant was a right one. I expressed that opinion last year, and I express it again now. Anyone who understands these questions must feel that, as regards local government, and as regards rating questions, 1439 there are the greatest reforms in this Bill, as I think, most useful reforms, bringing the system in Ireland more or less to the same basis as the system in England. This is the time when you ought to give the same reform in Ireland which has already been given in England. It is not a question of whether the tenant or the landlord get the benefit of it. What we want to do is to remove the injustice which places an unfair burden on land; directly you go beyond that, and consider what person gets the benefit of it, a difficulty arises. I have only said these few words upon that point because I wish to protest against the reiteration of words such as "corruption," "doles," and "bribery," when we are simply seeking to put an end to an injustice already admitted in England, and which ought now to be removed in Ireland.
§ MR. LOGAN (Leicester, Harborough)
I made a protest on the Second Reading of the Bill, and I wish to say a few words now, because I feel it my duty to enter my solemn protest against this money being given to the Irish landlords. I hope my honourable Friend who spoke last from these Benches will believe me when I say that, at any rate, I have voted straight on this question. I have opposed the granting of relief for landlords, whether English landlords or Irish landlords, from first to last, and I shall continue to do so; and I do so, Mr. Lowther, because the money which is being given to these man, be they Irish landlords or English landlords, comes out of the pockets of the poorest portion of the community. The money for these grants comes out of the Imperial Exchequer, and the Imperial Exchequer is replenished very largely by the very poorest of our people. Of every £100 that goes into that fund, £65 at the very least is contributed by those who consume taxable commodities in this country, and I am opposed to this grant for that reason. The poorest people in this country will have to find the money, and I only hope that the electors in my honourable Friend the Member for Islington's constituency will bear that in mind the next time they are asked to 1440 record their votes. On behalf, Sir, of a large number of agricultural labourers in this country, who, to the eternal disgrace of England, are kept in the low state by living on a wage of 9s. or 10s. a week, I enter my most solemn protest against this bribe being given to Irish landlords. As I have said, giving money to any landlords in England is, in my opinion, a waste of public funds; but any man who has been across to the other side of the Channel and seen the poor Irish labourer starving on one side of the road when there is any quantity of land on the other side of the road simply in need of cultivation—any man, I say, who has seen that, and is yet able to vote for this Measure, has a conscience which I, at any rate, cannot understand. To relieve the landlords of the poor rates only aggravates the offence in my eyes. I am one of those who believe that the first charges upon any country should be for the maintenance of the people reared and cradled on that land, and the first of those charges is the relief of the poor people in the country. I have made my protest, as I said, and I am not going to detain the House by repeating it. I am not here to abuse any landlords. It does not need me to do that, but I will quote what I have got to say from the words of the London Times newspaper. The London Times once said—It is useless to go on abusing the Irish landlords; their name already stinks to the ends of the earth.You might as well expatiate on the vices of wolves as say what you think of a class of men who for selfishness and cruelty have no parallel, and never had a parallel, in the history of the civilised world. The Irish landlords' only idea of a cottier is a payer of rent, and his only idea of an English Government is a squanderer of grants. When the cottier can pay no more money he turns him out to die, and when the Government will spend no more money he turns round and blackguards them. Sir, it strikes me very forcibly that it is because the present Government fear that the present race of Irish landlords will turn round upon them that they have agreed to give them this bribe as a means of getting their support, and I oppose this Measure simply in justice to the poor Irish people.
§ MR. T. M. HEALY
In regard to the proposal we are now discussing, I cannot forget how the operations with regard to it were practically commenced this afternoon. Those operations were begun in the first instance by a Motion to limit the grant to five years, and that proposal was eloquently supported by the honourable Member for South Molton. But I hope he will forgive me for saying that I think, after a third speech in almost the same words, even Demosthenes himself would pause. The honourable Member desired to limit the grant to Ireland for five years. That was the beginning of the operations to which I have referred. And then the honourable Member for Mayo moved that the grant should be given not merely from September next, but from March last. That was equally opposed by the honourable Gentleman opposite, I think, and by others of the same class of opinion. And, having failed to limit the grant for five years, and having refused to give it for six months more, it is only natural that they should now fasten upon this particular proposal and beat it with denunciations of the Irish landlords. Now I intend to explain in a few words why I shall support the Government in regard to this proposal. Sir, when the Bill of last year was introduced the First Lord of the Treasury announced this plan. He made no secret of it, and no sooner had he announced it than the honourable Member for Mayo, the honourable Member for Waterford, and myself, as well as the right honourable Gentleman the Member for Trinity College, and, I think, one or two other representative Irishmen opposite, got up and announced their support of the plan. I think that the right honourable Member for Stirlingshire, speaking on behalf of Her Majesty's Opposition, also got up to announce his support of the plan. Well, Sir, if anything ever approached the dimensions of a Parliamentary bargain I think the acceptance and the reception given by the Opposition of all shades, and without opposition from any shade, to that speech of the First Lord of the Treasury amounted fairly to a Parliamentary bargain. I have not got the speech of the First Lord of the Treasury at this moment before me, but, as I recollect it, 1442 the statement of the right honourable Gentleman was that half the money to be granted would be given in relief of the county cess, which we knew would go to the tenant, and half in relief of the poor rate, which we knew must go to the landlord, and that statement and that speech, I say, were received without a whisper of dissent from any section of this House. Well, now, what is more, this Bill has been before the Irish people as well as the English people for all this long space of time, and I think something like nine if not almost twelve months since that speech was made, and so far as I can infer from Irish opinion, I have not seen a single resolution produced against this particular allocation of the money. And therefore, Sir, I think that those of us who accepted that statement of the First Lord of the Treasury a year ago are bound to give efficacy to our acceptance to-day by supporting this Motion. There is another reason for doing so, and it is this: the Government have announced that there are two essential elements of their scheme. There is to be relief of the occupier and there is to be relief of the owner. How should I like it if honourable Gentlemen were to oppose the first because of the action of Irish tenants in the past? How should I like it if the honourable Member for Armagh were to decline to vote any money to Irish tenants and say—"I think they are a wild and disorderly people, and I refuse to give them a shilling of this money?" Would any Member, on being asked "Are you in favour of the Bill as a whole?" pick and choose to vote for particular bits of the Bill which he liked, and to vote against others which he disliked, well knowing that if he gave effect to his choice in the Lobby he would kill alike the good and bad parts of the Bill? I remember the Home Rule Bill of 1886, and that in the Bill of 1893 Mr. Gladstone made a number of proposals which I very much disliked. One of them was that we should give three millions as practically a contribution to John Bull. I might, on that occasion, had I desired to single myself out as being specially patriotic and zealous for the Irish cause, have said, "Am I going to vote guns to slaughter 1443 the Afridis; am I going to vote dynamite for blowing up the natives of Africa; am I going to provide ships or men for keeping down various people all over the world, from Sierra Leone to Zululand?" I might have used every one of these arguments, and used them in that sense, and have shown that I alone was the real Simon Pure amongst the Nationalists. Furthermore, Mr. Gladstone refused even to call the Irish legislative body a Parliament, and one of the honourable Gentlemen who support the honourable Member for Water-ford moved a Motion that we were to have it called a Parliament; but we went unanimously into the Lobby to support Mr. Gladstone, although we should have much preferred that the legislative body should be called a Parliament. But that was the result of what I call a Parliamentary bargain, and, in my judgment, the situation to-day is, from that point of view, certainly the same. Well, Sir, the last argument I have to use before I sit down is this: Honourable Gentlemen frequently say, "Are you going to vote for Lord Londonderry; are you going to vote for Lord Clanricarde?" Now, Sir, how would it be supposing we were dealing with a taxing Bill? This year there is 6d. to come off the tobacco duty, and suppose a Conservative Member got up to ask, "Are you going to vote money to be put into the pockets of the right honourable Member for Bristol?" Or when the right honourable Member for Monmouthshire reduced the whisky tax and the beer duty, would the proposal have been settled by the question, "Are you going to put money into the pockets of Guinness, Jameson, Bass, and Allsopp?" We have to consider these questions as a whole, and that is the reason why I intend to vote with Her Majesty's Government. But I shall do so for one other reason. This Bill has to go to another place. I, at all events, make no secret of my position, and I ask myself, when it reaches another place, what earthly chance will there be of getting the Irish landlords, and those who represent them, to surrender their grip on power, place, and emolument if they, at least, were not protected by some such clause as this? And, furthermore, I say it is a Parliamentary bargain to this 1444 extent—that, upon our supporting that particular portion of the Bill, they are bound to support, and to give their adhesion to, the democratic portions of the Bill. The honourable Baronet the Member for Cockermouth has just told us an American story. Perhaps, before I sit down, I may also draw a parallel from the same continent. The great "boss" of Tammany Hall, in the management of Hew York politics, was at one time asked what was, in his opinion, the most virtuous citizen, and Mr. Croker replied that it was the voter who would "stay bought." Now, Sir, I shall not carry that parallel so far as to express a hope that the House of Lords will "stay bought," but, having to treat the matter as we have done, from the point of view of practical politics, I say that those who wish for the safe carriage and success of this Bill are bound to vote against the present Amendment.
§ DR. CLARK (Caithness)
Sir, I have listened very carefully and attentively to the arguments brought forward in favour of this clause, and I need scarcely say they have not changed my mind. There have been two arguments. I do not intend to take up the question which my honourable Friend has raised, that this is an arrangement made by the Irish Party and by the right honourable Gentleman the Member for Stirlingshire on behalf of the Liberal Party. I am sorry the right honourable Gentleman is going away, for I should like to hear from him whether he was empowered to make this Parliamentary bargain, and whether he adopts it, or is in favour of it, because I think a number of seats may be imperilled if this course is taken. We, at any rate, below the Gangway had no voice in the matter. Incidentally, the First Lord of the Treasury got up at the end of question time and made a speech indicating the course which the Government intended to take, and if we had expressed our disapproval probably we should have been called obstructionists. But when the Bill came before us for Second Reading I voted against it, and when the Committee, stage of the Money Resolution arrived. I voted against it; and now that it is proposed 1445 to allocate the money in this way we are going to vote against it. Well, as to the argument. We are told by the Chief Secretary that it lies in a nutshell, and that it is necessary to do something for agricultural depression. Something has been done for England and Scotland, and now the Government say they are going to do the same for Ireland. The honourable Member behind me thought the principle to be applied here was exactly the same that had been applied before. I must point out that that is inaccurate. What did you do, as far as the first Bill to England was concerned? I opposed that Bill, although I got the benefit of it, probably, although I do not quite know to what extent. That was in 1896, and in 1897 you brought in a Bill for the same purpose with regard to Scotland. How did you apply it? The Lord Advocate stated in his speech on the Bill that he could not say anything would go to the landlord. Yet the Scotch landlord was in the same position as the Irish landlord. He paid one-half the poor rate and the tenant paid the other half. You paid five-eighths the tenant's portion, but the Scotch landlord still pays half the poor rate. I do not know why my honourable Friends from Ireland will assert that half our rates were paid, for little more was paid than a quarter of the whole. The principle of the Bills of 1896 and 1897 was that you were going to relieve the agricultural tenant, but now, for the first time, we are going to have that principle further applied, for what you are now doing is to pay the landlord's and not the tenant's portion of the rate. The tenant may be starving, but he will still be required to pay his portion of the poor rate. The landlords do not suffer from the depression, for the great bulk of them live in England. I would
§ suggest that, at any rate, this proposal might be limited to landlords resident in Ireland. I do not know what will be the exact amount of this bribe to the Irish landlords, but I think we may assume at least that Irish land is worth 15 years' purchase; that, if this Bill becomes law, and is not repealed, you will increase the value of the Irish landlords' property by 4½ millions. I shall be glad to vote in favour of my honourable Friend's Amendment, for it is utterly untrue that the same principle is to be applied to Ireland that was applied to Scotland. You are going out of your way to give this large sum, whether it is a dole or a bribe, to the Irish landlords; and if it is right and just for Ireland, then it should be applied to Scotland. At the present moment the Scotch landlord has to pay his own rates, and now you are asking him to pay a portion of the Irish landlord's rates as well. This principle will have to be extended further, and you will require to give a bribe to Scotch landlords. We may not be able to prevent this injustice being done. It may be that the country is behind the right honourable Gentleman, and are in favour of this proposal; but I do not want a better question to go to the country upon than this question of doles and bribes to landlords. And when we go to the country, whether it be next year or in 1901, I feel sure the country will send back a Government which will undo the work which the present Government are doing.
That the words 'poor rate and' stand part of the clause.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 235; Noes 70.—(Division List No. 100.)1449
|Abraham, Wm. (Cork, N. E.)||Balfour, Rt. Hn. G. W. (Leeds)||Beaumont, Wentworth C. B.|
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir A. F.||Banbury, Frederick George||Begg, Ferdinand Faithfull|
|Allhusen, Augustus H. E.||Barry, Rt. Hn. A. H. Smith- (Hunts)||Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Barry, Francis T. (Windsor)||Blake, Edward|
|Austin, M. (Limerick, W.)||Bartley, George C. T.||Blundell, Colonel Henry|
|Bagot, Capt. J. FitzRoy||Barton, Dunbar Plunket||Bousfield, William Robert|
|Balcarres, Lord||Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M. H. (Brist'l)||Bowles, T. G. (King's Lynn)|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Manch.)||Beach, W. W. B. (Hants)||Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John|
|Brookfield, A. Montagu||Gull, Sir Cameron||More, Robert Jasper|
|Bucknill, Thos. Townsend||Hammond, John (Carlow)||Morton, E. J. C. (Devonport)|
|Bullard, Sir Harry||Hanbury, Rt. Hon. R. W.||Murnaghan, George|
|Butcher, John George||Hardy, Laurence||Murray, Rt. Hn. A. G. (Bute)|
|Campbell, J. H. M. (Dublin)||Haslett, Sir James Horner||Murray, Col. W. (Bath)|
|Carew, James Laurence||Hayden, John Patrick||Myers, William Henry|
|Carvill, Patrick G. Hamilton||Healy, Maurice (Cork)||Nicol, Donald Ninian|
|Cayzer, Sir Charles William||Healy, T. M. (Louth, N.)||Northcote, Hon. Sir H. S.|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh||Heath, James||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Chaloner, Capt. R. G. W.||Heaton, John Henniker||O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. (Birm.)||Helder, Augustus||O'Connor, Arthur (Donegal)|
|Chamberlain, J. A. (Worc.)||Hemphill, Rt. Hon. C. H.||O'Connor, J. (Wicklow, W.)|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Henderson, Alexander||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Charrington, Spencer||Hermon-Hodge, Robert T.||O'Keeffe, Francis Arthur|
|Chelsea, Viscount||Hill, Rt. Hn. Lord A. (Down)||O'Neill, Hon. Robert T.|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Holland, Hon. Lionel R.||Parkes, Ebenezer|
|Clare, Octavius Leigh||Hornby, William Henry||Pierpoint, Robert|
|Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Howell, William Tudor||Plunkett, Rt. Hon. H. C.|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Hubbard, Hon. Evelyn||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Colomb, Sir John C. R.||Hutchinson, Capt. G. W. Grice-||Priestley, Sir W. O. (Edin.)|
|Colston, Chas. E. H. Athole||Hutton, John (Yorks., N. R.)||Purvis, Robert|
|Commins, Andrew||Jameson, Major J. Eustace||Pym, C. Guy|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Jeffreys, Arthur Frederick||Redmond, J. E. (Waterford)|
|Cook, Fred. L. (Lambeth)||Johnston, William (Belfast)||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Corbett, A. C. (Glasgow)||Jolliffe, Hon. H. George||Rentoul, James Alexander|
|Courtney, Rt. Hon. L. H.||Jordan, Jeremiah||Richardson, Sir T. (Hartlep'l)|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Kilbride, Denis||Ridley, Rt. Hon. Sir M. W.|
|Crean, Eugene||King, Sir Henry Seymour||Ritchie, Rt. Hon. Chas. T.|
|Crilly, Daniel||Knox, Edmund F. Vesey||Roche, John (Galway, E.)|
|Cross, H. S. (Bolton)||Lafone, Alfred||Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)|
|Curran, Thos. B. (Donegal)||Laurie, Lieut.-General||Rutherford, John|
|Curran, Thomas (Sligo, S.)||Lawrence, Sir E. (Cornwall)||Samuel, H. S. (Limehouse)|
|Curzon, Viscount (Bucks)||Lawrence, W. F. (Liverpool)||Saunderson, Col. Edw. James|
|Daly, James||Lawson, John G. (Yorks.)||Savory, Sir Joseph|
|Dickson-Poynder, Sir J. P.||Lea, Sir T. (Londonderry)||Seton-Karr, Henry|
|Dillon, John||Lecky, Rt. Hon. W. E. H.||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Dixon-Hartland, Sir F. D.||Leigh-Bennett, Hy. Currie||Sheehy, David|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Llewelyn, Sir Dillwyn- (Sw'ns'a)||Sidebotham, J. W. (Cheshire)|
|Doogan, P. C.||Loder, Gerald Walter E.||Sidebottom, Wm. (Derbysh.)|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Long, Col. C. W. (Evesham)||Smith, Abel (Herts)|
|Duncombe, Hon. Hubert V.||Long, Rt. Hon. W. (Liverp'l)||Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)|
|Ellis, John Edward (Notts)||Lopes, Henry Yarde Buller||Stephens, Henry Charles|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas||Lough, Thomas||Stewart, Sir Mark J. M'T.|
|Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn E.||Lowe, Francis William||Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley|
|Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J. (Manc.)||Lowles, John||Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier|
|Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)|
|Firbank, Joseph Thomas||Lucas-Shadwell, William||Sullivan, T. D. (Donegal, W.)|
|Fisher, William Hayes||Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|FitzWygram, Gen. Sir F.||Macaleese, Daniel||Tanner, Charles Kearns|
|Flannery, Fortescue||McDonnell, Dr. M. A. (Qn.'s Co.)||Tully, Jasper|
|Fletcher, Sir Henry||MacNeill, John G. Swift||Valentia, Viscount|
|Flynn, James Christopher||McArthur, Chas. (Liverpool)||Wanklyn, James Leslie|
|Folkestone, Viscount||McCalmont, Mj-Gn. (Ant'm, N.)||Ward, Hon. R. A. (Crewe)|
|Forwood, Rt. Hon. Sir A. B.||McCalmont, Col. J. (Ant'm, E.)||Waring, Col. Thomas|
|Foster, Colonel (Lancaster)||McCartan, Michael||Warr, Augustus Frederick|
|Foster, Harry S. (Suffolk)||McDermott, Patrick||Webster, Sir R. E. (I. of W.)|
|Fry, Lewis||M'Hugh, Patrick A. (Leitrim)|
|Garfit, William||McIver, Sir Lewis||Welby, Lieut.-Col. A. C. E.|
|Gibbons, J. Lloyd||McLaren, Charles Benjamin||Wentworth, Bruce C. Vernon-|
|Gibbs, Hon. V. (St. Albans)||Malcolm, Ian||Whiteley, H. (Ashton-und.-L.)|
|Giles, Charles Tyrrell||Martin, Richard Biddulph||Williams, J. Powell- (Birm.)|
|Gilliat, John Saunders||Mellor, Colonel (Lancaster)||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Goldsworthy, Major-General||Melville, Beresford Valentine||Wilson, J. H. (Middlesbro')|
|Gordon, Hon. John Edward||Meysey-Thompson, Sir H. M.||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John E.||Milbank, Powlett Charles J.||Wyvill, Marmaduke D'Arcy|
|Goschen, Rt. Hn. G. J. (St. Geo's)||Milner, Sir Frederick George||Yerburgh, Robert Armstrong|
|Goschen, George J. (Sussex)||Milward, Colonel Victor||Young, Com. (Berks, E.)|
|Goulding, Edward Alfred||Minch, Matthew||Younger, William|
|Graham, Henry Robert||Molloy, Bernard Charles|
|Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Monckton, Edward Philip||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Green, W. D. (Wednesbury)||Monk, Charles James||Sir William Walrond and|
|Greene, H. D. (Shrewsbury)||Moon, Edward Robert Pacy||Mr. Anstruther.|
|Allan, Wm. (Gateshead)||Gourley, Sir E. Temperley||Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)|
|Allen, Wm. (Newc.-under-L.)||Griffith, Ellis J.||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Austin, Sir John (Yorkshire)||Holburn, J. G.||Shaw, Thomas (Hawick, B.)|
|Billson, Alfred||Holden, Sir Angus||Sinclair, Capt. J. (Forfarsh.)|
|Bolton, Thomas Dolling||Hutton, Alfred E. (Morley)||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Brigg, John||Jacoby, James Alfred||Soutar, Robinson|
|Broadhurst, Henry||Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire)||Spicer, Albert|
|Brunner, Sir J. Tomlinson||Kearley, Hudson E.||Steadman, William Charles|
|Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumberland)||Stevenson, Francis S.|
|Burt, Thomas||Leng, Sir John||Strachey, Edward|
|Caldwell, James||Lloyd-George, David||Wallace, Robert (Perth)|
|Clark, Dr. G. B. (Caithness-sh.)||Logan, John William||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Colville, John||M'Ghee, Richard||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Crombie, John William||McKenna, Reginald||Williams, J. Carvell (Notts)|
|Dalziel, James Henry||Maddison, Fred.|
|Davitt, Michael||Maden, John Henry||Wilson, Charles H. (Hull)|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Mendl, Sigismund Ferdinand||Wilson, Fred. W. (Norfolk)|
|Doughty, George||Palmer, Sir C. M. (Durham)||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Duckworth, James||Paulton, James Mellor||Wilson, John (Govan)|
|Dunn, Sir William||Pease, Alf E. (Cleveland)||Woodhouse, Sir J. T. (Hud'ld)|
|Evans, S. T. (Glamorgan)||Pease, J. A. (Northumb.)||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Farquharson, Dr. Robert||Philipps, John Wynford|
|Fenwick, Charles||Pickersgill, Edward Hare||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmund||Reid, Sir Robert T.||Mr. Lambert and Mr. Channing.|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||Rickett, J. Compton|
§ MR. MAURICE HEALY (Cork City)
I desire by this Amendment to raise the question of the exclusion of urban areas from the benefits which are conferred on other districts by the agricultural grant. And let me say at once, Mr. Lowther, that I do not do so on any question of the amount Ireland will gain by carrying my Amendment, or will lose by the Bill remaining in its present form. I believe that the amount of land which is included in urban areas in Ireland is comparatively small, and the extra sum required to cover its inclusion in this Bill would not be very considerable. The principal ground on which I recommend my Amendment to the Government Bill is the great difficulty which will arise on all questions of boundaries if the Amendment is refused, and if the Government adhere to the present form of the Bill. I drew the right honourable Gentleman's attention a few nights ago, on another Amendment of mine, to the difficulties that would follow. I proposed on that occasion that 1450 districts managed by town commissioners should be constituted "urban areas." I said that I conceived it to be a valuable thing that all these districts should have self-government, and should not merely be enabled, but be compelled, to look after their drainage, watering, and lighting. I was immediately met by my hon. Friends on these Benches with the retort, "If you turn town commissioners into 'urban areas' Ireland will lose in the amount of the grant on agricultural land, and these districts will be deprived of the benefits of that grant." That is so. My answer was that the amount of grant on agricultural land was small, and that the benefits to be derived from having the power of managing their own affairs would more than compensate them for what they would lose in the way of grant. It was thought that the loss which these districts would sustain was of such a character as to make it desirable not to constitute them urban areas. If that is the view of honourable Members in this House, how much more so will it be taken by shopkeepers, and especially farmers in these small towns! If my honourable Friends here can say that the power of local government in towns is of such small value as not to be worth the sacrifice which would be involved in the giving up of the local grant, how will the small 1451 shopkeepers and small farmers consider the matter? They will be of the same opinion, and this will make very difficult any proposal to confer the powers of urban authorities on these districts, if, as a consequence, it will deprive them of the benefits of the agricultural grant. Let me take the case of Cork, which I represent. The city of Cork was originally a very large area, covering, I think, nearly 100,000 acres of land when the corporation was reformed Parliament cut down the area under the jurisdiction of the corporation from 100,000 acres to 10,000 or 20,000 acres. The result is that the city of Cork is a miserably restricted urban boundary. The workhouse is outside the urban boundary; the lunatic asylum is outside the urban boundary; and the gaol is outside the urban boundary. There is a large area of land and a large district purely urban in character, which is at present excluded from the boundary of the city of Cork. The necessary effect of the Bill will be that when Cork extends its boundary, as I hope it will immediately this Bill passes into law, it will appear as if the authorities are committing a great injustice with reference to those particular areas. Let me put another case to the right honorable Gentleman. The land in boroughs which is agricultural is largely of the character of market gardens. Under this Bill, as at present framed, a market gardener immediately outside the borough boundary will receive a bounty on his produce, but the unfortunate market gardener who is immediately within the borough boundary, already crushed by heavier taxation, will be denied relief from the Bill. How can a case of that kind be defended? If you are going to discriminate between the two market gardeners, you ought to discriminate in favor of the man inside the boundary, because he is the man who is crushed with the heavy weight of taxation. What you do is to discriminate in favor of the man who is already lightly taxed. You say, in fact, "To him that hath shall be given, and to him that hath not shall be taken away that which he hath." That, I submit, is a very indefensible proposal. How, I ask, can it be defended? Can it be defended on the analogy of the English Act? No, because 1452 agricultural land, if it were in the City of London, would receive the benefit of the English Agricultural Eating Act. Can it be defended on the analogy of the Scottish Acts? No! In Scotland agricultural land benefits whether it is situated within a borough boundary or not. So far as I understand, the only ground on which the right honorable Gentleman bases his defense of this proposal is that of some administrative difficulty which he apprehends will occur if this grant is extended to urban areas. In my judgment, the form adopted by the Bill is a convenient one, and seems to me to remove all such administrative difficulties as the right honorable Gentleman appears to apprehend. In view of the palpable unfairness of excluding agricultural land from the benefit of this grant merely because it is situated in a borough, and in consequence of the enormous difficulty which will inevitably arise in regard to any proposal to extend boundaries, I must press the right honorable Gentleman to accept my Amendment.
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
Mr. Lowther, this Amendment, although confined to boroughs, practically raises the whole question of the exclusion of towns from the benefits of the Agricultural Acts. Perhaps it would be convenient if I should state what the considerations are which lead the Government to adopt this plan. It has been said, why should not the Government adopt the same system in reference to Ireland in this matter as they have adopted in the case of England? But I should like to point out that the valuation in England is based on an entirely different system from that which prevails in Ireland. The valuation of Ireland, as the honorable Member knows, is based on the valuation made by Sir Richard Griffith many years ago, and that valuation separated lands from buildings, and made no distinction whatever between the different kinds of land. Now, if we were to set up a distinction between different kinds of land, as set up in the English Act of 1896, we should practically set on foot a revaluation of Ireland, which would take several years to carry out. That, I think, is one important difference between England and 1453 Ireland, and even if we were desirous of following the principle laid down under the English Act on the question of the definition of agricultural land I do not think we should be at liberty to do so. Then there is this further consideration: the grant to Ireland is to be permanent, but the grant to England is fixed, at all events, for five years, and I think it was fixed for five years without a full consideration of the consequences that might ensue. The Committee will notice that we have adopted a different system in the case of Ireland. I may say that one benefit of our provision is to simplify the Bill and simplify its administration. It has been urged by the honorable Member for Cork that if our proposal be adopted Ireland will be deprived of a certain amount of money. That would go to the relief of the agricultural land holder. The honorable Member has said that it would be unfair to the agricultural land holder and also unfair to the towns. Now, I would just like to examine this alleged unfairness. Sir, I do not think it is unfair to Ireland. It is very hard to say exactly what amount would be lost to Ireland. It is difficult, because a good deal of the land in towns would have to be excluded.
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
There are in some, but I am not sure that there are in all. The total amount proposed to be given by the agricultural grant would be diminished if the agricultural land were excluded as proposed in the Bill. The total amount that Ireland will lose by the exclusion of towns would be £5,000, distributed over the whole of Ireland; but I should not be at all surprised to find that, according to our proposition, Ireland will gain instead of losing. As I have said, Ireland will lose in regard to these towns something like £5,000, but against that it seems to me that by adopting the definition that we put into the Bill the towns will gain by union rating something like £26,000.
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
I quite admit that all towns will not gain, but in 1454 dealing with these matters we must deal with them on broad lines. Taking the towns as a whole in Ireland as against the country, they will, I repeat, gain £26,000 by union rating. Under the Act of 1854 there was an exemption in respect of county cess in regard to agricultural land.
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
Yes; town rate. There are important exemptions of agricultural land to the extent of three-fourths on certain rents, and the towns which have more recently come under the Act have, in nearly every case, accepted the same exemption in regard to agricultural land. In respect of all these rates, there will be no relief given from the Treasury and no relief to the occupiers and owners of such agricultural lands that the honorable Member has shown would be relieved to a certain extent. It really appears to me that the question should be discussed, not from the point of view of English distinction, but on its own merits. I do not think there is any real hardship done to the owners or occupiers of land by the provision that we make in this Bill. There is one other consideration that I would like to direct the attention of the Committee to. I have said we have adopted a different system of applying relief between England and Ireland. Now take this case: supposing towns were excluded—take the case of a town that is growing—and that the amount of relief given would be, say, £200; that land becomes built upon to the extent of one-half. There remains the land which from the beginning would be relieved to the extent of £200, and, in addition to that, it would be relieved by £100 in respect of the land which ceased to be agricultural.
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
There are some towns in which there is a good deal of building. If you diminish the extent of agricultural land, of course, the 1455 area of relief is smaller. In the case I have instanced the grant would be doubled.
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
No, Sir It is a question of that kind, coupled with the fact that it was impossible to put agricultural land in Ireland on the same footing as in England that has led us to adopt this plan. It is a far simpler plan. The Bill will be more readily understood, and it appears to me that so far as any hardship is concerned it will be practically nil. The difficulty of the honorable Member as to the case of Cork appears to be that our proposal would prevent, or, at all events, throw difficulties in the way of, the extension of boundaries; but I think that difficulty is more apparent than real. I cannot imagine, in any case where there is a real desire on the part of corporations or town commissioners in Ireland to extend the areas over which they have control, that there will be any difficulty.
§ MR. SERJEANT HEMPHILL (Tyrone N.)
This is a point which the right honorable Gentleman the Chief Secretary says deals with all towns, and it is a point on which several small towns in Ireland feel that they have a grievance. Take the figures of the right honorable Gentleman, and he says it comes to only a matter of £5,000. The smallness of these figures is a reason for assisting those towns, and I cannot see what practical difficulty there will be in not making the exception, because land in these small towns is valued separately from buildings. It is merely a matter of ascertaining what amount of land value there is in these various towns, so as to enable the scheme of the Act to be carried out. In this case we get no assistance from the English Act. It is also clear that in several of those small towns, even in towns under the Towns Improvement Act, there is a certain amount charged for the maintenance of the main roads. On these grounds, therefore, I think the Chief Secretary has not given any solid reason why justice 1456 should not be conceded on this point. It is a very small sum—£5,000—but the smaller it is the better for my argument, because why leave these small towns laboring under a sense of injustice when it is possible to obviate it, and satisfy them? You must also recollect that this will apply under the subsequent section to small towns of 1,500 inhabitants, which may become urban districts, and the moment they become sanitary districts under sub-section 4, they will be excluded from the benefit of the Act; so that it will have a far-reaching effect.
§ MR. WOLFF (Belfast)
, who was indistinctly heard, said he had an Amendment on the Paper to the same effect as that of the honorable Member for Cork The right honorable Gentleman the Chief Secretary had explained the matter to the House, but he (Mr. Wolff) confessed he did not understand it. To him the great principle remains that while they gave relief to agricultural land outside towns, they should also give it to agricultural land inside. They had been told that it only meant the £5,000; and also that the occupier of land deserved consideration on account of the proximity to towns. He (Mr. Wolff) did not know much about the rents of these holdings. At any rate, he also agreed with the honorable Member for Cork with reference to the existing boundaries of boroughs. Of course, the Government might not see their way to support the Amendment, but he (Mr. Wolff) really thought—it was only a small matter—that it would only be doing justice to the holders of agricultural land inside boroughs. He should be very glad if something could be done in this direction.
§ MR. VESEY KNOX
I can supplement what has been said by the honorable Member for Belfast. People who are to be included in the boundaries will try to make better terms on account of the fact that they will lose a benefit. The consequence will be that the people in the centre of the town will have to pay more in order to get the benefit of the extension of the borough boundary. 1457 Now, these same people will insist on corporate bargains being carried out, and the consequence will be that the corporation will hesitate very much before they propose any extension, and it ought to be remembered that, as a rule, you are bringing in an area which is not, perhaps, of the best. It is a great pity, therefore, that you should do anything to increase the difficulties which now exist in getting ah extension of borough boundaries. I want to bring before the Chief Secretary a very hard case of my constituents—although many of them are my political opponents. There is a certain number of farmers in the city of Derry, because Derry is a case where the existence of union rating means to increase the urban rates. The rates in the city of Derry are smaller than in the rural parts of the union. Now, these men who hold farms will find themselves in the position of having their rates Increased, while all their neighbors will have their rates reduced. I should not be surprised if they felt somewhat aggrieved. I venture to think if the Chief Secretary would insert a provision giving relief out of the Exchequer it would meet the difficulty. There are many cases where the rates would have been greater in the ordinary year under the provisions of this Bill than if they were in the standard year. I do think that where a ratepayer's rates are increased directly as the result of changes in the legislation which are made by this Bill a man has a fair claim for compensation out of the Imperial Exchequer. I venture to hope the Chief Secretary will take this matter into account. I confess I cannot understand his general reasons for refusing to apply the same principle as in England. In England I think there was a greater difficulty than there would be in Ireland in dividing agricultural land from other here determents. As a matter of fact, there is not even a distinction—or there was not before the Act—between land and buildings in the English valuation roll, and the difference has been made entirely for the purpose of the Act. I cannot see, therefore, that the difficulty would have been any greater in the Irish boroughs than in the English boroughs. The only difference is that, inasmuch as in Ireland it is done 1458 by a central authority, the process would work a little more tediously, a little more slowly, than in England. Take the case of the metropolis. In the metropolis there is a certain amount of agricultural land Which, in the matter of rating, was treated in the same way as houses and buildings. There was no distinction whatever in the valuation list as between land and houses; but the agricultural grant in the metropolis was separated for the purposes of the Agricultural Rating Act from the buildings near, and got its due share of relief in the end. I do not say that all buildings should be treated just in the same way as agricultural land—I do not go so far as that—but where agricultural land in a borough is really and precisely of the same character as the land just outside I cannot see that the Chief Secretary is wise in leaving a standing cause of complaint and difficulty such as he will do if he refuses to accept the Amendment.
§ MR. J. H. CAMPBELL (Dublin, St. Stephen's Green)
The hope, Sir, I was about to express before the adjournment of the Committee, though deferred, still exists, and it is that the right honor able Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland will see his way to yield to this Amendment. In the case of nearly all the small townships it will be difficult to explain to those who occupy agricultural land in those small townships why they are to be deprived of the grant, especially seeing that in a great many cases fair rents have been fixed upon holdings in the urban districts, and that, therefore, they are, to all intents and purposes, agricultural holdings. Now, I understood the right honorable Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland to say that he sees some kind of difficulty in the application of this agricultural grant to lands in urban sanitary districts. I understand that it is suggested by him that inasmuch as, in the case of large towns, the holders of agricultural lands in urban sanitary districts become liable to a general district rate and not to the county cess, there might be a difficulty in apportioning the benefit under this grant. I do not think there need be any difficulty. A simple method would be to take the 1459 average amount for a certain number of years, during which the occupier of the agricultural land contributed to the county cess. One difficulty suggested was that in urban sanitary districts a portion of the agricultural holding might be applied for building works. I cannot appreciate a difficulty in that Respect at all, because it occurs to me that the moment any portion of an agricultural holding in an urban sanitary district came to be applied for building purposes, a portion of the agricultural grant could be stopped. Therefore, as far as that difficulty is concerned, I cannot see how it would apply in practice. If a holding of 60 acres, which at the time of its inclusion, in the urban sanitary district is entirely devoted to agricultural purposes, but subsequently, we will say, is in respect of one-half, parceled out for building land, I cannot see why the portion remaining to be devoted to agriculture could not be separated for agricultural land, and the balance included as urban land for the purpose of being liable for the urban taxes. Now, it is very difficult—and I confess the difficulty remains in my mind, notwithstanding what the Chief Secretary has said—it is very difficult to explain to farmers who, in the case of those small townships in Ireland, happen to occupy agricultural land in the vicinity of those townships, and who, although included, have, for all purposes under the Land Act, been treated as ordinary farmers, why they are excluded from participation in the grant. If it were only for the purpose of satisfying them that they are not to be placed at a disadvantage as compared with other farmers occupying agricultural holdings in Ireland, it is desirable that this exclusion of such land should be done away with. But, I think, perhaps the most important reason why it should be done away witih—seeing that in the first place, as the Chief Secretary has said, it comes to such a small sum of money—is the fact that perhaps there are no districts throughout Ireland that are more in want of sanitation and schemes of water-supply than the small townships. Now, under the provision of section 28, which we were discussing a few evenings age, power is given to those towns if they contain at least a population of 1460 1,500 inhabitants, to convert themselves into urban districts; but, inasmuch as such a conversion would entail the penalty of losing the benefit of this agricultural grant, that difficulty will be a serious obstacle in the way of those small townships taking the benefit of section 28, and converting themselves into urban sanitary districts. Having regard to the fact that in every township in Ireland they will suffer, or at any rate believe that they will suffer, by reason of this exclusion; and, further, to the fact that the concession is a very small one, and also for the sake of symmetry with the English Act, and for the purpose of removing the supposed grievance from the minds of the occupiers of these agricultural lands in urban sanitary districts, it is very desirable to make this small concession, which, as far as I can gather, Members from all parts of Ireland, and on both sides of the House, are agreed in asking at the hands of the Government.
MR. O'KEEFFE (Limerick)
said he hoped the Amendment would be accepted by the Government.
§ MR. PLUNKETT (Dublin, St. Stephen's)
The case of the city of Limerick, which has just been given by the honorable Member opposite, is certainly a very good instance of the effect of this provision of the Bill. Unhappily the city of Limerick is not at all in a flourishing condition, and the proximity of that city is no very great advantage to the agricultural land Even in my constituency there are several places which are practically on all fours with the case which has just been quoted; and if the aggregate financial effect of the proposal is as small as the Chief Secretary has stated—namely, only an amount of £5,000 over the whole towns—I cannot understand how it is almost every Irish Member should call attention to the proposal and support the Amendment. I have had letters myself—I do not know whether honorable Members opposite have—from the four provinces, including most of the districts around the large towns Personally, I Should like a little more light upon the whole subject from the Treasury Bench. Everything that 1461 the Chief Secretary has explained in this House has been explained, I think, with extreme lucidity; and I am sure that it is hardly due to the fact that most of us have not gone as deeply into this extremely complicated subject as he and the honorable Member for Cork, and some others opposite, have, that we are get quite able to follow the points which he has put before the House. Of course, if there is any very great administrative difficulty which would arise from the concession of our demand, we should like to know. We all want to improve the Bill, not to make it unworkable. If the Chief Secretary can satisfy us that there is some fatal objection to this concession that we ask, we might ask him to hold the matter over until the Report stage, and take a little more time to consider, and see whether he would not get over the difficulty and in some other way meet us. But it is the fact that a great deal of pressure has been put upon us in this matter, and there is a very numerous class who imagine that they will be injuriously affected by it.
§ MR. ATKINSON
said that, having regard to the way in which lands and buildings were valued in Ireland, it would be difficult, if the change were made, to do equal justice to occupiers inside and outside urban areas.
§ LORD EDMOND FITZMAURICE (Wiltshire, Cricklade)
I have listened with interest to the statement of the Attorney General, and I think there must be some little misapprehension with regard to the points he has just mentioned. I rather gather from the feelings aroused that there may be some question as to the statement that he has just made with regard to the position of county cess. Now the description he has given of county cess interests urban districts, and touches a condition of things with which, both in England and Scotland, we are perfectly familiar. That is so in regard to certain charges on agricultural land within urban districts, The agricultural land within those 1462 urban districts is only charged at one quarter the valuation. But that applies to the local urban rate, but not to poor rate, which includes the county rate. That is the very point I want to bring out. It may be in certain urban districts, or perhaps in all of them, that the county cess may be levied by what we call in England the urban authorities, and be collected from the urban ratepayers, both upon the holders of house property and agricultural land. But I imagine myself that if that is the case there would be no difficulty in it, although the two rates might be levied together. The urban rate would be levied upon the quarter, and the county rate would be levied at the whole amount upon the agricultural land within the urban district, and the county cess would, therefore, have been paid by the urban authorities to the county authorities, and there would be no difficulty whatever. If the question is examined into it will be found in practice that the county rate is levied upon the agricultural land as being a county charge on the full value of the agricultural land. If that is the case, then the argument of the Chief Secretary falls to the ground. But that is not my only point. I want to say a word in support of the argument of the honorable Member for Cork which he used at the commencement of this discussion. The great difficulty in all boundary adjustments is that agricultural land within the urban district is not placed at the same advance as agricultural land outside those districts. All of us who may have been concerned as boundary commissioners or county councilors know perfectly well that on these occasions the most exaggerated calculations are made in regard to rating. I am not quite sure that human nature appears at its best at boundary inquiries. Everybody asserts that they are going to be ruined, and the matters which come up are matters of extreme intricacy. As a matter of fact, these things are gone into with the most extreme care and accuracy, and I am afraid that if this Bill is left as it stands it will be found that whenever an urban district in Ireland wishes to extend its boundary the argument that is likely to be taken 1463 is that they are likely to suffer, and that is one which will be most fatal.
§ LORD EDMOND FITZMAURICE
That is the very point which I was urging just now, and if they are to continue to pay only a quarter, that is, perhaps, an answer to my argument so far. I want to ask the Chief Secretary if he will explain the following point rather more fully? I know other Members besides myself had some difficulty in following it. He argued that it was an argument against the proposal of the honorable Member for Cork that the valuation of land and buildings in Ireland was conducted in a different way to what it was in England, and he told us that in Ireland the valuation depends upon the well-known valuation made in 1843 by Sir Richard Griffiths, which separated the land and the buildings. That is perfectly true, but I do not understand how that is an argument against this charge, judged, as he put it, from the English analogy, because since the Act of 1896 the same principle has been introduced into England. Therefore I think the valuation applies in favor of the argument of the honorable Member for Cork, and not against it.
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
I may say that the point is this: Sir Richard Griffiths' valuation separated land from buildings, and included under buildings every here determent which was not land, but it practically made no distinction between different kinds of land.
§ LORD EDMOND FITZMAURICE
What appears to me is this: demesnes, parks, and gardens were excluded by an Amendment from the English Act, and there can be no great difficulty when the assessment is made in Ireland that the amount of assessment should not be charged upon the demesnes, parks, and gardens, and should not be taken into consideration for the purposes of calculation. That is the point I wish to put before the Com- 1464 mittee. I was quite unable to follow in what way the question of union rating affected the argument. It is perfectly true that an urban district will, no doubt, profit to some extent—in some cases to a considerable extent, but in all cases to some extent—by the introduction of union rating, but the union rating has nothing to do with this part of the Bill. They are separate proposals, and very excellent proposals, which, no doubt, tend to confer upon Ireland the same advantages which the Union Chargeability Act confers on England. There is no doubt whatever that a town treated as an area of rating will profit by this. These are the points which I should like explained.
§ MR. MAURICE HEALY
The right honorable Gentleman has spoken for a considerable time, and I thank him for the exposition he gave us of the principles which induced the Government to adopt that method of dealing with land which they have done in this Act. But, Sir, he did not give us anything in his speech dealing with the particular point of this Amendment. As I have been able to follow him, he and his honorable and learned colleague afterwards really raised only two points, and really I cannot think, with regard to either of them, that they are a substantial answer to the grievance which is dealt with in this Amendment. Now, Mr. Lowther, the ostensible argument of the right honorable Gentleman the Chief Secretary is, as I understand it, that the agricultural grant is a stereotyped grant fixed once and for all with reference to the standard year. In some urban areas, when the Bill passes, the conditions will not be similar. And, Mr. Lowther, I can quite conceive, with regard to the Chief Secretary's objections, that that would be the case under the Bill as it stands, but I think it will have occurred to the right honorable Gentleman that the obvious answer to an argument of that kind is that one single sentence in the Bill would cure it. As I pointed out in introducing my Amendment, unfortunately the amount of agricultural land included in our Irish urban districts is not such a large amount as to cause us any alarm that much injustice would be 1465 done in this respect. If this does occur, I quite conceive that we should not get the full benefit of the grant that was made in the case of large quantities of land. An analogous case is dealt with in section 35, sub-section 35. It deals with the case of agricultural land, which, at the passing of this Act, is outside the urban area, but which in process of time, by the extension of boundaries, becomes included in the urban area. The right honorable Gentleman cannot use that as a conclusive argument without shutting out all land which might possibly at some future time become an urban area, which would have been a logical conclusion if he had followed his reasoning up. Now, Sir, this sub-section provides for that case, and enacts that if that state of things arises—The sum payable out of the agricultural grant in respect of union and district charges raised over such rural district shall be reduced by a sum proportionate to the rateable value in the standard financial year of that agricultural land, and the amount of such reduction shall be accumulated in the Local Taxation Account, and be applied in such manner as Parliament directs.Now, Mr. Lowther, one sentence in that clause will entirely meet the case of the right honorable Gentleman, but he seems to suggest that in some way it would be impossible to deal with the case except by altering the total amount of the agricultural grant. But that is not so, for it would leave the agricultural grant exactly as it stands, and, at the same time, it would prevent any land getting a greater portion of the grant than is actually given to it at the time of the passing of the Act. Now, Mr. Lowther, that was the first point which the right honorable Gentleman made in reply to my Amendment. The second point he made was one which was further elaborated by the right honorable and learned Gentleman the Attorney General for Ireland. The answer, as I understand, is this: there are, he says, some eight, nine, 10, or 12 of these areas, and I do not think there are any more. I have not heard that there are any more, and I have not heard of any estimate of the number, and it is not easy to get at the actual figures. But so far as I am aware there are not more than eight, nine, 10, or 12 of these 1466 areas and I think the rate is levied differentially on agricultural land. So far as I know, in none of these county boroughs is there any differential rate; certainly there is not in Cork, nor, I believe, in Dublin; and, so far as I am aware, not a single one of these county boroughs has adopted the provisions of the Act of 1854 which made the differential rate possible. I quite admit that the right honorable Gentleman was justified in dealing with this Amendment as he did, but what does his argument amount to? Because there are nine or 10 towns out of a couple of hundred—
§ MR. MAURICE HEALY
The right honorable Gentleman says there are more. His knowledge is greater than mine; but, so far as my inquiries go, the number is certainly not large. The number can only be those towns which, having adopted the Act of 1854, went to Parliament, and got a special Act, cutting them off from the county for the purpose of rating roads, and these towns, under the Act of 1871 or 1878, went to the Local Government Board and got a Provisional Order to effect the same purpose. I have looked at the Act of 1878, and it is not at all clear to me that even under that Act, when that state of things arose, the road rate, which is levied by the urban authority, is a differential rate. The Act of 1878 does not say that the rate is to be levied as a differential rate. The Act of 1878 makes no provision whatever as to the rate which is to be levied by the urban authority being a differential rate. I think it is assumed that, under the Act of 1878, that rate ought to be a differential rate. I will not go so far as that. But certainly the Act of 1878 does not say that the rate shall be a differential rate, and in the reason of the thing there is no ground for making the rate a differential rate, because the rate for which it is in substitution was not a differential rate. The only rate which can be regarded as a differential rate is the special rate which the Act of 1854 enabled the local authority to levy for special purposes of that Act. Now, the poor rate in these areas is not levied differentially. It 1467 is doubtful whether the rate levied in the county cess is levied differentially. The right honorable Gentleman says that in all the urban localities that would be so. I say they will not. Will the right honorable Gentleman look at clause 32—The expenses of the council of an urban district, if incurred in meeting the expenses of guardians, shall be defrayed out of the poor rate.Now, that is a case in point, and it shows that the poor rate cannot be differential; consequently, so far as the poor rate is concerned, the rate levied in these urban authorities will not be differential. The clause goes on—And if incurred in meeting the expenses of the county council, shall be defrayed out of any rate heretofore levied by the urban authority of the district to meet presentments of the grand jury.That, I take it, covers the case of towns which are cut off from the county, and it provides that as regards these towns which are so cut off, and which, therefore, levy a rate for the purpose of raising a tax analogous to the grand jury tax, the expenses of the county council shall be raised out of that tax, and no doubt, if that tax is differential, the rate under this clause will be differential also. The final words of the clause are—And where no such rate was levied out of the poor rate.That is to say, in the case of every little town which is not out off from the county the expenses raised for the purpose of contributing to the county council shall be levied out of the poor rate, and consequently shall not be a differential rate.
§ MR. MAURICE HEALY
The first clause, I take it, deals with the expenses of the council of the urban district. It goes on to say—The expenses incurred by the council of an urban district in relation to the business transferred to the council by or in pursuance of this Act or otherwise in the execution of this Act; (a) if the district is a county borough 1468 shall, where the like expenses have heretofore been defrayed out of any rate levied by the council of the borough (other than county cess), continue to be so defrayed, but in any other case shall be defrayed out of the poor rates; and (b) if the district is not a county borough, shall be defrayed out of the fund or rate out of which the costs of paving and cleansing the streets in such districts are or can be defrayed.I ask the right honorable Gentleman what is the meaning of the first words of the clause, because it seems to me to come to this: that the county-at-large charges will not be differential?
§ MR. MAURICE HEALY
The road charges will, so far as they are district charges, but not so far as they are county-at-large charges; so that the right honorable Gentleman is not correct in saying that the county cess, taken as a whole, will not be levied differentially when these areas become for the first time urban areas. But does not that get rid of a large portion of the right honorable Gentleman's argument? If the rates, so far as they are district charges, will be differential, it is plain that under the Act of 1878 the county cess charge is a differential charge. The right honorable Gentleman himself has said that he is not quite clear that it is a differential charge, but so far as regards the rates levied in these urban areas—county charges—they will not be differential. That being so, the right honorable Gentleman threw out in his speech that he considered that the proper way of dealing with this was to have a differential rate in all these places. Let him put that on the Paper. I do not say that we should accept it, but, speaking my own mind, my first impression is that there is something to be said for that view of the matter. I think some of my honorable Friends behind me would rather resent that mode of settling the matter, because I have observed that some of them have put Amendments on the Paper providing that there shall be no differential rates. I do not agree with that. It has been suggested that these differential rates were levied on landlords' domains and pleasure grounds. With great respect, 1469 the land in these small towns is neither domain nor pleasure ground. It is the little bit of accommodation ground of the shopkeeper. It is the shopkeeper you will have to deal with, and not the landlord. Every man judges according to his own experience. The right honorable Gentleman has one town in his mind and I have another, but, so far as I am concerned, the people that will be hit by doing away with the system of differential rates would not be the landowners or owners of pleasure grounds, but would be the shopkeeper, because he is excluded from the benefit of the Land Act. I apologise for trespassing on the House so long; but this is a question upon which the urban areas have been very keen, and I do think that in view of the many appeals that have been made the right honorable Gentleman will make some concession that will be satisfactory not only outside but inside the House.
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
thought that the honorable Member had no need to apologise for trespassing on the time of the House. He was afraid, however, that he had failed to make his meaning quite clear in the speech which he made before dinner. His excuse for that was that he had explained so many subjects just before dinner, and had been on the Bench for so many hours; and he would assure honorable Members that it was no easy task to always render oneself intelligible upon so many different matters. In framing the Bill the Government had taken the simple definition of agricultural land as land entered in the Valuation List as land, and, having done that, the honorable Member condemned them for introducing a provision to exclude the land in urban districts. He could not help thinking that had the English Act been a permanent Act, and had it been a permanent grant, and had it been possible to adopt such a simple definition of land in that Act as was proposed to be adopted in this Bill, he ventured to think that in the Act of 1896 urban districts would have been excluded; but, however that might be, owing to the great variation in the system of taxation in Irish towns, the 1470 matter was enormously confused and complicated. The incidence of taxation varied so much that whilst in some Irish towns agricultural land was exempted not only from town rates, but also from the cess, in other towns it was not exempted at all. Some towns had special Acts dealing with the rating, and the Act of 9 George IV. had not tended to make matters more simple. The right honorable Gentleman quoted from that Act various towns, having different incidence of rating, and concluded by saying that he himself thought it would be far better, in order to secure uniform simplicity of administration, to adopt the plan which had been suggested. He was however, quite prepared, before the Report stage was reached, to reconsider the matter, and see if a more satisfactory solution could be arrived at. The honorable Member had himself suggested that as a possible solution, and he was quite prepared to put off this matter until the Report stage, and in the meantime to consider whether the best solution of the difficulty was not to insert a provision dealing with this matter, or to see whether some way could not be found of including the agricultural land in the towns in the definition of the Act.
§ MR. DILLON
There is one thing which is perfectly clear in the course of this discussion, and that is that in a Bill for the reconstituting of the entire rating system of Ireland, as the right honorable Gentleman has said, the complications and difficulties are perfectly enormous. I think he just now said he was prepared to take a certain course if the Committee would agree to postpone this question to the Report stage in view of the course he was prepared to take. Now, I do not think, so far as I can understand it, that the proposal to extend the principle of the three-fourths of the rate to the agricultural land within the boundaries of boroughs and urban districts would do any good, because, so far as I can see, it could not give any real relief to the taxpayer of the urban district, and it would have simply the effect of casting the tax of the agricultural land inside the boroughs upon the householders. This is a very important question. First of all it is a question of principle, and the right honorable Gentleman has elected to carry on the 1471 Debate on this particular Amendment; and although it only applies to the cases of the county boroughs, it may in the future deal with urban districts. Now, in a former speech, the right honorable Gentleman entered into a calculation—a rude and rough calculation—by which he made out that the whole sum for use on this item was, roughly speaking, a sum of £5,000. I think he made a rough estimate, because he attributed far too large a proportion of the agricultural land to pleasure grounds and gardens. Suppose we increase the Estimate to £7,000, in his argument he takes up this extraordinary position—you take the £7,000 a year from the urban districts of Ireland and hand it over to the landlord.
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
The honorable Gentleman is not quite clear. A great deal of the £7,000 is in respect of poor rate.
§ MR. DILLON
Yes, I know; but the relief, instead of going to the relief of the agricultural lands in the urban districts, is to go to the woods and domains and gardens of the landlords. I admit that some of it would go to the tenant so far as that goes—still, that is only as regards a portion of the sum. Now the honorable Gentleman said—and this is the point to which I desire chiefly to allude—that he believed that if it had been possible to adopt the more simple definition which has now been taken in the Irish Bill when the English Bill was before the House, that the agricultural land within the limits of an urban district would be exempted. Now, I have here the report of an extremely interesting Debate which took place on an Amendment moved by the honorable Member for Shoreditch. He moved on the 23rd June, 1896, the following words: "Not being situate in a borough or county borough." That was to apply the exact principle which we are now contesting in the Irish Act.
§ MR. DILLON
Now, I quote the reply given by the Government, and the right honorable Gentleman will see that his observation does not at all apply. The right honorable Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board said that he could not at all consent to the Amendment, because—The Amendment would exclude thousands of acres of agricultural land from all participation in the relief conferred by the Bill, although that land was as much entitled to such relief as other parts of the country.What could be more simple or plain? Then the right honorable Gentleman went on to explain his meaning, and he said—Within 15 miles of London there were places in Essex, Hertford, and Surrey, where the agricultural depression was as severe as in any place of England. He had received a great number of representations, entreating him under no circumstances to accept the Amendment; and he did not see how he could ask the House to support a proposal which would certainly create a fresh anomaly, and for these reasons he must oppose the Amendment.Then the Debate went on, and you will find that in the whole of the Debate there was not one single suggestion of this Act being temporary or permanent. It was opposed by the Government as applying a different principle to the agricultural land within the city limits from that which was applied to agricultural land outside the city limits, and that it would be an anomaly. The right honorable Baronet the Member for the Forest of Dean, who, along with myself and the whole Liberal Party, had supported this Bill upon principle, opposed this particular Amendment. Although he Voted for the First, Second, and Third Reading of this Act, he opposed this Amendment, and he said the principle applied not only to the metropolitan area, but to a considerable quantity of land in urban districts of the country. I come now to the speech of the Secretary to the Local Government Board, and the honorable Gentleman said—That the right honorable gentleman had candidly stated at the commencement of his remarks that he supported the Amendment because it went to the root of the principle. He had not had the Parliamentary experience of the right honorable gentleman, but he had always imagined that the principle of a Bill was dealt with on the Second Reading, and that once the 1473 House had affirmed the principle it was not necessary or competent to raise it on every Amendment. This Amendment raised the policy of discrimination in another form than that which had been before the House on several occasions; the two sides were at issue, and were not likely to agree. The honorable Member for Devonport had dealt with the question mainly as affecting the Metropolitan police area.He strongly opposed the Amendment, not upon the temporary character of the Bill, but on a matter of principle, as he considered it unjust to relieve the agricultural land outside the borough districts and to refuse to relieve those lands which were inside. I opposed the Amendment, and would do so again if the Measure came again before the House, because I believe the principle of the Rating Act to be rotten from top to bottom; but, at the same time, I say we are entitled to the same treatment in Ireland as you mete out to England, and if in the English Act you refused this Amendment on the ground that it was an injustice when you gave that relief outside not to give it inside the limit, then I want to know why the right honorable Gentleman does not apply the same principle to Ireland as he does to England? I say I cannot find in the Debate which took place that night one single solid argument to justify the change of ground token by the Government. Now, if we come to examples, and see how this bears upon the matter, we find that the case of Ireland is very much stronger than the case of England. It was argued with remarkable force that the English agriculturists, market gardeners, and so on, within these limits, had such excellent markets for their produce that they were really not entitled to this relief, because the agricultural depression did not affect them so much as it did the farmer who was outside. That argument does not apply to Ireland, because in most of the urban districts in Ireland the land is held by poor men struggling to make a living, and they have not at their own doors these wealthy and prosperous communities that you have here. Therefore there is a much stronger reason for giving this relief to these districts in Ireland than there is in England. I fail to appreciate the position which the Government have taken up in this matter, and I do contend that they have not given any sufficient 1474 argument for their change of front. When the right honorable Gentleman points out to me that the relief, if it were given to the urban districts, would go for the most part to the land, I reply that is a question for future consideration. We are not dealing with the distribution of the grant, but the amount; the question of the distribution will come afterwards. Besides, I confess that, while I admit to a large extent the proposition—not without some reserve—which was put forward so forcibly just now, we were considerably bound down by the Second Reading of the Bill last year. I voted with the Government on the last Amendment upon the grant, as being part of his scheme; still nobody can bind the voter, and while we get for Ireland the grant which will be given to her, we are bound to secure for her a full measure of justice. Taking the country as a whole, we want the equivalent of what has been given to England. We cannot tell in the future how this grant will be distributed. It may be that in other and better days the whole question will be raised, and the cost of the support of the poor will be placed upon a wider basis. Nothing is final in legislation, and it may be possible for a future Parliament to deal with this question more in accordance with the true principles of political economy. I trust that will be done. I trust that some day or other a Government will come into power which will do away with this wretched system—what I consider to be a most unsound financial system—of giving doles and grants in aid out of the local taxes, and will recast the whole system on which the rates of this country are levied. It is in view of the future to a large extent that I have determined to do everything in my power to secure for Ireland, as a financial entity, as a national entity, as large an amount as I possibly can secure, so that we might get as full a measure of compensation as has been given to England; and then we can trust to the future.
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
appealed to the Committee to pass from this subject and get on with the subsequent Amendments on the Paper. There was great difficulty in the way, but he would again give the honorable Gentleman an 1475 assurance that the matter would be considered before the Report.
§ MR. VESEY KNOX
There is another point which I think the Chief Secretary did not make clear. His suggestion that there should be a preferential rate in some towns, and on the same principle, is one that requires consideration. It would only be an answer to the Amendment of my honorable Friend if it had been combined with some proportionate compensation to the urban areas. The preferential rate by itself would be a doubtful benefit to the urban areas, unless it was combined with some measure of compensation. We understand the Chief Secretary will consider whether he will be able to apply that principle of the preferential rate, and at the same time make some kind of monetary compensation for the disturbances which will be caused by the change. My honorable and learned Friend would do well to accept that. I do not think it would be right to say that it would be satisfactory that there should be some preferential rate without any sort of compensation. If the Chief Secretary will promise to consider both those questions on the understanding that no proposal for a preferential rate will be considered Satisfactory unless it is combined with financial compensation, I think the Amendment might fairly be withdrawn.
§ MR CLANCY (Dublin, Co., N)
I venture to say, with reference to the suggestion that the Chief Secretary made, and the hint he has thrown out, that the effect of it will be to take away some of the burden of taxation from agricultural land and put it on buildings in the towns. So far as I am concerned I could never agree to that proposal. It ought to be understood by honorable Gentlemen who represent urban districts that this will not bring a single penny more to the urban districts; it will only transfer part of the burden from agricultural land which already appears as preferentially treated. That is a suggestion which I do not think will give any satisfaction whatever.
§ MR. TULLY (Leitrim, S)
The right honorable Gentleman said he may reconsider this with a view to having a preferential rate in all the towns—one-fourth on land and three-fourths on houses. I agree entirely with the honorable Member for Worth Dublin, and the honorable Member for East Mayo, that it would be unfair that three-fourths should be taken off the land and put on the buildings of the shopkeepers and householders of the towns. At present, taking all Ireland, 48 towns will come in as urban sanitary districts. I know from my own experience of these towns that one of the things which has prevented them coming in as urban sanitary districts is this question of a preferential rate. They knew that one-fourth would only fall on the land and three-fourths would be taken off land and put on to the houses. I think the Chief Secretary, before he explains that proposal of the preferential rate, ought to take the opinion of the town councils and town commissioners; he will find there is a large body of opinion which is in favor of having an equal rate. With regard to land and houses, I think the suggestion most commendable. People in the towns would be willing that the agricultural grant should be given to the agricultural land in the towns, but that no preferential rate should be made in favour of land in the towns which will put the burden on the shoulders of the shopkeepers.
§ MR. MAURICE HEALY
I hope the right honorable Gentleman may see his way to give the agricultural grant for land in the towns. I beg leave to withdraw my Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Page 16, line 25, leave out 'March' and insert 'September.'"—(Mr. M. Healy.)
§ MR. MAURICE HEALY
In moving this Amendment I wish to ask the Government a Question. This Bill is not quite clear to me as it stands. 1477 The Bill provides that the first payment under this clause to the Local Taxation (Ireland) Account shall be made during the six months ending on the last day of March next—the 31st March after the passing of this Act. That is to say, that the first payment to the county councils must have to be made before the 31st March. But, Sir, the county council is not elected. If the right honorable Gentleman will look at a subsequent clause—Clause 69—he will see that the county council is not to be elected until the 25th March, or some date seven days after it, and it does not become a county council until the 1st July.
§ MR. E. J. STRACHEY
The Committee will see that my object is to apply the same definition to agricultural land in Ireland that has been applied to Great Britain. We have heard some very remarkable statements made by the Chief Secretary for Ireland as regards the English Act. He said that the English Act is permanent. But the English Rating Bill is not a permanent Measure; in fact, it was pressure coming from within their own side that made the Act of 1896 a temporary Measure, so that the contention of the Chief Secretary seems to me to be of little value now and does not at all support his argument. Then, again, he has told the Committee that it is impossible to adopt the English definition because houses and land are not separately assessed. He has told us that buildings in Ireland are separate from land. But that was the reason urged against the definition in the English Act. In Ireland you have the whole matter ready for you, and there is no 1478 difficulty at all, as for years under the Irish Valuation Acts houses and land were separately assessed. It seems to me to show great poverty of resources on the part of the right honorable Gentleman when he says he is unable to assimilate the value of agricultural land in Ireland with that of England. Just now it was said that it would be practically impossible to make the concession which is promised in the Report. I cannot help thinking that if the honorable Gentleman sitting behind me represented an agricultural constituency in England, it would be pointed out to him that it would be very unjust that the Irish farmer should be treated differently from the farmer in England. In the same way the clause applies to the owners much better treatment in Ireland than they have in England, and if the concession indicated by the right honorable Gentleman is made with regard to agricultural land in towns, then a large additional grant will be given to them, and Ireland will receive much more than England, and in addition half the rates on woods, parks, pleasure grounds, racecourses, and so on, would be paid in Ireland which receive no aid in England. Now, as an English Member, I cannot help thinking that that would be a very great grievance. I must say that it appears to me rather a curious thing that Members supporting the Government should be prepared to give to Ireland what is not given to England. It is, no doubt, quite natural that honorable Members from Ireland should be ready to support the Government in regard to such a proposal, but it does seem to me to be rather strange that honorable Members representing English constituencies should be equally willing to support the Government in giving to Ireland more than England receives, and in doing injustice to England. It also seems that the difficulties of valuation will be very great if the right honorable Gentleman will not adopt the course adopted in the English Act. There are nine Valuation Acts for Ireland which have been incorporated in this Bill, and it would appear that as a matter of fact, instead of rendering it easier, it will make it very 1479 much more difficult and complicated. Therefore, for these reasons, I beg to move the Amendment standing in my name.
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
Mr. Lowther, the honorable Member is evidently totally unacquainted with the system of Irish valuation, or otherwise he would not have made this proposal for adopting in this Bill the provision in the English Act, for its adoption would necessitate a revaluation of Ireland. The honorable Member is apparently unaware that the valuation in Ireland is carried on by a Department, whereas in England it is done by Committees, assisted by the local authorities.
§ MR. CLANCY (Dublin Co., N.)
Mr. Lowther, in addition to what the right honorable Gentleman has said there is another remark to be made upon the Amendment, as an illustration of want of acquaintance with Irish affairs. I can quite understand Irish Members voting for this Amendment, if it were to be followed up by other Amendments, but this Amendment would have the effect of excluding from the agricultural grant certain agricultural land outside urban areas. As I understand, the honorable Member wants to have in this Bill the definition of agricultural land contained in the English Act. Very well; but that will exclude certain agricultural lands from the benefit of the grant. There are no woods, and parks, and racecourses within the towns of Ireland, and in any case these woods, parks, and racecourses are not getting the advantage in England. If the Amendment were followed by an Amendment striking out the latter part of the sub-section for the purpose of including agricultural land within urban areas, I confess I should vote for it, because I think it would be very profitable for Ireland to have agricultural land within the boundaries of the urban areas getting the benefit of the agricultural grant. But let honorable Members behind me observe that this is not a question of an alternative plan. The question is not whether you will have one plan or another. The proposal of the honour- 1480 able Gentleman is to cut down the grant by excluding certain agricultural land outside the urban areas.
§ MR. STRACHEY
NO, no. I must point out to the honorable Member that my object is to give the same treatment to Ireland as in England by in eluding land in towns.
§ MR. CLANCY
According to this Bill, as I understand, all land within urban areas is shut out of the grant.
§ MR. CLANCY
I may be entirely mistaken, but for the information of the Committee, I will state my view of the proposal of the honorable Gentleman again. The Bill proposes to give relief in respect of all agricultural lands outside urban areas. That is different from the English Act, which proposes to give relief in respect of all agricultural lands within the old urban areas, excluding certain lands such as those I have already mentioned. What the honorable Gentleman wants us to do is to adopt the English Act, so far as the country outside towns is concerned, but not to follow that out by a proposal for including land within the urban areas. Perhaps the honorable Gentleman does not want to do it, but if he does he ought to put down Amendments on the Paper for that purpose. If I am correct in my interpretation of the honorable Gentleman's proposal, I intend to vote against it.
§ MR. J. DILLON
I think the honorable Member mistakes altogether the intention of the honorable Member in moving this Amendment. Its intention is to extend to Ireland the same principle as that on which the English Rating Act was passed. If the Amendment of the honorable Member were accepted, it is quite clear that there should be an Amendment to the end of the clause, but that would be merely consequential.
§ MR. CLANCY
But the honorable Gentleman has not proposed it. May I point out that the honorable Member has not put down such an Amendment, though he has put down another consequential Amendment?
§ MR. DILLON
May I point out to the honorable Member for North Dublin that no less than seven Irish Members have put down consequential Amendments; and I take it that very naturally the honorable Member intended to support one of those Amendments. It is perfectly manifest that if his Amendment were carried the end of the clause would disappear, because it would contradict the Amendment of the honorable Member. It is perfectly clear that the meaning of the Amendment is that the application of the Act shall be on the same principle as the application of the English Act, and that it would apply to the urban districts. I do not think it is just or fair to attribute to the honorable Member intentions which, from the purport of his speech in explaining his Amendment, it is evident he never entertained. Whether right or wrong, his object is to apply relief to the same class of land in Ireland as in England.
§ MR. FLYNN
Sir, there is a very strong feeling in Ireland about this question of urban lands, and I have no doubt that the right honourable Gentleman has received hundreds of resolutions from all parts of Ireland protesting against the exclusion of urban lands. This morning I was looking over an English assessment table, and I find that in places so close to London as Lewisham there is agricultural land rated to the extent of £9,580 which actually received the benefit of the English Act. Similarly, places like Fulham and Hammersmith have received the benefits of the English Act, as have large towns like Birmingham and a great many other places. I think that Irish Members would be acting contrary to the wish of a large number of districts in Ireland by supporting the Amendment of the honorable Member. Of course, I can quite understand that the honorable 1482 Member, in putting down this Amendment and his second Amendment lower down, had in view the same object as the eight Amendments on the Paper in the names of Irish Members.
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
If the honorable Gentleman had been in his place for the last two hours he would have heard that this is the question which we have been discussing for that period. I may observe, as to the Amendment, that it is really out of the question that we should simply take the definition of the English Act as to including or excluding the agricultural land within the limits of the towns; it is not suitable to the valuation existing in Ireland.
§ DR. CLARK
The object of my honorable Friend in moving his Amendment is perfectly clear It is to include certain towns, and to include land which at the present time does not come under the Bill. If you adopt the principle of the Amendment you apply the same principle to Ireland as you do to England. In England it is only land for agricultural purposes that you include. As this clause is drafted, you exclude it. What you exclude in Ireland is sporting land and land used for pleasure. Here you go beyond the English Act. I hope those gentlemen who are so anxious to see the same principle applied to Ireland as to England will look into the matter.
§ MR. T. M. HEALY
The last time we had this Debate in the House we got through 15 clauses through loquacious talking. The loquacious English have now begun, and we have not got through one clause yet.
That those words be there inserted.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 83; Noes 234.—(Division List 101.)1485
|Allen, Wm. (Newc.-under-L.)||Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond||O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary)|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Flynn, James Christopher||Pease, J. A. (Northumb.)|
|Austin, M. (Limerick, W.)||Foster, Sir W. (Derby Co.)||Perks, Robert William|
|Bainbridge, Emerson||Hedderwick, Thomas C. H.||Philipps, John Wynford|
|Beaumont, Wentworth C. B.||Hemphill, Rt. Hon. C. H.||Price, Robert John|
|Billson, Alfred||Hogan, James Francis||Provand, Andrew Dryburgh|
|Birrell, Augustine||Holburn, J. G.||Reckitt, Harold James|
|Blake, Edward||Holden, Sir Angus||Richardson, J. (Durham)|
|Bolton, Thomas Dolling||Jameson, Major J. Eustace||Roberts, J. H. (Denbighsh.)|
|Broadhurst, Henry||Joicey, Sir James||Roche, John (Galway, E.)|
|Bryce, Rt. Hon. James||Jordan, Jeremiah||Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)|
|Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Kearley, Hudson E.||Sheehy, David|
|Burt, Thomas||Kilbride, Denis||Sinclair, Capt. J. (Forfarsh.)|
|Caldwell, James||Leese, Sir J. F. (Accrington)||Smith, Samuel (Flint)|
|Channing, Francis Allston||Leng, Sir John||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Clough, Walter Owen||Logan, John William||Stevenson, Francis S.|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Lough, Thomas||Tanner, Charles Kearns|
|Crean, Eugene||MacNeill, John G. Swift||Thomas, Alf. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Crombie, John William||McCartan, Michael||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Curran, Thomas (Sligo, S.)||McDermott, Patrick||Wedderburn, Sir William|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||McEwan, William||Wilson, F. W. (Norfolk)|
|Dillon, John||M'Ghee, Richard||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Donelan, Captain A.||M'Hugh, Patrick A. (Leitrim)||Wilson, John (Govan)|
|Doogan, P. C.||McKenna, Reginald||Woodall, William|
|Doughty, George||Maddison, Fred.||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Duckworth, James||Mendl, Sigismund Ferdinand|
|Evans, S. T. (Glamorgan)||Morgan, J. L. (Carmarthen)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Farquharson, Dr. Robert||Morley, Chas. (Breconshire)||Mr. Strachey and Dr. Clark.|
|Fenwick, Charles||Morton, E. J. C. (Devonport)|
|Abraham, Wm. (Cork, N. E.)||Clancy, John Joseph||Foster, Colonel (Lancaster)|
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir A. F.||Coghill, Douglas Harry||Foster, Harry S. (Suffolk)|
|Allison, Robert Andrew||Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Fry, Lewis|
|Allsopp, Hon. George||Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Garfit, William|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Colomb, Sir John Charles R.||Gedge, Sydney|
|Austin, Sir John (Yorkshire)||Commins, Andrew||Gibbons, J. Lloyd|
|Baden-Powell, Sir G. Smyth||Cook, Fred. L. (Lambeth)||Gibbs, Hon. V. (St. Albans)|
|Bagot, Capt. J. FitzRoy||Corbett, A. C. (Glasgow)||Gilliat, John Saunders|
|Balcarres, Lord||Cotton-Jodrell, Col. E. T. D.||Goddard, Daniel Ford|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. G. W. (Leeds)||Cox, Robert||Godson, Augustus Frederick|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Cranborne, Viscount||Goldsworthy, Major-General|
|Barnes, Frederic Gorell||Cripps, Charles Alfred||Gordon, Hon. John Edward|
|Barry, Rt. Hn. A. H. Smith-||Cross, Herb. S. (Bolton)||Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John E.|
|Barton, Dunbar Plunket||Curran, Thos. B. (Donegal)||Goschen, George J. (Sussex)|
|Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M. H. (Brist'l)||Curzon, Viscount (Bucks)||Goulding, Edward Alfred|
|Beckett, Ernest William||Dalbiac, Colonel Philip Hugh||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)|
|Begg, Ferdinand Faithfull||Daly, James||Green, W. D. (Wednesbury)|
|Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Dickson-Poynder, Sir J. P.||Gretton, John|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Digby, J. K. D. Wingfield-||Greville, Captain|
|Bond, Edward||Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph||Gull, Sir Cameron|
|Bousfield, William Robert||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Hamilton, Rt. Hon. Lord G.|
|Brigg, John||Drage, Geoffrey||Hammond, John (Carlow)|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Duncombe, Hon. Hubert V.||Hanbury, Rt. Hon. R. W.|
|Brookfield, A. Montagu||Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton||Hardy, Laurence|
|Bullard, Sir Harry||Ellis, John Edward (Notts)||Haslett, Sir James Horner|
|Butcher, John George||Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn E.||Hayden, John Patrick|
|Campbell, J. H. M. (Dublin)||Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J. (Manc.)||Healy, Maurice (Cork)|
|Carew, James Laurence||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Healy, T. M. (N. Louth)|
|Carlile, William Walter||Firbank, Joseph Thomas||Heath, James|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh||Fisher, William Hayes||Helder, Augustus|
|Chaloner, Capt. R. G. W.||FitzGerald, Sir R. Penrose-||Henderson, Alexander|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. (Birm.)||Flannery, Fortescue||Hermon-Hodge, Robert T.|
|Chamberlain, J. A. (Worc'r)||Fletcher, Sir Henry||Hill, Rt. Hn. Lord A. (Down)|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Flower, Ernest||Hill, Sir Edward S. (Bristol)|
|Charrington, Spencer||Forwood, Rt. Hon. Sir A. B.||Hoare, E. B. (Hampstead)|
|Hoare, Samuel (Norwich)||Meysey-Thompson, Sir H. M.||Sandys, Lt.-Col. Thos. Myles|
|Hobhouse, Henry||Milbank, Powlett Charles J.||Saunderson, Col. Edw. James|
|Hornby, William Henry||Milner, Sir Frederick George||Seely, Charles Hilton|
|Howell, William Tudor||Milton, Viscount||Sidebotham, J. W. (Cheshire)|
|Hubbard, Hon. Evelyn||Milward, Colonel Victor||Sidebottom, Wm. (Derbvsh.)|
|Hutchinson, Capt. G. W. Grice-||Minch, Matthew||Simeon, Sir Barrington|
|Hutton, John (Yorks., N. R.)||Molloy, Bernard Charles||Stanhope, Hon. Philip J.|
|Jeffreys, Arthur Frederick||Moon, Edward Robert Pacy||Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)|
|Johnston, William (Belfast)||More, Robert Jasper||Stewart, Sir Mark J. M'T.|
|Johnstone, John H. (Sussex)||Mount, William George||Strauss, Arthur|
|Jolliffe, Hon. H. George||Murnaghan, George||Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley|
|King, Sir Henry Seymour||Murray, Rt. Hn. A. G. (Bute)||Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier|
|Knox, Edmund F. Vesey||Murray, Chas. J. (Coventry)||Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)|
|Lafone, Alfred||Murray, Col. W. (Bath)||Sullivan, T. D. (Donegal, W.)|
|Laurie, Lieut.-General||Myers, William Henry||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Lawrence, Sir E. (Cornwall)||Newark, Viscount||Tollemache, Henry James|
|Lawrence, W. F. (Liverpool)||Nicol, Donald Ninian||Tomlinson, W. E. Murray|
|Lawson, J. Grant (Yorks.)||Northcote, Hon. Sir H. S.||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Lawson, Sir W. (Cumberland)||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Tully, Jasper|
|Lea, Sir T. (Londonderry)||O'Connor, Arthur (Donegal)||Valentia, Viscount|
|Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead)||O'Connor, J. (Wicklow, W.)||Wallace, Robert (Edinburgh)|
|Leigh-Bennett, Hy. Currie||O'Keeffe, Francis Arthur||Wanklyn, James Leslie|
|Llewelyn, Sir Dillwyn- (Sw'ns'a)||O'Malley, William||Waring, Col. Thomas|
|Lloyd-George, David||O'Neill, Hon. Robert T.||Warr, Augustus Frederick|
|Lockwood, Lieut.-Col. A. R.||Parkes, Ebenezer||Webster, Sir R. E. (I. of W.)|
|Loder, Gerald Walter E.||Phillpotts, Captain Arthur||Welby, Lt.-Col. A. C. E.|
|Long, Col. C. W. (Evesham)||Pickersgill, Edward Hare||Wentworth, Bruce C. Vernon-|
|Long, Rt. Hon. W. (Liverp'l)||Plunkett, Rt. Hon. H. C.||Whiteley, H. (Ashton-und.-L.)|
|Lopes, Henry Yarde Buller||Priestley, Sir W. O. (Edin.)||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Lorne, Marquess of||Pryce-Jones, Edward||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Lowe, Francis William||Purvis, Robert||Williams, J. Carvell (Notts)|
|Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Pym, C. Guy||Williams, J. Powell- (Birm.)|
|Lucas-Shadwell, William||Rasch, Major Frederic Carne||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred||Redmond, William (Clare)||Wilson, J. W. (Worc., N.)|
|Macaleese, Daniel||Rentoul, James Alexander||Wilson-Todd, W. H. (Yorks.)|
|McArthur, Chas. (Liverpool)||Richardson, Sir T. (Hartlep'l)||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|McCalmont, H. L. B. (Cambs.)||Ridley, Rt. Hon. Sir M. W.||Woodhouse, Sir J. T. (Hud'ld)|
|McCalmont, Mj-Gn. (Ant'm, N.)||Ritchie, Rt. Hon. Chas. T.||Wortley, Rt. Hn. C. B. Stuart-|
|McCalmont, Col. J. (Ant'm, E.)||Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)||Wyndham, George|
|Malcolm, Ian||Robson, William Snowdon||Wyvill, Marmaduke D'Arcy|
|Maple, Sir John Blundell||Roche, Hon. J. (Kerry, E.)||Young, Com. (Berks, E.)|
|Martin, Richard Biddulph||Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Mellor, Colonel (Lancashire)||Rutherford, John||Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Melville, Beresford Valentine||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
Page 16, line 30, after 'Acts,' insert 'which is not part of a railway or canal.'"—(Mr. Gerald Balfour.)
§ MR. DILLON
I should like to have some explanation as to why the Government put in this Amendment. Does it apply to the tracks of the railway or the course of the canal? Does it apply to the land which forms part of the property of the railways?
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
No; the words here in the Bill would include that, and it is obvious that it is not intended that it should.
§ MR. DILLON
But take agricultural land, the property of the railway company. Would this clause deprive them of their rights?
§ MR. HEALY
The railways are only liable for one-fourth. I think the time has now come when they should be made to pay their full share. What is wanted is something far beyond an Amendment. Take the Towns Improvement Act. The railway is the richest corporation in the town, and they only pay one-fourth of the charge which the shopkeeper has to pay, although at their stations they compete with him in tea and tobacco, and so forth. It is really monstrous that they should not pay their full share.
§ Amendment agreed to.
The following Amendment stood on the Paper in the name of Mr. J. O'CONNOR—
Page 16, line 31, after the second 'any,' insert 'county.' Leave out from 'borough' to end of clause.
§ MR. J. O'CONNOR (Wicklow, West)
I do not propose to move this Amendment, because the right honourable Gentleman the Chief Secretary has promised to consider the whole subject of the agricultural land in the towns, but I would ask him to consider this point with regard to the urban area. The object would be to stereotype the land which is outside the towns. I hope the right honourable Gentleman will consider that point with the rest.
That clause 34 as amended stand part of the Bill.
§ MR. WHITTAKER
I think we ought to have an opportunity of saying a few words upon this clause, because really this is the only clause which concerns the English Members of this House. I have refrained from discussing the details of this clause, but there are some general principles as to which there may be a word or two fairly said. This is the only clause which concerns the English Members, because this is the clause which demands that we should pay. If the Irish Members are satisfied with the other portions of the Bill, we have nothing to say, and I have been happy to join them in extending it, so far as I have been able to do so; but this clause makes grants to Irish taxation practically out of English pockets. It is a new departure, and I cannot help remarking that there has not been any argument upon the part of the Government to justify this grant. We have been left to ourselves to look for reasons for making this grant, and that is why such contradictory opinions had been given as to the object. I object to grants in aid of all kinds, but I simply wish to ask the Government why this grant is to be made. I know very well that it appears to be a part of the policy of the Party opposite that when an extension of local 1488 government is made something in the nature of a sop must be given to the landlord party. It was done in England, when a sop was given to the landlords of this country, but when that sop was given to the English landlords a corresponding bribe or sop was given to the Irish, and to give them a grant now is merely to repeat the dose. Is there any amount due, or any just claim? Or is it as has been suggested? It has been described as barefaced bribery, as palm oil and anti-friction grease.
§ MR. WHITTAKER
The honourable Member for Waterford has told us to get rid of the idea that there is any special favour being done to Ireland by the giving of this grant. He tells us that the money is due; on the other hand, the honourable Member for East Mayo has told us it is a shameful bribe, whilst the honourable Member for North Islington has told us it is a just boon. These are curious expressions when applied to the same grant. The honourable Member for Londonderry has indicated that he will willingly take any money that can be got from England, because he thinks that so much has been taken from Ireland for Imperial taxation.
§ MR. WHITTAKER
I am glad that the honourable Gentleman places some limit upon the amount of money that he is prepared to take from England. The honourable Member contradicts the statement that this is a gift to Ireland in consequence of the relief to agriculture that we have given to England. Now, I think we are entitled to complain that amid these conflicting and inconsistent opinions the Government has given us no guidance whatever. Now, the question as to what 1489 we ordinarily understand by the financial relations does not come in. The Government denies that claim; the House repudiates that claim; and the Irish Members say that they do not consider that this grant will affect that claim one jot. But there is another phase to which we are entitled to make reference—that of local taxation. Do we, as matters now stand, help Ireland in her local taxation out of the Imperial Exchequer less than England? Is that their claim? Is there any money due? My answer is, No. In the first place, we already meet out of the Imperial Exchequer expenses in Ireland which in England we pay out of our local rates. Ireland does not pay a School Board rates we do. Ireland does not pay for her police except to a limited extent.
§ MR. WHITTAKER
But we do. I mean we do pay for them. We do pay rates for our police, and you do not for yours. We pay the whole cost of public education in Ireland and the police out of the Imperial Exchequer—while we pay our own out of our rates—and therefore there is no ground for any claim there. Great Britain pays nine-tenths of the whole revenue; and therefore it follows that it pays nine-tenths of the cost which Ireland should pay for her police force and local education. In addition to that, Great Britain pays Imperial taxes which are not allotted to a local account—taxation to the amount of three millions, which is not levied in Ireland at all; and the bulk of these taxes are taxes which would fall on real property. Ireland pays no house duty, England does; Ireland pays no land tax, England does. There are other taxes which we bear which are not borne by Ireland at all, and therefore, obviously, Ireland is treated more generously in the matter of taxation than England. Then there are the Excise licences; the corresponding grant made to Ireland when England got the Excise 1490 licences was £44,000 more than the licences would produce. There are special licences which are not paid in Ireland, and which are paid in England—establishment licences and carriage licences. When those establishment licences were allotted to local taxation in England we gave Ireland a corresponding grant—for what? for a tax they did not pay. Now, then, the important point in connection with this grant is its bearing on the Death Duties, because, when the Act of 1896 was passed, the Chancellor of the Exchequer was very careful to point out that this grant was to be made out of the Death Duties in order to make personal property contribute to the rates and thus somewhat equalise the burden between real and personal property. For the purposes of local taxation under the Finance Act of 1894, one and a half per cent. on personal property was allotted to local taxation, and it was allotted in the proportions of 80, 11, 9 in the three countries. Now one and a half per cent. duty upon the personalty which pays duty in Ireland produces £107,000, but the proportion 80, 11, 9 does not give Ireland that amount, but gives her instead £202,000. Therefore, Ireland is more favourably treated there again. Now, we in England pay rates and taxes which Ireland does not pay, but she does not pay any rates or taxes which we do not pay. We are already taxed to pay expenditure in Ireland which we are rated for in this country. But it is claimed that this grant to Ireland is an equivalent to the agricultural grant, and it is argued that as half the rates are paid in England, so half of these rates should be paid in Ireland. But then I would suggest in answer to that, that if the agricultural grant was for the relief of agriculture itself, to let a large portion go into the landlords' pockets is not to benefit agriculture. With regard to England, it was contended that it would not go into the landlords' pockets. With regard to Scotland, a special provision was made that it should not do so, but this clause provides that a large proportion of it shall. 1491 Then there is another thing: here, the grant was made temporarily; in Ireland it is to be permanent. That only means that all the attempts that may be made in this House to let this grant expire at the end of fire years will be futile, because while you have got it in Ireland permanently, it is idle to suppose that you will ever set rid of it in England or Scotland. Real property in Ireland escapes all rates and taxes, and that is a very substantial relief indeed; furthermore, a very generous equivalent has already been voted to Ireland for the agricultural grant. The agricultural grant in England, as I have already said, came out of the death duties, and the object was to equalise the burden of the rates between real and personal property, and that object was expounded by nobody more clearly or more frequently than by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who pointed out that the real object was to make personal property contribute to the burden of the local taxation; consequently an allotment was made to the three countries in proportion to their contribution to the taxation on the personal property of the three countries. Obviously, if personal property were to be made to contribute towards the burden of local taxation, it was never intended that personal property in England should contribute towards the burden of local taxation of Ireland; that was the reason for the adoption of the proportion of 80, 11, and 9, the adoption of which was a great advantage to Ireland, because it gives her a larger proportion than that to which she is entitled, having regard to the amount of her contribution. The result of that is that she gets nearly double her share of the grant which should have been the equivalent of the agricultural grant in the country. If the amount which Ireland received was in fair proportion to the amount of her contributions, then, instead of receiving £150,000 she would only get somewhere about £80,000. I venture to suggest that the idea that Ireland ought to have the same grant for the same purposes is a plausible fallacy. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has pointed out 1492 very clearly from time to time that that has not been the policy adopted for the last 10 years. Grants have been made from the Death Duties for the local taxation of Ireland, Scotland, and England. In Ireland the proportion which personal property bears to real property is very much smaller than that in this country, and therefore you cannot expect the same proportion of contribution from it in Ireland for local taxation as you get in this country. The purposes to which the money has been devoted have varied considerably in each country, but it bias been for local purposes. The basis for distributing the Death Duties has been 80, 11 and 9. That basis of contribution is an advantage to Ireland in this particular case, because it gives her £150,000 a year to balance the English agricultural grant, and that is nearly double her share. Now, in this particular Bill it is proposed that instead of £150,000, which is already more than her share of the contribution towards this fund, she is to have £730,000, she is to have £35,000 more than she now gets from other grants. She is to get £279,000 where she now gets £244,000; thus she is to have £1,009,000, which means a net increase of £615,000, and she is to have it in perpetuity, while, as the law now stands, England and Scotland only get theirs for five years. I say the Government has admitted again and again that there is no case for an equivalent grant. Last year, in May, the Chancellor of the Exchequer denied that Ireland had not any just claim in equity to this grant. On the 21st of the same month the First Lord of the Treasury said Ireland possessed no claim in strict equity to the many hundreds and thousands of pounds which would be required if the rating question were treated on similar lines to those to be adopted in England. They made that declaration, yet this year they propose that this grant should be given. I agree with the statement of the honourable Member for East Mayo, in which he said they were giving it as a bribe. It is a bribe; it is anti-friction grease; it is redolent 1493 of palm oil; it is a monstrous job, and the honourable Member for East Mayo is quite correct when he so describes it. I have no complaint to make that the Irish Members accept this Bill on these terms. If we were in their position we should do the same. Local government has been withheld from them far too long. It is said these are the only terms upon which they can get it. I say that the scandal is that right honourable Gentlemen on the Front Bench there, who are in possession of one of the largest majorities that this House has ever seen, have not the courage to force this Measure through on broad and liberal terms, because of a score of Members sitting below the Gangway and a few Peers elsewhere. It is a scandalous job. I do not blame the Irish people for accepting it, but I do blame the Government for bringing it in in this form. It simply means that the British public are to be scandalously plundered in order to enable the Tory Party to do an act of tardy justice to the Irish people. This system of con-stand doles, subsidies, and grants is a method of buying off or attempting to buy off the movement for Home Rule. No stronger argument for Home Rule could be found, that these means are resorted to to buy off the Irish demand for self-government, and England pays very dearly for its stupidity. We shall go on paying the price and making these concessions until Parliament has the courage to give to Ireland the self-government to which she is entitled. I say this system of subsidies of the Imperial Exchequer to local taxation is a bad one. Parts of the United Kingdom are treated differently, and the grants are distributed on varying principles, some to one part and not to another, some on one basis and some on another; some to one part on one basis, some to another on another, and the result is confusion and injustice; and when some part of public expenses are paid out of the rates here and out of the Imperial Exchequer there, and when grants are made on all kinds of varying and inconsistent principles, the result inevitably is a hand to mouth 1494 and time-serving policy—a policy which creates a hopeless muddle and lends itself to political log rolling and Party manipulation and class legislation. This Bill is one more added to the many examples that this Government has given us. Sometimes it is the national entity theory which prevails—one country is dealt with quite differently to another. Sometimes 80, 11, 9 is the sacred principle, and at others similarity all round is the basis which we are to swear by. Naturally, on each particular occasion, Irish Members demand the method which yields them the most. There is much to be said for each and every one of these methods of treatment, if it is to be adopted throughout and all round; but when you pick and choose amongst them as they will yield the most, then it is absurdly inequitable. Just now, for the purposes of the agricultural grant, the proposal is that Ireland should be treated as England. I say, very good. Let Ireland pay a school rate, a carriage tax, a land tax, and house duty. If it is to be the same all round, let Ireland pay those charges just as we do. But similarity all round is just what the Government do not propose. According to this method of treating Ireland, the principle would appear to be "heads they win, tails we lose." The First Lord of the Treasury and the Chancellor of the Exchequer were perfectly right when they declared last year that Ireland has no claim whatever in equity to this large grant. I remember that five years ago, when we were discussing the Home Rule Bill, one of the proposals was to allow the Irish people £500,000 a year for their police, and the First Lord of the Treasury described that as a war indemnity capitalised at seventeen millions. We are now paying the whole £1,500,000, and we are going to add £600,000 more. That will make a war indemnity of over two millions, representing a capital value not of seventeen millions, but of seventy millions. And, Sir, it is a war indemnity without peace. It is a war indemnity without any settlement of a long outstanding question. That is the latest outcome of the policy of the Tory Party, 1495 and I do not believe for a moment that it will commend itself to the taxpayers of this country.
§ MR. BUCHANAN (Aberdeenshire, E.)
I desire, before we go to a Division on this clause, to say a few words, especially as I have not hitherto occupied any time in the Committee discussion of the Bill. The Bill is a very important one not only for Ireland, but as it affects the taxpayers of the United Kingdom. The honourable Gentleman who has just addressed the Committee has gone into every possible topic of opposition to the clause. I am only going to state two or three considerations bearing on the subject which induce me to vote against this clause to-day, and which have led me as well as other Members of this House to set our faces against the principle involved in the clause. I opposed the Agricultural Rating Bill for England clause by clause. I opposed also the Agricultural Rating Bill for Scotland. I am entitled, therefore, to oppose this Bill, which carries out the same principles with regard to Ireland. The question as to its giving any relief for agricultural depression has been given up. I do not think that we have had a word from any honourable Member sitting on the Front Bench opposite to the effect that Ireland is suffering from agricultural depression. Can honourable Gentlemen opposite point to a single statement to that effect during the whole course of the passage of this Bill? They have abandoned that plea, and it is not pretended even that the Bill is a fair application of the principle of equivalent grants. Now let us look at what it really proposes to do. If this Bill is passed we shall find that the financial result of these operations is this, that in the course of the three years during which the present Government has been in office the Chancellor of the Exchequer has added to the permanent expenditure of this country two and three-quarter millions of money out of the public Exchequer for the relief of a certain section of the ratepayers of this country. Nearly 1496 three millions have gone in the shape of these grants. Honourable Gentlemen opposite cheer that; they think it will do them good in the constituencies; but I would remind them that they have had the opportunity in two recent instances of noting the effect of grants such as that which is now proposed. This legislation, by which the Chancellor of the Exchequer has squandered nearly three millions of money, does not appear to have done much good to the Party opposite, even in agricultural constituencies. This huge expenditure is to be permanent, and it is to come out of the general taxation of the country, while the bulk of it is to go for the benefit of one particular section of the taxpayers of the country. I say that that is a gross injustice; it is bad finance; it is bad legislation; and I am glad to say also that it is bad electoral strategy.
§ MR. MADDISON (Sheffield, Brightside)
I would venture for a very few moments to trespass on the Committee with a word or two upon this very important question. I am going to vote against the clause, although during the greater part of my life I have tried to be a Home Ruler. During three contested elections I have endeavoured to support Home Rule in its most drastic form, but to-night, with all my regard for Home Rule intact, I feel bound to vote against this clause. I have to ask myself, to what quarter are these huge sums of money going? The Irish Members have told us distinctly that in their opinion it is not only a bribe, but that it is largely going to the landowning classes. As a workman—I only want to make this one point, and I will then sit down—as a workman, I say that if these huge sums of money are going to be devoted to the relief of distress, I am here to-night to say, in the name of thousands and tens of thousands of workmen, both in the country and in the towns, that the people of this country will not tolerate the spending of their money in 1497 this profligate fashion. If you are going to pay half a landlord's rates, I absolutely fail to see why you should not pay half a workman's rent. And I may point out that you are not paying this money in return for something that we can value. If this were the price of giving the Irish nation their right to govern themselves, then I would shut my eyes to the question of economy, and think it was a good
§ bargain. But it is not a bargain of that kind. It is giving to the landlords, and it is giving to them practically alone. For my part I shall certainly register my vote against it, and I believe the Government will find that my opinions are the opinions of thousands of British workmen.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 243; Noes 60.—(Division List No. 102.)1499
|Abraham, Wm. (Cork, N. E.)||Cross, H. S. (Bolton)||Hoare, Samuel (Norwich)|
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir A. F.||Curran, Thos. B. (Donegal)||Hobhouse, Henry|
|Allsopp, Hon. George||Curzon, Viscount (Bucks)||Hornby, William Henry|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Dalbiac, Colonel Philip Hugh||Howell, William Tudor|
|Austin, Sir John (Yorkshire)||Daly, James||Hubbard, Hon. Evelyn|
|Austin, M. (Limerick, W.)||Dickson-Poynder, Sir J. P.||Hutchinson, Capt. G. W. Grice-|
|Baden-Powell, Sir G. Smyth||Digby, J. K. D. Wingfield-||Hutton, John (Yorks., N. R.)|
|Bagot, Capt. J. FitzRoy||Dillon, John||Jebb, Richard Claverhouse|
|Balcarres, Lord||Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph||Jeffreys, Arthur Frederick|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. G. W. (Leeds)||Donelan, Captain A.||Johnston, William (Belfast)|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Doogan, P. C.||Johnstone, John H. (Sussex)|
|Barnes, Frederic Gorell||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Jolliffe, Hon. H. George|
|Barry, Rt. Hn. A. H. Smith- (Hunts)||Duncombe, Hon. Hubert V.||Jordan, Jeremiah|
|Barton, Dunbar Plunket||Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton||Kemp, George|
|Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M. H. (Brist'l)||Ellis, John Edward (Notts)||Kilbride, Denis|
|Beaumont, Wentworth C. B.||Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn E.||Kimber, Henry|
|Beckett, Ernest William||Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J. (Manc.)||King, Sir Henry Seymour|
|Begg, Ferdinand Faithfull||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Knox, Edmund F. Vesey|
|Bethell, Commander||Firbank, Joseph Thomas||Lafone, Alfred|
|Birrell, Augustine||Fisher, William Hayes||Lawrence, Sir E. (Cornwall)|
|Blake, Edward||FitzGerald, Sir R. Penrose-||Lawrence, W. F. (Liverpool)|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Flannery, Fortescue||Lawson, J. Grant (Yorks)|
|Bond, Edward||Fletcher, Sir Henry||Lea, Sir T. (Londonderry)|
|Bousfield, William Robert||Flynn, James Christopher||Lecky, Rt. Hon. W. E. H.|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Foster, Colonel (Lancaster)||Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead)|
|Brookfield, A. Montagu||Foster, Harry S. (Suffolk)||Leigh-Bennett, Hy. Currie|
|Bullard, Sir Harry||Fry, Lewis||Leighton, Stanley|
|Butcher, John George||Garfit, William||Llewelyn, Sir Dillwyn- (Sw'ns'a)|
|Campbell, J. H. M. (Dublin)||Gedge, Sydney||Lockwood, Lieut.-Col. A. R.|
|Carew, James Laurence||Gibbons, J. Lloyd||Loder, Gerald Walter E.|
|Carlile, William Walter||Gibbs, Hon. V. (St. Albans)||Long, Col. C. W. (Evesham)|
|Carvill, Patrick G. Hamilton||Godson, Augustus Frederick||Long, Rt. Hon. W. (Liverp'l)|
|Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbysh.)||Goldsworthy, Major-General||Lopes, Henry Yarde Buller|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh||Gordon, Hon. John Edward||Lorne, Marquess of|
|Chaloner, Capt. R. G. W.||Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John E.||Lough, Thomas|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. (Birm.)||Goschen, George J. (Sussex)||Lowe, Francis William|
|Chamberlain, J. A. (Worc'r)||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Loyd, Archie Kirkman|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred|
|Charrington, Spencer||Green, W. D. (Wednesbury)||Macaleese, Daniel|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Gretton, John||MacNeill, John G. Swift|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Greville, Captain||McArthur, Chas. (Liverpool)|
|Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Gull, Sir Cameron||McCalmont, H. L. B. (Cambs)|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Hamilton, Rt. Hon. Lord G.||McCalmont, Mj-Gn. (Ant'm, N.)|
|Colomb, Sir John Charles R.||Hammond, John (Carlow)||McCalmont, Col. J. (Ant'm, E.)|
|Commins, Andrew||Hanbury, Rt. Hon. R. W.||McCartan, Michael|
|Compton, Lord Alwyne||Hayden, John Patrick||McDermott, Patrick|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Healy, Maurice (Cork)||M'Ghee, Richard|
|Cook, Fred. L. (Lambeth)||Healy, T. M. (N. Louth)||M'Hugh, Patrick A. (Leitrim)|
|Corbett, A. C. (Glasgow)||Heath, James|
|Cotton-Jodrell, Col. E. T. D.||Hemphill, Rt. Hon. C. H.||Malcolm, Ian|
|Cox, Robert||Henderson, Alexander||Manners, Lord Edward W. J.|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Hill, Rt. Hn. Lord A. (Down)||Maple, Sir John Blundell|
|Crean, Eugene||Hill, Sir Edward S. (Bristol)||Martin, Richard Biddulph|
|Crilly, Daniel||Hoare, E. B. (Hampstead)||Mellor, Colonel (Lancashire)|
|Melville, Beresford Valentine||Pryce-Jones, Edward||Tanner, Charles Kearns|
|Meysey-Thompson, Sir H. M.||Purvis, Robert||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Milbank, Powlett Charles J.||Pym, C. Guy||Tollemache, Henry James|
|Milner, Sir Frederick George||Rasch, Major Frederic Carne||Tomlinson, Wm. E. Murray|
|Milton, Viscount||Redmond, William (Clare)||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Milward, Colonel Victor||Rentoul, James Alexander||Tully, Jasper|
|Minch, Matthew||Richardson, Sir T. (Hartlep'l)||Valentia, Viscount|
|Molloy, Bernard Charles||Ridley, Rt. Hon. Sir M. W.||Wanklyn, James Leslie|
|Montagu, Hon. J. S. (Hants)||Ritchie, Rt. Hon. Charles T.||Waring, Col. Thomas|
|More, Robert Jasper||Robertson, Herb. (Hackney)||Warr, Augustus Frederick|
|Morton, E. J. C. (Devonport)||Roche, Hon. J. (Kerry, E.)||Webster, Sir R. E. (I. of W.)|
|Mount, William George||Roche, John (Galway, E.)||Welby, Lieut.-Col. A. C. E.|
|Murnaghan, George||Round, James||Wentworth, Bruce C. Vernon-|
|Murray, Rt. Hn. A. G. (Bute)||Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)||Whiteley, H. (Ashton-und.-L.)|
|Murray, C. J. (Coventry)||Rutherford, John||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Murray, Col. W. (Bath)||Sandys, Lt.-Col. Thos. Myles||Williams, J. Powell- (Birm.)|
|Myers, William Henry||Saunderson, Col. Edw. James||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Nicol, Donald Ninian||Seely, Charles Hilton||Wilson, J. W. (Worc., N.)|
|Northcote, Hon. Sir H. S.||Sheehy, David||Wilson-Todd, W. H. (Yorks)|
|O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Sidebotham, J. W. (Cheshire)||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary)||Sidebottam, Wm. (Derbysh.)||Wortley, Rt. Hn. C. B. Stuart-|
|O'Connor, Arthur (Donegal)||Simeon, Sir Barrington||Wyndham, George|
|O'Keeffe, Francis Arthur||Soames, Arthur Wellesley||Wyvill, Marmaduke D'Arcy|
|O'Neill, Hon. Robert T.||Stanley, Lord (Lancs)||Young, Com. (Berks, E.)|
|Parkes, Ebenezer||Stewart, Sir Mark J. M'T.|
|Penn, John||Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Phillpotts, Captain Arthur||Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier||Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther|
|Platt-Higgins, Frederick||Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)|
|Plunkett, Rt. Hon. H. C.||Sullivan, T. D. (Donegal, W.)|
|Allen, Wm. (Newc.-under L.)||Holden, Sir Angus||Roberts, J. H. (Denbighsh.)|
|Allison, Robert Andrew||Joicey, Sir James||Robson, William Snowdon|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire)||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Billson, Alfred||Kearley, Hudson E.||Shaw, Thomas (Hawick, B.)|
|Brigg, John||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumberland)||Sinclair, Capt. J. (Forfarsh.)|
|Broadhurst, Henry||Leese, Sir J. F. (Accrington)||Stevenson, Francis S.|
|Burt, Thomas||Lloyd-George, David||Strachey, Edward|
|Caldwell, James||Logan, John William||Thomas, Alf. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Channing, Francis Allston||McEwan, William||Wallace, Robert (Edinburgh)|
|Clark, Dr. G. B. (Caithness-sh.)||McKenna, Reginald||Wedderburn, Sir William|
|Clough, Walter Owen||Maddison, Fred.||Williams, J. Carvell (Notts)|
|Crombie, John William||Mendl, Sigismund Ferdinand||Wilson, F. W. (Norfolk)|
|Davitt, Michael||Morgan, J. L. (Carmarthen)|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Morley, Chas. (Breconshire)||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Doughty, George||Nussey, Thomas Willans||Wilson, John (Govan)|
|Duckworth, James||Pease, J. A. (Northumb.)||Woodall, William|
|Evans, S. T. (Glamorgan)||Philipps, John Wynford||Woodhouse, Sir J. T. (Hud'ld)|
|Farquharson, Dr. Robert||Pickersgill, Edward Hare|
|Fenwick, Charles||Provand, Andrew Dryburgh||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||Reckitt, Harold James||Mr. Whittaker and Mr.|
|Hedderwick, Thomas C. H.||Richardson, J. (Durham)||Buchanan.|
|Holburn, J. G.||Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)|
§ Committee report Progress; to sit again this day.