§ SIR CHARLES CAMERON (Glasgow, Bridgeton)
I beg to ask the Lord Advocate whether his attention has been called to the fact disclosed in the newly issued Return, Rates (Non-Payment) (Scotland), that, while in Glasgow, 8,500 persons were in 1898 removed from the Parliamentary register in respect of failure to pay rates, the number so removed in Greenock was 3,960, being in proportion to the respective populations concerned more than four times as many; whether 765 the system of enforcing payment of rates in Greenock differs from that pursued in Glasgow; and how many of the 3,960 persons disfranchised in Greenock for failure to pay rates before 20th June, 1898, paid their rates within three months subsequently to that date, and in how many cases do the rates in question still remain unpaid.
§ * THE LORD ADVOCATE (Mr. A. GRAHAM MURRAY,) Buteshire
As regards the fiat part of the hon. Member's question my attention is now called to the matter for the first time. As regards the second part, I understand, on inquiry, that Glasgow begins to enforce payment of rates in January of each year by the employment of eight officers, but Greenock does not begin to enforce payment of rates by warrant until March or April in each year by the employment of one or two sheriff officers. As regards the third part, the figures are 135 and 3,550.
§ Mr. WEIR (Ross and Cromarty)
I beg to ask the Lord Advocate whether he is aware that the recently issued Return, Rates (Non-Payment) (Scotland), shows that 2,688 electors in Ross and Cromarty were removed from the Parliamentary register in the year 1898 in respect of non-payment of rates, 1,512 of these being in the Island of Lewis alone; and will he state whether the collectors of rates attended personally on specified dates in each parish to receive payment; and, if so, how were the visits notified.
§ * MR. A. GRAHAM MURRAY
I believe that the fact is as stated in the first paragraph of the question. The attendances of the collectors are matters of regulation in each of the 33 parishes of the county, and as they do not fall within the arrangements made either by the Scottish Office or the Local Government Board I have no definite information on the subject.