§ MR. HEYWOOD JOHNSTONE (Sussex, Horsham)
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury if his attention has been drawn to the alleged existence of excessive and continuous overwork on the part of the Surveyors of Taxes, arising 1017 from the large increase in the number of assessments and of taxable property, the numerous changes of late years in fiscal legislation and other causes, and intensified by the quinquennial valuation made this year; and, if he is taking any, and what, steps to remedy this condition of things, and to ensure that the revenue of the country is not being prejudiced by the amount of responsible work now thrown upon the Surveyors of Taxes, and which they are not able to cope with.
§ THE FINANCIAL SECRETARY TO THE TREASURY (Mr. R. W. HANBURY,) Preston
My attention has been drawn to the existence of overwork on the part of the Surveyors of Taxes, and in November last the Treasury sanctioned the creation of between 20 and 25 new Tax Districts. Steps have already been taken, by the appointment of additional Assistant Surveyors (who are now employed in rendering assistance) with a view to the creation of the new districts as soon as the necessary arrangements can be made. It is hoped that this may remove any undue pressure in the ordinary work, which the Board are naturally anxious to avoid, and the matter shall be carefully watched. As regards the quinquennial valuation, it is, of course, impossible permanently to increase the staff of surveyors in order to meet work which is temporary. The surveyors are supplied with extra clerical assistance, and, in the more pressing cases, with aid from the head office. I think, however, that it should be considered whether, before the next quinquennial assessment, some better means of meeting the pressure at these particular times cannot be devised.