HC Deb 02 March 1903 vol 118 cc1203-5

MR. KEARLEY asked whether the Committee on the Revaluation of Ireland was to be reappointed, and why there was to be a sum of £500 due from the city of Belfast.

MR. HAYES FISHER said it was intended to reappoint the Committee. There was a dispute between the city of Belfast and the Treasury, but it was thought right not to press the claim now. It would stand over for a little while.

MR. KEARLEY asked what was the nature of the dispute between the Belfast Corporation and the Treasury.


said that in Ireland there had been no valuation for forty years. From year to year, however, they had had revision in place of valuation, but it had only taken count of structural alterations, and not of the new changes introduced into the principle of valuation. During that forty years the Licensing Act had been passed, and in England the value of licences had been added to the value of the premises for the purposes of valuation. That, however, had not been done in Ireland. When any of the six cities of Ireland asked for a revaluation under the Optional Valuation Act for Ireland it became the duty of the Commissioner of Valuation to revalue the premises, for the first time in Ireland, according to law, and the law laid it down that the value of a licence under the Licensing Act should be taken into account. The City of Belfast exercised its option and asked for a valuation, which was carried out. On a technical point the award of the Commissioner was brought into court, and a decision was given which brought about a deadlock in Belfast. One night in August last, or rather at three o'clock in the morning, the House was called upon to find a way out of the difficulty, and after consultation behind the Chair the issue was found in the familiar device of promising a committee to inquire into the whole question of valuation in Ireland, it being agreed that until the committee had reported the added valuation for licences should not be imposed in Belfast,


Am correct in understanding that the valuation was of a voluntary character, and that the results were so drastic that the people of the city objected and are resisting their indebtedness on the basis of the new valuation?

MR. WYNDHAM said the city exercised its option in asking for a revaluation and it was to the interest of all the ratepayers that the valuation should he made, but opposition—on technical grounds—was raised by the owners of licensed premises and that brought about the deadlock, to find a way out of which the House appointed a committee. Until that committee had reported the Government did not think it should take further action.


When is the committee likely to report?


It is to be reappointed at once, and, as it made considerable progress last session. I do not think its Report will be long delayed.

Question put and agreed to.

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