§ Order for Second Reading read.
*MR. CHAPMAN (Cheshire., Hyde),
in moving the Second Reading of the Rating of Machinery Bill, said: I do not propose to trouble the House by going into its ancient history. I will merely recall the fact that it has passed its Second Reading six times, once without a division; that it has never been thrown out; that it has once passed the Committee on Trade without alteration; and that it has always had the support of the Local Government Board until the last session. Time, unfortunately, has prevented its proceeding further, but I hope sincerely that on this occasion 1386 perseverance may meet with its reward, and that the Bill may eventually reach the Statute-book.
Attention called to the fact that forty Members were not present, the House counted, and there being only 27 Members present, the sitting was suspended until a quorum was formed.
There being a quorum present at five minutes past One.
§ *MR. CHAPMAN resumed his speech in moving the Second Reading of the Bill. He said he feared he could not make so technical a subject interesting. All he could hope for was to make a fair and businesslike statement of the case. The object of the measure was, he said, not to alter the statute law, but to bring matters into the state of uniformity which prevailed before the varying decisions were given. It was not proposed to abolish the tax on machinery, but to free small industries from the burden of higher rates and taxes than they have hitherto had to pay. It was in effect to relieve small industries from the burden of taxation. He would not again give the cases in full which he had quoted last session, but he might state that the chief reason for bringing forward the Bill was that action had been rendered necessary by the operation of the well-known Tyne Boiler case of 1886. In that case Lord Esher decided that machinery was not rateable, per se, but that certain classes of machinery were to be taken into account in estimating the value of the buildings containing it. The question how it was to be taken into account had been the battle-ground of assessment committees and manufacturers, leading to endless and costly litigation. The shafting and first-motor power had always been rated. While some assessment committees excluded tenants' machinery, other committees assessed it. These divergent methods of carrying out the judgment had led to endless confusion and a very large expenditure of money. This Bill affirmed that any machinery which the tenant provided was not to increase the value of the buildings and the first motor power which the landlord would supply.1387
§ This system of rating existed at the present day, he believed, in Lancashire and the West Riding of Yorkshire.
§ Let them take an example of the way in which their opponents' view of the law would hamper small industries. He took the case of a man, say a foreman, who had saved some money and wished to start an industry of his own. He rents a shed or building where the power was provided by the landlord, and into which he placed a machine worth £1,000. If he was taxed at 5 per cent, on its value, that equalled £50. Then he was rated at 10s. on £50. That was £25 per annum. This, at twenty-five years' purchase at 4 per cent., was equal to £625 of unremunerative capital that his business had to bear the burden of. Many large industries had been built up from small beginnings, and in these days of intense foreign competition industry and hard work ought not to be strangled at the beginning. Ho thought he would be forgiven if he quoted the saying—"Tax the honey when the bees have made it if you like, but do not stop the making of the honey by taxing the bees who make it." He would try to meet as fairly as he could some of the objections which had been brought against the Bill. It had been called a Bill to exempt all machinery from rating, and it was said that assessment committees were against it. This was not the case, as the heavy class of machinery did not come under the Bill, nor did he know of a single assessment committee winning an appeal at Quarter Sessions to rate all machinery alike. Then came the complaint of the agricultural constituencies. It was said that their rates would be increased. There was a cry for factories to be erected in the country. These would find employment for men and women on the spot, and so relieve the congestion of the towns, and this would be to some extent a method of dealing with the problem of housing the masses. This could not be done if the tenants or moveable machinery were to be rated. He claimed, therefore, the support of the agricultural interest if industries were to spring up in the country.
A strong argument in favour of this Bill was provided by what had taken place in Scotland. A Scotch assessor last year rated the movable machines in a foundry at Dundee at 7½ per cent,
their vale. His action was approved by the Court of Appeal in Scotland, hereby upsetting their system of rating. Did Scotland sit down under this? No; the hon. Member for West Renfrewshire (Sir C. Kenshaw) brought in a Bill on the same lines and almost the same words as the Bill now before the House. It was accepted by the Government, ran through the House unopposed, and became law at the end of the session. It was called "An Act to amend the Lands Valuation (Scotland) Acts in regard to the Law relating to the Rating of Machinery" [8th August, 1902], and Clause I. was as follows—
Section 42 of the Valuation Act, 1854, shall be read and construed as if the following proviso were inserted after i he words, and all machinery fixed or attached to any lands or heritages'—that is to say, provided that in any building occupied for any trade, business, or manufacturing process the expression, 'machinery fixed or attached,' shall be construed as including all machinery, machines, or plant, in or on the lands or heritages for producing or transmitting first motive power, or for heating or lighting such building, but save as herein provided shall not include machines, tools, or appliances, which are only so fixed that they can be removed from their place without necessitating the removal of any part of the building.
Thus the law in Scotland was quite clear, but English manufacturers had to fight at Quarter Sessions for justice. Scotland had coal and iron industries as well as England, and he thought he might fairly say that what was good for Scotland in this matter could not be bad for England. Next he had the large demand for the Bill from numerous organisation, Chambers of Commerce, and Trade Societies. His final argument was that the Royal Commission on Local Taxation, which was presided over by Lord Balfour of Burleigh, had recommended what this measure proposed to enact. The Bill was almost a reprint of the recommendation of the Commission. The Report of the Commission contained the following—
It is beyond controversy that, in any amendment of the existing law, the main object to be aimed at must be the removal of all uncertainty as to what kinds of machinery are, and what are not, to be taken into account in estimating the rateable value of factories. To attain this object by any sort of definition or enumeration, would be wholly impracticable…. Having regard to all the history and circumstances of the case, we are of opinion
that the adoption of the proposals contained in the Bill, introduced into the House of Commons in 1899, as to the class of machinery which should be taken into account in estimating the rateable value of premises containing machinery, would be a fair solution of this difficult problem. These proposals exclude the classes of machinery which, in our opinion, it is desirable should be exempted. The law as to what machinery should be included in the assessment of premises containing it, would also be more precise; greater uniformity in practice among Assessment Committees would be secured, and the probability of litigation lessened. We therefore recommend that in estimating the rateable value of any hereditament occupied for trade, business, or manufacturing purposes, there should be excluded from the assessment any increased value arising from machines, tools, or appliances which are not fixed or are only so fixed that they can be removed from their place without necessitating the removal of any part of the hereditament. But the value of any machinery, machine, or plant used in or on the hereditament for producing or transmitting first motive power, or for heating or lighting the hereditament, should be included.
§ These were really the words of the Hill, the Second Reading of which he now asked the House to pass. He claimed to have proved (1) that the Bill met a pressing need; (2) that it did not alter the statute law, but made clear what was now chaotic; (3) that it would save enormous expense in constant limitation; and (4) that it would prevent the hampering of our industries by the non-interference with the machinery of our mills, and so cheapen the methods of the production. He contended that the Bill was demanded by a multitude of trade organisations, Chambers of Commerce, as well as by the working artisans, as he could testify from his own constituency, which consisted largely of manufacturing towns and villages. Finally, the Bill was directly on the lines recommended by the final Report of the Royal Commission of 1901 on Local Taxation, and as such he recommended it to the consideration of the House, and he hoped that hon. Members would, in their deliberations, not forget the working bees.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."
§ MR. D. A. THOMAS (Merthyr Tydvil)
said he congratulated the hon. Member on the moderate terms in which he had moved the Second Reading of this Bill, and he would endeavour to follow his arguments in the same spirit.
1390 The hon. Member said that this Bill had passed its Second Reading on many previous occasions, and had never been rejected; and he argued that that was an indication of the support behind his Bill. He should like to add to the thrice-told tale of this hardy annual thus given to the House a brief chronological index, and to point out that although the measure had been carried a number of times, it had been so by dwindling majorities. He had a strong impression that the reason for that was that when the Bill was first introduced in 1887, and its Second Reading passed without opposition and without discussion, its real meaning was not understood either by hon. Members or the country, but that the more the country and the House came to know of it, the less they liked it. In 1893, in the next Parliament, the Bill was passed by a majority of 153, and on the next occasion, in 1895, that majority went down to fifty-one. In 1899 so little interest was taken in the Bill that the House was counted out, and the only other occasion on which the Bill had been presented was last year, when it was passed by a majority of thirty-five, or about a fifth of the majority in 1893. He should like to enter his protest against the title of the Bill, which was altogether misleading. It was unquestionably the fact that the title of the Bill had even misled hon. Members. The title was 'o Rating of Machinery Bill," whereas it was in reality a Bill for the exemption of machinery from rating. The hon. Member talked about taxing the honeybees, but the object of the Bill was to transfer the taxation from one bee to another. As to the attitude of the Government in regard to this Bill, he understood the hon. Gentleman to suggest that the Local Government Board approved of this Bill, but there was no record of that in Hansard. On the contrary he thought the action of Government had been, during the last fifteen years, always that of strict neutrality.
§ *MR. D. A. THOMAS said that if the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton had supported the measure he had done so entirely in his individual capacity, and not as a member of the Government.1391
The Bill did not define the law, as was alleged by the hon. Member, but its actual meaning was to completely change the law. In 1895, when the Bill was before the House, Lord Llandaff, then Mr. Matthews, a former Homo Secretary, stated—
The law of rating had not altered in the least for the last 100 years. He had no hesitation in saying that the Bill altered the law fundamentally, and to the advantage of one class only.
And last year the President of the Local Government Board said—
I cannot admit that there is any doubt as to the law. The direction of the Assessment Committees is perfectly clear.
The Tyne Boiler case clearly interpreted the law in this matter. In an appeal which came last year before the Lord Chief Justice, who was intimately acquainted with the Tyne Boiler case, he having being engaged in it as one of the counsel, he said—
The Tyne Boiler case was most carefully stated, in order to endeavour to make the question of attachment to the freehold the crucial test, and the court was asked to find that unless the machines were attached, they were not to be taken into consideration at all in enhancing the value of the premises. That the Court of Appeal decline to do. That case was binding on this court, and for the purpose of this case lie adopted it.
§ The fact of the matter was that the law was perfectly clear. If any doubt or question at all arose, it was in ascertaining the facts in respect to the valuation; and he maintained that the general practice, taking the country throughout, was in accordance with the law.
§ *MR. D. A. THOMAS said that that was his opinion, and he was going to endeavour to substantiate that opinion. The opinion of the Lord Chief Justice was quite sufficient for him: it laid down what the law is. He contended that outside the West Riding of Yorkshire and Lancashire the practice was in accordance with the law. What hon. members who supported this Bill desired was to bring the law into accordance with the practice of only a part of the country. He objected to the Bill on what he considered to be very substantial grounds. Large sums of money had been borrowed by local authorities upon the basis of the law as 1392 it stood, i.e., where machinery was included in the valuation. He objected, also, that it removed a burden from one class only—and that a wealthy class—[Mr. CHAPMAN: "NO!"]—and would place it on all other classes, some of whom, the small shop keepers and artisans, were among the poorest. The tendency, during the past half-century had been to widen the basis of local taxation, but this Bill narrowed its incidence. Again, the Bill had been brought in by a private Member, but it touched on a a very complicated question, for it was admitted that there were grievances all round in the matter of rating. He had never yet come across a ratepayer without a grievance. He urged, therefore, that the whole question of rating should be dealt with by a broad measure introduced by the Government, such as the Government had promised in the King's Speech, and not be dealt with piecemeal in this fashion. If the Bill passed it would probably create a good deal more evil than it removed, and be followed by a large crop of fresh litigation. The hon. Member for Hyde endeavoured to show that the feeling of the country supported his Bill; but so far as he could gather the fooling of the country was in an entirely opposite direction. It was only lately that the local authorities had become aware of the real meaning and intention of the Bill, and there was now quite a feeling of resentment against it.
§ He had attended a crowded meeting in the Westminster Palace Hotel the other day at which over fifty local authorities, some of them the most important in the country, were represented, and that meeting was unanimously against the Bill. There were only four petitions in favour of the Bill, including those presented that day, while there were seventy-eight against it—including your petitions from some of the most important local authorities in the country. He should like to give two or three illustrations of what a great effect the Bill would produce in certain localities if it were passed into law. In most parts of the country it would make a difference in the local rates of from 2d. to 6d., and in some cases of even 10d., in the £1. In West Ham the rateable value was at present about £1,250,000, and if the Bill passed there would be a reduction in 1393 the rateable value which would be equivalent to raising the rates 6d. in the £. In Swansea the rateable value was £524,000 and it was estimated that this Bill would make a difference of 20 per cent, in the rateable value there. In Sheffield it was said it would make a difference of £104,000, or 6d. in the £. on the poor rate alone. It was idle in face of such facts and figures to contend that the Bill would not injure the ratepayers. Who was going to make up the deficit? The money was not going to fall from the clouds. If one class of ratepayer was to be relieved, every other class of ratepayer must necessarily pay more. The Government were not going to make up the difference. The President of the Local Government Board last year said that he was bound to emphasise the fact that there was no intention on the part of the Government to propose now, or at any future time, that the gap left by the exemption of machinery would be filled by contributions from the Imperial Exchequer. The deficit must be made up by other class s of ratepayer.
They heard a good deal about the housing of the working classes; but, indirectly, this Bill would reduce the wages of the working classes, because if it were passed house property would have to pay more, and the working classes would have to pay either more in rent or in rates. That was an obvious consequence. It was said that the Bill was required for the sake of uniformity, but it would be perfectly easy to get uniformity now if only hon. Members who supported this Bill would see that Assessment Committees conformed to the law. Then there would be uniformity; but to ask for a change in the law because in certain parts of the country Assessment Committees refused to conform to it, seemed to him to put a premium on non-compliance with the law. It was not only on the question of the rating of machinery that there was a want of uniformity. Before the Royal Commission to which his hon. friend referred, the Secretary to the Mining Association of Great Britain said that there were two collieries in adjacent unions in Lancashire, worked under practically the same conditions, and which had practically the same value, but yet were valued on entirely
different principles. There was a want of uniformity in other parts of the country also; and he thought that most hon. Members would admit that the whole question of rating required to be taken in hand by the Government and dealt with in a broad and enlightened way. A great deal had been made of the fact that the proposal in the Bill was a recommendation of the Royal Commission. One would gather from the speech of the hon. Gentleman that this was the only recommendation in the final Report of the Commission, whereas page after page of that Report was taken up with recommendations. Why select one particular recommendation As for himself, he certainly declined to be bound by the Royal Commission. Royal Commissions were at rather a discount in these days. Moreover, even on the question of exemption the Commissioners were not consistent, for one of their recommendations was as follows—
We think no further extension of the principle of exemption should be permitted," and then promptly advised that machinery should be exempted.
§ A great deal had also been said with reference to the Bill which passed through this House last session relating to Scotland, but the circumstances were entirely different; and he hoped hon. Members for Scotland would give them a little Home Rule in this matter, and allow English and Welsh Members to fight out the question themselves. He thought it would be a very poor return on the part of the Scottish Members if they intervened on the present occasion. Last year the Bill was only introduced by a private Member on July 1st, and the objection of even a single Member would have upset the Bill, but it was allowed to pass without a word of discussion. Under those circumstances lie thought he was entitled to ask the Scottish Members to remain neutral. The position of this Bill was entirely different. The Bill of last session was supported by the Government; it had the approval of all the Scottish Members; and the main point about it was that it proposed to bring the law into conformity with the almost universal practice in Scotland. That did not apply in the case of the present Bill. In this case the general practice was in accordance with the law as it stood. [An HON. MEMBER: NO.] He maintained that the Bill which was passed last year with the 1395 approval of the Government brought the law into conformity with the practice, whereas the present Bill proposed to alter the law to bring it into conformity, not with the general practice, but with a practice which obtained in a part only of the country. He begged to move that the Bill be read that day six months.
§ Amendment proposed, "To leave out the word 'now,' and at the end of the Question to add the words 'upon this day six months.'"—(Mr. D. A. Thomas.)
§ Question proposed "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."
§ SIR JAMES JOICEY (Durham, Chester-le-Street)
said it would not be necessary for him to repeat the arguments laid before the House by his hon. friend He had taken part in the discussion on this Bill for a great many years, and he could not help thinking that if there had been any general feeling throughout the country in favour of it, it would have been passed ere now. When they had an important Bill brought forward which proposed a change in the law of rating, and they were unable to get a House of forty Members for an hour after the discussion should have commenced, it was idle to argue that there was any strong feeling in any part of the House in favour of it. He agreed with the protest of his hon. friend with regard to the title of the Bill. That title had been pointed out over and over again to the promoters of the measure; but, for some reason or other, they had always refused to make any alteration in it. As a result the Bill was now known throughout the country as the Rating of Machinery Bill, but as everyone who read its contents knew perfectly well, it was simply a Bill to exempt a particular class of owners of machinery. A question had been asked as to what was the law on the subject. He understood the law to be as it was laid down in connection with the Tyne Boiler case. The North of England had always acted in accordance with that law. Undoubtedly the practice was not uniform; but although the practice was not uniform, the law was distinct, and there was no justification for a change. What did the pro- 1396 moters of the Bill ask for? They asked that the law should be so changed as to suit a practice which was admitted in the Court of Appeal to be irregular and improper. They in the North of England had conformed to the law, and had rated their machinery in accordance with the law as laid down in the Court of Appeal. If the Bill were to pass it would create a very great injustice throughout a great part of the country.
The case of the Scottish Bill was always quoted, but he agreed with his hon. friend that there was no analogy whatever between the two cases. The practice in Scotland was really uniform, and the decision given in the Dundee case upset that practice. That naturally was a matter of great importance, and the Bill was passed without opposition, even from Members who did not agree with the principle. He would join with his hon. friend in appealing to the Scottish Members, who were left to decide their own case, to leave this matter to be settled by Englishmen alone. The Bill would be a great injustice. They borrowed money on the strength of the present law, and their municipalities had piled up large debts on the existing system They had given the rates under the existing law as security for the money they borrowed, and if they attempted to alter the law they would lessen the value of security given to those who had advanced them money. The House should well consider before it attempted to deal with an important security of this kind; and he would appeal to Conservative Members that it was a very dangerous tiling to interfere with such a security. He hoped before hon. Members voted on the Bill they would consider whether it would not be better to wait until the Government had an opportunity of dealing with the whole question.
The rateable value would be seriously increased, and the result would be that they would increase the rates of all the ratepayers in the locality. If this Bill passed it would simply mean that instead of the manufacturers having to pay the rate through their manufacturers' charges, it would have to be paid to a large extent by the workmen through increased rates and increased rent. He was glad to see that a great many manufacturers were opposing this Bill. It had always been the custom in the coal trade to tax 1397 machinery, and the mining industry of this country was more heavily taxed than any other industry, because it was not only taxed on all surface property but on the output as well. Every ton of coal produced and brought to the surface paid a tax. The product down below did not get the benefit of any rate spent upon the surface, such as the drainage or the lighting rate; yet what was the position of the mine owners with regard to this Bill? They were taxed on the output. It had now become necessary, in order to work small mines, to introduce coal-cutting machines, which were not fixed to the hereditament half so closely as these machines, and if those coal-cutting machines produced per man five tons a day instead of three, the mine owner was actually taxed on his coal-cutting machine. In fact this Bill, if passed, would create more difficulties than it was designed to remedy. He objected to it because he thought that this was a Bill which ought to be introduced by the Government only after they had investigated the whole question. They would undoubtedly increase the rates all over the country if they passed this Bill to confine the rating area of machinery.
Hon. Members opposite complained that it was a hard thing that real property should pay rates and not personal property, and they desired to bring in personal property. If that was their idea, was there anything that could better bear a rate than labour-saving machinery? If there was one class of property that should not be exempt from rating it was this class of machine that it was proposed to exempt in this Bill. He could not understand any man who had reforms at heart, wishing to introduce such a measure as this. Ho would rather see the area of machinery rating extended than reduced, and he could not understand why the Government should give any sanction to this Bill. He thought that they should give no sanction to a Bill of this character at all, because it would certainly interfere with a Bill which, sooner or later, they would themselves have to introduce dealing with the whole question of rating. He hoped that the Government would not allow this Bill to pass on the assumption that
§ SIR WILLIAM HOULDSWORTH (Manchester, N. W.)
sad he thoroughly agreed with the hon. Baronet opposite that this was a matter which the Government ought to take up. On many occasions he had complained that the Government had not taken it up, and he confessed he was unable to understand their attitude on the question. This grievance went back to the year 1886, since which time fourteen Bills had been brought in by Private Members. On eight occasions a measure of this kind had passed its Second Reading with large majorities. If those majorities had dwindled in recent years it was, in his opinion, because the friends and supporters of this Bill had come to the conclusion that this was a matter for the Government to deal with, and that it ought not to be left in the hands of private Members. After the record which this Bill had he certainly thought that the Government should take it up. Besides having passed its Second Reading with great majorities, this Bill had passed through Grand Committee without any alteration, which in itself showed that there was a strong feeling in the House that this Bill should be adopted. On six occasions it had been supported, by speech and by vote, by Presidents of the Local Government Board, and, moreover, the Royal Commission on Local Taxation reported in favour of it. He did not understand how the Government could stand aloof from this Bill for England when the House was aware what facilities they had given to the Scotch measure last year. Why Scotland should be placed in such a favoured position he did not know. As the Government had given their support to the Scotch Bill he thought they had been very remiss in not dealing with this question for England.
He maintained that this Bill was in perfect harmony with the law as it had been laid down by the Lord Chief Justice. What they had to complain of was that although they did eventually get reductions they had to do so by litigation, and there was no such definition of the law in any Act of Parliament as to prevent Assessment Committees and Recorders dealing with the matter in a way which was not in accordance with the law. The House should know that there were 1399 thousands of pounds being spent every year to get justice, and to simply get the law properly applied in particular cases. He had a series of cases from different parts of the country, but he would not trouble the House with more than a general statement. They supplied instances in which the Assessment Committee proposed a rateable value which was appealed against, and they found that, after litigation costing thousands of pounds, no less than 20 per cent, and 30 per cent., and even as high as 50 per cent., was taken off the Assessment that was sought to be imposed upon the manufacturers. That was a great hardship. It was a tax on industry that they should have to go through a course of law instead of having an Act of Parliament which clearly defined what parts of the machinery were to be rated, and what parts were not to be rated. Anyone who read the Lord Chief Justice's late decision in one of their cases, a Northampton case, would see the difficulty they were placed in. The Recorder had stated a case in which the machinery was valued, and a percentage taken to represent the annual rent of the machinery. The Lord Chief Justice laid it down that this was utterly wrong, and that a separate valuation of the machinery should not be made. Yet what did the Lord Chief Justice do? He sent it back to the Recorder and said he must answer the question of the value to be put on the machinery "in his own way." The Recorder therefore was placed in this position. He was not allowed to value the machinery or take a percentage upon it, and yet in some mysterious way he was to arrive at some figure which would represent what was called the enhancement of the value of the premises. The result was that after litigation they arrived at the position that machinery practically was not rated. There was no enhancement, and the consequence was that after going through that process they got justice done.
The hon. Baronet opposite had stated that in the North of England they were carrying out the law, and that the promoters of this Bill wanted to alter the law. They did not want to alter it, but they said that it was only by litigation and an enormous expenditure, which was a tax upon industry, that they could got the law 1400 properly applied. They maintained this was a grievance which the House ought to remedy, because in Scotland and Ireland they were relieved from that difficulty, while users of machinery in England were in the position of still having that difficulty before them. The hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil had stated that there would be a very great diminution in the assessable value if this Bill was passed. He (Sir William) was sure that was not the case; he did not think there would be any great change. He had in his mind an instance where the old assessment was £156. The new assessment was £360, and it was eventually determined that £181 was the right figure, some 50 per cent, less than what was claimed by the Assessment Committee, and yet some £25 more than the old assessment. So that in the application of the law it must not be assumed that there would be any great diminution in the assessable value where machinery was not taken into account. If this Bill were passed they would get, without expense, litigation, and trouble, what they ought to get—their assessments made according to law; and if there was any district where a change of practice was involved it must be remembered that if some slight change was made there, which he did not think would be the case, there was the rest of the country, which was at present suffering under a great injustice which ought to be remedied.
He trusted that on this occasion they would not only have some sympathetic observations from the representative of the Local Government Board, but that he would feel the time had come when the Government ought to take this question up and deal with it. He knew it was said that the whole question of rating should be dealt with together. He did not object to that if there was any prospect of it. If he could only be sure that the Government would bring in a rating measure next session, embracing the whole question, including the one under discussion, and pass it through the House, he should be willing to wait another twelve months. But he hoped, as the House had expressed so often its opinion that there was a grievance and a remedy, on this 1401 occasion it would pass the second reading of the Bill and also give facilities for it being taken further than it had been in previous sessions.
§ MR. URE (Linlithgowshire)
said there was no denying the fact that this Bill proposed a change in the law. It was not a measure merely declaratory of, or defining, the existing law, or indeed simply laying down a rule to be followed by assessors or assessment committees. Included in real property, which was subject to rating, were fixtures, and the difficulty the Bill was designed to meet was that of saying what was, and what was not, a fixture in the sense of the Rating Acts. That was not by any means as simple a question as it at first sight appeared. In determining whether or not machinery was a fixture there were several elements to be taken into consideration, elements which were fluctuating and uncertain, such as the adaptability of the machinery for the premises in which it was placed, the nature of the attachment, whether permanent or quasi-permanent, the object of the attachment, and the effect that would be produced on the building itself by the removal of the machinery. There were also questions as between landlord and tenant, heir and executor, and so forth. It was a total misapprehension to suppose that the Dundee case, to which reference had been made, completely altered the law then existing in Scotland. In different parts of the country different assessors had taken different views of this knotty question. In some districts machines had been included, in others excluded, and the great struggle had always been to get excluded from the valuation the machines which a tenant would be entitled to remove at the end of his lease. Some assessors excluded altogether such machines from their valuation, a practice for which the Rating Acts gave no warrant or authority whatever.
The difficulty lay in what might be called a "no man's land" that was to be found between the two extremes. On the one hand there was the machinery which was undeniably fixed, such as was referred to in the Bill: on the other there were the loose tools which the workmen brought upon the premises, or which 1402 were in the premises and not attached in any way; but between these two extremes there was the machinery which, merely because it was essential for its use that it should be fixed and not movable, was attached by bolts and screws instead of being arrested by its own weight; that was where the difficulty came in as regarded rating. So far from the practice in Scotland having been uniform, it was extremely varying. In the Dundee case the assessor proposed to assess machinery which would have been movable had it not been essential for its use that it should be bolted and screwed into the premises, and the judges held that he was right. The Act passed last year undoubtedly made a change, if not a very material change, in the law in Scotland, and what was now proposed was to bring the law of England into line. In principle, and as a matter of experience, he believed it was a good change to make. The new rule had worked admirably in Scotland. He had not heard any complaints from his constituents as to an undue burden being imposed upon them in consequence of the change. It was most desirable that the law with regard to rating should be the same, and that there should be a uniform system throughout the United Kingdom. The industrial and economic conditions in Scotland were similar to those in England, the proportion of manufacturing concerns to mines was much the same, as also was the distribution of industries throughout the country. He therefore thought that in the interests of good local government, in which local rating was certainly included, and also in the interests of the law, which as far as possible should be uniform throughout the United Kingdom, this measure should be allowed to pass.
§ MR. CRIPPS (Lancashire, Stretford)
agreed that this Bill would to a certain extent alter the English law, as the Scottish Act undoubtedly altered the Scottish law. It was quite time the question of rating reform was dealt with on a broad and general basis; it ought not to be dealt with piecemeal. It had to be recognised, however, that that was somewhat of an ideal, but meanwhile, when such a measure as this, which was absolutely right in principle, had been 1403 confirmed year after year by the House of Commons, he felt that the Government ought really to take the matter in hand, at any rate as regarded this portion of the question, and carry it through. He would remind the hon. Member that in 1840 there was a most crucial alteration made in the rating law. In that year an Act was passed which provided that personalty was not to be rated in this country, and it was because that law had never been properly applied that they were now complaining that the true principle should be applied to machinery, which was in the nature of personalty. The Royal Commission, after most careful consideration of the whole question, concluded that although they would have liked to have brought personalty into rating, they were unable to lay down any fair principle upon which this could be done. He protested against taking out one class of personalty only, and applying to that a principle of jilting which was not applied to any other personalty in this country or in Scotland. It was said that they could not take the burden of rating either off one individual or one class of property without imposing a burden upon some other individual or some other property. The question was in making that change were they doing a just act, and if they found someone paying an unjust burden, although by taking that burden off they might put it on to some other person, they would only be performing an act of justice by doing it. They would only be adjusting matters so that all persons would be fairly treated and placed in the same position as any other ratepayers.
The hon. Member who moved the reduction pointed out that large loans had been borrowed on the security of the rates, and he went so far as to say that under these circumstances they ought to have no reform or alteration in the rating law because they might interfere with the existing security. Would anyone in this House consent to the principle that they were never to have any change, making the rating law more just and fair, because loans had been borrowed on the security of the rates. If they were going to assent to that proposition it was no good having a Royal Commission on rating, or having discussions in this House. Simply because 1404 loans had been raised on the security of the rates was this system of rating to be stereotyped for all time? The hon. Member who seconded, referred to rating in regard to mining property. If the hon. Member would bring in any Bill on a fair basis which would make the rating of mining property more easy, fair, and just, he would promise him his support. There had been an immense amount of litigation about mining rating, and there were a great many misapprehensions as far as the rating of mining machinery was concerned. Supposing they had a mine where there was a great amount of water which necessitated a good deal of pumping machinery. That did not increase the value of the mine, because they had to produce coal under conditions where they had to make a large expenditure in order to get a proper return for the mining capital. Surely it was an immense mistake to say that because these minerals wore underground that therefore the mine owners ought not to pay their fair share of the rates. How about the miners? Did they not want housing and lighting, and all those conveniences and facilities which were given at the present time by various local authorities, although at a very heavy cost to the ratepayers? He could not follow the argument of the hon. Baronet that those who worked in mines did not want the same facilities and advantages as regarded local expenditure as all other workmen in this country.
He wished now to state why he thought this Bill was right. He had already enunciated the principle that If they were not going to rate personalty generally they ought not to select a special character of personalty and place an undue burden upon it. That was the basis of the Report of the Royal Commission, who gave a chapter entirely to this subject, because it was strongly felt that there was an injustice which might be put straight apart from any general scheme. Before the year 1840 personalty was rated, but the difficulty was that as regarded machinery the decision given before 1840 had been followed ever since, although the law itself had been altered. Suppose they were to rate machinery directly, whether justly or not? It could easily be done. They could get the value of the machinery and assess it in the ordinary way. It had, however, been held to be 1405 legal to rate machinery directly, but they might take it into account as enhancing the value of the premises on which they found machinery. That had been the difficulty, and whenever any rating authority had sought to apply this principle they had been universally overruled. That was what they wanted clearly stated in this Bill. It had been laid down that they must take into consideration the machinery as enhancing the value of the premises, and therefore it was a very illogical position. What could be more illogical or absurd than leaving the law in that state, costing thousands of pounds to get an elucidation of the principle which could not be elucidated because it was illogical. Was it not time that they should take a common-sense view and do what was proposed in this Bill? They might at least alter the law so as to lay down a definition which was both logical and could be easily applied. The hon. Member opposite had said that since they had had the Scotch Act in operation they had experienced no difficulty. Why should they deprive themselves of the simple application of a principle upon which they all agreed, to keep up a cumbrous system of this kind, which no one could understand, and which he could conceive would benefit no one but the members of his own profession. Was it contended that this state of things was to go on although this House had expressed its opinion several times upon it? He hoped this Bill would be passed by a decided majority, and he thought it was time that the Government took up a decided attitude by backing up the Report of the Royal Commission which they themselves had appointed.
*SIR WILLIAM ALLAN (Gateshead)
said they were once again face to face with this hardy annual. He had been much struck with the lucid speech of the hon. Member for Manchester, who had placed the question upon a very fair and sensible basis. The whole of the speeches which had been delivered were practically an appeal to the Government to take this question up, and place matters upon a perfect footing. If he studied his own interests he should support this Bill, for he had to pay rates 1406 upon all the machinery in his factory. All around the north-east coast they had to pay rates upon their machinery. It was no use saying that boilers and engines only should be rated, for an engine was held down perhaps by only four bolts. The same argument applied to the shafting. Why should a planing machine or a punching machine be exempted? The judges had decided that machinery should be rated. Take, for example, an empty factory. So long as it stood empty it was not rated. Supposing a couple of young fellows started business with a small capital and rented that empty factory. He would assume that they put in an engine, a boiler, and a few machines which did not cover one-fourth of the area of the factory. They would be assessed upon that factory, although three-fourths of it was not occupied, and they would have to pay the full assessment. Was that fair? Take a shipyard as an example. The machinery used in a shipyard was practically not under cover, but in the open. Why should that machinery be exempted. There was another aspect of the question. When he tendered for a set of engines he included the labour, the material, his works charges, which included rates, taxes, insurance, and other items. After adding his profit he sent in his tender. In that case who paid his rates and taxes? Why the man who bought his goods. The whole thing was a pure matter of business.
He had not heard one single speech on the other side to inform him where the Unions were to get the money to do this work. If they were going to raise the rates of the workmen and the small tradesmen in any district they would find themselves face to face with a great issue. In poor industrial districts the hardship would be very great. Take the town of Jarrow, where the works paid one-fourth of the whole rates. How would they get the money there? It would mean an increase of 4d. in the £ in that centre, and who would have to pay the difference?. Why the small tradesmen and the small shopkeepers. What would be the effect in Sunderland? In that town there would be an increase of 3d. in the £. In his own constituency of Gateshead it would mean a rate of 1407 between 4d. and 5d. in the £. He would not deal with West Ham or any of the Unions about London; but he wished to ask why the busy hives of industry should be saddled with such a large increase of rates. Therefore they were face to face with a great issue, which might develop consequences which would be far-reaching and disastrous in their effects. It behoved the House of Commons to be very thoughtful over these matters. The introducers of this measure had not told them how the money was to be got without putting increased burdens upon the working classes. He was quite ready and willing to pay rates on his machinery in order to avoid additional burdens being put upon small shopkeepers and tradesmen, and upon the working classes. Therefore he thought that this Bill ought to be thrown out, and the Government ought to take the matter up. This was a social question. They had heard from the Government expressions of sympathy with the working classes in such matters as housing and old age pensions, but why did they not take up this simple question?
THE SECRETARY TO THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD (Mr. GRANT LAWSON. Yorkshire, N.R. Thirsk)
Does the hon. Member mean us to take it up on the lines of this Bill or in an opposite sense?
§ *SIR WILLIAM ALLAN said that was not for him to say, but he wanted the Government to take it up by getting together the representatives of the different Unions, and then bring in a Bill which would be just, equitable, and righteous, and which would not put burdens on one class at the expense of another. The Government could then formulate a measure. [MINISTERIAL laughter.] Hon Members opposite laughed, but he did not care, for he had always been treated, when he spoke, with laughter and jeers, and he had got quite accustomed to that kind of thing. [Cries of "No, no!"] This was not a laughing matter, and it ought to be taken up by the Government, and a Bill formulated after due inquiries into the whole of the circumstances, ought to be introduced. He would not follow the 1408 hon. and learned Member for Stretford in his legal argument, but he would remind him that the last time he had occasion to cross swords with him he got the better of him. He wished to put a case in point to the hon. and learned Gentleman. Supposing he possessed a pit and worked it by manual labour, and by that means produced 100 tons of coal per day. He would then be rated on an output of 100 tons of coal per day. If the hon. and learned Member introduced electrically-driven machinery he might increase his output by fifty tons per day, but then he would be rated on I 50 tons. How did he get his extra fifty tons? Simply by using electrically-driven machinery. Was that not rating the machinery I By rating the output they were practically rating the machinery, and the hon. and learned Member could not get over it. The effect of this Bill was to put a tax on the worker and not on the machine, and on that ground he considered the measure to be unfair. He sincerely hoped that a representative of the Government would give the House some assurance that this question would be taken up by them, with the view to bringing to an end a dispute which had been continuous for years, and placing the whole of this rating matter on a broad and sensible basis.
§ SIR SAMUEL HOARE (Norwich)
said his hon. friend the Member for Gateshead, if he might call him so, had suggested that the House listened to him with mockery or laughter. He could assure his hon. friend on the part of the whole House that they always listened to him with the deepest interest and pleasure, and especially when he spoke on such a subject as that now under consideration. There was a general consensus of opinion in regard to this Bill. No one who had spoken for or against the measure had suggested that the incidence of rating in different districts was carried out on a definite plan, and all had suggested that there should be, if possible, some alteration with reference to the incidence of this rate. If the law said that certain things should be rated, and if the method of assessment was different in one place from what it was in another, surely there must be a feeling of the greatest injustice where movable 1409 machinery was assessed, when the ratepayers knew that in other places it was not. The hon. Member who moved the rejection of the Bill alluded to the fact that the public bodies in the great constituency he represented were opposed to the Bill. He should have liked to ask the hon. Gentleman whether in that constituency movable machinery was assessed, and whether the members of the public bodies he alluded to were assessed for movable machinery. Much depended upon that. There was no doubt that people whose movable machinery was not rated were quite ready to leave the law as it was. They knew what had taken place in the past, but they had no insight for the future.
He represented a large and important constituency situated in a great rural district—the capital of East Anglia—where there were far greater difficulties in carrying on manufactures than in those districts whose representatives had already spoken. They were conscious in Norwich that they laboured great under disabilities, and they realised also the immense advantages the manufacturers had conferred on the city in the way of providing employment for a large body of the working classes. He was sorry to hear the hon. Member for Gateshead suggest that those who supported the Bill did not think of the interests of the working classes. It was because he was deeply interested in those classes that he believed new legislation was absolutely necessary in order to avert a diminution, possibly a large diminution, in our manufactures. This large diminution of employment for the working classes would mean greater burdens on the rates. He had received an interesting letter signed by a large number of the leading citizens of Norwich, in which they complained of the uncertainty of I he law with respect to rating of machinery, owing to the different interpretations given in different districts, and stating that legislation ought to be such as to help and not to hinder manufacturers. The hon. Member for Gates-head said he believed that the decisions of the Court supported the view he had put before the House. The experience in Norwich was very different. For instance, in the case of J. Skelton and Sons, the Norwich Quarter Sessions re- 1410 duced an assessment from £240 to £155—a reduction of 35 per cent. In other cases there had been reductions of 25 per cent. He asked the House to consider what that meant. It meant very costly litigation, and worse than that was the state of irritation caused in the place, which was not at all desirable in a community. It was evident that some alteration in the law was necessary when uncertainty existed as at the, present time.
What was going to be the result of this assessment of machinery if it continued in a place like Norwich? He had seen statements in print that one of their large manufacturers, instead of enlarging his premises within the city, was contemplating moving. He had heard remarks in regard to others who contemplated a similar course. Could anything be worse than that manufacturers should be driven away into the country hard by where their move-able machinery would not be rated? It was said that this was a manufacturers' Bill. Only last year he held in his hand fifteen memorials from working people employed in large manufactures in favour of the measure then before the House. It was scarcely right to say that the Bill came from one section of the community or another. He at least could speak for manufacturers arid those whom they employed, for he had had any number of letters and memorials from both, and they all pointed in one direction. He appealed to the Government to take this matter up. It was not fair at present that manufacturers in Norwich should be assessed for move-able machinery, while in many neighbouring places those who competed with them, under the greatest advantages, were not assessed. He spoke for one important centre, and he knew how serious would be the loss if their manufactures were in any way interfered with, not only to the manufacturers but also to the thousands of employees who were dependent on them. He would vote for the Second Heading of the Bill.
§ MR. LAWSON WALTON (Leeds, S.)
said he trusted the speech of the hon. Member for Norwich would remove one consideration operating against the Bill which had undoubtedly impressed 1411 several hon. Memhers who had spoken, The hon. Baronet referred to the interest which the working class had in this matter. It was suggested by his hon. friend the Member for Gateshead that the industrial interests of the labouring class would be injuriously affected by the operation of this measure. He thought the hon. Baronet had entirely disposed of that argument. The working class had no less an interest in the industry, the output of which was the fund from which their wages were derived, than the capitalist whose capital was employed in carrying on that industry. Therefore, by relieving the burden which rested on a manufacturing industry they conferred a benefit, not only upon the capitalist, but also upon the industrial class who had a joint interest in a common concern. He had the honour to represent a constituency which was as largely concerned in manufacturing enterprise as any constituency in the United Kingdom, and therefore in regard to this measure he thought it was one's duty to look at it from the point of view of those who were engaged in conducting very large manufacturing enterprises.
He would ask the attention of the House for a moment to the arguments which had been brought to one's mind by the officials engaged in collecting and administering the rates derived from property on the present basis of rate valuation. He had no doubt that many hon. Members had been memorialised by Boards of Guardians in regard to this matter. His hon. friend the Member for Gateshead had pointed; out that any relief given in the direction indicated would cast some increased corresponding burden on other sections of the community. That was no doubt an important practical consideration, but they were discussing whether or not the law should remain as it was now, while waiting for the long-delayed measure of the Government to put rating on some logical and intellegible basis. He had felt the force of that argument. The answer to it seemed to him to be this. In the first place, there was no reason to believe that the result of this Bill would be as great as was apprehended by the local authorities 1412 who were charged with the collection and administration of the existing rates. In the second place, the question was not how the law of rating in regard to this class of property was ultimately to stand; the question was how they were to deal with it in the interim before fresh legislation was carried in reference to this matter. Surely it was important to secure that the administration of the law should be in harmony with the principles of the law, and that, before the new legislation was to operate, they should have taken some steps to prevent errors in the administration of that branch of the law which it was proposed to reform.
The argument for this Bill was; that the valuation in regard to this property was erroneous and unequal, and that these errors and inequalities should be corrected without delay, so that when new legislation was introduced it might operate on a system which was uniform, and which was in conformity with legal principle. The legal principle could be stated in a sentence. The property which should be rated was the fabric, plus the landlord's equipment. The tenant's outfit should not be rated. The terms were so vague at present that the law was applied differently in different districts. It had one application on the Clyde in connection with the shipbuilding industry, and another application on the Tyne, so that, in the competition for orders, an advantage was given to the Clyde shipbuilders over those of the Tyne. It was important that the House should make it perfectly clear how the rule was to receive practical and every day application. The hon. Member for Gateshead said that machinery ought to be rated, and that that was the law. But he should like to know how the hon. Member would apply the rule. He supposed the hon. Member would not rate a smith's hammer, but he would rate a steam hammer. Mere considerations of size and position ought not to make all the difference between the inclusion or non-inclusion for rating purposes of these articles. He only indicated this to show the great difficulty of the problem, lie thought the Bill sought to make the law harmonious and intelligible, and he would support it.
*MR. J. F. HOPE (Sheffield, Brightside)
said the effect of the Bill would be very different in different areas. In agricultural Unions it would have the effect of in rowing a greater burden upon agricultural land, but in Unions in textile districts, comprising a great deal of textile machinery, it would have little or no effect, because in these Unions it had been the custom not to rate machinery hitherto. In Unions where there was a great deal of heavy, non-textile machinery the effect of the Bill would be simply disastrous. The hon. Baronet the Member for Central Manchester said he did not think the Rill would reduce the assessable value in any given area to any appreciable extent, but it could be demonstrated that it must have that effect. He instanced the case of Sheffield, particularly the division which he represented, and stated that in it there were large iron and steel works of all sorts. Those works contained heavy and costly machinery not attached to the hereditaments in such a way that any part of the premises would have to be destroyed if the machinery was moved. It was placed on the ground and secured by bolts to a concrete foundation, but the whole of it could be taken away without in any way injuring the premises. The total rateable value of the works in Brightside was a little over £130,000, but land and buildings only represented £50,000, motive power £10,000, and machinery, which the Bill would exempt, no less than £70,000, so that the assessable value of the whole of these works would be decreased by more than one half. Moreover, the total rateable value of the whole of that part of the Union would lie decreased by some 20 per cent. That was a more extreme case than prevailed in the Sheffield Union as a whole. But, even so, the effect of the Bill in that Union would be to send up the poor rate alone by 6d. in the £. The difficulty in such a case was this—if they exempted machinery, where were they going to get the money from Practically the only rateable property available would be that belonging to the railway companies and small house property. He quite understood the difficulty felt in certain industries, but the question, if it was to be touched, ought to be dealt with as a whole, and the burden should be defrayed by further 1414 subventions from the fuller pocket of the taxpayers rather than by the ratepayers.
The Bill also bore on the housing question. The great difficulty of the housing question in towns was to have houses which could be let at a rent which the poorest class of the population could pay, and which would yet give a return—a very narrow return, but still, such a return as would enable the municipality to pay the interest on the loans that it had to raise for that purpose. The margin of profit or loss was an exceptionally small one, and if they put a greater burden on the one class of property, which they ought to treat lightly—he meant the small house property—the difficulty, already great, would be insuperable. Was it worth the while of his textile friends to get their way at such a very great cost as this Bill would involve to others? Even if they thought they must attain their object, he would ask them to look at it in the light that, as against prospective grievances on the one hand, they would be creating real, substantial grievances on the other. He would ask his friends engaged in manufacture, whether it was possible that they would ultimately derive great profit from such a Bill as this, because, the greater burden they put on house property must fall on rent, and rent would react on wages. Immediate and temporary profit would be got at a very heavy cost to the poorer class of ratepayers. He would be bound to oppose that Bill.
§ MR. BARRAN (Leeds, N.)
said he wished to support the Bill as the representative of a city much interested in trade and manufactures. As the hon. Member for Brightside had pointed out, it was not that they were suffering at the present time from rating, but there was an immediate fear of having their machinery rated in the future, and that was a question of vital importance to all the industries of Leeds. Every year the value of machinery put up was greater, and, at the same time, the life of that machinery was in many cases shorter than before. On account of changes in the trade it was absolutely necessary for manufacturers from time to time to throw out very valuable machinery, simply because it had become ought to be dealt with as a whole, and obsolete, and replace it with machinery the burden should be defrayed by further of a much newer pattern. If that 1415 machinery were rated they would be put to great disadvantages in foreign competition. One effect of the machinery of modern type was that a larger amount of work was turned out, especially in the textile trade, and the goods were sold at a smaller rate of profit. Any burden or expense imposed before these small profits were realised would hamper them in the markets of the world. That Was the reason why they, in the manufacturing districts, wished to keep the rates down to the smallest possible amount. The hon. Member for Gateshead had remarked that the buyers paid the rates. He did not agree with that. If there was a large retail business, with a turnover of £100,000 a year, the merchant was rated only on the value of the building, and why should a manufacturer be rated, not only on the value of his premises, but on the added value of very expensive machinery? He maintained that that was a great injustice to manufacturers, who, after all, were a more important factor in the country than the merchants. He held that this was a tax put on before the manufacturers' profits were made, and it ought to be a tax after these profits were made. There was a movement, with some force behind it, for rating machinery right through the north of England. The textile districts in Yorkshire and Lancashire were thus in danger of having their success in the open markets of the world seriously interfered with, and it was therefore of urgent importance that some legislation of the kind represented by this Bill should he carried at once.
§ SIR JOHN ROLLESTON (Leicester)
said as representing a manufacturing district of considerable size and importance he had had many representations made to him on this subject from Chambers of Commerce, and the organisations of various trades. Although he was not a manufacturer himself he was of opinion that the Bill would simplify and define the law, possibly prevent litigation, and remove a disability from the industries of the country. He had a petition signed by 120 firms asking him to induce the Government to grant facilities for the advancement of this most important commercial measure, and to support its Second Heading. He hoped the Government would help the Bill 1416 forward through its subsequent stages, so that the great working centres of the country might have the advantage of it before the close of the year.
*MR. JOHN WILSON (Durham, Mid.)
said he was not a lawyer and therefore could not enter into a lawyer like exposition of this rating question; he simply looked at it from a working man's point of view. The hon. Member for Norwich had supported the Bill, but he spoke simply as a Member of Parliament, because representatives of the Norwich Union who were present at the great meeting at Westminster Palace Hotel on Wednesday—men who were better able to gauge the public opinion of the district—were opposed to the Bill, and showed that if machinery was exempted from rating the effect would be to throw a very considerable charge on other classes of property. He also thought that the hon. and learned Member for Stretford had, of course unintentionally, done some injustice to the hon. Member for Chester-le-Street, whose contention was that the effective protective work in mines had no bearing whatever on the subject matter of the Bill. There had been some talk about uniformity in rating, but any uniformity that was to be acquired by the sacrifice of justice was not a thing to be desired. If this class of machinery was relieved from the burden of the rates upon whose shoulders would that burden fall, and who would be the largest sufferers from it? That was a question which did not require humorous but serious legislative attention on the part of the Government. He was surprised that no indication had been given of what their intention was in regard to a measure promised in the King's Speech, and he hoped that the hon. Gentleman who represented the Government would give this before the close of the debate. It the hon. Gentleman had given before now such an indication there was no doubt the promoters of the Bill would have removed it from the purview of the House. The hon. Member who introduced the Bill tried to be a little poetic about bees and honey.
§ *MR. CHAPMAN said that what he had stated was that they should tax the honey when it was made, but not tax the bees when they were making it.1417
§ *MR. WILSON said that poetry was really too deep for him. He wanted to put the matter from a working man's point of view. There had been many expressions of sympathy with the working men, who were no doubt very grateful for such. But the exemption of this class of machinery would lessen the rateable value of every district, and therefore lessen the assets leaving the liabilities the same. Upon what other class would they impose the necessary rating, or would they rate all the remaining classes alike regardless of the effect it would have on the welfare of the people of the district? The question for the House then, was upon whose shoulders would fall the burden of the rates which this Bill proposed should be shifted, and would the people of the district have to bear a larger share of the burden of the rates than they did now? He had presented a petition that day from one of the most important County Councils in the country, that of Durham, of which he was vice chairman, and he ventured to say that the unanimous opinion of that County Council was against the Bill. If the rating on machinery was removed the money could only come from the additional rating of house property in the neighbourhood. There were, therefore, no classes from whom to get the money except either the shopkeepers or the working men. To get it from the working men by making them pay more money on their houses would restrict their accommodation by forcing them into smaller houses. If the shopkeepers had to pay increased rates they would recoup themselves by charging higher prices for their commodities. So that either directly or indirectly the working men would suffer.
§ It was said that the employers relieved from this class of rating would give their workmen a return in higher wages. With all deference to the employers in this House, he was not the man to believe that with simplicity, or that wages would rise automatically in proportion to the relief from rates which might be granted to the employers. On the contrary, he believed that there was yet a large remnant of a tacit understanding among employers to press down wages wherever that could be done, and therefore he 1418 did not believe that if the employers were relieved from the rating they would increase wages. The hon. Gentleman who moved the Second Beading of the Bill spoke of the multitude of working men who were in its favour.
§ That was a very indefinite term; and he ventured to say that there had never been a general conference of working men at which this question had been discussed where an expression of opinion had been given in favour of the Bill. He himself could not at all see how the working classes of the country could be benefited by the Bill. They were all representatives of Labour now; but he thought it necessary, as a representative of the working classes of the country, to put before the House what he considered would be their view of this question, and what the effect of this Bill would be on the working classes in these districts where the machinery referred to was in use.
§ COLONEL KENYON-SLANEY (Shropshire, Newport)
said lie had not been present throughout the debate, as, when he arrived punctually, he found that so-little interest was taken in the Bill by its promoters that it was impossible to proceed. He had, however, been present for some hours, and it struck him as.
I rather a significant fact that during that time he had not heard a single representative of a rural constituency take part in the debate. It had been almost entirely a squabble between lawyers and practical men, or between urban representatives. He was not about to enter into the dangerous; possibility of arguing with a lawyer, but he had been very much struck with some of the leading arguments that had been adduced. One of his hon. and learned friends said that the general incidence of the law of rating as to personalty was unjust and unsatisfactory, and that, therefore, this particular injustice should be removed. But surely that was a very quibbling argument. If this one specimen of injustice alone were to be removed, was it not much more necessary to remove larger and more glaring injustices which attached to the law of rating personalty? He could not quite see that that legal argument was sound, and that this Bill was justified because it would touch one single sore 1419 point in a great measure of injustice. He was also struck by the direct divergence of opinion between the representatives of the larger urban districts. There was a friendly duel between the hon. Member who represented Gates-head and his hon. friend the Member for Norwich. There could not be a more divergent statement of the case than was made by the hon. Member on the one side and his hon. friend on the other. He was rather struck by some of the arguments of his hon. friend. His hon. friend gave the House an interesting statement of his experience as to the good effect of a small minor industry he had started; but it struck him that that good effect had been arrived at under the existing law, and under the pressure of this grave abuse, which his hon. friend now wished to remove. Therefore the industry did not suffer very much. Then he was very much struck by what his hon. friend said about an arrangement by which machinery was not rated outside Norwich, whereas it was rated inside Norwich, and his hon. friend deplored the possibility of a factory being removed from Norwich into a rural distict. Why should not a rural district get the advantage of that change?
§ SIR SAMUEL HOARE said the industry to which he referred escaped: this particular charge because it was outside Norwich. He was, however, concerned for the large number of people that might be left in the city without employment, which would be very serious for the city, if factories were removed.
§ COLONEL KENYON-SLANEY said it might be very serious for the city, but it would be advantageous to the country; and he was not prepared to accept an argument based on an advantage to a city and a disadvantage to country districts. Another point which was not alluded to during the debate was the general attitude of rural authorities on this matter. Ho believed that public bodies representing rural districts were fairly unanimous against this Bill; all the public expressions of opinion sent to him were against it; and all the various authorities from whom he drew his opinion were also against it. Therefore, he did not think that it was quite fair 1420 that the House should proceed to a division without recognising that, whatever might be the attitude of the urban districts in connection with the Bill—and they appeared to be equally divided—the rural districts were opposed to it. Of course, it would not affect the rural districts in the degree that it would affect the urban districts; and it was quite true that the Agricultural Rating Act, which was an extremely beneficial and excellent Act, which hon. Gentlemen opposite wished to repeal, would minimise the mischief of this measure to a certain degree; there remained a certain number of arguments not so serious in the country as in the towns, but yet sufficiently serious to induce the country districts to oppose this measure. If the Bill were carried it would mean a larger burden of rates; they think it is not fair that one class, and one class, only should be relieved; and they consider that the demand which was now laid on the whole community should continue to be laid on the whole community until a larger and more comprehensive measure was brought forward.
§ He was also struck by the curious contest of argument as to whether this measure would really prove to be advantageous to the manufacturer at all. They were told on authority, which they should accept as good, that the whole extra cost involved in the rating of machinery would be absolutely secured between the seller of machinery and the buyer. Representatives of the rural constituencies ought to be in the position of holding the balance between the conflicting opinions of urban representatives—between the squabbling giants of industry. If the rural representatives were to decide the question, both parties would, at all events, be sent back until they had arrived at an agreement in the matter. The present appeared to him to be the most unfortunate time that could possibly be chosen for urging this measure. They hoped and believed that in another session Parliament would be invited to deal with the whole question of local taxation. Why, therefore, should they not wait until that time arrived, and leave this subsidiary point to be dealt with as part and parcel of the larger measure. From a rural point of view, what time can be more unfortunate than the present for passing this Bill 1421 They had before them the certainty of extra rates, which would have to be imposed to carry out the provisions of the Education Act; and yet at this moment when rural constituencies were uneasy, certain hon. Gentlemen seemed to think it was the right time to still further increase the rates. He could not conceive a more inopportune or Unwise time to choose for urging such a measure. He, of course, identified himself with all that had been said about the desirability of dealing with the local taxation question as soon as possible. They had reason to believe that it was going to be dealt with, and he would urge on his hon. friends who had an open mind still on the subject, that there were many excellent reasons for abstaining from voting for this measure. As a representative of a rural constituency he would vote against the Bill, because, as he understood them, its provisions would not act fairly or squarely; because the rural constituencies did not want to have this Bill forced upon them; but principally because he thought it was a most inopportune and unwise time to raise this question.
§ MR. HUMPHREYS OWEN (Montgomeryshire)
said that as the representative of a predominantly agricultural constituency, he wished to join in what had been said by his hon. and gallant friend in condemnation of this Bill. It was admitted that the incidence of rating as between realty and personalty was thoroughly unsatisfactory. It was also admitted that an attempt had been made by various subventions to meet these defects. As far as he understood, however, the main object of the Bill was to clear away some ambiguity in the administration of the law of rating, by imposing a great injustice on one class of ratepayer as against another class. It had been pointed out over and over again that this was simply a question of shifting the incidence of the rates. If the owners of machinery were relieved from rates which they paid at present, nothing whatever was done to relieve the general burden of the rates: all they did was to transfer the rates from one set of people who had been paying 1422 them to another set. The relief which had been given to agriculturists would be taken away from them at the Tery moment when it was absolutely necessary for the successful prosecution of that industry. They had had many arguments as to the difficulty which the rating of machinery imposed on manufacturers. He agreed that any imposition on machinery was bad in principle. It diminished products, impaired trade, and played into the hands of their commercial rivals. But that was not a reason for transferring the burden from one class of manufacturer, the manufacturer of bread and meat, to another class of manufacturer, and from a class of manufacturer who, at all events, appeared on the surface to be prosperous to another class of manufacturer who it was admitted shared less in the national prosperity than any other. They were told that the working classes would suffer in consequence; but that was an argument for reducing expenditure, not an argument for transferring the burden. They had heard from his hon. friend the Member for Norwich that there were great complaints as to the incidence of rates on machinery. He had a copy of the letter from which his hon. friend read an extract; and it simply came to this, that the assessment committee in Norwich seemed to have failed in doing its duty. It proposed an extravagant assessment on manufacturers; and when the latter appealed, the Recorder brought down the assessment to a reasonable sum. His hon. friend complained of the cost of appealing. Of course appeals cost money, but that was an argument for improving the procedure in rating appeals. It was by no means an argument for altering the law to the disadvantage of one class of ratepayer against another. His hon. friend pointed out that the village industry in which he was interested did not suffer, because it was outside Norwich; but that had nothing to do with the question of the rating of machinery. The law of rating was the same in Norwich as in Norfolk; all that happened was that the rates were lower in the villages than in the city. The law of rating was unsatisfactory; but to propose a partial reform now instead of a general scheme would only increase the difficulties of the position 1423 No doubt some alteration in the law as to the rating of machinery was likely; but until they could get a complete reform of the law of rating, it was most undesirable that they should make an alteration which would satisfy only a very small interest, and increase the feeling of injustice which existed in both town and country.
§ THE SECRETARY TO THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD (Mr. GRANT LAWSON, Yorkshire, N.R., Thirst)
said he had been appealed to by the supporters of the Bill, without distinction of Party, to say that the Government would bring in a Bill to carry out the principle suggested in this measure. On the other hand, he had been appealed to by the opponents of the Bill, without distinction of Party, to say that the Government would bring in a Bill to carry out a diametrically opposite principle. He was sure his hon. friend would forgive him if, in that state of perplexity, he asked the hon. Gentleman the Member for Gateshead to explain his position. He would have been in a position of some difficulty, were it not for the fact, commented on several times during the afternoon, that this Bill presented itself to their notice with the regularity of a recurring decimal. That gave him a great many precedents from speeches by Presidents of the Local Government Board of both Parties for the course he ought to adopt. All the precedents tended in the same direction. It had been the invariable practice of successive Governments to leave this matter entirely to the free and open choice of the House, untrammelled by even the semblance of Party allegiance, or by that desire to support the Government which was such a conspicuous feature of the Party system of the present day. There seemed to him to be excellent ground for the attitude of neutrality adopted by various Governments. A matter of this sort was not capable of having any Party interpretation placed upon it. The most prejudiced partisan could not impart into its discussion any question of Party principle. Indeed, the combination of names on the back of the Bill, which were drawn with admirable impartiality from both sides of the House, showed that this was not a Party question in which the Government, as a Government, 1424 should hold a solid united opinion. Nor could any definite pronouncement on this matter be demanded from the Government on account of the Imperial or national importance of the question. Some parts of the country would not be affected if the Bill were passed; in many parts the effect would be entirely insignificant; in other parts the effect would be different. Where this machinery had already been taken into consideration in rating hereditaments, it would remove a part, whether great or small, of the local burden from one set of shoulders to another set; where the machinery was not taken into consideration the effect would be to prevent the possibility of those who did not use machinery ever shifting on to those who did, the burden imposed by law on the present users of machinery. This was a matter as between different sets of ratepayers; but it was not a national matter in which the Government, as a Government, should be called upon to give a definite pronouncement.
It was obvions he was speaking with no mandate from the Government for or against the Bill; but he had now reached a point on which he could speak with some authority. The amount of rateable value attributed to this machinery, which it is proposed to exempt, must be considerable, or else no such strong feeling would exist among the rating authorities, who carried out the law, against the measure. That being the case, if the Bill were passed there would be a very considerable reduction in the assessable value of the districts concerned. He had authority to say that the Government were not prepared to fill up the gap so made in those localities from the National Exchequer. It might be said, as was said last year, that that was done in the case of the Agricultural Rating Act. It was; but he differentiated that case from this case. Had the Government not supplied the deficit caused by that Act from Imperial sources, there would have been, in many parts of the country, no pockets in the rating area from which the deficit could be supplied, except the pockets of the men whom it was sought to relieve, which, would neutralise the effect of the Act. That certainly would not carry out the desire of the Government to help agri- 1425 culture. That was all he could say on behalf of the Government; but perhaps the House would bear with him for a few moments as one who had sat throughout the debates on the subject for many years.
§ SIR JAMES JOICEY asked what about the Government Bill.
§ MR. GRANT LAWSON said he had already explained that he had no authority to state whether the Government intended to bring in a Bill to meet the views of either the supporters or the opponents of the Bill.
§ SIR JAMES JOICEY said that in the King's Speech there was a promise of a Bill dealing with the whole question of rating. What he should like to ask was, whether it would not be wiser to leave a small matter of this kind until the Government brought in its Bill on the whole subject.
§ MR. GRANT LAWSON said that was a matter which his right hon. friend the President of the Local Government Board dealt with on the reading of this Bill last year. He then indicated that the direction which the Government Bill would take would be an alteration more of the authority for valuation than an alteration in the direction given to that authority. There were one or two points on which they should have some help from those who had gone into the figures. One curious point in the debates on this Bill was that though the discussion was of a financial character, figures were carefully excluded. They were not told whether, for instance, the people who would be relieved under this Bill claimed, or did not claim, to have less capacity to pay rates than those who used heavy machinery. No one went into the point as to whether the user of heavy machinery derived more, or less, advantage from the expenditure of the rates than the user of light machinery. Every rating consideration ought to turn on the capacity to pay, and the benefit received; but those considerations had never yet entered into a discussion of the Rating of Machinery Bill. They were told that different methods of 1426 assessment were adopted in different parts of the country; but they never had any figures to show what the actual result was. Could any hon. Member tell the House whether a mill, in all respects equal, would be rated more highly in Gateshead than in Manchester, or more highly in Scotland than in Gateshead.
§ The character of the opposition to the Bill had greatly changed. He remembered that it used to be the distressed agriculturist who raised his solitary voice against it, and he confessed that with him he always had the greatest sympathy, because although there might not be any machinery in his particular parish which might be rated, he had a great interest in the county rate, and there might be machinery in other parishes, which, if exempted from rating would increase the burden upon him. That was the state of things in the past, but a great deal of that evil had been remedied by the passing of the Agricultural Rating Act, by which many of these objections had been got rid of. This Bill used only to be opposed by the north-east districts, but now when the list of petitions was seen, it was found that the objection was becoming very widespread, but in considering these objections one fact could not be got over, and that was that the Royal Commission had voted dead in favour of this Bill. That was a fact he hoped the House would not lose sight of.
§ Another fact had been alluded to which he thought should also be borne in mind. The hon. Member had spoken of the majorities by which this Bill had been passed. I le recollected on one occasion it was passed unanimously owing to the proposer and the seconder of the measure only being present, and there being nobody else in the House. With regard to the majorities in 1893, the figures reached high water mark. The majority then was 153; in, 1894 it was ninety-one; in 1895 it was fifty-one; then came an interval while the Royal Commission on Rating was sitting. That Commission reported in favour of the Bill, and last year the Bill was carried by a majority only of thirty-five. Those figures did not show that the Bill was growing in popular favour, or that it was one that the Government should take up. It had been said that this Bill if carried would prevent litigation, but 1427 his experience had been that every Act of Parliament brought forward had the contrary effect; it did not prevent but encouraged litigation. Parliament made the law, and the lawyers made what they could out of the law which Parliament made. The matter had been thrashed out in Court after Court. The law had been interpreted by the Court of Appeal, which was the only authority which could interpret the law, and if the law was now altered all the various sets of interpretations would be upset, and he could imagine some very nice legal points arising, and it seemed to him that any one who imagined litigation would be reduced by this Bill would be doomed to grievous disappointment.
§ MR. GROVES (Salford, S.)
said if any argument were needed to show the necessity of a measure of this kind, it was the extreme diversity of opinion shown by the two hon. Gentlemen representing such closely connected manufacturing districts as Sheffield and Leeds. The hon. Member for Sheffield was an opponent to the Bill, because he conceives that the transference of the rate from the machinery user to the small holder, would be detrimental to his constituents, while, on the other hand, the hon. Member for Leeds was in favour of the Bill which he believed would confer a benefit on his constituents. A man who had a dwelling house for which he paid a rent, was not rated on the furniture he put into that house, whether it was fixed or removable, and he failed to see why a manufacturer should he rated for movable articles of machinery which were his own private property, and on which he would escape assessment in the town immediately adjoining his own. The Royal Commission had reported in favour of this Bill, and although it was possible that a matter of this kind could he dealt with in the future, there were certain matters on which this country demanded immediate legislation.
*MR. STUART WORTLEY (Sheffield, Hallam)
said that so much had been said as to the Royal Commission reporting in favour of this Bill that he wished to state that the Royal Commission, when they approved the principle, of this Bill, were approving at the same time in principle a great many other matters for the reform of local taxation. He deprecated 1428 the extraction of a single one of the proposals of the Report from the rest in his way, and he personally should vote against this Bill.
*MR. HENRY WILSON (York, W.R., Holmfirth)
said the promoters of the Bill assured its opponents that it would not affect heavy machinery, which in many places is rated already, but he asked how they were going to discriminate between heavy machinery and light machinery; the only difference was that heavy machinery was fastened down with a heavy bolt and light machinery with a light one, and no distinction could be made on that ground. The practical effect of this Bill, if passed, would be that the rates of the community at large, including small householders, would in some parts of Sheffield be raised as much as 10d. in the £ and he thought it would be a hardship if manufacturers who were doing well under the present system were relieved of a large sum which would have to be distributed over the other ratepayers. He reminded the House that the Corporation of Sheffield, and the Guardians of the Poor, had petitioned against the Bill, which had also been condemned by the Trades Council.
§ MR. NANNETTI (Dublin, College Green)
said he wanted to know who was going to pay the deficiency when it arose. Were those who introduced machinery into their manufactories going to escape the responsibilities it brought with it, and throw the burden upon the unfortunate people who had been displaced by the introduction of the machinery? The hon. Gentleman who represented the Government had told the House that the Government would not meet that deficiency, and therefore, so far as he could see, the burden must fall upon the work people who, first of all having been displaced by the introduction of machinery, would have to pay the extra rates. In those circumstances he could not understand how any one representing a working class constituency could support this Bill. As a working man himself, and as a representative of working men, he should vote against it.
MR. GREAX (Cork, S. E.)
who spoke amid continuous interruptions and cries of "Divide," was understood to say there was no doubt that this was an attempt to relieve a certain class of ratepayers who could well afford to pay, and to throw the burden upon a class which could not. From time to time the rates increased owing to the improved conditions of life, and he thought that the House should endeavour to broaden the area of taxation rather than narrow it.
§ If they took this rate off machinery and placed it on the small householders they would be doing a most unfair thing, and that being so he should support the Amendment.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 157; Noes, 119. (Division List No. 38.)1431
|Simeon, Sir Barrington||Tomlinson, Sir Wm. E. M.||Whiteley, G. (York, W. B.)|
|Sinclair, John (Forfarshire)||Tufnell, Lieut.-Col. Edward||Whiteley, H. (Ashton-u.-Lyne)|
|Smith, Jas. Parker (Lanarks.)||Tuke, Sir John Batty||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|Smith, Samuel (Flint)||Wilson, A. S. (York, E. B.)|
|Scares, Ernest J.||Ure, Alexander||Wilson John (Glasgow)|
|Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R.(Bath|
|Strachey, Sir Edward||Valentia, Viscount||Wolff Gustav Wilhelm|
|Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. Ox'd Univ.||Walrond, Rt. Hon. Sir W. H.||Woodhouse, Sir J T (Huddersf'd)|
|Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth)||Walton, J. Lawson (Leeds, S.)||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Tennant, Harold John||Wanklyn, James Leslie|
|Thomas, F. Freeman-(Hastings||Wason, E. (Clackmannan)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Thorburn, Sir Walter||Wason J. Cathcart (Orkney)||Mr. Chapman and Mr.|
|Tomkinson, James||White, George (Norfolk)||Emmott.|
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Duke, Henry Edward||Laurie, Lieut. -General|
|Aird, Sir John||Dunn, Sir William||Lawrence, Sir Jos. (Monm'th)|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Dyke, Rt. Hon. Sir Wm. Hart||Layland-Barratt, Francis|
|Anstruther, H. T.||Lees, Sir Joseph F. (Accrington)|
|Asher, Alexander||Elibank, Master of||Leng, Sir John|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Levy, Maurice|
|Asquith, Kt. Hon. Herbt. Hy.||Farquharson, Dr. Robert||Lookwood, Lieut.-Col. A. R.|
|Ferguson, R. C. Munro (Leith||Lonsdale, John Brownlee|
|Baird, John George Alexander||Fergusson, Rt Hn. Sir J.(Man'r|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. G. W. (Leeds||FitzGerald, Sir Robt. Penrose-||M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Flower, Ernest||M'Laren, Sir Charles Benj.|
|Barran, Rowland Hirst||Foster, Philip S. Warwick S. W.||Malcolm, Ian|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry C.||Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.||Manners, Lord Cecil|
|Bignold, Arthur||Martin, Richard Biddulph|
|Bigwood, James||Galloway, William Johnson||Melville, Beresford Valentino|
|Black, Alexander William||Gibbs, Hn A. G. H. (City of Lond||Mitchell, William|
|Bond, Edward||Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herbert J.||Morgan, D. J. (Walthamstow)|
|Boulnois, Edmund||Goddard, Daniel Ford||Morrell, George Horbert|
|Bousfield, William Robert||Godson, Sir Augustus Fredk.|
|Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Nicholson, William Graham|
|Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Greene, Sir E. W. (Bury St. Ed.||Nicol, Donald Ninian|
|Bull, William James||Groves, James Grimble|
|Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill|
|Caldwell, James||Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton||Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay|
|Campbell, Rt Hn J A (Glasg.)|
|Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Hare, Thomas Leigh||Partington, Oswald|
|Causton, Richard Knight||Harmsworth, R. Leicester||Peel, Hn. Wm. R. Wellesley|
|Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.)||Hatch, Ernest, Frederick G.||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Cavendish, V C W (Derbysh.)||Hay, Hon. Claude George||Purvis, Robert|
|Cayzer, Sir Charles William||Hayne, Rt. Hon. Chas. Seale-|
|Channing, Francis Allston||Hayter, Rt Hon Sir Arthur D.||Rattigan, Sir William Henry|
|Charrington, Spencer||Heath, James (Staffords. N. W.)||Rea, Russell|
|Clare, Octavius Leigh||Helme, Norval Watson||Reid, James (Greenock)|
|Cochrane, Hon. T. H. A. E.||Hickman, Sir Alfred||Reid, Sir R. Threshie(Dummfries|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Hoare, Sir Samuel||Renshaw, Sir Charles Bine|
|Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Holland, Sir William Henry||Ridley, Hn. M. W. (Stalybridge|
|Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasg.)||Homer, Frederick William||Ridley, S. F. (Bethnal Green)|
|Craig, Robert Hunter (Lanark)||Houldsworth, Sir Wm. Henry||Rigg, Richard|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Howard, J. (Midd., Tott'havm||Robertson, H. (Hackney)|
|Cripps, Charles Alfred||Hudson, George Bickersteth||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Crombie, John William||Rolleston, Sir John F. L.|
|Cross, H. Shepherd (Bolton)||Johnstone, Heywood||Royds, Clement Molyneux|
|Crossley, Sir Savile||Runciman, Walter|
|Kearley, Hudson E.|
|Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Kemp, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Davenport, William Bromley-||King, Sir Henry Seymour||Sandys, Lt.-Col. Thos. Myles|
|Dimsdale, Bt. Hon. Sir Jos. O.||Knowles, Lees||Seton-Karr, Sir Henry|
|Abraham, W. (Cork, N. E.)||Grant, Corrie||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir A. F.||Greene, W. Raymond- (Cambs|
|Allan, Sir William (Gateshead)||Griffith, Ellis J.||Palmer, Sir C. M. (Durham)|
|Guthrie, Walter Murray||Paulton, James Mellor|
|Bain, Colonel James Robert||Perks, Robert William|
|Burry, E. (Cork, S.)||Hamilton, Marq. of (Londondy||Pickard, Benjamin|
|Beaumont, Wentworth C. B.||Harris, Frederick Leverton||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Hayden, John Patrick||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Boland, John||Hemphill, Rt. Hon Chas. H.||Priestley, Arthur|
|Bowles, Capt. H. F. (Middx.)||Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert T.|
|Burns, John||Humphreys-Owen, Arthur O.||Reddy, M.|
|Burt, Thomas||Hope, J. F. (Sheffield, Brightside||Redmond, Jn. E. (Waterford)|
|Buxton, Sydney Charles||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Jacoby, James Alfred||Remnant, Jas. Farquharson|
|Cameron, Robert||Joicey, Sir James||Renwick, George|
|Campbell, John (Armagh, S.)||Jones, David B. (Swansea)||Robinson, Brooke|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H||Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonskire)||Ropner, Colonel Sir Robert|
|Carvill, Patrick Geo. Hamilton||Rose, Charles Day|
|Cutley, Henry Strother||Kennedy, Patrick James||Round, Rt. Hon. James|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)|
|Colomb, Sir John Chas. Ready||Labouchere, Henry||Sadler, Col. Saml. Alexander|
|Compton, Lord Alwyne||Lambton, Hon. Fredk. Wm.||Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse)|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Law, H. Alex. (Donegal, W.)||Samuel, Herbt. L. (Cleveland)|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Lawson, John Grant||Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert|
|Crean, Eugene||Lockie, John||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Cramer, William Randal||Lucas, Reg'ld J. (Portsmouth)||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Crooks, William||Lundon, W.||Sloan, Thomas Henry|
|Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred||Smith, HC (North'mb, Tyneside|
|Davies, M. Vaughan (Cardigan)||Stanley, Hon. A. (Ormskirk)|
|Delany, William||MacDonnell, Dr. Mark A.||Sullivan, Donal|
|Donelan, Captain A.||M'Arthur, William (Cornwall)|
|Duffy, William J.||M'Kenna, Reginald||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)||Thomas, J. A. (Glam., Gower)|
|Edwards, Frank||Montagu, Hon. J. Scott (Hants.)|
|Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas||Mooney, John J.||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Warner, Thos. Courtenay T.|
|Ffrench, Peter||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Finch, Rt. Hon. George H.||Newnes, Sir George||Wilson, H. J. (York, W. B.)|
|Fisher, William Hayes||Nolan, Joseph (Louth, S.)||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Fifzmaurice, Lord Edmond||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph|
|Flynn, James Christopher||O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)||Young, Samuel|
|Forster, Henry William||O'Brien, K. (Tipperary, Mid)|
|Farness, Sir Christopher||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|O'Brien, P. J. Tipperary, N.)||Mr. D. A. Thomas and|
|Gilhooly, James||O'Connor, Jas. (Wicklow, W.)||Colonel Kenyon-Slaney.|
|Gordon, Hn. J. E. (Elgin & Nrn||O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)|
|Gore, Hn G. R. C. Ormsby-(Salop||O'Kelly, J. (Roscommon, N.)|
Bill read a second time, and committed for Friday 15th May.
§ Adjourned at twenty minutes before Six o'clock till Monday next.