§ Question again proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."
§ MR. REMNANT (continuing his speech)
said he proposed now to show some of the remarkable results which would ensue if these proposals became law. The present Bill, like the Bill of last year, showed the utter hollowness of the cry for the "rating of ground rents." Under the Bill, during existing tenancies, all the rates on occupied premises were to be paid by the present ratepayers, and during future tenancies the land value rate on the land value as assessed at the time of the lease was to fall upon the immediate landlord, who himself was to have no power of deduction from those to whom he in his turn paid rent. Thus, except in the very rare cases where the ground landlord was himself the immediate landlord, ground landlords were never to be affected by the Bill. The ground landlord, who was principally aimed at in the agitation, which won many votes for Radical candidates at Parliamentary and municipal elections, was to be exempt for all time under the Bill. Surely that was not a result which the mover of the Second Reading desired.
Another remarkable result arose under Clause 1, Sub-section 4, which provided that where the annual land value exceeded the total rateable value rates were to be paid on the land value. Let it be supposed that the Bill became law, and that a landowner next year let a house for ninety years at £50 a year, that being the full value at the time of the lease, and that the annual land value was assessed as £20. Let it be supposed further that owing to some movement of population or other unforeseen cause the site increased enormously in value, and the annual land value was assessed as £150. What would then happen under the provisions of the Bill? Under Clause 1, Sub-section 4, the rateable value would go up to £150, and under Clause 3 as drafted the tenant could deduct from his rent the rates only on £20, that being "the land value as assessed at the time 233 of the making of the lease." So that the unhappy tenant would have to pay rates on £130 instead of £20 simply because the site of his house was found to be more valuable, even though he was living in the same house and had no power under the provisions of his lease to pull it down and build another. Clause 1, Sub-section 3, provided for an allowance for restrictions on the use of land, but only in the case of existing leases, so that it would not help any tenant under a future lease. The effect of the Bill would thus be to impose crushing burdens upon the occupiers of houses standing upon sites that had increased largely in value, although these occupiers could gain nothing by that increase. This was surely a palpable absurdity, and one that no business man would wish to see perpetrated.
An even more remarkable result arose under Clause 3 of the Bill, as under the same clause in the Bill of last year. Under this clause the identity of the immediate landlord, from whose rent part of the rate on the land value was to be deducted, shifted under every sub-lease. If the hon. Member who introduced the Bill let a house to the hon. Member who seconded him for a term of years, a higher rent would, of course, be payable in consideration of the lessor's liability under the Bill to pay part of the land value rate. But let it be supposed that the hon. Member who seconded afterwards granted a sublease to a third person, who would then be the "occupier." Under the Bill the original lessor would be relieved of his obligation, for which he would be receiving consideration in the shape of a higher rent, and it would be transferred to the seconder, who had given consideration for escaping this very obligation. The thing was absurd. When this point was raised last year the hon. Member for the Elland Division of Yorkshire was reported in Hansard to have said—That the intention was that under a new agreement the rate might be shifted back. Supposing there were a series of tenancies, the clause would obviously apply to every new lease, whether made in the second or third place.The meaning of this interruption was not clear at the time; nor was it clear as reported in Hansard. But a year had 234 passed, and the Bill remained exactly as it stood in this respect. It was true that there was a change at the end of the clause, which provided that the portion of the rate to be deducted by the "occupier" should be—So much … as is payable on the land value as assessed at the time of the making of the lease or agreement.instead of—So much … as is based on the annual value of the land comprised in the hereditament.This change affected only the amount to be paid, and in no way affected the identity of the person who had to pay it. This Bill, therefore, like the Bill of last year, had to be regarded as a measure for the unjust aggrandisement of those landlords whose tenants happened to sub-let to third persons. It might be suggested that this reductio ad absurdum could be avoided by giving the various intermediate landlords corresponding rights of deduction. The Bill would then only have run out of one absurdity into another, for it would then tax the owners of improved leasehold ground rents and fixed rent-charges, who had only a nominal reversion or no reversion at all. Dozens of Bills dealing with this subject had been introduced in the House of Commons during the last fifteen years, but none one of them had been free from equal absurdities. The explanation was not any want of care or skill on the part of the promoters or the draftsmen, but the inherent impossibility of fairly applying a system of taxation on capital values to contracts dealing with annual payments in respect of annual values. Hon. Members were trying to square the circle, and they could not succeed.
It might be asked why, if such legislation was as anomalous as its opponents maintained it to be and would as they believed, do no good to anybody, and much harm to most people, it was so strongly pushed forward year by year. The explanation was probably threefold. Some extravagant municipalities no doubt thought it might be well to cloak, though they could not really mitigate, the effects of municipal extravagance. Some politicians, having originally committed themselves to a foolish cry for the "taxation of ground rents," which they now knew 235 to be impracticable, might feel themselves bound to press forward some sort of scheme for the further delusion of their dupes. But besides these forces there was a third force, viz., the body of persons in this country who had embarked on a campaign for the nationalisation of land or for the confiscation of rent. Of the hon. Members whose names appeared on the back of the present Bill, one, the hon. Member for North Camberwell, was a vice-president of the Land Nationalisation Society, and another, the hon. Member for Halifax, was the president of the English League for the Taxation of Land Values. Under this name hon. Members might not recognise the old English Land Restoration League, which had for its object the confiscation of all rents, by which means it hoped to crush out the landlords of the country.
§ MR. REMNANT
said that when the hon. Member was elected to the presidency of the League a member said that for over twenty years before he had listened to Mr. Henry George, and had been a supporter of the movement ever since, and the hon. Member expressed his concurrence with those views.
§ MR. REMNANT
asked whether the hon. Member intended to advocate inside the House, as he advocated outside, the principles of Mr. Henry George. That was a Question which should be answered, because the mover of the Second Reading had stated that the object of the Bill was not the confiscation of rent, but it was backed by hon. Members who had declared that that was their sole object, and that they regarded the Bill not as an end, but as a means to an end. Another backer of the Bill had declared that it would be impossible to deal justly with the question without interfering with existing contracts. Last year the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Fife asked the House not to be led away by possible defects in the Bill, but to look at the intention.
236 What was the intention of the present measure? Intention could be judged only by past speeches of promoters of the Bill, from which it appeared that the Bill was supported not as an end in itself, but as a means to an end, and that end was the confiscation of rent in accordance with the principles of the late Mr. Henry George. It was to be hoped that Parliament would never pass a Bill which, while ill-adapted to attain its avowed objects, would place a powerful weapon in the hands of those who preached the gospel of spoliation. He therefore appealed to the House to support the Amendment standing in his name.
§ MR. BOND
said the mover of the-Second Reading in his clear and able exposition had displayed astonishing, candour, having stated almost in so many words that he and his friends regarded this Bill as a mere instalment, and as paving the way to some more drastic changes in our rating system. What the nature of those changes was likely to be could be gathered from the speech of the hon. Member for Holborn. Such a proposal ought to be met on the principle of principiis obsta, and the hon. Member should not be allowed to carry a first instalment of that revolutionary programme which he and his friends, were in the habit of advocating.
The hon. Member had on this occasion, as on the last, laid stress upon the support of various municipal councils. He (the speaker) was a little inclined to put that authority at a discount. He himself had had the honour of serving upon a municipal body—the London County Council—and he knew how easy it was to get a resolution of this kind passed without the resolution having commanded the intelligent assent of the majority. If they had a body of highly trained officials such as the London County Council had, they could easily get prepared lengthy argumentative documents, which might or might not be in support of the Resolution ultimately passed, but those lengthy, elaborate, and able documents were not studied or mastered by more than a very few members of the Council. If they happened not to be in harmony with the prepossessions and views of 237 the majority they were pooh-poohed as not worthy of the consideration of practical men. That had happened more than once in his experience on the London County Council. The real moving power behind these resolutions was something very different from that. The people who sat upon local councils were naturally very susceptible to the opinions, wishes, and interests, as they conceived them, of those who sent them to the councils. When a proposal came before them, under which it was pointed out that certain property which now was not chargeable to the rates could be brought into contributing to the rates, and that thereby there would be a reduction pro tanto of the rates which they themselves, and the bulk of their constituents, paid, they had a strong disposition to regard the proposal as almost obviously just. There might be some sort of lingering feeling that even proposals, however just they might appear from that point of view, required some sort of arumentative basis. and then perhaps certain exceptional cases would be quoted in justification.
It was argued, for instance, that the capital expenditure made out of the rates had an influence upon the value of the particular class of property dealt with by the Bill. That argument upon examination would be seen to be without basis. The real reason why rates were levied was to increase the convenience and comfort of the public and to insure performance of duties which by statute had been cast upon the municipality. The local bodies got their money as they went along, and spent it on libraries, baths and wash-houses, public buildings, and so forth. But the paving of the street and the making of the roads were the only items in regard to which it could be said that the expenditure out of the rates had any direct influence on the value of any given unoccupied property, and even in that case the owners in the first instance must have contributed to the making-up and laying out of the street. Possibly some advantage was derived from the presence of the police, and the protection they afforded, but the protection required for vacant land was very inconsiderable. The enhancement of the value of the land had nothing to do with the expenditure of the rates. Indeed, increased rates 238 depreciated the value of vacant land, because when that land came into the market it would realise so much less according to the amount which it was known would be levied upon it when it was built upon. What enhanced the value of a plot of land was its natural and inherent advantages; that was to say, the fact that it happened to be situated in a district in which people were desirous of living. Therefore, to suggest that the value of land was increased by the enterprise of the neighbourhood was to rest the case on a fallacy.
In considering such proposals as these it was well to see how they would work as applied to particular cases. The Bill dealt principally with three classes of hereditaments. First of all, there were the ordinary occupied houses and buildings of a district. A separate valuation of the land on which they stood was to be made, and the separate value of the buildings would be ascertained. In regard to the bulk of houses already in existence this would not make any material difference in the amount of rate derived, because the present rate was usually on the compound value of the house and site. In regard to land occupied for agricultural or other purposes it was apparently suggested that it should be assessed upon its speculative and possible building value in the future. As far as the agricultural rent derived from that land was concerned, it was enhanced by the fact that the land was in the neighbourhood of a town, and the suggestion was that it did not represent the full selling value of the land. But that was a matter of pure speculation. He did not think it would have anything but a speculative value. He had had a great deal of experience in these matters, and he assured the hon. Member who had moved the Second Reading of this Bill that it was by no means so simple a business as it was sometimes made out to be. Where there was a demand for the building of houses they would nearly always have to bring in the intervention of the middleman to place-the land in the market. As a rule an individual who had had experience in these matters, or a company, came forward and bought the land. Roads would be made and sewers put in and the land laid out for building purposes. Supposing 239 for some reason or other the demand for houses in that district fell, trade became depressed, and taxes and rates went up, and money was not so plentiful, and in consequence nobody wanted to buy land there. The owners of that land would not only be out of pocket to the extent of the interest upon their capital and the money spent upon improvements, but under this Bill they would have to pay a heavy tax upon the site value. He did not think that state of things would conduce to bring about the result which hon. Members opposite were aiming at, namely, to bring more land into the market, and induce people to go in for building in order to relieve the pressure upon congested districts. So far from the Bill having that result, he believed it would have the opposite effect. In this Bill it was proposed to assess vacant land the agricultural value of which had been destroyed in consequence of its having been converted into a building estate. The result would not be to encourage the conversion of agricultural land into building estates in the neighbourhood of large towns. A large amount of capital was invested at the present time in companies whose business it was to develop estates in the neighbourhood of large towns, and this capital was held by a large number of small shareholders. He believed that if this Bill became law the coup de grace would be given to many of these enterprises, and that the shareholders would find their property impaired in value, if it did not disappear altogether. Those were consequences which, on the Ministerial side of the House, they could not face with equanimity.
He could assure the House that the considerations he was placing before them were of a very serious and important character, and it would really be a gross injustice, and gross hardship would be created, if this extra taxation were imposed on properties which represented a large amount of outlay in respect of which no present profit was being derived. It would really be taxation on stock-in-trade—for land was the stock-in-trade of many societies and individuals, which they had to turn over to get a profit—and that was a principle of taxation which had long since been abandoned 240 in rating matters. He objected to the Bill because, among other things, it ran absolutely counter to the recommendations and advice of the Town Holdings Committee and the Royal Commission on Local Taxation. It was quite true that the Minority Report of the Local Taxation Commissioners contained a recommendation in reference to the advisablity of putting on a small site-value tax as part of a larger scheme which would bring in for contribution to the rates not only fixed property but personal movable property as well. He objected, also, to this Bill because of the inconvenience, difficulty, and expense which would certainly be experienced in determining what the site values were to be on which the taxation was to be levied. Witness after witness in evidence before the Royal Commission pointed out the extreme delicacy of the operation involved, and they dwelt upon the enormous expense which might be entailed. Friction would arise in regard to the proportion which the occupier could deduct from the amount paid to his landlord, and another great objection would be the very considerable expense entailed in determining site values. He imagined that at first there would be constant appeals, and this would involve considerable expense. [Cries of "Agreed, agreed."] In conclusion, he said it was because he felt strongly that this measure was unworkable that he heartily seconded the Amendment.
To leave out all the words after the word 'That,' to the end of the Question in order to add the words, 'a satisfactory reform of the present system of local taxation must be arrived at not by piecemeal and partial treatment, but by such legislation as will secure fair and equitable results to all classes of the community'—(Mr. Remnant.)—instead thereof.
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ MR. HARMOOD-BANNER (Liverpool, Everton)
, in a maiden speech, said that in supporting the Bill he was representing to a great extent the views of the great municipalities with which he had been in connection for many administrative 241 years. He thought those hon. Gentlemen were quite wrong who supposed that the municipal bodies were not almost wholly in favour of this Bill. He had been connected with many of the committees who had considered this question before it reached the present stage, and he did not remember that at any of their meetings views were expressed contrary to the principles of this Bill. In fact, both Parties alike, so far as the municipalities were concerned, were fully alive to the necessity of the Bill and desirous of seeing it passed into law. He thought those hon. Members who were opposing this Bill would be well advised if they consulted their constituents, and made some efforts to ascertain their views upon this question. He thought they would find that in most instances they were in favour of this Bill.
The Amendment seemed to him to be a red herring drawn across the path, because he had no doubt that municipalities would be only too glad to consider a measure which would widen the basis of rateable value. He did not think that the Amendment which had been moved at all represented the views of the great municipalities. What they felt was the great inequality of taxation which at present existed. It was almost impossible for an occupier not to look around at the position of his town or city and consider on what account his rates had to be paid, and whether his neighbours were bearing a fair share of the rates. He saw land on one side of the road with buildings upon it and both the land and the buildings were rated. He saw a neighbour owning land on the other side of the road who put no buildings on it and who held that land unoccupied and useless for the purpose of contributing any part to the burdens of the community. He also saw that land continually improving in value without any additional cost to the owner of the land. The land on the one side of the road paid full rates for the making of the roads, the laying of sewers, the education of the people, and all the rates which fell upon the occupier, whilst his neighbour on the other side of the road bore no portion of the expense. It was almost impossible that any hon. Member would consider 242 that that was a state of things which ought to continue. The incidence of taxation on owners of adjoining land was often most inequitable. There were plenty of illustrations, especially in the case of seaside places which grew up quickly. He had an instance in his mind where the occupiers desired to make a promenade and various amenities which would increase the value of the property of the landlord who owned the adjoining land. The landlord, however, declined to bear any portion of the expense, so the occupiers shouldered the burden. The result was that the value of the landlord's land was increased from £50 an acre to £300 or £400 an acre.
It was astonishing to find that the opponents of the Bill seemed rather to approve of the Minority Report of the Royal Commission on Local Taxation, for the Minority Report of that Commission recommended an additional rate on all site values. The Bill was intended to lighten the burden, not to increase it—to place it on a fair basis. The Bill would not increase the burden upon occupiers and owners who used their land to the fullest extent. Reference had been made to the fact that taxation did not fall upon the owners of land. If that was the case he could not see what objection there could be to this measure, because that was its object. The aim of this Bill was that a fair share of the burden of taxation should be placed upon the owner. Some hon. Members appeared to think that it would be a good thing to tax land in order to take away the grants in aid of local taxation. In regard to that proposal, he was sure that municipalities, whilst they were extremely anxious to have this Bill, did not want their grants-in-aid taken away. The chief point was whether it could be carried out with justice and without difficulty, for he did not see how the principle of the measure could be controverted. He thought that land which was wanted, yet was withheld from public uses, should be rated just the same as land which was not withheld. Undoubtedly there might be some hardship in the case of land on the outskirts of a city which was not quite ripe for development, but he thought the owners of such land could be properly protected.
243 He was bound to say lie did not think there would be much expense in carrying out the measure. If hon. Members would recollect the way in which the general assessment for rateable value was carried out, they would agree with him when he said that it was carried out in a very fair spirit indeed, and there was no desire to press the rate up unreasonably. Why should they, when dealing with land, apply a different measure of justice to that which they applied in the case of ordinary rating. He knew that difficulties sometimes arose, and he knew of a case where an increase of £63 in rating was accompanied by costs amounting to £650, but such cases were few and far between. There was also the question of the tenants under leases which had been referred to by the hon. Member for Holborn. If they would look at Clause 3 they would find that the leaseholder was pretty well protected. He was quite certain there was no intention to place leaseholders at this disadvantage. The measure was only intended to carry out the rating of land values in a fair and proper manner. One thing provided for by a clause in the Bill was that existing contracts should be thoroughly respected, so that the proposal now made would not touch the old basis of rating. There was a feeling in some quarters that leaseholders should be taxed. In Lancashire and Yorkshire there were a large number of small investors in building societies and co-operative societies who had put their money into ground rents, and therefore, in their interest, it was decided to set aside any idea of interfering with existing contracts. It seemed to him that there was no sense of proportion observed by the opponents of the Bill. It was only a small matter—a matter of adjusting the rates so that they should fall equally on all who ought to pay. But their opponents had endeavoured to put a wider interpretation on the Bill by bringing in the question of land nationalisation, and other theories regarding land with which it did not deal. What the Bill proposed to do was to confer a simple measure of justice on all ratepayers, and that the proposal was so regarded was shown by the fact that a large number of municipalities had voted for it, and taken pains to bring their 244 views before the attention of Members of this House. The supporters of the measure belonged not to one Party, but I included the representatives of all sides of politics.
§ MR. ASQUITH (Fifeshire, E.)
said he had listened to the speech of the hon. Gentleman with great interest, and congratulated him upon his effective first appearance in the debates of the House. This question of the rating of land values had been before the House on so many occasions during the present Parliament that it would be an unpardonable consumption of the time of the House on his part, especially as he had expressed his opinions on the subject very fully last year, to speak more than for a few moments. Whether from the point of view of justice or the point of view of policy, it was unquestionable that land values at present were not fairly rated. Why should urban land, unoccupied but ripe for development, enjoy an enhanced value from the common expenditure of the community without making any actual contribution of its own to the rates? From the point of view of policy the effect of such a system, by throwing the main burden of the local rates upon buildings, was to raise rents, to discourage building, and to cripple and check the natural and healthy development of the community. On both these grounds it seemed to him that the first principle of the Bill, namely, that urban land ought to be fairly and adequately dealt with, was one that ought to be embodied in legislation. The other consideration was that it was both necessary and practicable for that purpose to have a separate assessment of land from that of other rateable subjects. That was not so much a matter of principle as of machinery. It was clear, for the reasons he had stated, that if they granted the first principle, the other was a mere corollary of it, and the only question in regard to the second was how far, under the existing conditions of social and municipal life, the separate assessment of land was capable of application.
He was not going into any general discussion of the matter, but he wanted to put before the House two or three practical considerations. In the first place this 245 proposal, which he could remember, without going very far back, as having been regarded as the fad of economic doctrinaires—and that was still the view of one or two hon. Members—had now behind it the active and growing support of the governing bodies of almost all the great urban communities of the kingdom. He found that there were supporting the Bill 166 municipal corporations, and 152 urban districts; and in addition sixty-four Poor Law unions in England, Wales, and Ireland, and sixty-four parish councils in Scotland. A practical matter of rating which commanded not merely the academic or lethargic support, but the active support of these large bodies of persons who were every day engaged in the actual task of municipal administration, might be said to have passed from the region of speculation into that class of politics that called for legislation. Moreover, he was told that, comparing this year with last, there were 200 more municipal bodies in favour of the scheme. That was a practical consideration which he thought the House might well keep in view when considering whether the Bill should be read a second time. Another practical point which he should like to urge upon the House was this. The practicability and beneficial results of legislation of this kind were growingly attested by the experience of other countries. He would not go over them again, having dealt with them last year. They had the experience of the Colonies, and especially New Zealand and Queensland, but he would like to call attention to the case of the Kingdom of Prussia. Since 1899 a system substantially the same as that proposed by this Bill had been optional in Prussia. In a book on the "Taxation of Land Values" by Lawrence Zimmerman, he found the following—The taxation of land values was strongly recommended in the year 1899 by the Prussian Minister of Finance, and in Germany no fewer than seventy-one towns and fifty-three rural communities have introduced the system, and with excellent results. … During the present year, encouraged by the effective results of the new system, the Prussian Ministers of Finance and of the Interior have issued a Memorandum to induce all towns to adopt the new system. They point out that the practical experience which has been gained proves that the system of the rating of land values is well adapted in numerous places, especially in those 246 where the population is increasing and the land values rising, to effect a considerable lessening of the burden of taxation for those landowners who most need to be spared by increasing the taxation of those who can best afford to pay more.
§ MR. REMNANT
said that he called attention before the right hon. Gentleman came into the House to the fact that in Germany the local rates were raised by the local authorities on the basis of the income-tax.
§ MR. ASQUITH
said he did not think the interruption was in any way relevant to the point. He wished to bring before the House the direct evidence which was now being obtained from skilled persons as to the effect the assessment of unoccupied land, which was ripe for development and which at present escaped taxation, would have, if applied, as it could be without difficulty, to the actual conditions of the urban communities of this country. He quoted to the House last year the remarkable facts in connection with an experimental valuation made in the urban district of Finchley. He understood that since then a similar process had been applied, for experimental purposes of course, to other urban communities also adjacent to the Metropolis, and he had with him the figures which had been supplied in regard to two of them. The object of this valuation was to show what effect, after all proper deductions had been made for depreciation and so forth, the rating of land now unrated, but capable of profitable development for residental and business purposes, would have on the actual rates. The valuation being for that purpose only, public parks, woods, recreation grounds, and spaces of that kind would, of course, be excluded. It was calculated that, in the case of Hornsey, the capital value of the land brought in would be £887,000, which at 3 per cent, would amount to £22,610 of rateable value, and the result would be a reduction in the rates of that community from 7s. 6d. to 7s. 2d. in the £. This did not imply a very violent change, but it did seem to show that land which was at present deriving benefit from the local enterprise and progressive spirit of the municipality 247 escaped a burden which it ought legitimately to bear. A similar calculation in regard to Fulham showed that the capital value of the land brought in would be £575,000, which at 3 per cent. would amount to £17,250. In that case there would be a reduction of the rates from 7s. 4d. to 7s. 2d. if land values were brought within assessment. He had no doubt that if the same process were applied in provincial communities still more striking results would be derived. No one, so far as he was aware, certainly none of his hon. friends who were responsible for the Bill, put it forward as a panacea; it was a mild, modest instalment of rating reform which had the hearty approval of a vast number of municipalities of the country with the best practical knowledge of the conditions of the case. It could be adopted by this House without prejudice to the ultimate settlement of the larger questions as between urban and rural interests, or between the local and Imperial Exchequer. He trusted the Secretary to the Local Government Board, whose competence to deal with these questions all would acknowledge, would be able to express the opinion of the Government on this matter. Last year it was treated, like so many things in these days, as an open question. It would be satisfactory for the House to know the attitude of mind of the Government to-day; and he trusted it would not be long before the House came to a decision.
§ SIR JOHN ROLLESTON (Leicester)
said he could not take the view of the right hon. Gentleman opposite in regard to the laws of the Kingdom of Prussia. There were many laws in Prussia which he was sure the right hon. Gentleman would be the last to ask them to imitate, There were so many points to be considered in this Bill that he could not expect to examine all of them. He would, therefore, only refer to one or two, but especially to one great objection which presented itself to his mind, and that was the rating of land not built upon on its assumed capital value. To assume that land which had not yet, found a market for building purposes would some day do so was a presumption which was not justified by experience. 248 He said without fear of contradiction that no demand for land on which to erect buildings arose without being promptly satisfied. The demand for land on which to erect buildings was irrepressible, and if there was no supply in one direction it was found in another; but, although there were of course exceptions to the rule, it was safe to say that no one kept land out of the market for which there was a genuine building demand. That would indeed be a bad financial operation, and he who conducted it was the loser and no one else. There was, according to his experience, no ground for the assertion that building land was generally withheld from the market, nor was the operation called "forcing land into the market" in any way possible. By taxation a weak holder of land might be compelled to take anything he could get for it, but who was the forwarder? He might be ruined, but there was no economic force which could provide the capital for putting up buildings on land thus forced into the market nor for creating the population to live in them if they were built, and it was not in the interests of municipalities to encourage overbuilding. If land could be had for nothing it would not insure building upon it. The pretensions, therefore, that taxing uncovered land as proposed in the Bill would be in the interests of the municipalities was in his opinion both presumptuous and empirical. In the first case it would cause widespread ruin and imperil many mortgage investments. It would completely crush the speculating builder or pioneer, and it would put an intolerable tax upon the property of land and building societies in which the savings of working people were invested.
Was it in the interests of municipalities to crush the speculator, the goose that laid the golden egg, the pioneer who put up the dwellings for working people almost always in advance of the requirement? The great municipalities were greatly in debt to the speculator who had made them what they now were and largely created the income which they now enjoyed. Was it not Mr. Cubitt who raised streets across the swamps behind Buckingham Palace and created Belgravia? That tract of land that was offered to the Crown in 249 George the Third's time for £20,000, but refused by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Had it not been for the risk undertaken by a private person, a pioneer, another generation might have elapsed before that beautiful part of London, with its vast rateable value, was built upon, and even then it would have been a private person who would have risked the development and not a municipality. It was the same in all towns. Some of them had grown largely in the last generation owing to the expansion of their trade and commerce. Who had built the houses, the workshops, and largely the factories to anticipate those requirements? It was invariably the same pioneer—the man who took risks, who bought a tract of land, who expended large sums in making streets and sewers, and equipping it for the use of the population that he thought was coining, so that overcrowding in most provincial towns was a thing unknown. Even now in most of the large midland towns there were thousands of houses empty. This person was largely a borrower from banks and from mortgagors, and no money was more usefully or legitimately, and in most cases more securely, lent than to those speculating builders. The loans were for the development of our own cities, and for paying wages to British workmen, and not for the purpose of developing other countries and for paying wages to foreign workmen for which purpose money lent to foreign Governments was mainly devoted. This pioneer, and this form of business and investment, the Bill before the House was designed to crush, and he could not imagine any movement so fatal to the interests of our great cities. For certainly no prudent man would ever again run the risk of buying land, and making streets and sewers on it, while he knew that if perchance he had miscalculated, and it got left on his hands, he would be ruined by taxation. Not to mention existing holders of building land who would throw up their efforts to develop and to create a rateable value for their municipality. Again, in his constituency, and he thought it was so in most towns, there were large tracts of lands, hundreds of acres in the borough, in which working men had become speculators, by paying on a small weekly instalment 250 system, and at length becoming owners, of a plot on which a house was frequently built. This system was growing and spreading; very much, he contended, to the advantage of working people who enjoyed these plots as gardens until it was convenient to build a house. This system was to be discouraged by the onerous tax which this Bill propossd that municipalities should place upon these plots.
He had observed the growth of many cities and towns in this country, but he need not go beyond that near which he had lived all his life, and which he now represented. He had seen the land on which he used to shoot partridges in abundance now covered with factories and houses, and at closing time what were once quiet rural retreats now sounded with the tread of thousands of busy working men and women. He had seen in the same town land that was sold thirty-six years ago, and where streets and sewers were immediately constructed, grass was now growing over the streets again, and no houses had yet been erected. What was the reason for those two extremes? Why was one district taken and the other left? He had observed that the successful conversion of land into town was done mainly by the application to it of capital, brains, and energy, and he had also-observed that these were mainly provided by the speculating pioneer to whom, as one interested in progress and development, he heartily wished God-speed. The town which he represented had been largely built by this class and it was a good town. It had grown more rapidly in proportion than, he thought, any other town; it was better provided with parks and open spaces than most towns; it had almost the lowest death-rate;' epidemic diseases were almost unknown; an additional supply of water from the Peak of Derbyshire was on its way to provide that great necessity of life for the increased population that was anticipated, and yet the chairman of the finance committee was able last year to announce a reduction in the rates of 3d. in the £ and this year Id. It was a well-managed town, and he was glad to think that its corporation had not sent him any resolution asking his support to this Bill.
251 As he had said, Leicester had been largely built by the speculator. The requirements of its population in the way of housing had been provided for, and well provided for, by private enterprise. Building was and had been a great industry employing many thousands of people; in it many millions of money had been turned over again and again, with profit to the bankers and with good return to the investors. That industry on the whole had contributed largely to the prosperity of the town, and now there came before Parliament a Bill, which, if carried and applied by that town, would clog the wheels of that great industry and crush those who conducted it.
The measure would bring not plenty and prosperity, but poverty and adversity. If this Bill were applied, as it at present stood, to Leicester, the corporation might cancel all orders for provision for future population; might content itself with living on the progress of the past, as there would be but little in the future. But he hoped that when the provisions of this Bill were better known many enlightened corporations would observe its great defects and withdraw from it that support which they had hitherto accorded it. He ventured to say that, as a rule, all land in this country that was wanted for buildings was built upon, and who was there with sufficient occult knowledge to say what land would be built upon in the future and what land was worth a large sum now because it might perhaps be built upon? Many things would have to happen, the course of trade would have to improve, new industries would have to be established, and new factories would have to be put up in this country if an increasing population was to want more houses. That might be the case. He hoped it would, but it was not a certainty, and no one, he contended, ought to be taxed on a speculation or by an assessor who estimated that the increase of population was merely a matter of arithmetical 252 calculation based on the increase in the last generation. He submitted that there was no ground for such an assumption, and that taxation on speculative values, values that might never be realised, was not a proper system of taxation for this country. He admitted one case, and one case only, in favour of this Bill, and that was where a central site in a city was occupied by poor property, while it was required for a much superior class of property which would contribute a much larger sum in rates to the municipality. If in that case the obdurate owner refused to rebuild, or to let any one else do so, then he thought the owner should be rated on the best use, and not the worst, to which his site could be put. But how many cases were there of this kind? He did not think that fools were so plentiful as seemed to be supposed, and surely a few cases such as this did not constitute sufficient pretext to place upon the Statute-book what, he contended, would be a law creating far more injustice than justice.
With regard to the separate valuation of buildings and site, he had only to say there was no practical difficulty in doing this. It was done every day in valuations of a certain kind, but at the same time the value of a house was usually reckoned to include the site; the site was an essential portion of the house and without the site there could be no house. The idea was clearly to get at the value of the site in order to rate the house when empty. But why should they consider the case so much of empty houses. It was municipalities themselves which emptied houses by high rates. Let them rather keep the houses full by better and more provident management. If houses remained full he did not see what was to be gained by a separate assessment of buildings and site. Probably many assessments might thereby be reduced. The agitation for this Bill was a tempest in a teapot, and if it should become law the results expected would not, in his opinion, be 253 realised. They could understand extravagant municipalities hunting about for a wider system of taxation as rates were at present levied on a limited class of people and a limited class of property, but he contended that by worrying realty the evil would only be increased. Some municipalities, however, went for personalty as well, and were making attacks on the machinery used in production, the sewing machines even used in many trades, the tools of working men and women. He thought that other property than realty should be brought in as rateable, but last of all machinery used in production. Rather get the safes and strong rooms open and rate some of the property hidden away there, rather than keep attacking that which was visible and spread out before the eyes of everyone merely because it was easy. He knew it might be said that municipalities expended money for the benefit of real property and not for other property. He denied that proposition. The expenditure of municipalities was for persons and not for property, and certainly in the case of the man who had land, or bought land, and made streets and sewers, and built houses, it was he that made the municipality and not the municipality that made him. This Bill was not one that, in his opinion, would be a useful measure on the Statute-book. It was a Bill of amateurs; a plaything for the political platform; and not one that would be of real use even to those municipalities that desired it; one of which he was glad to say that he did not represent—but one whose best interests he was sure he was serving by opposing with what small force he could command the Bill that was now presented for Second Reading.
§ MR. JOSEPH DEVLIN (Kilkenny, N.)
said that in view of the fact that over sixty Members of the Irish Party intended to take part in the division on this Bill he wished to state the views of that Party in regard to the subject-matter of the measure. He had been somewhat astonished at the eloquent peroration of the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down, in which he described this Bill as a mere plaything for the political platform. He thought that was a strong statement to make, and rather an insulting observation considering that 500 corporate and municipal bodies in this country had petitioned in favour of the measure. Of course, any measure which proposed to advance the democratic cause would always command the denunciation of the hon. Gentleman and his friends. Although this Bill did not affect Ireland, the Irish Party proposed to vote for it because they were in favour of its principle. The taxation of ground values was an exceedingly important question not only to England and Scotland, but also to Ireland. Unfortunately, the value of land in towns in Ireland was not so great as in Great Britain, and the agrarian condition of Ireland was responsible for that. In one city alone, the great city of Belfast, was this question of striking importance. Only a few years ago the taxpayers of that city voted over £500,000 for the building of a city hall for that great and growing community. Immediately after the erection of the building the value of the shops in the neighbourhood increased from £100 a year to £300 a year; and the landlords, many of whom had never seen Belfast, secured an increased income of £200 a year without the outlay of a single penny, simply because the ratepayers of Belfast 255 had spent half a million on an institution for city purposes. That single fact was, he thought, a strong argument in favour of the taxation of land values. Since the division took place last year on this Bill he understood that over 200 rating authorities had joined the most powerful combination since the Anti-Corn League in favour of the proposals made in this Bill. All the leading corporations in the country including the London County Council, the town councils of Glasgow, Manchester, Liverpool, etc., were in favour of the Bill, and on that account he and his colleagues of the Irish Party would support it in the division lobby with great pleasure.
THE SECRETARY TO THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD (Mr. GRANT LAWSON,) Yorkshire, N.R., Thirsk
said he was sorry the hon. Member for Kilkenny had preceded him in the debate, because he hoped presently to show that, if this Bill were extended to Ireland, Irish farm tenants who lived in urban districts would suffer by the Bill, and on that ground he was going to appeal for Irish support to secure its rejection. It was from no want of respect to the right hon. Member for East Fife that he did not rise when that right hon. Gentleman sat down; but his hon. friend the Member for Leicester was entitled to be heard, as he was chairman of the Surveyors' Institute, and when they were discussing a matter on which surveyors could express an expert opinion, the House ought to hear the views of that hon. Gentleman. He could not attempt to follow the hon. Gentleman opposite in his hurried tour round the world in order to obtain evidence in favour of the proposals made 256 in the Bill. No doubt this system had been adopted in other countries; but he did not know where the supporters of the Bill had obtained their evidence in regard to Prussia, because Berlin had repudiated this system in 1899 and had never since re-adopted it because the inconvenience of it was so great.
§ MR. TREVELYAN
asked if the hon. Gentleman could give the House the-names of the places in Germany that had adopted the Act of 1893 which regulated the special rates charged on land held for speculative purposes.
MR. GRANT LAWSON
said he quite admitted that some places had adopted the Act, but Berlin was the leading case. This Bill was a serious attempt to get at and to rate for present needs the profits which might, or might not, at some future time come to the owners of urban land. Two other schemes for this purpose had been brought forward, one two years ago and the other three years ago. Those schemes had been frankly abandoned, and no doubt it would now be admitted that, they were a little ridiculous. It was said that this Bill was drafted to a considerable extent on the same lines as the Bill of last year. But there was a new provision in this Bill, in Section 3, which would make it have a result precisely opposite to that which the Bill of last year was intended to produce. The Bill of last year was meant to provide that any increase in the rate due to the increase of the site value should fall on the site owner. But Section 3 of this Bill made the owner of the site liable only for so much of the rate as was payable in respect of the land value as assessed at the time of making 257 the lease or agreement. Therefore, if a man let his land for ninety-nine years, the burden of any increased rates during that period would fall, not on the landowner, who would only pay on the value of the land when he made the lease, but on the lessee.
MR. GRANT LAWSON
said that his hon. friend was thinking of the old scheme of the taxation of ground rents.
§ MR. MCCRAE
said it was rather unfair of the right hon. Gentleman to misrepresent him. He was dealing with the scheme of to-day; that whoever had an interest in the land would pay in respect of that interest, and that interest only.
MR. GRANT LAWSON
said he was taking the actual words of the Bill. The lessee was to be—entitled to deduct from rent payable by him so much of any rate paid by him, in respect of the hereditament, as is payable on the land value as assessed at the time of the making of the lease or agreement.He thought they would all be agreed that it was most essential that valuations should be, as far as possible, an exact science—that it should be an effort of the mind and not of the imagination. But, under this Bill, the valuer would be asked to say what a hypothetical tenant would give for a hypothetical purpose. Indeed, this Bill carried the valuer of the future out of the reach of realities into the realms of fancy. The hon. Member for Holborn had analysed the Bill, had taken it part by part, and had reduced it absolutely to nothing. Yes, and he believed that speech of 258 his hon. friend was the result of months and months of study. The hon. Member for Leicester had also told the House that the details of the Bill were entirely unfair and unworkable. He believed it was supposed to be a great educational advantage to members of the Government to listen to the Opposition. He had heard every debate on the principles of this Bill in Parliament, so that he should be a highly-educated official on the subject, but he could not recollect that any of the hon. Gentlemen opposite, who were connected with the land or were directors of assurance companies and similar institutions, had brought his practical experience to help the House with the consideration of measures of this kind. If he were in a Court of law he should submit that this was a highly technical question, and, as the other side had not produced their experts, who were in Court, there was no case to go to the jury.
If words were to have their ordinary meaning in this Bill, he should not object to the provision of a column setting out "the separate annual value of sites and houses." The annual value of a site on which a house stood, apart from the structure that was upon it, was obviously nil. What annual value did land under a dock produce, apart from the dock that was upon it? But when they got to Sub-section 2 of Clause 1 they were plunged into a sea of fancy. For the purposes of this Act the annual value of land was to be deemed to be an amount equal to 3 per cent, of the amount for which the land could be sold as by a willing seller to a willing buyer. How wonderfully that expression "deemed to be" was taken hold of by the draftsman. Throughout the Bill 259 everything was "deemed to be" something which everyone knew it was not to be. The wildest supposition was that there would be willing buyers ready to take the place of those who had been rated out of their property by such a proposal as this. As to valuation hon. Members did not seem to have considered the glut that would be caused by every scrap of land in an urban district being put in the market at once. Everyone knew that in an old settled country like England nearly every piece of land in an urban district was subject to covenants, easements, etc. Were they to be considered? It was true that under this Bill those covenants were to be considered, but they were to be embodied in a document to which the valuer had no access. With that exception the land was [to be deemed to be held in fee simple and free from encumbrances; but a vast amount of land was not so held. Yet these obstacles were to be "deemed" to be waved away by the Bill. That showed what a tangled web they weaved when they "deemed" a thing to be something it was not. Those who had to do with compensation cases knew that the best valuers differed widely in the estimate they made of capital value of premises under the Land Clauses Acts. Under these Acts they dealt with a thing that existed. How much wider would their opinion be if they had to deal with a hypothetical case such as the value of land without a house and the value of land with a house on it. Such valuations would therefore be very arbitrary.
As to the cost of the assessments proposed by this Bill expert evidence given before the Royal Commission showed that it would run into millions. For separating site from structure in London alone 260 the cheapest estimate was £400,000; the estimates of other surveyors varied between £2,000,000 and £4,000,000, but the net result for the whole country was that the valuation separating site from structure would cost £18,000.000. And when they had separated the site from the structure and wasted this money who would benefit? The Bill respected existing leases for the present, so that if they increased the rateable value by taking the capital instead of the annual value of the site, the burden fell on existing lessees, with the result that the shopkeepers and those owning houses in the centre of a town would find their rates increased for the benefit of those living in the suburbs. Then in future the lessor, "notwithstanding any agreement to the contary," had to pay part of the rates. Commenting on that proposal, Lord Balfour said that it was a danger that "might lead to extravagance and plunder." But the supposed advantage accruing from the principle was to be educational, to teach the less enlightened clasess that the rates did not really fall on the tenant entirely. He was in favour of such a method of education, but the cost entailed was too much for these primary schools of political economy.
This was a proposal to tax all land in an urban district on its capital value. He did not wish to argue the absurdity of such a proposal as that, but only to point out some of the disastrous and unforseen results that might follow from it. Lord Balfour, who was supposed to favour this sort of thing, said that to put this tax upon land ripening for building would be both anomalous and oppressive. The House forgot that "urban district" was a purely technical term and that it was in the power of the 261 Local Government Board to make every district urban whether in fact it was urban or not; that there were hundreds of thousands of acres of agricultural land in urban districts the whole of which was liable to pay taxation on its capital value. How would it fall on the farmers, he spoke as a farmer himself, he had a farm in one of the urban districts of which the rent was £1 an acre and the rates after making all deductions 3s. That land was estimated to be worth £300 an acre capital value. Under this Bill it would be rated at an imaginary income of £9 an acre, with the result that the rates alone would be 27s. an acre, so that the landlord himself would not only lose all the rent he got out of the land but the farmer would pay 4s. more per acre for the privilege of farming the land in that district. There were other trades besides farming which required large amounts of land in the urban districts, market gardeners, and nurserymen, coal, and timber merchants and occupiers of large factories, all men who gave employment to the most labour in these urban districts would have their assessments increased. Then let them look also at the lungs of our great cities. Let them imagine this Bill applied to London and let them imagine Olympia rated at its capital value as a site, or the Crystal Palace. If that were done the rates would absolutely kill the undertakings within a year. How, might he ask also, was the "Oval" to be kept going as a county cricket ground if it was to be rated on the capital value of the site. There was another consideration; hon. Members representing boroughs knew to their cost that there were many small borough cricket clubs who were able to obtain ground at a small rent, but if the provisions in this Bill 262 were to be applied to these small cricket grounds he failed to see how the clubs could go on, unless the Members of this House increased their subscriptions very largely. The only thing which would be left would be the parks, which, being Crown property, were not rateable, and churchyards, which were freed from rates under another law.
Then as to the question of vacant houses, the result of rating them would be to make people less willing to build houses. Let them take the case of a man who had built or bought a house. If he could not get a tenant at once he was to be compelled to pay rates on a property out of which he got nothing and in respect of which he might be at a loss with regard to repairs which he had to make. He denied that the spending of the rates improved the value of land. It actually did it harm, for not long since a man had refused to take a farm on his own property because the rates would make it too expensive. What improved the value of land was the construction of railways and works of that kind, and if landowners were to be taxed on the capital value of the land they ought to be taxed for the benefit of the railway which had increased the value of the land and not for the benefit of a corporation which had done nothing. This was supposed to provide a permanent source of fresh taxation, but competent surveyors had pointed out that the operation of this Act would destroy the value of all the land in the urban districts, and if they destroyed the value of the land what became of the property on which they were to levy rates. It was practically killing the goose that laid the golden eggs. It was said that people held^ their land for a rise. Was that 263 criminal? The London County Council, they all knew, did that, and there were many hon. Gentlemen in the House who held securities for a rise, and if the man who held his land for a rise was cheating the rate collector, hon. Gentlemen who held other securities for a rise were cheating his right hon. friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He did not see how any difference was to be made in that respect between realty and personalty.
They had heard in this Bill something about a State-created monopoly. Anybody who had a picture had a State-created monopoly of that picture. Did anybody suggest that the authorities were to tax pictures in consequence. It was said that the community wanted land. Well, if the community wanted land for any lawful and legitimate purpose it could always obtain it by means of a Provisional Order. The real truth of this matter was that certain individuals coveted the plots of their neighbours. He was sorry to see that the Bill had been supported on the ground that it would force land into the market and would take from the present owners a large part of their profits. If that was the object of the Bill there were not words in the Parliamentary vocabulary strong enough to enable him to express his opinion of it. He knew a good deal of pressure had been put on hon. Members to induce them to vote for the Bill. That pressure came from a conference of what were called the spending authorities. Surely the opinions of Royal Commissions and Committees of the House were more to be respected, and there was no Report of any Commission 01 Committee in favour of the Bill. Should it then be passed because this conference
§ which had taken no evidence, supported it? Let that conference call expert evidence on both sides and he was certain that they would arrive at the conclusion that the Bill was unworkable and unjust.
§ SIR HENRY KIMBER (Wandsworth)
, who spoke amid great interruption, was understood to say: The hon. Member who had introduced this measure had carefully abstained from telling the House the principles upon which this Bill was founded, or of giving any reason why those principles should hold good. He himself failed to understand anything beyond the fact that, in the minds of the promoters, the Bill was a step in the right direction. How much further the hon. Gentleman who moved the Second Reading proposed to go he did not say. Of course, all local authorities who spent the ratepayers money would be glad to have a larger amount of rates to spend than before, and were glad to get from one class a tax twice over, especially when that class was supposed to be composed of rich men whom they pillaged with perfect immunity as they did not come on their councils. The Bill, in his opinion, was an interference with the principle of freedom of contract which was one of the greatest principles which the commerce and industry of the world ought to preserve. [At this point the remarks of the hon. Member became inaudible owing to the loud and insistent cries of "divide" from the NATIONALIST Benches.]
§ Question put.
§ The House divided: Ayes, 202; Noes, 112. (Division List No. 141)267
|Abraham, William (Cork, N. E.)||Ambrose, Robert||Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry|
|Allen, Charles P.||Ashton, Thomas Gair||Atherley-Jones, L|
|Austin, Sir John||Gilhooly, James||O'Doherty, William|
|Barlow, John Emmott||Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herbert John||O'Donnell, John (Mayo, S.)|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Goddard, Daniel Ford||O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)|
|Bell, Richard||Grant, Corrie||O'Dowd, John|
|Benn, John Williams||Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton||O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)|
|Bignold, Sir Arthur||Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B.||O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.|
|Black, Alexander William||Hammond, John||O'Malley, William|
|Blake, Edward||Harcourt, Lewis||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Boland, John||Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil||Partington, Oswald|
|Bolton, Thomas Dolling||Harmsworth, R. Leicester)||Paulton, James Mellor|
|Bright, Allan Heywood||Harwood, George||Pemberton, John S. G.|
|Brown, George M. (Edinburgh)||Hay, Hon. Claude George||Perks, Robert William|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Hayden, John Patrick||Pirie, Duncan V.|
|Burns, John||Hayter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur D.||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Burt, Thomas||Healy, Timothy Michael||Price, Robert John|
|Buxton, Sydney Charles||Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H.||Priestley, Arthur|
|Caldwell, James||Higham, John Sharp||Randies, John S.|
|Campbell, John (Armagh, S.)||Hobhouse, C. E. H. (Bristol, E.)||Reckitt, Harold James|
|Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Holland, Sir William Henry||Reddy, M.|
|Causton, Richard Knight||Hope, J. F. (Sheffield, Brightside||Reid, Sir R. Threshie (Dumfries|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Horniman, Frederick John||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)|
|Chamberlayne, T. (S'thampton)||Isaacs, Rufus Daniel||Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)|
|Channing, Francis Allston||Jacoby, James Alfred||Roche, John|
|Cheetham, John Frederick||Johnson, John||Rollit, Sir Albert Kaye|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Jones, David Brynmor (Swansea||Runciman, Walter|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Jones, Leif (Appleby)||Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Jordan, Jeremiah||Schwann, Charles E.|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Joyce, Michael||Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)|
|Craig, Robert Hunter (Lanark)||Kearley, Hudson E.||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Crean, Eugene||Kennedy, P. J. (Westmeath, N.)||Sheehy, David|
|Cremer, William Randal||Kennedy, Vincent P. (Cavan, W.||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Crombie, John William||Kenyon, Hon. Geo. T. (Denbigh)||Sinclair, John (Forfarshire)|
|Crooks, William||Kilbride, Denis||Slack, John Bamford|
|Cross, Alexander (Glasgow)||Laurie, Lieut.-General||Sloan, Thomas Henry|
|Cullinan, J.||Law, Hugh Alex. (Donegal, W)||Smith, Samuel (Flint)|
|Cust, Henry John C.||Lawson, Sir Wilfrid (Cornwall||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Dalziel, James Henry||Layland-Barratt, Francis||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Divies, M. Vaughan (Cardigan)||Leese, Sir Joseph F. (Accrington||Sullivan, Donal|
|Delany, William||Levy, Maurice||Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth)|
|Denny, Colonel||Lewis, John Herbert||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Devlin, CharlesRamsay (Galway||Lloyd-George, David||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Devlin, Joseph (Kilkenny, N.)||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr)|
|Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Thompson, Dr. E. C (Monagh'n, N|
|Dilke, Rt, Hon. Sir Charles||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Thomson, F. W. (York, W.R.)|
|Dillon, John||M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)||Tomkinson, James|
|Dobbie, Joseph||M'Arthur, William (Cornwall)||Toulmin, George|
|Donelan, Captain A.||M'Crae, George||Tuke, Sir John Batty|
|Doogan, P. C.||M'Hugh, Patrick A.||Waldron, Laurence Ambrose|
|Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark)||M'Kean, John||Wallace, Robert|
|Duffy, William J.||M'Killop, W. (Sligo, North)||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Duncan, J. Hastings||Markham, Arthur Basil||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Dunn, Sir William||Mitchell, Edw. (Fermanagh, N.)||Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan)|
|Ellice, Capt E. C (S. Andrw'sBghs||Mooney, John J.||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney|
|Emmott, Alfred||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Evans, Sir Francis H. (Maidstone||Moss, Samuel||Whiteley, George (York, W.R.)|
|Evans, Samuel T. (Glamorgan)||Moulton, John Fletcher||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|Farrell, James Patrick||Murnaghan, George||Williams, Osmond (Merioneth)|
|Fenwick, Charles||Murphy, John||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid.)|
|Ferguson, R. C. Munro (Leith)||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh. N.|
|Ffrench, Peter||Newnes, Sir George||Woodhouse, Sir J. T. (Huddersf'd|
|Field, William||Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)||Wyndham-Quin, Col. W. H.|
|Findlay, Alexander (Lanark, NE||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond||O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr. Trevelyan and Mr. Harmood Banner.|
|Flynn, James Christopher||O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W.|
|Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.)||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)|
|Freeman-Thomas, Captain F.||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex. F||Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Manch'r|
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Bagot, Capt. Joceline Fitzroy||Balfour, Rt Hn Gerald W. (Leeds|
|Allsopp, Hon. George||Baird, John George Alexander||Banbury, Sir Frederick George|
|Barry, Sir Francis T. (Windsor||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)|
|Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir Michael Hicks||Greene, Henry D. (Shrewsbury)||Rolleston, Sir John F. L.|
|Bigwood, James||Gretton, John||Rutherford, John (Lancashire)|
|Bill, Charles||Halsey, Rt. Hon. Thomas F.||Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford-|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Hamilton, Marq. of (L'nd'nderry||Sandys, Lieut.-Col. Thos. Myles|
|Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-||Haslett, Sir James Horner||Seely, Charles Hilton (Lincoln)|
|Boulnois, Edmund||Henderson, Sir A. (Stafford, W.||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Hoare, Sir Samuel||Shaw-Stewart, Sir H. (Renfrew)|
|Bull, William James||Howard, J. (Midd., Tottenham)||Skewes-Cox, Thomas|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Hozier, Hon. James Henry Cecil||Smith, Rt. Hn. J. Parker (Lanarks|
|Butcher, John George||Hunt, Rowland||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Campbell, Rt. Hn. J. A. (Glasgow||Jeffreys, Rt. Hon. Arthur Fred.||Stanley, Hon. Arthur (Ormskirk|
|Cayzer, Sir Charles William||Kimber, Sir Henry||Stanley, Rt. Hn. Lord (Lancs.)|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Knowles, Sir Lees||Stewart, Sir Mark J. M'Taggart|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Lawrence, Sir Joseph (Monm'th)||Stirling-Maxwell, Sir John M.|
|Clive, Captain Percy A.||Lawson, John Grant (Yorks. N.R||Stroyan, John|
|Coddington, Sir William||Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Cox, Irwin Edward Bainbridge||Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. (Ox'dUniv.|
|Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Thorburn, Sir Walter|
|Cross, Herb. Shepherd (Bolton)||Lowther, C. (Cumb., Eskdale)||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Tollemache, Henry James|
|Davenport, William Bromley||Lucas, Reginald J. (Portsmouth)||Tumour, Viscount|
|Dimsdale, Rt Hn. Sir Joseph C.||Majendie, James A. H.||Valentia, Viscount|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Martin, Richard Biddulph||Welby, Lt.-Col. A. C. E. (Taunton|
|Dyke, Rt. Hon. Sir William Hart||Maxwell, Rt Hn Sir H. E. (Wigt'n)||Welby, Sir Charles G. E. (Notts.)|
|Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Fardell, Sir T. George||Morpeth, Viscount||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.)|
|Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edward||Morton, Arthur H. Aylmer||Wilson, John (Glasgow)|
|Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J. (Manc'r||Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)||Wilson-Todd, Sir W. H. (Yorks.)|
|Finlay, Sir R. B. (Inv'rn'ssB'ghs)||Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|FitzGerald, Sir Robert Penrose-||Nicholson, William Graham||Wrightson, Sir Thomas|
|Fitzroy, Hon. Edward Algernon||Plummer, Sir Walter R.|
|Flower, Sir Ernest||Purvis, Robert||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr. Remnant and Mr. Bond.|
|Forster, Henry William||Rankin, Sir James|
|Garfit, William||Reid, James (Greenock)|
|Gibbs, Hon. A. G. H.||Renshaw, Sir Charles Bine|
Main Question put, and agreed to.
§ The Bill was then read a second time.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be committed to the Standing Committee on Law, etc."—(Mr. Trevelyan.)
§ And, it being after half-past Five of the clock, and objection being taken to further proceeding, the debate stood adjourned.
§ Debate to be resumed upon Monday next.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House do now adjourn."—(Sir A, Acland-Hood.)
§ MR. MACVEAGH (Down. S.)
said he would like to ask the Patronage Secretary whether he could make any statement with regard to the Junior Lord of the Treasury. He himself was living in the fear from day to day that owing to the 268 Government Whips office being under manned the Government might be the victims of a snap division, and that as most of the Irish Members were leaving town that day they would not be able to take part in it. The hon. Member for Oldham or Halifax might—
§ MR. SPEAKER
here interrupted, and said he ought, according to Standing Orders, to say the House stood adjourned, but because it allowed an opportunity for a serious inquiry it had been usual to put the Question from the Chair, but as the hon. Member was using it for a different purpose he declared the House adjourned and left the Chair.
§ Whereupon, MR. SPEAKER, in pursuance of Standing Order No. 3, adjourned the House without Question put.
§ Adjourned at twenty minutes before Six o'clock till Monday next.