§ MR. BENN
I beg to ask the President of the Local Government Board what is 309 the amount of the increase in the average rate in the pound levied by the Metropolitan boroughs during the four complete years of their existence as compared with the average rate levied by their predecessors, the vestries and district boards, during the like preceding period.
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
The Returns received by the Local Government Board do not enable me to include the year 1904–5 in the period in respect of which the information asked for is desired. The average rate in the pound of the Metropolitan borough councils in the three years ended March, 1904, was Is. 10.6d., and the average rate of the Metropolitan vestries and district boards and the Woolwich Local Board of Health for the three years ended March, 1900, was 1s. 7.1d. The increase, therefore, was 3.5d, For the purpose of the comparison I have taken the rates raised by the vestries and district boards as including those required for the expenditure of burial boards, commissioners of baths and washhouses, and of public libraries and museums, whose powers have now been transferred to the borough councils.
§ SIR GEORGE BARTLEY (Islington, N.)
May I ask whether it is not the fact that, during the same period, the assessment in many cases has been enormously increased—that the same property is now assessed at a much higher rate than it was—and that, therefore, the absolute rate in the pound is somewhat misleading.