§ [SECOND READING.]
§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ MR. AINSWORTH (Argyllshire) rose to move the Second Reading of this Bill.
§ MR. HOZIER (Lanarkshire, S.)
called attention to the fact that forty Members were not present.
House counted and forty Members being found present.
§ MR. AINSWORTH
, in moving the Second Reading of the Bill, said that the principles involved had already been accepted by the House in the Bill which was introduced by his hon. friend the Member for the Elland Division of Yorkshire. As to anything else, he hoped to be able to show that it was merely matter of detail. Two main principles were involved in this Bill. The first was that there should be separate assessments for the site value and the value of the buildings on the site. The other point which was brought specially to the front in this Bill was that municipalities should have the power of receiving income from every species of property within the municipal area which was benefiting by municipal expenditure in proportion to the benefit received. He did not think anyone would say that a principle of that kind was in any sense overstrained or unfair, or that 867 it in any way partook of confiscation. When proposals were made with the view of putting the assessments of the kingdom on a more satisfactory footing than at present it was very often retorted that they meant confiscation. He would deal shortly with the question as to how far the provisions of this Bill affected existing property. They were all agreed that Parliament had always retained, and always would retain, the right of arranging for taxation without regard to any agreements entered into between individuals. He did not mean to advocate interference with agreements in any socialistic or confiscatory sense, but he should like to read to the House a statement from the Report of an important Commission which had considered the subject, as showing the broad lines on which it ought to be dealt with. The Royal Commission on the Housing of the Working Classes in 1884, in their Report, said—Your Majesty's Commissioners are of opinion that until some reform is introduced which shall secure contribution to local expenditure from other sources of income received by residents in the locality, in addition to the present ratable property, no great pt ogress can be made in local improvements.These words contained the whole point, and what the promoters of this Bill said was that every species of property within the municipal area deriving benefit from the municipality ought to contribute, he would not say an equal proportion, but a reasonable proportion of the municipal assessments. The Report which he had quoted was signed by several eminent men, including no less authorities than the late Lord Salisbury and Lord Goschen. In their final Report the Royal Commission on Local Taxation said—It will be observed that the charge is to be made directly upon the owners of site values (as defined), notwithstanding any past or future contracts to the contrary, and that is justified on the ground that it is unquestionably the right and duty of Parliament to say, when it imposes any public charge, upon whom, and upon what interest, it desires that charge to fall. The case of the income-tax was quoted as a precedent for this course, and it was also suggested that the imposition of the education rate in 1870 was a more violent interference with the equities as between the parties to existing contracts than would be the scheme proposed.By way of illustration the hon. Member instanced the case which was common in 868 the municipalities of Scotland, where either the original superior, or some other individual, had the power of receiving feu rents for building land. How would the principle which he had stated apply in a case of that kind? Let it be supposed that a perpetual feu had been granted, and that the superior, or other individual, was in the enjoyment of the feu duty paid for the land. The owner of the property benefited from the municipal expenditure. It was easy for the owner to say, "If I had chosen to take £100 down, instead of £3 or £4 a year as feu rent, I should be perfectly free from municipal charges. Instead of doing that I have chosen to take an annual payment which carries with it an agreement that the feuars shall pay the whole cost of present and future rates. How am I benefiting by the municipal expenditure in any way?" In answer to that, he would like to put a case of this kind: How many years purchase would land be worth if put on the market now in the case he had referred to where the feu duty fifty years ago was £3? Further, what had caused the increased capital value of the land unless it was the expenditure by the municipality in improving the municipal area? As he had said, it was not proposed that the owners should be asked to contribute an unreasonable amount of assessment, but if exemption from taxation was claimed the onus should lie on the owners to prove that their property had not benefited, or that it was not likely to benefit in any way by municipal extension or improvement. If the owner could not do so, he should contribute something, no matter how small, for those purposes for which the municipality existed.
As to interference with contracts, he would point out that the Legislature, in dealing with matters of this kind, involving interests which had been created a long time ago, was entitled to take into consideration how much the circumstances which justified a contract at the time it was made— he was speaking now of matters involving the public interest—had altered and varied since that time. He instanced in support of this contention the proposal contained in the Damage to Crops 869 Bill which was before the House this session. Railway directors would say that when the land for the railways was purchased they calculated every possible contingency in the making of the price, and that the proprietor who was selling the land also took into consideration every possible contingency when the price was fixed. No doubt one of those contingencies was possible damage to crops by sparks from passing trains, but the object of the Bill referred to was to meet the grievance which quite naturally had since grown up on the part of farmers and others. That was a case in which circumstances had changed, and it was proposed that Parliament should impose a new liability on railway companies in respect of damage done in the way indicated. In all cases of so-called contract they could never look upon the contract apart from the circumstances in which it was made as compared with the circumstances of the present time. If the change in circumstances had resulted in the creation of a grievance, it was competent to get rid of the grievance by legislation and to put the matter on a proper basis. He hoped he had said sufficient to show that the promoters of this Bill approached the question without any desire to apply what could be described as confiscation. They only wanted fair treatment on the principles laid down, and on lines on which Parliament had often acted in parallel cases.
An accusation which was sometimes made was that municipal authorities had been spending too freely, that they had got to the end of their tether, and that they were now anxious to sweep into the net of taxation everything they could get hold of. He should like to refer to the case of a municipality in Scotland very much interested in this Bill, and which had a great deal to do with the promotion of it—he meant the Corporation of Glasgow. He reminded the House that during the last fifteen or twenty years Parliament had been continually throwing increased obligations on municipal and local authorities all over the country, and that if their expenditure had increased Parliament had compelled them to spend. Of course, expenditure might be more wisely controlled in some places than in others. 870 He thought that everyone who knew the city of Glasgow acknowledged that every effort had been made to carry out the duties imposed upon them by the Imperial Legislature. What were the rates in Glasgow at the present moment? It would surprise the House to know that the municipal rates, excluding the water rate, the poor rate, and the school board rate, which came under an entirely different category, were on occupiers from 2s. to 2s. 9d. and on owners from l0d. to 1s. Many hon. Members who knew something of the expenditure of large sums in the larger municipalities in different parts of the United Kingdom must acknowledge that that was a very good result. It was not generally known in the House, perhaps even to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, that the amount borrowed for the municipal debt of the city of Glasgow did not cost the ratepayers, including the sinking fund, more than 3 per cent. The business and financial arrangements of the city of Glasgow were carried out on as good lines as any other municipality in the United Kingdom.
He was perfectly aware that this Bill went further than the English Bill, but Scottish legislative proposals were always in advance of those for the other parts of the United Kingdom. It was so in the case of the licensing laws, local government, and education. The other day, in this House, when the Scotch Education Bill was under discussion, the hon. Member for Camberwell regretted that the benefits given to Scotland by that Bill were not extended to England, whereupon the Lord-Advocate said—It is because you are not educated up to it.Now, he hoped he might say that that was the justification for the Bill before the House, and that those hon. Members who came down there with the idea that this was a revolutionary measure, enbodying extreme ideas, need not be dismayed. He would like to add that, as regarded details, these might be left for consideration and amendment in Committee. He trusted the House would allow the Bill to pass its Second Reading as in the case of the English Bill. He begged to move.
§ MR. DOBBIE (Ayr Burghs)
said he wished to second the Motion that the Bill be read a second time. This Bill, he argued, was not looked upon as in any sense a Party measure. It had behind it a large body of public opinion, and particularly a large body of municipal opinion. It was also noteworthy that every recently-elected Scotch Member had come pledged to support the principle embodied in this Bill. Its supporters believed that in the principle they had a remedy for non-employment, as the principle would break down a monopoly. It would also go far to solve the housing problem. The promoters of the measure also relied on the recommendation of the Royal Commission on the Housing of the Working Classes, of 1885, which was in favour of taxation of land values. If they were told that this Bill went further than the English Bill, he would say that the principle in the Bill did not depend on whether the clause making the measure retrospective passed through Committee or not. The promoters stood for the principle that the time had come when land values should be intercepted on the way to the pocket of the individual and applied to the expenses of the community through whose growth land values had been created. He believed that the system of perpetual feus in Scotland was a justification of the argument put forward by the advocates of the retrospective clause.
As an analogy, he referred to the Crofters Act. That Act converted contracts for temporary occupancy into contracts for perpetual occupancy. It prevented the landlord from getting the rent of monopoly and compelled him to take a fair rent fixed by Commissioners. This Bill was less drastic than the Crofters Act. The promoters said to the landowner, "Get what ground rent you can, but in so far as that ground rent has been created by the community we ask you to contribute a quota of it towards the expenditure incurred in developing the communities interests." This House had, time and again, applied the same principle. They had at present in Scotland a question which would shortly come before this House. They would be invited 872 shortly to consider the title to church lands and buildings in Scotland, which, so far as the legal title went, belonged absolutely to the members of one Church. But that would not prevent Members opposite from inviting the House to disregard that legal title, and on the ground of equity to take steps to ensure that a large part of that property would come back to the larger body whose members contributed to its creation. The same principle applied to this clause of the Bill. While the promoters were prepared to defend that principle, they only asked now that the Bill should pass its Second Reading, and that further opportunity for discussion should thus be given in Committee.
He thought the case for this Bill had been put better than he could do by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham. Speaking in 1885, that right hon. Gentleman said that—Ground rents had grown out of the prosperity and industry of the community, and the property had been improved by local expenditure.They might assume that the right hon. Gentleman had changed his opinion, and they might forgive him for not preferring the non-authorised programme of 1885 to his informal programme of to-day. At all events, it was not for hon. Gentlemen opposite to criticise proposals advocated by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham as unintelligent or unworkable. He preferred to go for the economic teaching to Adam Smith and John Stuart Mill; and when they found, as they did in Scotland to-day, landowners, as John Stuart Mill put it, growing richer in their sleep, without work, without economy, and without risk, and when on the other hand they found the burden of local government growing larger every year on account of better and nobler ideals of housing, of comfort, and of enjoyment, and when they found all that burden falling on the shoulders of those least able to bear it, he hoped the House would agree with the municipal authorities in Scotland in saying that the time had come to face and grapple with that problem. He hoped the House would permit an opportunity of discussing the Bill in Committee. Hon. Members would then 873 be able to consider in detail a principle which had the approval of a large section of public opinion in Scotland.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."
§ *SIR HUGH SHAW-STEWART (Renfrew, E.)
said that in rising to move the rejection of this Bill, he would first take leave to reply to what he knew would be said, viz., that the Motion came from a Member who was personally interested in the rejection of the measure. But to say that a landowner was personally interested in the rejection of this Bill was not by any means to state the full extent of the issue, for he should proceed to show that the interests of the landowner and the public interests were in this matter identical.
He counted it a privilege to take any part in this controversy, which aroused much attention, and would arouse more, but he should not tax the patience of the House by resorting to quotations from authorities in order to prove his case, for he held that quotations, while of great value in articles and essays, were better avoided in speeches. He should therefore content himself in this respect by merely naming high authorities on whose evidence he might rely, citing such names as Sir Robert Giffen, Mr. Gladstone, and the Report of the Royal Commission on Local Taxation. He should like to mention also an admirable speech by the hon. Member for Finsbury in the recent debate on the corresponding English Bill.
Discarding quotations, therefore, he would proceed to deal with certain fallacies which existed in the public mind; for, if he could expose successfully these fallacies, he should have gone far to cut away the chief supports from this measure. The first fallacy was that feu-duties and ground values were possessed and enjoyed chiefly by large landowners. In reality feu-duties were bought and sold like other stock in the money market, and were largely used as safe investments by individuals of small means, as well as by institutions such as churches, hospitals, and charitable societies. So that this Bill, by placing extra taxes on feu 874 duties and ground values, would affect not only landowners but in large proportion the individuals and institutions he had named.
The second fallacy was that the landowner who had land to feu had only to sit at home and wait for applicants, strike a bargain, and pocket the purchase money. In reality he must first lay out large sums in plans for houses, gardens, streets, sewers, drains, and water supply, and, in most cases, actually make the streets and sewers and supply the water before a shilling came back to him. He had to wait for a return for his money. It was all the more necessary for him to set his plans so that he might get the best return for his money when it did come; and the better return the landowner eventually got for his money the higher ratable value would accrue to the town and the more permanent would be the improvements made by the landowner who could afford to wait. Further, it was becoming more and more recognised (they saw it in proposals for what were called Garden Cities) that attention should be paid to the public demand for open spaces and gardens intermixed with houses or cottages, and all who heard him would agree that gardens ought to be encouraged for two reasons: (a) they afforded valuable and healthy breathing spaces, (b) they wore a source of good wages for a healthy occupation. But if this Bill passed a landowner would at once have to stop all plans devised to benefit himself and the public in this way; he would be "taxed out" of useful projects for open spaces; and he would be driven to a slovenly system of feuing his land as quickly as possible to the first building speculator who came along, to the loss and detriment of the whole community.
But there was a third fallacy in that some people, admitting loss to owners of feu-duties, large and small, admitting loss of the most suitable plans for developing towns, admitting the loss of open spaces, said that immense pecuniary benefits would accrue to the town in other ways. Well, they made the statement, but did they succeed in proving it? He was sorry not to see the hon. Member for East Edinburgh in his place. The 875 hon. Member lately stated that if the provisions of the Bill had been in force when he was City Treasurer a large annual sum instead of a small sum would have been paid in respect of several acres of unbuilt land used for market gardens. True, a nominally larger sum would be raised by taxation, but he omitted to balance against the larger sum what would have been the additional annual cost to the city in respect of paving, cleaning, lighting, and watching the streets and properties thereon, and these pretty large sums fell to be deducted from the hon. Member's estimate. That proved that grossly exaggerated estimates were made, even by persons of some experience, of the income likely to accrue to towns from this tax. Further, he would ask hon. Members to look at the provisions of Clause 7, dealing with deductions from assessment. Could they read through these provisions and maintain that all these deductions could be made from each yearly assessment without immense labour and cost both to the burgh and to the individual ratepayer? All this cost must be deducted from the estimated increase of revenue.
There was an entirely new principle raised in this Bill. Local taxation had never yet been raised on capital, but always on income; was the House going to introduce a new principle of taxation in a private Member's Bill on a Friday afternoon? But why limit the new principle to investments in land? Why not enforce a corresponding tax on investments in stocks and shares? Why should a tradesman when he invested £100 or £1,000 in building-land be subjected to this extra tax, and when he invested another £100 or £1,000 in stocks or shares escape this tax? The truth was that they were raising the whole question of taxation of real and personal property, and they could not deal with this great question on a aide issue. He would also draw the attention of the House to one particular provision of this Bill, viz.: Clause 7 (f) which made the principle of the Bill retrospective. Imagine the confusion that would arise if this provision passed. What a glorious opportunity for endless litigation!
How did the representatives of the Labour Party look on this Bill? 876 Could they point to any benefit likely to come to the great body of the people by this costly experiment. Would not increased taxation mean increased rents? Ought they not rather to favour the promotion of gradual development to suit all classes with a, due proportion of gardens and open spaces? He said he would refrain from quotations: but he confessed he was sorely tempted to quote from Mr. Wallace, president of the Land Nationalisation Society, as to the result of taxation of land values in America, and from the organ Justice of the Social Democratic Federation regarding similar results in Paris, both of which proved that land needed in, or near towns, became in consequence of similar Bills the sport of the jerry-builder—but he refrained, in return for the patience with which the House has heard his remarks.
He ended as he began by resting his case on the ground that the interests of the landowner and the public interests were identical. What was the great need of the present day? To make the suitable development of building land for houses (whether villas or workmen's cottages), open spaces, and gardens, more easy and not more difficult, and he said that this Bill would make it more difficult by artificially raising the price of land, as they had seen occur in the United States and Paris. What was the great danger of the present day? The temptation of burghs and cities was to embark on reckless, municipal expenditure, and this Bill would increase the temptation without providing any real increase of the means at their disposal. He asked the House to reject this measure on the ground that it would injure all public interests, except one, viz.: an interest which they all respected, and which they could not do without, but which in no way required, nor indeed, expected, special favours from this House—he meant the legal interest.
§ MR. BAIRD (Glasgow, Central)
was of opinion that the subject of the Bill was too complicated and the principle too far-reaching in its character to be discussed and decided by an empty House in an afternoon. The proposal to tax feu-duties and ground which was the subject of agitation when he first stood for Parliament had been largely abandoned in 877 favour of taxation of land values. The objects of the Bill were two-fold. First, to provide an additional fund from which rates might be relieved and further improvements in burghs carried out; second, to break down what was called land monopoly, and so to cheapen building land and reduce rents in so far as the cost of land entered into the cost of providing the houses. These objects were probably popular. Another consideration was that vacant spaces in towns and building lots just outside the towns were alleged to be held up for a rise in price though either not rated at all or only at agricultural value. He did not justify such holding up, as contrary to public policy and the interest of landowners generally, and hoped that the question might be dealt with in some other way. But, in order to remedy one injustice, they should not proceed to inflict other injustice of a widespread character. If, however, such land was held up, the probability was that when it came into use the building would be more valuable and form a subject for higher assessment than if it had come earlier into the market and been covered with inferior buildings, so that in the long run the ratepayers would not suffer. But he should be told that this was not entirely a ratepayers' question, and that the landowner had no right to the higher value conferred on the land by the presence of the community. This introduced the doctrine of unearned increment which, whether right or wrong, he would not discuss, but which was undoubtedly in the Bill. The proprietor of a house would have extreme difficulty in assessing the value of the land apart from the building. These feu-duties were a favourite form of investment of the funds of charitable societies. Churches and other bodies who sought a certain income with good security would be hit both in capital and income if this proposal were carried into effect. He condemned the provision for breaking existing contracts, remarking that those who had entered into such contracts would be unable to escape, while these who desired to make such contracts in the future would probably find a way of doing so. Finally, he considered that the House should be guided by the 878 Report of the Royal Commission on Local Taxation, which was against the Bill.
To leave out the word 'now,' and at the end of the Question to add the words 'upon this day six months.'" —(Sir Hugh Shaw-Stewart.)
§ Question proposed, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."
§ MR. CROMBIE (Kincardineshire)
said it was with extreme diffidence that he ventured to intervene in this debate is he was not capable of speaking as an expert on the subject of land values. He was, however, compelled to speak because of what he might call his Parliamentary conscience, although he had great difficulty in deciding how to act regarding the Bill. He might say that he was not at all financially involved by the measure. He agreed with the main principle of the taxation of land values, and he had experienced no hesitation in voting for the Bill introduced by the hon. Member for Elland some weeks ago regarding the application of that principle to England, but he doubted whether the introduction of a Bill of this kind would do much to help that principle. He was not at all sure that the advance, if it could be so called, was not entirely in a wrong direction, and if it was a question of being educated up to such a measure he was afraid he had not yet attained that measure of education.
A great deal had been said regarding the sacredness of contracts, but he had no hesitation in saying that no contract was sacred from the operation of Parliament, provided, it became a menace to the public good. The safety of the people was the supreme law, and so far as that went he did not think there was any harm in dealing with the question. There was no justification for the taxation of feu-duties. Supposing he wanted to buy a piece of land in the neighbourhood of a town worth £1,000 and went to a landowner who offered to sell it to him outright. Having paid the landowner the £l,000, supposing the latter went away and squandered the £1,000 in riotous living they could not get at him any more. But if he went to another landowner who said, "I will not only sell to you but will advance 879 you the whole sum and you will pay me interest at the rate of £40 a year and for that I shall have the security of the land," why should they go back upon that bargain and tax what was practically interest on a mortgage. He could not see the slightest reason for that. They were told that it was the landlord who ought to be mulcted for the public good, but this man was not the landlord, and the Bill was not going to mulct him for the public good. Feu-duties were still invested in by friendly societies, trades unions, and small people, and these were the people who would be taxed and they would not be taxed for the public good, because it would be simply transferring the tax from the pocket of the occupier—the feu-holder—to the feu superior. Therefore, there would be nothing for the public good. He considered that was the great evil of the Bill.
At the same time he admitted there was a great injustice in respect to feus which he desired to see remedied, and in that desire he was supported by the hon. Member for Central Glasgow. If they took a Scotch burgh they would find a large amount of land outside the town rated at its agricultural value, say £1 per acre, yet the owner of that land knew that tomorrow he could feu the land for £10, £20, or £40 per acre. It was unfair that this land should not be rated at its proper value and that the landowner should be allowed to walk off by feuing the land and no longer be rated. He was in sympathy with the principle of the rating of land values, but he felt a great difficulty whether or not he should vote for the principle without voting for a great deal of the evil which was embodied in this Bill. If this were a Government Bill introduced by either Party he should unhesitatingly vote against it; if it were a private Member's Bill, introduced early in the session and likely to pass, he should vote against it; but seeing that a Bill introduced at this period of the session was not likely to pass, he should regard a vote in favour of it as merely a vote in favour of the principle of taxing land values.
§ MR. WHITLEY (Halifax)
said that as reference had been made to the difference 880 between the Bill now under consideration and the measure read a second time recently relating to England and Wales, it would be well for the House to understand how the two Bills were related. Although their methods differed considerably they had their foundation in the same movement. Three years ago a large conference of rating authorities, held in London, declared with practical unanimity that the principle of levying a portion of the rates upon land values was just and equitable, and they deputed a representative committee to draw up a Bill or Bills embodying the principle. That committee soon found that it was impossible to draw one Bill applicable to both English and Scotch conditions, and therefore separate measures were drafted for the two countries. Every candid man would admit that the conditions in Scotland were very different from the conditions in England. In Scotland they already had a division of the rates in some degree between the owner and the occupier, and that was a considerable justification for the fact that the Scotch Bill went further than the English measure. He would not argue the Second Heading of the Bill simply on the question of whether perpetual feu-duties ought to be included in or exempted from the operation of the Bill. He was glad to see on the Treasury Bench, representing the Government, a Gentleman who had already voted in favour of the principle of the taxation of land values, and he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would to-day give a further declaration of his belief in the principle, although he might have criticisms to offer on the extent or the methods of this particular measure.
The mover of the rejection of the Bill had referred to three fallacies commonly held in relation to this matter. The first was that it would be unjust to levy a portion of the rates on land values because the owner had to spend a great deal on drains, and streets before the land could be developed. But that was an element in the valuation, and it was a deduction which any valuer would take into account before fixing the value of an undeveloped estate. The second fallacy was that such a proposal would tax gardens out of existence. The very opposite would be the case.
§ MR. WHITLEY
said the hon. Member must be mistaken, as there was no similar Act in operation in America. He was probably referring to the Improvements Clause, but even that had not had the effect which the hon. Member suggested. Personally, he was strongly convinced that the application of the principle of this measure would lead to a large increase in the amount of land attached to houses. The price of an estate in the course of its development from agricultural to building land increased on the average no less than seven-fold. For agricultural purposes 6d. per square yard might be taken as an extreme price, but that identical land, without anything having been done to it, rose to at least 3s. 6d. per square yard before it was utilised for housing purposes.
§ MR. WHITLEY
said he had already dealt with the point that the necessary expenditure for the development of an estate was a deduction which would be taken into account, and he was now speaking quite apart from that particular matter. If the effect of the passing of the Bill was to render land available for building purposes directly it left its agricultural value, a man might get for the same price seven times as much land in connection with his house, or with the same amount of land there would be less cost and consequently less rent to pay. As to public open spaces, it would unquestionably immensely increase the facilities of local authorities for purchasing and holding open spaces. A gentleman in Manchester had recently advocated that a garden belt should be formed around English cities before they expanded further in 882 order that the horrible accumulation of bricks and mortar might be prevented. But that would never be accomplished unless some such Act as was now proposed were in existence, because it would be absolutely impracticable for local authorities to purchase the necessary land.
The third fallacy to which the hon. Member referred was that a large revenue would be derived from the taxation of land values. Personally, he had never based his advocacy of this principle purely or even mainly on its financial aspects. It would bring in a certain new revenue, but not to the extent which some people wildly stated. He held strongly that the social advantages of this reform would be infinitely greater than any financial benefit. It was a proposal, not for creating a new tax, but for abolishing a bad exemption. Why should land, which more than any other property gained from, local expenditure, be exempt from contributing to local taxation? Two men might have plots of land one alongside the other. If one man put up a house he was immediately rated on the house and the land, but the other man, if he held his land, although it would be increasing in value from the expenditure of the community, would be exempted.
The question had been asked why, if land was taxed on its capital value, stocks and shares should not be similarly taxed. That was a very old argument. If it was simply a question of rating a man according to his property or wealth the one should be rated as well as the other. But land held a relation to the community which dwelt upon it, and which, could not exist without it. If land were a monopoly in the hands of one person everybody would be advocating the passage of such a measure as he was now supporting, and the fact that the monopoly was in the hands of a large number of persons—large in itself, but small in proportion to the whole community—only mitigated, and did not in any way remove the evil. It was possible for these persons to extract a large part of the wealth created by great industrial communities and yet give nothing back for the benefits they had received. This was the great social evil they were endeavouring to 883 remove in the proposals of this and the English Bill.
He thought they were justified in continuing to bring forward these proposals. They had had a confession not long ago from the Treasury Bench that the Government had no hope of dealing with the rating question, and therefore how could the hon. Member blame them for endeavouring to bring this subject forward on a Friday afternoon. They had waited patiently for ten years and yet the Government had made no move. He hoped that the time was not far distant when a move of some kind would be made in the direction they were advocating. They had had a great object-lesson near at hand during the last few weeks in the case of East Ham. There a great community was groaning under the burden of the rates, and feeling it so severely that they had been compelled to throw off the obligations which the House had placed upon them. That district was nothing but a swamp twenty-five years ago, and now it was covered with miles of dismal streets and houses of one pattern, where the overflow of London's population went to sleep after their day's work was done. The complaint was that there was not ratable value enough to bear the burden of the local debt placed upon it. And why? Because the great natural rate fund had been abstracted. Before this vast area could be used for sleeping purposes, in the interval between the swamp and the erection of the buildings, the great value had been taken by the owner of the swamp, and the kernel having been taken away they were left only with the husks. No conceivable ratable value could meet the financial obligations of the community. For this they had a remedy near at hand, and that was to restore to the community a part of that natural rate fund which had been created in land values by the presence of the community. This was obvious from the very fact that every busy industrial community raised the value of the land in its neighbourhood, and that indicated to all reasonable men that there was a natural rate fund there which ought to be applied in large part to the fundamental needs of that community. If they could only get that done they would have none of those difficulties and rebellions 884 against the obligations put upon them by Parliament.
He was suffering from a bad cold and did not intend to inflict himself at any length upon the attention of the House, but he should like to commend to the Lord-Advocate the study of a recent Blue-book issued by the Government. It was called "Further Correspondence Relating to the Affairs of the Transvaal and the Orange River Colony," and it was circulated one day last week. It contained the Report of the Colonial Secretary of the Transvaal and gave a most interesting description of what they had done in the matter of rating there. It described how they had considered, with the best expert advice they could command, the way in which they should set up their new rating system in the recreation of a properly-governed community, and this was their conclusion—The fundamental conception of the Bill was to rate according to its capital value each separate interest in land, exempting only those due to expire in ten years or less.Now these two measures became law by Proclamation in July, 1902, and so they had had three years experience of their working. They went on to say on the next page that already—The rating law had actually stood the test of application.A little further on there was an interesting reference to the city of Glasgow in which they stated—A noticeable feature in this Ordinance is the provision for the recovery of rates modelled on the practice adopted in Glasgow, which has proved highly effective both in securing the punctual payment of rates and in reducing the cost of collection.They were asking the House that afternoon to take a lesson in the same school. There was another interesting quotation which bore most closely on the point they were discussing. This had the imprimatur of Lord Milner and the very Government which was now represented on the Treasury Bench. Therefore he hoped the Lord-Advocate was not going to deny to a less-favoured community what already as a member of the Government he had consented to in the new colony of the Transvaal. The Colonial Secretary of the Transvaal said—The land within and even beyond a radius of six miles had acquired a high prospective value 885 from the expectation that within a few years it would be converted into suburbs. A great portion of it had already been marked out and sold as townships. However wide this area might appear it was certain that the land acquired its high value owing to the proximity of the town near at hand. There appeared to be nothing inequitable, therefore, in making the owners of these lands contribute to the general expenses of the community whose industry and enterprise were responsible for nine-tenths of the value which these lands had acquired.'In this Bill they were not asking for nine-tenths but only for one-tenth of that value. He would make just one other reference to another document. He was challenged the other day in regard to some figures which he gave relating to the effect of a tax of this kind ill the colony of New South Wales. The hon. Member for Salford was good enough to hand to him the Report of the Labour Commission to the Legislative Assembly of New South Wales for the year 1904, no doubt thinking that this document would destroy the facts on which he had based his argument. His argument was that the removal of the exemption of those land sites from municipal rating had a great effect in reducing the number of the unemployed, and he gave some very striking figures showing how in New South Wales the figures had dropped after the introduction of the measure first to one-half and afterwards to one-third of the numbers they stood at previously to the adoption of this Report. He found the document of the hon. Member for Salford, presented to him to remove his ignorance, only confirmed him in his belief, because it stated on the very second page that—In the suburbs the land tax superimposed on municipal taxation has stimulated the owners of vacant land into doing something to secure a return for their outlay. During the commercial depression which this State passed through a, few years ago, many people who rented houses found it necessary to rent one or two rooms only, or to share a house with their neighbours. With the recovery from the general depression, families are once more enabled to enjoy a house to themselves.That, of course, had a double effect on the comfort of the population and production naturally, and not by any artificial means of work for the unemployed. He was not a great believer in any of those State systems of machinery for making artificial employment, but he did believe that here was a great 886 remedy which would find employment by natural means, without too much State officialism, if they took away this power of withholding land from its best use. In his opinion there ought to be no willing worker in this country unemployed as long as there was land put to anything less than its best use, and, if they levied even a small tax or rate upon land which was withheld from its best use, in that way they would, better than by artificial methods, bring work to those who were now workless, and at the same time they would be liberating the land surrounding all great cities, and enabling the people to live with more air about them and more comfort inside their houses than at the present time.
§ SIR CHARLES RENSHAW (Renfrew W.) rose to address the House.
§ A quorum was, after a brief interval, formed and
§ *SIR CHARLES RENSHAW
proceeded with his speech. He said that the hon. Member for Halifax had endeavoured to justify the difference between the proposals of the Bill now under consideration and the measure which the hon. Member for Elland had previously submitted to the House. The hon. Member for Halifax had stated that the conditions of Scotland were different from those of England, inasmuch as there was already a division in the rating between owners and occupiers, and that, therefore, that was the ground on which this Bill proposed to go further than the English Bill. On the occasion when the English Bill was before the House, Scotch and Irish Members were asked to support it because, it was alleged, its provisions might subsequently be extended to Scotland and Ireland. He did not know whether the hon. Member for Elland regarded this measure as the same as the Bill which he introduced.
§ *SIR CHARLES RENSHAW
said there was a very great difference between this Bill and the hon. Member's English Bill. In the first place, there was the somewhat striking feature that not a single name which appeared on the Bill of 14th April was on the back of this Bill. It was also to be noticed that the Bill then under consideration was prefaced by a very clear explanatory note showing what the actual proposals of the Bill were. Now, he noticed that on this Bill there was an absence of any such Memorandum. There were other very significant differences. The Member for Elland proposed to capitalise the site value and make a charge in respect of rates calculated at 3 per cent. on the site value. Again, the English Bill carefully safeguarded all existing contracts. By that measure the rates were to be levied on the value of the building and on the value of the land; that was to say, there would be a separate rate levied as between the value of the site and the value of the buildings on the site; and there was power given to deal with parks and pleasure grounds. In the present Bill the valuation was not to be taken at 3 per cent. Most of them who were familiar with land ownership would be very satisfied with such a rate of investment. This Bill went much further than the English Bill, and took 4 per cent. of the value of the land. There was to be a new rate, limited to 2s. in the £ on the value of the land when it had been fixed; but the net proceeds of such new assessment was to be leviable only upon owners. This additional rate upon the owners was to be used in relief of the occupying ratepayers. Occupiers were apparently to pay their rates on the present full value, whilst owners were to pay their share on the basis at which they paid at present, and to pay an additional rate as well.
He did not think hon. Members generally realised what a large proportion of rates was paid in respect of ownership in Scotland. The latest Local Taxation Returns which were available—those for 1901, the Scotch Office being remiss in that respect—showed that out of assessments raised in burghs, counties, and parishes in Scotland in that year, of £4,890,000, £2,190,000 was raised in respect of ownership, and £2,700,000 was 888 raised in respect of occupancy. It was rather curious to observe that whilst the rates in counties on ownership were nearly twice what they were on occupancy, the rates on occupancy in burghs were almost three times what they were in respect of ownership. At the same time there were a large number of rates in burghs, such as those for municipal buildings, roads, and bridges, poor rate, and the like, which were levied half on owners and half on occupiers; while in the city of Glasgow the occupier paid the whole of the police, sanitary, and domestic water rate. He ventured to submit that any change of the kind suggested in the. Bill, if it became law, would have the effect of throwing a heavy additional burden upon ownership as against occupancy, and that would inflict a very considerable amount of hardship. Supporters of this Bill always maintained that owners did not bear their proper share of the rates in urban localities, because the expenditure of the rates in the locality benefited their property, and therefore they ought to bear a larger proportion than they now did. In the great city of Glasgow, which was typical of other burghs in Scotland, he did not, believe that it could be urged that such a transference could be made, relieving as it would do the occupying tenants of the burgh, and throwing an additional burden on ownership, without compelling owners to pay something which gave them really no direct benefit. The benefit of rates levied on occupancy attached far more to occupancy than to ownership. He knew of no greater hardship than the fact that the police in the counties of Scotland were entirely paid at the expense of ownership; and yet those police were available, not primarily for the purpose of protecting landowners or of seeing that people did not run away with houses, but were maintained to preserve law and order amongst the citizens generally, who were far more numerous as occupiers than as owners. He had always felt that that was a hardship upon the owners, and that the occupiers should bear a fair share of the burden of the police rate.
Clause 7 seemed to be a sort of afterthought; he did not think it appeared in the early Bills. That clause proposed 889 to abrogate all contracts entered into before the measure became law. This was the most striking difference between the English and the Scotch Bill. He regretted that the hon. Member for Argyllshire, and the hon. Member for Ayr Burghs, in moving and seconding the Bill, did not make use of any fresh arguments in support of this very drastic proposal. He knew that the basis of a Bill of this kind was said to be found in the Minority Report of the Royal Commission on Taxation, which was signed by Lord Balfour of Burleigh and the late Lord Kinross; but that Report stated that all existing contracts should be absolutely respected. He contended that there was no justification for a measure so extreme as that now submitted for the consideration of the House.
What would be the position of the unfortunate landowner in Scotland—for he would be unfortunate indeed—if this Bill ever passed? He would have to value for himself the value of the land upon which his house, or railway, or dock, or factory was built separately from the value attaching to the buildings upon it. It was suggested that there was a parallel in the case of valuation for income-tax. But that was a totally different question. When a man made a return of his income he had got to deal with no intangible quantity; but here the unfortunate owner of property had got to face all the problems which had vexed the most acute and capable minds of many generations of valuators, and fix the value of the land apart from the buildings. He had also to shut out from his mind everything that was built on the site in his immediate neighbourhood. Then he had to close his eyes and refuse to consider the question of the value of the site from an amenity point of view. This was one of the most difficult problems to approach; and he could not imagine anything more injurious to industrial life in Scotland than that a Bill of this kind should become law. The hon. Member for Halifax referred to East Ham. What was to prevent any man going down there and establishing a factory? It was the high rates amounting to 10s. in the £. But when a man put up a 890 factory in such a locality he knew perfectly what he was about, and that he would have to pay 10s. in the £ for rates; but if he went outside that district he would only have to pay perhaps 2s. or 3s. in the £. Naturally this was a consideration in fixing a locality for creating public works.
The corporation of the great city of Glasgow had decided to support this Bill which dealt very drastically with the ownership of land. It proposed to place an additional heavy burden on ownership, in order to render the position of the occupying tenant better than it was at present. The difficulty of arriving at an equitable assessment of the separate values of a site and the buildings upon it would, be insuperable. Moreover, in his opinion the cost of assessment would be enormously increased if they made provisions of the extraordinary kind proposed in this Bill. He admitted the necessity of broadening the basis on which local rates were raised. But they ought not to bring in the capital value of land alone. What was required was a complete change of the system on which local rates were levied. He denied that the Bill would be likely to reduce local expenditure. On the contrary, it proposed to tap an additional source of taxation from a comparatively few owners of property, holding out thereby an inducement to municipal extravagance. As indicating the importance of the question, he would mention that the receipts of local authorities in Scotland in 1901–2 was £16,811,000, as compared with £8,516,000 in 1891–2. No doubt the public mind was vexed at these constant additions to taxations. The Bill, indeed, upset the existing system, and would not settle anything. It was a thoroughly bad measure, the effect of which would be prejudicial to the best interests of local government in Scotland. It aimed a blow at contractual obligations, and generally it would retard the progress of a final settlement of local taxation difficulties and anomalies. The question of rating reform was a very large and important one; and he should prefer it should be dealt with by his right hon. friends than by hon. Gentlemen opposite.
§ *MR. FINDLAY (Lanarkshire, N. E.)
said that he had been engaged in municipal work in the district in which he lived for upwards of twenty years. The increase of land value to the superiors had been growing from year to year in this industrial centre in Scotland, so that the income derivable from the land had been greatly augmented through the enterprise of the people. He maintained also that the superiors, who possessed enormous power, placed conditions in contracts which feuars had to accept, otherwise the land would not be let to them. His municipal experience had convinced him, therefore, that the principle of the Bill was right in the interests of the community that created the value of the land. It would not only be a step in the right direction, but it would spread taxation and make it more equitable than at present. He cited the case of a water scheme promoted in his district at a cost of over £100,000, the water being taken from bare hills miles away where the land was practically of little value. The municipality had to pay thousands of pounds for the land and way-leaves, and they wanted to see a better division of the incidence of taxation, so that those who were reaping the benefit of these public improvements should also pay their share of public burdens bearing so heavily to-day on many municipalities. The city assessor of Glasgow, who dealt with over 5,500,000 rentals in a year, did not consider there would be much difficulty in dealing with the site and the buildings values separately. He was of opinion that this Bill could be considered in Committee so as to deal fairly with all the interests involved.
§ *SIR WILLIAM ARROL (Ayrshire, S.)
said that as a resident in Glasgow it was something new to him to have to come so far in order to learn what was happening in that great city. He was very much interested in trade and commerce, and was naturally interested in ground values in the vicinity of their large industrial concerns. This Bill, as far as he could see, would in a good many ways be a very serious thing in connection with their engineering industries, which it would hamper in a good many ways. He had been a resident in Glasgow for 892 over forty years, and had taken an active part in the industries in and round about the city, and he was very much surprised to see that a great city like that could not get any representative to put forward its case, and should require to go to Argyllshire and Ayrshire for the purpose of bringing forward a matter actually affecting it as a great commercial city. He would like to refer to what had been said about Motherwell. There were no great land difficulties there in connection with public works, and he did not think Motherwell had any grievance. But he thought they in Glasgow, in which he had been interested for forty years, had a considerable grievance because they had to provide houses for the people working in Motherwell. He had told the Motherwell people that it was a disgrace that they could not build houses for their own workmen instead of driving them into Glasgow.
Now he came to the question of the value of land in Glasgow. He knew something about that. When he started business he had only a small piece of ground in the city. Having but a limited capital he had to be very cautious. It was impossible for him to take a large piece of ground; so as his requirements grew he had to go farther afield. He first paid 5s. per square yard for his ground. Later on he required to extend his business premises, and had to pay 9s. 6d. per square yard for ground lying alongside his premises. A few years later he paid 16s. for ground for extension, and a neighbour at a later date had to pay 27s. for a piece on the other side of the street. As much as 40s. was asked for ground on the estate alongside. When the City Bank crash came the whole of that ground came down in value, and he got the same ground as he had paid 16s. and his neighbour 27s. at 7s. 6d. per square yard. As his business continued to grow he had to cross the street in another direction to ground for which the corporation and the school board had at an earlier date paid 15s., and he got the remainder for 7s. right out. What were land values under these conditions? Land was just a commodity and its value depended upon its use. Then he returned to his original side of the street and got land on 893 another estate. Twenty-five years previously he had bought land at 27s., and he was able to get the remainder at 8s. three years ago. The rise and fall had been felt in every district in Glasgow, and hundreds of people had been ruined by speculating in land expecting it to remain at a high price. The cause of all this was, no doubt, greatly due to speculation in land. Whenever the Glasgow Corporation required anything they put 1d. or 2d. on the improvement rate, and the result was that there were hundreds of men speculating in different properties in Glasgow.
They had heard a great deal about garden cities around their larger industrial centres, but in his opinion there were no better lungs for a city than large works, with extensive open spaces, and if the Glasgow Corporation would try to reduce the rates so as to accommodate large works within the boundaries instead of driving them out, it would be a great deal better for the citizens and for the working population. The members of the corporation were for the most part very small ratepayers, and they never felt the burden they put on the people by driving the large industries outside the city. The result would be the same as in the East End of London. The works would be unable to pay the rates, and the working people in the district would be overburdens. He might give another instance of the difficulty of creating garden cities. He was interested in a concern employing about 2,000 hands. It was about ten miles outside the city, and houses were built for the workpeople, though most of them preferred to live in the city. The reason why the men were willing to work outside and yet live in the city of Glasgow was in order to get employment for the girls and women left in it. He knew a case where a man was content to live in Glasgow and get 5s. less weekly than he would have had living in Dumbarton where he worked, simply because in the former place he had better facilities for finding employment for the female members of his family.
§ MR. FINDLAY
Might not that be the reason why men working at Mother-well prefer to live in Glasgow.
§ SIR WILLIAM ARROL
, in conclusion, urged that it was the duty of the Glasgow Corporation to give every facility for large works to be carried on within the city boundaries.
§ MR. CHARLES DOUGLAS (Lanarkshire, N.W.)
failed to gather from his remarks whether or not the hon. Member who spoke last intended to vote for the Bill, but felt at any rate that he had supplied them with a great many valuable concrete illustrations which greatly strengthened the case in support of the measure. The promoters of the Bill were very sensible of the evils arising from speculation in land which was largely stimulated by the present system of rating, and they were equally sensible of the burden of the rates upon industry in towns and in crowded districts, and these were amongst the reasons that led him to support the present Bill. It had been fortunate that the discussion had proceeded on principles rather than on the details of the Bill. He did not complain that more than one Member had dealt with a very important detail, viz., the question of the taxation of feuduties as proposed under the Bill. He readily understood the reluctance of the hon. Member who introduced the Bill, and of those who advised him to see the past results of the rating system go unchallenged. He concurred very largely with what had fallen from the hon. Member for Kincardineshire, that this was a part of the Bill which required to be amended, and it certainly was a matter which could be dealt with in Committee. He would not therefore labour the point at that stage. But although he had that opinion with regard to that particular point, he had no hesitation in giving a whole-hearted support to the Motion for the Second Reading. After all, the principle of the Bill was not affected by the question of how the new burden on land was to be distributed or how they were going to deal with existing contracts.
It was the view of those who supported the Bill that the value of land was enormously increased by public expenditure, and therefore it was the fairest subject for special taxation for local purposes. Some indeed went further and said that 895 the value of land as land, apart from all matters of capital invested in it, was altogether due to public expenditure and to the population by which that expenditure was required. Eventually all public expenditure went to increase the value of the land in the neighbourhood in which the public money was laid out. The houses and buildings on the land were worth no more as buildings, and the insurance value on them was no greater on account of the public expenditure. Notoriously the increase went altogether to the value of the site. His hon. friend the Member for East Renfrewshire had asked why stocks and shares should not be similarly dealt with. Well, if he could show a case in which local expenditure had benefited any other class of property, he admitted at once it would be a fair case for consideration, especially if it were a kind of property which was in its very nature what land was—a monopoly. He believed that his hon. friend disputed the contention that property—as garden land—was a monopoly, but he was bound to admit that in the matter of locality it was a monopoly, and their contention was that locality was the very essence of the case. By land they did not mean a patch of land anywhere; they meant that land in a particular situation gained value from local expenditure, and it could not be replaced by any other tract of land in the world. The locality was the monopoly, and therefore for their purposes land in the sense of site was a monopoly. They therefore claimed that there was ample justification for imposing special taxation on site values. The public authorities were entitled to draw upon the value which their expenditure had given to the land. The question whether the expenditure was extravagant was an absolute side issue, but the contention was that the local authorities could not meet their obligations and could not maintain the standard of a civilised community under modern industrial conditions unless they were allowed to go to those who were their proper debtors and obtain for the community something of the value which communal expenditure had given to the land which they were privileged to use. On that ground they claimed that land ought to be rated separately from all other subjects, and 896 should bear its share of the burden caused by that expenditure which had contributed so largely to its value.
The Member for West Renfrew had spoken of the heavy burden of rates in East Ham and had suggested that as an argument against the Bill. But the reply to that was that if the local authorities had had access, as they should have done, to the value of the improvements which they themselves were making, the burden of rates upon houses and industry would have been very different to what it was to-day. He personally,however, attached far more importance to another point. His hon. friend the Member for the Central Division of Glasgow had expressed very strongly the view that the holding up of the land for higher prices was a misfortune, but he had not suggested to them a means by which that misfortune might be remedied. He himself thought the misfortune was greatly encouraged by the present system of rating. That system constituted a positive exemption of the very subject which it was most desirable to rate heavily in order that there might be a greater inducement to bring it into the market. It was not only unjust but in the highest degree impolitic that there should be a holding up of land for a ransom price. It was because he found his views on this point expressed in the Bill that he should support it. Its machinery might be imperfect, it contained, no doubt, provisions that ought to and could be modified in Committee, but it gave effect to a view which, in his opinion, was sound in policy, and therefore he had no hesitation in giving it his support.
§ *MR. HOZIER
said he felt the Bill was not one on which he ought to give a silent vote. The hon. Member for North-West Lanarkshire had stated that he was supporting a Bill for the taxation of land values, but he had carefully explained that he was only going to vote for it on general principles. He objected to the taxation of feu-duties and therefore could not be said to be in favour of the Bill.
§ *MR. HOZIER
It is the longest and most important clause. Does every hon. Member opposite repudiate it then?
§ MR. TREVELYAN
pointed out that a good many of those who were in favour of the taxation of land values repudiated that clause.
§ *MR. HOZIER
said he wanted someone whose name was on the back of the Bill to say if the promoters repudiated the clause. Continuing, he said he desired to congratulate the hon. Member for South Ayrshire on his admirable contribution to that day's debate. He was an oppressed feuar on his (the speaker's) father's property in Glasgow, and he was glad that he seemed to be pretty well satisfied. It was a somewhat remarkable fact when they considered the enormous interest supposed to be taken in that Bill in Scotland that when the House was almost counted out there were only five Scotch Members on the Opposition side.
§ *MR. HOZIER
That was not so, but at any rate the House was within an ace of being counted out. Forty-two Members only came in, and one of these was the Lord-Advocate.
§ *MR. HOZIER
said that was the case, and he did so because he disapproved of the Bill very much, and seeing that so little interest was manifested in it by hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite—there was not one Member of the Front 898 Opposition Bench present at the time—he could not see why the discussion should go on. He had been a careful listener during the whole of the debate, and he was bound to say he thought the mover, the hon. Member for Argyllshire, advanced a very curious argument for Glasgow being entitled to impose an extra rate on the community. His contention was, in fact, that the Glasgow Corporation managed its affairs in so satisfactory a manner, for it only rated the occupier to the extent of 2s. in the £, that it ought, therefore, to have more money to play with. He never brought forward one single argument in favour of what, after all, was the really monstrous proposal in the Bill, viz., the taxation of existing feu-duties; indeed, no one who had spoken in support of the Bill had argued in favour of it; on the contrary, most of them had absolutely repudiated the idea, and he had reason to believe the hon. Member for the Border Burghs who was to speak later on would express very much the same opinion. But on the other hand, hon. Members opposite would do well to bear in mind that if they did not tax the feu-duties—that was the superior—by this Bill they would tax the feuar or vassal, who would not like such treatment, and would have his own remedy, for he possessed ever so many more votes than the superior. Feu-duties already paid income-tax, and now it was proposed under this Bill to impose on them a municipal duty in addition of 10 per cent.
The feu-duties were quite distinct from ground rents, and he wanted hon. friends from English constituencies to understand that point. Practically no builder in Scotland would accept a ground lease in Scotland, no matter how long that lease might be. He would not even take one for 999 years; he always insisted on having perpetuity. A feu was practically a sale and the feu-duty was nothing more nor less than the interest on a mortgage, and did they wish the interest on mortgages on land to be taxed for local purposes? The man who was called the superior sold the land to the feuar, and the superior practically advanced the whole of the purchase money to him on the security of the land. If he took a mortgage instead there would 899 be no question of taxing him, and therefore, it could not possibly be argued that a tax should be imposed on feu-duties. Moreover, a man who feued a piece of land got a very great advantage over a purchaser if he were, for instance, a builder or a manufacturer with a certain amount of money which he required for building purposes. He had no necessity to pay for the land if he feued it, and all his capital became available for building or expanding his business. On the contrary, if he bought the land, the very utmost he could obtain of the purchase money on mortgage would be three-quarters. Ought the interest on mortgages on land to be taxed for local purposes? It was already taxed for income-tax purposes. There was not a single argument that applied to feu-duties which did not apply to mortgages on land in any locality whatever. Feu-duties were quite different from ground rents. The superior could never get any more than his fixed feu-duty, there was no unearned increment for him, and the taxation of feu-duties would not add one single penny to the assessable value of a town or county. It would only be a readjustment and a general smash up of contracts.
The great proportion, probably two-thirds, of feu-duties were held not by large proprietors, but by men of small means, by churches, by charitable institutions, and by friendly societies. In fact, feu duties were bought and sold at the present moment as securities considered even better than Consols. They constituted a very favourite form of investment. If they taxed the feu-duties, surely it would be a case of the worst possible form of taxation without representation. It would absolutely kill the system of feuing which enabled men with small capital to develop industries. Taxing existing feu-duties would mean robbing, not so much the rich man, who was well able to look after himself, but the churches, charities, trusts, small proprietors, and friendly societies which had invested an enormous amount of money in them in good faith. He, therefore, trusted that those who did not wish to injure, among others, charities, friendly societies, would vote against the Second Reading of this Bill.
§ MR. THOMAS SHAW (Hawick Burghs)
said the last speaker had made a not unnatural, but at the same time a perfectly courteous reference to himself, and he would answer him in exactly the same spirit. Since the critical moment to which reference had been made—the moment of an unsuccessful attempt to count out the House, he had been continuously present and he was consequently surprised to hear the hon. Gentleman declare that the most important clause in the Bill was the seventh clause. To his mind it was the least important clause. It had been almost universally repudiated in the course of the debate.
§ Mr. THOMAS SHAW
said the seventh clause had reference not to site value at all, not to putting feu-duties under the ban of this new taxation, but it had reference simply and solely to the question after the principle of the Bill had been put into operation. What should be the relief granted to those wholly interested as proprietors. His hon. friend had naturally fastened on the feu-duties.
§ MR. THOMAS SHAW
said he was not prepared to say he did not very largely agree with the views which had been expressed. On the subject of feu-duties he concurred with the opinions expressed in the Minority Report of the Royal Commission, which stated that feu-duties were levied in perpetuity on land and that the interest thus receivable was the interest of a mortgage-holder. No doubt, so far as the pecuniary return went, the superior was in the same position as a mortgager or a bondholder, as they called him in Scotland. The difference was that the superior was not a mere vendor of land. He actually remained possessed of what was known in law as the dominium, and that was where the substance of the matter came in. Unfortunately, the superior was not infrequently in the habit of laying down troublesome and onerous conditions, and that was the essential difference that had 901 to be recognised between the interest of a superior and that of a mortgager. If any of those conditions were contravened, if there were a breach of covenant in any respect, the whole of the land and all on the land were forfeited and reverted to this person, who pro tanto was very much larger in power than a mortgage-holder. If the superior were treated as a mere mortgage-holder he should have nothing to say, but when he came forward and claimed a controlling and powerful interest in the land, something almost in the nature of a confiscatory character, then he thought Parliament would be right in endeavouring to obtain some hold upon him. Therefore he put away this reference to the readjustment of the rights of the heritable proprietors after this site value was imposed.
The important question was—should they, or should they not, introduce the system of imposing a site value in Scotland? They upon the Opposition side of the House took their stand upon the Report which was signed by Lord Balfour of Burleigh and his colleagues in the minority, and the groundwork of this Bill was contained in the Report of the Royal Commission—and in passing he desired to state that there was one name attached to that Report, the name of the late Lord Kinross, whose diota on matters relating to the incidence of rating on hereditable property in Scotland the House always received not merely with respect but with something almost akin to veneration. It had been said that this was apparently a Glasgow Bill. A good deal had been said about Glasgow in the debate, for what reason he did not know; but, if Glasgow had fathered the Bill, it had done a very good thing indeed. As a matter of fact, however, the groundwork of the Bill was contained in the Report of the Royal Commission. He proposed to state two or three propositions from that Report. The leading proposition laid down in that Report was that—Site and structure, which are now combined for rating purposes, differ so essentially in character that they should be separately valued.That was the principle of this Bill. The familiar answer to that was that for practical purposes it could not 902 be done. The hon. Member for West Renfrewshire drew a doleful picture of a landlord in distress as to how to fill in the valuation return. He saw no need for distress, seeing that it was done in other civilised countries. The Commissioners in regard to this matter said—Site value and building value have a different and even an opposite character. In many respects it appears to us that a system which treats them exactly alike, as our present system of rating does, is prima facie unfair and unwise.They added on the subject of the practicability of valuation—On the whole we are disposed to think that the valuation of sites sufficiently accurate and not inferior to the present valuation of hereditaments can be made without undue labour and expense.In their own experience as arbitrators one of the most familiar operations was that of valuing sites, and then, on the top of that, valuing buildings. It was a perfectly easy and in most cases a very successful method of valuation. They had had legislation in that direction. In recent years they had been familiar with subventions from Imperial funds for the relief of taxation on agricultural land. There was very little agricultural land in this country that had no building on it, and consequently it had been found necessary to have separate assesments for lands and buildings. He had before him recently a valuation return for county Cavan in which there were two valuations—the total valuation and the valuation of the land itself, the difference representing the value of the buildings.
That disposed of the proposition that separate valuation was not practicable. It was perfectly easy to ask. Was it, or was it not, a good thing to do? He found the propositions of the Report of the Commission crystallised in the first three or four clauses of this Bill.
§ MR. THOMAS SHAW
Yes. On the matter of urban local taxation the Report stated—A careful consideration of all the circumstances of urban local taxation leads us to the 903 conclusion that a moderate rate, proportioned to its value, ought to be imposed as part of any scheme for the readjustment of the burden of local taxation in urban districts.To his mind there was something far more important than rating reform involved in the matter. There was also a social reform underlying this question which the Commissioners referred to. It was perfectly certain that building was hampered while the present condition of affairs existed, which allowed a rate to be paid on a perfectly trivial valuation, and then when the land was demanded for building the valuation was enormously, and sometimes a hundred-fold, greater. How was building hampered? The Commissioners dealt very broadly with that matter. They said there was a very strong argument for rating site values on grounds of public policy, regard being had to the effects of the taxation on industry and development. Buildings were a necessity of life, and the present system discouraged building and made houses fewer, worse, and dearer. That was the social point which the House should consider. How did this affect the housing problem and the social prosperity of the community with regard to overcrowding? He held that the first condition of social reform dealing with overcrowding was covered by this Bill. In the Minority Report this language was used—While the rating of site values does concern the public at large as an administrative reform, it is of special importance in connection with the urgent problem of providing house accommodation for the working classes.He held that the existing system under which land was enabled to pay a perfectly fragmentary and fractional rate, as compared with any estimate based on its true value, was in the highest degree an impediment to public improvements of all kinds. It was a premium on those bad speculators who held up land against building, and thus prevented the community expanding at easy rates under easy circumstances and being in a position to profit by its own industry.
The Bill would also affect the problem of the taxation of unoccupied land. He had at that moment a picture in his mind's eye of a certain burgh in Scotland where in one of the principal streets there was a not inconsiderable block of unoccupied land, and there it stood a vacant site, very 904 valuable, but worth nothing to anyone, because of a squabble between the proprietor and the local authorities, the proprietor refusing in consequence to develop it. That site, and similiar sites which were held up, would be hit by this Bill. There was the case of Rosyth, where the Government had to pay eighty-five years, purchase for the land they required. It seemed a perfectly preposterous proposition that the proprietor of any land should be paying rates on one valuation up to the date when the public wanted the land and that then the price should go up enormously against the public and even against the community which had created the value for which it was to pay a second time. There was also the case of the Edinburgh Water Trust. That trust wanted forty-five acres of land. They were paying rates upon £3 5s. per acre. The total value of that land, allowing even for the long term of thirty years purchase, was £4,387; but the Edinburgh Water Trust was not able to acquire this land without paying £20,000, or 136 years purchase. These were incidents which shocked the minds of the Commissioners. The fact that such things could obtain showed that under the present system rates were levied not upon the real but upon a fictitious value. Since Glasgow had been referred to, he would also give a comparatively recent instance applicable to the Clyde— namely, what the Clyde Trust had to pay for a block of land in the county of Renfrew. There were 110 acres, the annual rent being £240, and the proprietor of it had been paying taxes only on £240. It was essential that for the making of a dock the land should be acquired, and the Clyde Trustees had to pay no less a sum than £104,500, or at the rate of £950 an acre, which was equal to 435 years purchase. He did not envy the Government that declined to apply its mind towards finding some sort of remedy for a state of affairs which was anti-social, anti-progressive, and a hindrance to all municipal enterprise and industry, and made the public buy back the value which it had itself created.
The Commissioners laid down the following broad proposition with regard to a site value rate—It would conduce to placing the urban rating system on a more equitable and thus upon 905 a sounder basis; it would do something towards lightening the burden in respect of building, and thus something towards solving the difficult and urgent housing problem.While as to the opportuneness of this reform they said—It is especially opportune at a time when under the schemes they are putting forward the burden of rates in towns will be appreciably relieved.He was unable to ascertain from his speech whether the hon. Member for Ayrshire approved of a system under which, as he had told the House, the landlord had raised the rental of land as he himself developed it from 7s. to 27s. per yard.
§ SIR WILLIAM ARROL
said it was not the landlord, but the speculator who did that. The landlord, when he came to deal with him, feued the land at a figure at which he only got 4 per cent. The land which the hon. Member had described as of enormous value had been unoccupied for twenty-five years, was let at only a nominal rental as it was occasionally under water, and no one would either build upon it or do anything else with it.
§ MR. THOMAS SHAW
said it turned out, then, that legislation of this kind would not hit the good agricultural landlord but the land speculator who had been bleeding his hon. friend. There could not have been a better justification for the Bill than the interposition of his hon. friend. The community were actually sweated for land that was under water. He never heard of a more indefensible system. He had no desire to confiscate any man's property, therefore he would not propose to interfere with some of the preposterous existing contracts. But what he wished to do was to put a stop as soon as possible to confiscation of the community's earnings which was going on under the present system. Clause 7 was not the important part of the Bill. The really important part was that which provided for the imposition of a special site value rate, and when once that imposition was made it would afford those advantages in the direction of housing and social reform which all would welcome.
THE LORD-ADVOCATE (Mr. SCOTT DICKSON, Glasgow, Bridgton)
said he found himself in considerable difficulty in dealing with this Bill, because, although it occupied less than three pages of print, a clause which occupied more than one page of print had been universally repudiated. Moreover, other portions of the Bill were not less important or less open to criticism even by those who, like himself, were not inclined to go so far as some Members on his own side of the House in opposition to the taxation of land values. But he thought this Bill was a very bad example of how the taxation of land values should be applied, and, while sympathising with the tenderness of conscience of the hon. Member for Kincardineshire, he had to confess that his own Parliamentary conscience would not allow him to vote for it.
He did not quite appreciate the illustrations which the hon. Member for the Border Burghs had given, because the Bill, being so framed as to apply entirely to burghs, would affect neither Rosyth nor the ground at Renfrew. The picturesqueness of the hon. Member's illustrations was only equalled by their irrelevance to the question before them. The Member for the Border Burghs had scarcely put the full facts before them in regard to the land at Renfrew. The truth was that it was the proprietor, and not the Clyde Trustees, who gave the value to the land by obtaining an Act of Parliament enabling him to construct docks upon it. The Clyde Trustees then said that he was going to make a competing dock, and that they must, therefore, buy him out, and they acquired the land at the enormously increased value which the proprietor had given to it by converting it from water logged land into land suitable for a dock. Surely that was miles away from the question they were now considering, which was the taxation of land values in burghs.
The Member for the Border Burghs had referred to the Minority Report of the Royal Commission on Local Taxation. But there were some important qualifications even in the Minority Report which the present Bill totally disregarded. In the first place, the Minority Report said that a rate proportioned to the site value 907 alone should be levied for urban improvement purposes in the "larger" burghs. He entirely agreed with what had been said as to the care with which they should regard any statement made in a Report signed by so careful a man as the late Lord Kinross. The word "larger" was not put in without consideration. This Bill, however, applied to every burgh in Scotland—Royal, Parliamentary, or police. In Scotland they had Royal burghs of one or two hundred houses, and three or four hundred inhabitants, and this Bill would apply to every burgh in Scotland, whether big or little. It was, therefore, not correct to say that the Bill proceeded on the lines of the Minority Report, for it was not confined to the larger burghs. The Minority Report also said that the rate on land values should be divided equally between owners and occupiers. The principle of this Bill was that it was all to be put on the owners. Further, the Minority Report stated that the proceeds of the rate should be applied only to purposes which directly added to the value of the site. If this Bill was founded on the principles of the Minority Report, why was not that provision inserted?
§ MR. AINSWORTH
I should like to ask if the right hon. Gentleman would be prepared to read the Bill a second time, if we accepted the Amendments which he now suggests?
MR. SCOTT DICKSON
said he would like to deal with one Bill at a time. But he assured the hon. Member that he would give his most careful consideration to any Bill he might introduce. Apparently his observations had convinced the hon. Member that the present Bill stood badly in need of amendment.
He thought the Bill could have been made very much shorter. Apparently the seventh clause was repudiated by everybody. The first three clauses might have been struck out, except the last line of Clause 3. These clauses provided that the landowner was to apply his mind to make a return as to the value of the site and the value of the building, but the assessor was to fix the value. The assessor would be far better able to 908 fix the value without any return from the proprietor at all. Under the existing law there was an appeal from the assessor to the Court of Session. He did not think there was any appeal given in the Bill, and he did not wonder at that, because the value was to be such value as the assessor would deem reasonable. It was not what the Court thought reasonable. It was not what, in point of fact, was reasonable, but it was what the assessor deemed reasonable.
§ MR. THOMAS SHAW
May I call attention to the fourth clause, which particularly provides for the hearing of appeals against valuation.
MR. SCOTT DICKSON
said his point was that one might go to the Court of Session, but that the Court would simply say that under the Bill the valuation was to be of such amount as the assessor deemed reasonable. By Clause 5 a maximum of 2s. might be added to the existing rates.
§ MR. CALDWELL
said there would be an increased revenue of 2s., but the other taxes would be correspondingly less.
MR. SCOTT DICKSON
said that the Bill, on the other hand, would give 2s. more to spend—2s. more for extravagant local authorities to spend. That surely was not a good principle to put in a Bill.
With regard to open spaces, the sixth clause was the worst against open spacer that he had ever seen. The only open spaces that were to be left free from taxation were those which were heldand enjoyed by the public under Act of Parliament, or under or by permission of any municipal or local authority. He would take the example of the gardens in Edinburgh between Heriot Row and Queen Street. These gardens were not held under Act of Parliament nor under a municipal or local authority, and by this Bill they would require to be rated as building land. The regulation in the Bill might be very suitable for Glasgow—he did not know—but he thought this would be a most unpopular measure in Edinburgh.
909 It was said that the Bill would do something to prevent the aggregation of wealth in the shape of unearned increment in certain hands. It would do nothing of the kind. Take the case of a man who had bought his land last year at the full price. This man would be informed that his land would be taxed on the value he had paid for it. If he proceeded to sell, the proposed buyer would say he could not give so much for the land now because there was a 2s. land-value tax on it. In this way the unfortunate present proprietor would lose the whole difference on the capital value produced by the new liability, and in any future transaction it would be discounted. That came uncommonly near confiscation. The loss was not spread over; it was not allowed to run with the land, but was to be put in such a shape that the whole of it would come out of the pocket of the present holder. Where land fluctuated in value, they might have land of the value of holder would have 27s., the unhappy to pay the tax on that basis, and then, after holding it for years, he might, owing to a drop in value, have to sell it at 7s. per yard.
With regard to Clause 7, for which nobody had a word to say, it was astonishing that a Bill, which was said to be a Glasgow Corporation Bill, should come into the House of Commons with one-third of it indefensible. He suggested that on a future occasion a new draftsman should be got to deal with land values. All he had said about the land applied still more to feu-duties. The unhappy proprietor of the feu never got a penny more, no matter what the rise, in the land value was.
§ MR. CALDWELL
Oh, yes! For instance, when a man requires to reenter, he will have to pay a year's rental to the proprietor, and that is a year's rental at the time he enters.
MR. SCOTT DICKSON
said it was true that was one of the incidents, but it did not come on very often. The 910 present proprietor would have to pay the tax, and when he came to sell his feu-duty, the buyer would make allowance for the burden on the feu and would only offer a lower price. The result would be that it would all fall on the existing proprietor. He had received the report of a conference held in London last year in reference to this question. He deprecated this Bill being identified with Glasgow. He had the highest respect for the commercial credit and honour of Glasgow, and he should be sorry to think that they were the corporation which would seek to put upon the Statute-book a provision that "any contract which has been or may hereafter be entered into for the purpose of relieving any person entitled to payment of any ground burdens from liability to bear a proportionate share of the payment of land value assessment in accordance with this Act, shall have no force or effect whatever." Even in the crofters' legislation respect was paid to existing contracts. Was it to be said that the keen business men of Glasgow were not quite able to make and carry out their contracts without the interference of this House? He could understand such interference where the parties did not meet on equal terms, but that was not the case with the class of contracts in question here. Those contracts were made by men who understood their business, and they were made upon strictly business principles, and the idea of proposing that existing contracts should be dealt with in that way was altogether out of the question. That clause involved a principle which this House should never allow to pass. He could not find in any clause any principle which, in his judgment, ought to commend the Bill to the House. It did not follow the Report of the Commission, but ran counter to it. However social reforms might be advanced, this was not a measure calculated to do it, and, therefore, he hoped the Bill would not receive a Second Reading, but would be sent back for reconsideration with a view to bringing in some kind of measure of a more equitable character.
§ Question put.912
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 145; Noes, 131.(Division List No. 166.)913
|Abraham, Wm. (Cork, N. E)||Findlay, Alexander (Lanark, N E||O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.)|
|Allen, Charles P.||Flavin, Michael Joseph||O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W.|
|Ambrose, Robert||Flynn, James Christopher||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.)||O'Donnell, John (Mayo, S.)|
|Asquith, Rt. Hn. Herb. Henry||Goddard, Daniel Ford||O'Dowd, John|
|Austin, Sir John||Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton||O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.|
|Barlow, John Emmott||Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil||O'Malley, William|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Harwood, George,||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Boland, John||Hay, Hon. Claude George||Parrott, William|
|Bolton, Thomas Dolling||Hayden, John Patrick||Partington, Oswald|
|Bright, Allan Heywood||Hayter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur D.||Pirie, Duncan V.|
|Brown, George M. (Edinburgh)||Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H.||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Price, Robert John|
|Bryce, Rt. Hon. James||Higham, John Sharp||Rea, Russell|
|Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Holland, Sir William Henry||Reddy, M.|
|Burke, E. Haviland||Hope, John Deans (Fife, West)||Redmond, John E. (Waterford|
|Burns, John||Isaacs, Rufus Daniel||Reid, Sir R. Threshie (Dumfries|
|Buxton, Sydney Charles||Jacoby, James Alfred||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)|
|Caldwell, James||Jones, David Brynmor (Swansea||Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)|
|Cameron, Robert||Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire||Roche, John|
|Campbell, John (Armagh, S.)||Joyce, Michael||Rutherford, W. W. (Liverpool)|
|Carvill, Patrick Geo. Hamilton||Kennedy, Vincent P. (Cavan, W.||Schwann, Charles E.|
|Causton, Richard Knight||Kilbride, Denis||Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Kitson, Sir James||Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Labouchere, Henry||Sinclair, John (Forfarshire)|
|Craig, Robert Hunter (Lanark)||Lamont, Norman||Slack, John Bamford|
|Crean, Eugene||Law, Hugh Alex (Donegal, W.)||Sloan, Thomas Henry|
|Cremer, William Randal||Lawson, Sir Wilfrid (Cornwall)||Soares, Ernest J.|
|Crombie, John William||Layland-Barratt, Francis||Spencer, Rt. Hn. C. R. (Northants|
|Crooks, William||Leese, Sir Joseph F. (Accrington||Stanhope, Hon. Philip James|
|Dalziel, James Henry||Leng, Sir John||Sullivan, Donal|
|Delany, William||Lewis, John Herbert||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Devlin, Charles Ramsay (Galway||Lloyd-George, David||Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr)|
|Dewar, John A. (Inverness-sh.)||Lundon, W.||Toulmin, George|
|Dillon, John||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Donelan, Captain A.||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Wallace, Robert|
|Doogan, P. C.||M'Fadden, Edward||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark)||M'Hugh, Patrick A.||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney|
|Duncan, J. Hastings||M'Kean, John||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Dunn, Sir William||M'Killop, W. (Sligo, North)||Whiteley, George (York, W. R.)|
|Edwards, Frank||Mooney, John J.||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|Elibank, Master of||Morley, Rt. Hn. J. (Montrose)||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)|
|Ellice, Capt E. C (S. Andrw'sBghs||Moulton, John Fletcher||Woodhouse, Sir J. T. (Hudders'fd|
|Emmott, Alfred||Murphy, John||Young, Samuel|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Evans, Sir Francis H. (Maidstone||Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)|
|Evans, Samuel T. (Glamorgan)||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr.|
|Eve, Harry Trelawney||O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)||Ainsworth and Mr. Dobbie.|
|Ferguson, R. C. Munro (Leith)||O'Brien, Kendal (Tipperary Mid|
|Ffrench, Peter||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex. F.||Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbysh|
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Barry, Sir Francis T. (Windsor)||Cayzer, Sir Charles William|
|Allsopp, Hon. George||Bartley, Sir George C. T.||Clive, Captain Percy A.|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir Michael Hicks||Cochrane, Hn. Thos. H. A. E.|
|Arrol, Sir William||Bentinck, Lord Henry C.||Coddington, Sir William|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Bill, Charles||Cohen, Benjamin Louis|
|Aubrey-Fletcher, Rt. Hn. Sir H.||Bond, Edward||Colomb, Rt. Hn. Sir John C. R.|
|Bagot, Capt. Josceline FitzRoy||Boscawen, Arthur Griffith||Craig, Chas. Curtis (Antrim, S.)|
|Bain, Colonel James Robert||Bowles, T. Gibson (King'sLynn||Cripps, Charles Alfred|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Manch'r||Campbell, Rt. Hn. J. A. (Glasgow||Cubitt, Hon. Henry|
|Balfour, Capt, C. B.( Hornsey)||Carson, Rt, Hn. Sir Edw. H.||Dalrymple, Sir Charles|
|Balfour, Rt Hn Gerald W. (Leeds||Cautley, Henry Strother||Davenport, William Bromley|
|Dickson, Charles Scott||Laurie, Lieut.-General||Sackville, Col. S. G Stopford|
|Dimsdale, Rt. Hn. Sir J. C.||Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow)||Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander|
|Dixon-Hartland, Sir Fred Dixon||Lawrence, Sir Joseph (Monm'th||Seton-Karr, Sir Henry|
|Douglas, Rt. Hn. A. Akers-||Lawrence, Wm. F. (Liverpool)||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Duke, Henry Edward||Lawson, John Grant (Yorks, NR||Sinclair, Louis (Romford)|
|Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton||Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage||Smith, Rt Hn J. Parker (Lanarks|
|Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J. (Manc'r.||Leveson-Gower, Frederick N.S.||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst||Loag, Rt. Hn Walter (Bristol, S.||Stanley, Edw. Jas. (Somerset)|
|Finlay, Sir R. B (Inv'rn'ssB'ghs||Lowe, Francis William||Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Lancs.)|
|FitzGerald, Sir Robert Penrose||M'Arthur, Chas. (Liverpool)||Stewart, Sir Mark J M'Taggart|
|Flower, Sir Ernest||M'Iver, Sir Lewis (Edinburgh, W||Stirling-Maxwell, Sir John M.|
|Forster, Henry William||Martin, Richard Biddulph||Stroyan, John|
|Gardner, Ernest||Maxwell, Rt Hn. Sir H. E. (Wigt'n||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Gordon, Hn. J. E. ( Elgin & Nairn)||Maxwell, W. J. H. (Dumfriessh.||Talbot, Rt. Hn J G. (Oxf'd Univ.|
|Goulding, Edward Alfred||Melville, Beresford Valentine||Thorburn, Sir Walter|
|Graham, Henry Robert||Meysey-Thompson, Sir H. M.||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Grant, Corrie||Montagu, Hn. J. Scott (Hants)||Tomlinson, Sir Wm. Edw. M.|
|Greene, Henry D. (Shrewsbury)||Moon, Edward Robert Pacy||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Grenfell, William Henry||Moore, William||Tufnell, Lieut.-Col. Edward|
|Gretton, John||Morpeth, Viscount||Walker, Col. William Hall|
|Gunter, Sir Robert||Morton, Arthur H. Aylmer||Walrond, Rt. Hn. Sir Wm. H.|
|Guthrie, Walter Murray||Muntz, Sir Philip A.||Warde, Colonel C. E.|
|Hamilton, Marq. of (L'nd'nderry||Murray, Chas. J. (Coventry)||Welby, Lt.-Col A. C. E (Taunton|
|Heath, Sir James (Staffords N W||Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Helder, Augustus||Pilkington, Colonel Richard||Wilson, John (Glasgow)|
|Hoare, Sir Samuel||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp||Wilson-Todd, Sir W H (Yorks|
|Hope, J. F. (Sheffield, Brightside||Purvis, Robert||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Howard, J. (Midd., Tottenham||Pym, C. Guy||Worsley-Taylor, Henry Wilson|
|Hozier, Hn. James Henry Cecil||Renshaw, Sir Charles Bine||Yerburgh, Robert Armstrong|
|Hudson, George Bickersteth||Ritchie, Rt. Hon. Chas. Thomson|
|Jessel, Captain Herb. Merton||Robertson, Herb. (Hackney)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir|
|Knowles, Sir Lees||Rolleston, Sir John F. L.||Hugh Shaw-Stewart and Mr.|
|Lambton, Hn. Frederick Wm.||Round, Rt. Hn. James||Baird.|
§ Main Question put.914
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 143; Noes, 123. (Division List No. 167.)915
|Abraham, William (Cork, N. E.)||Devlin, Charles Ramsay (Galway||Hope, John Deans (Fife, West)|
|Allen, Charles P.||Dewar, John A. (Inverness-sh.||Isaac, Rufus Daniel|
|Ambrose, Robert||Dillon, John||Jacoby, James Alfred|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Donelan, Captain A.||Jones, David Brynmor (Swansea|
|Asquith, Rt Hn. Herbert Henry||Doogan, P. C.||Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire)|
|Austin, Sir John||Douglas, Chas. M. (Lanark)||Joyce, Michael|
|Barlow, John Emmott||Duncan, J. Hastings||Kennedy, Vincent P (Cavan, W.|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Dunn, Sir William||Kilbride, Denis|
|Benn, John Williams||Edwards, Frank||Labouchere, Henry|
|Boland, John||Elibank, Master of||Lamont, Norman|
|Bolton, Thomas Dolling||Ellice, Capt E C (SAndr'wsBghs||Law, Hugh Alex (Donegal, W.)|
|Bright, Allan Heywood||Emmott, Alfred||Lawson, Sir Wilfrid (Cornwall)|
|Brown, George M. (Edinburgh)||Esmonde, Sir Thomas||Layland-Barratt, Francis|
|Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson||Evans, Samuel T. (Glamorgan)||Loose, Sir J. F. (Accrington)|
|Bryce, Rt. Hon. James||Eve, Harry Trelawney||Leng, Sir John|
|Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Ferguson, R. C. Munro (Leith)||Lewis, John Herbert|
|Burke, E. Haviland||Ffrench, Peter||Lundon, W.|
|Burns, John||Findlay, Alex. (Lanark, N. E.)||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift|
|Caldwell, James||Flavin, Michael Joseph||MacVeagh, Jeremiah|
|Cameron, Robert||Flynn, James Christopher||M'Fadden, Edward|
|Campbell, John (Armagh, S.)||Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.)||M'Hugh, Patrick A.|
|Carvill, Partrick Geo. Hamilton||Goddard, Daniel Ford||M'Kean, John|
|Causton, Richard Knight||Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton||M'Killop, W. (Sligo, North)|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)||M'Laren, Sir Charles Benjamin|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Harwood, George||Mooney, John J.|
|Craig, Robert Hunter (Lanark||Hay, Hon. Claude George||Morley, Rt. Hon. John (Montrose|
|Crean, Eugene||Hayden, John Patrick||Moulton, John Fletcher|
|Cremer, William Randal||Hayter, Rt Hn Sir Arthur D.||Murphy, John|
|Crombie, John William||Hemphill, Rt. Hn. Charles H.||Nannetti, Joseph P.|
|Crooks, William||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)|
|Dalziel, James Henry||Higham, John Sharp||Norton, Capt. Cecil William|
|Delany, William||Holland, Sir William Henry||O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)|
|O'Brien, K. (Tipperary Mid)||Redmond, J. E. (Waterford)||Sullivan, Donal|
|O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Reid, Sir R. Threshie (Dumfries||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.)||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)||Toulmin, George|
|O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W)||Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Roche, John||Wallace, Robert|
|O'Donnell, John (Mayo, S.)||Rutherford, W. W. (Liverpool)||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|O'Dowd, John||Schwann, Charles E.||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|O'Kelly, Jas. (Roscommon, N.)||Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|O'Malley, William||Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)||Whiteley, George (York, E. R.)|
|O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|Parrott, William||Sinclair, John (Forfarshire)||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)|
|Partington, Oswald||Sinclair, Louis (Romford)||Woodhouse, Sir J T (Huddersf'd|
|Pirie, Duncan V.||Slack, John Bamford||Young, Samuel|
|Power, Patrick Joseph||Sloan, Thomas Henry|
|Price, Robert John||Soares, Ernest J.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr.|
|Rea, Russell||Spencer, Rt. Hn. C: R. (Northants||Ainsworth and Mr. Dobbie.|
|Reddy, M.||Stanhope, Hon. Philip James|
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex. F.||Forster, Henry William||Morpeth, Viscount|
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Gordon, Hn. J. E. (Elgin & Nairn)||Morton, Arthur H. Aylmer|
|Allsopp, Hon. George||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Muntz, Sir Philip A.|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Graham, Henry Robert||Murray, Chas. J. (Coventry)|
|Arrol, Sir William||Grant, Corrie||Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hn. John||Greene, Henry D. (Shrewsbury)||Pilkington, Colonel Richard|
|Aubrey-Fletcher, Rt. Hn. Sir H.||Grenfell, William Henry||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Bagot, Capt. Josceline FitzRoy||Gretton, John||Purvis, Robert|
|Bain, Colonel James Robert||Gunter, Sir Robert||Pym, C. Guy|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Guthrie, Walter Murray||Renshaw, Sir Charles Bine|
|Barry, Sir Francis T. (Windsor)||Hamilton, Marq. of (L'nd'derry)||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney|
|Bartley, Sir George C. T.||Harris, Dr. Fred. R. (Dulwich)||Rolleston, Sir John F. L.|
|Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir Michael Hicks||Heath, Sir James (Staffords, N W||Round, Rt. Hn. James|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry C.||Helder, Augustus||Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander|
|Bill, Charles||Hoare, Sir Samuel||Seton-Karr, Sir Henry|
|Bond, Edward||Hope, J F. (Sheffield, Brightside)||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Boscawen, Arthur Griffith||Houston, Robert Paterson||Smith, Rt Hn J Parker (Lanarks.|
|Bowles, T. Gibson (King's Lynn)||Howard, J. (Midd., Tottenham)||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Hozier, Hn. James Henry Cecil||Stanley, Edward Jas. (Somerset)|
|Campbell, Rt. Hn J. A. (Glasgow)||Hudson, George Bickersteth||Stewart Sir Mark J. M'Taggart|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Jessel, Captain Herbert Merton||Stirling-Maxwell, Sir John M.|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Keswick, William||Stroyan, John|
|Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbyshire||Knowles, Sir Lees||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Cayzer, Sir Charles William||Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm.||Talbot, Rt. Hn J G (Oxf'd Univ.)|
|Clive, Captain Percy A.||Laurie, Lieut.-General||Thorburn, Sir Walter|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Lawrence, Sir Joseph (Monm'th)||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Coddington, Sir William||Lawrence, Wm. F. (Liverpool)||Tomlinson, Sir Wm. Edw. M.|
|Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Lawson, John Grant (Yorks. N R||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Colomb, Rt. Hon. Sir John C. R.||Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage||Tufnell, Lieut-Col. Edward|
|Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.||Leveson-Gower, Frederick N. S.||Tuke, Sir John Batty|
|Cripps, Charles Alfred||Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Bristol, S)||Vincent, Col. Sir C. E H (Sheffield|
|Cubitt, Hon. Henry||Lowe, Francis William||Walker, Col. William Hall|
|Dalrymple, Sir Charles||M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)||Walrond, Rt. Hn. Sir William H.|
|Dickson, Charles Scott||M'Iver, Sir Lewis (Edinburgh W.||Warde, Colonel C. E.|
|Dimsdale, Rt. Hon. Sir Joseph C.||Martin, Richard Biddulph||Wilson, John (Glasgow)|
|Dixon-Hartland, Sir Fred Dixon||Maxwell, W. J. H (Dumfriesshire||Wilson-Todd, Sir W. H. (Yorks.)|
|Duke, Henry Edward||Melville, Beresford Valentine||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton||Meysey-Thompson, Sir H. M.||Worsley-Taylor, Henry Wilson|
|Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J. (Manc'r||Mildmay, Francis Bingham|
|Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst||Montagu, Hon. J. Scott (Hants.)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir|
|FitzGerald, Sir Robert Penrose||Moon, Edward Robert Pacy||Hugh Shaw-Stewart and Mr.|
|Flower, Sir Ernest||Moore, William||Baird.|
Bill read a second time, and committed for Monday next.
§ Whereupon Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER adjourned the House without Question put, in pursuance of Standing Order No. 3.916
§ Adjourned at thirty-five minutes before Six o'clock till Monday next.