§ MR. MENZIES
I beg to ask the Secretary for Scotland whether he is aware that the application of the Ecclesiastical Assessments (Scotland) Act, 1900, is causing, in its incidence, annoyance and discontent amongst small feuars in Scotland who were not aware that they could be made, under this Act, liable to this assessment; that, on at least one estate in Scotland, leaseholders who hold building leases are being assessed on the full value of their improvements, which does not appear to have been contemplated in the Bill; and whether he can give any date upon which the Government will bring forward a Bill to relieve the 715 country altogether from this mediæval imposition.
I beg also to ask the Secretary for Scotland whether his attention has been called to the fact that small feuars and leaseholders who have been forced to pay assessments under the Ecclesiastical Assessments (Scotland) Act, 1900, have apparently no mutual rights of ownership, as valued rent heritors have, over these manses and churches which their payments have helped to build; that the valued rent heritors, in fact, claim the whole ownership, and allocate all the seats entirely amongst themselves; and whether he intends to take any steps in the matter.
§ THE SECRETARY FOR SCOTLAND (Mr. SINCLAIR,) Forfarshire
My attention has already been drawn to the state of opinion described by my hon. friend, and as he is aware, a Return has been ordered by the House and is now under preparation, showing the Ecclesiastical Assessments levied for these purposes during the ten years ending 15th May, 1905. The relations of small feuars and leaseholders to valued rent heritors is stated in my hon. friend's second Question with substantial accuracy. I can at present name no such date as is suggested, but I shall be glad to have any further information such as is offered by my hon. friend in the second portion of his first Question.