§ SIR JOSEPH LEESE (Lancashire, Accrington)
To ask the hon. Member for South Somerset, as representing the President of the Board of Agriculture whether he is aware that, under the new regulations in regard to dog licences whereby exemption from payment for licences for farmers is no longer left to the 530 discretion of the Excise officers, but must now be subject to magisterial sanction, notices of objection have been sent to many farmers in Oswaldtwistle Church, Clayton le Moors, and Altham, in Lancashire, by the clerk to the magistrates of the Church petty sessional division, without previously prepaying the postage of such notices of objection, and that in all cases these notices have been surcharged to the recipients, and whether he proposes to take any action by legislation or otherwise in the matter.
(Answered by Mr. Secretary Gladstone.) My hon. friend has asked me to answer this Question. I understand that the facts are as stated, and I think the notices should have been prepaid. At the same time, I think that if, as seems to be the case, a magistrate's clerk has to pay this postage out of his own pocket, a considerable hardship is involved, and I am communicating this opinion to the Board of Agriculture.