HC Deb 02 November 1909 vol 12 cc1786-91

In this Act—

The expression "dwelling-house" means in burghs to which this Act applies without adoption a dwelling-house entered on the valuation roll at a yearly rent or value of twenty-one pounds or under, unless the burgh contained within the police boundaries thereof at the date of the census of nineteen hundred and one a population of fifty thousand or upwards, in which case it means a dwelling-house entered on the valuation roll at a yearly rent or value of twenty-six pounds or under; and means in burghs in which this Act has been adopted a dwelling-house entered on the valuation roll at a yearly rent or value of fifteen pounds or under;

The expression "assessing authority" includes a town council, a parish council, and every other body entitled to impose an assessment; and

The expression "assessment" includes all rates, charges, and assessments imposed; assessed, or levied by an assessing authority, the proceeds of which are applicable to public local purposes and which are leviable in respect of the yearly value of lands and heritages, and includes any sum which, though obtained in the first instance by a precept, certificate, or other instrument requiring payment from some authority or officer, is or can be ultimately raised out of an assessment;

The expression "magistrate" includes judge of police;

The expressions "owner" and "occupier" have the meanings assigned to them respectively in the Burgh Police (Scotland) Act, 1892; provided that section fifty-eight of the Burgh Police (Scotland) Act, 1903 (which limits the obligations of factors), shall apply for the purposes of this Act as if it were herein re-enacted with the substitution of this Act for the Burgh Police Acts specified in the said section.

Lords Amendments: In the first paragraph leave out "in burghs to which this Act applies without adoption a dwelling house," and insert, "a dwelling-house in a burgh."

Leave out "twenty-one" ["value of twenty-one pounds or under"], and insert "ten."

Leave out "fifty" ["population of fifty thousand or upwards"] and insert "twenty."

Leave out "twenty-six" ["a yearly rent or value of twenty-six pounds or under"] and insert "fifteen."

House agreed with Lords Amendments.

Lords Amendment: Leave out "and means in burghs in which this Act has been adopted a dwelling house entered on the valuation roll at a yearly rent or value of fifteen pounds or under "and insert" and in the case of burghs with a population of five hundred thousand or upwards means a dwelling-house entered in the valuation roll at a yearly rent or value of twenty pounds or under."

Mr. URE moved to amend the Lords Amendment by leaving out the words "five hundred" ["five hundred thousand"] and inserting "fifty" and by leaving out the word "twenty" ["twenty pounds or under"] and inserting "twenty-one."


I do not know that I shall divide the House—it depends upon what measure of support I shall get—but I want to raise a vigorous protest against the reduction of the rent limit to £20, and even the raising of it from £20 to £21, because I believe that £21 is totally inadequate. In Glasgow, according to the figures I gave a little while ago, there are 7,250 tenants paying more than £20 rent and up to £25, and I take it upon myself to say, including Partick, Glasgow, and Govan, there are 10,000 people who pay up to £25 a year rent. This is just the class of workman for whom this Bill was intended, and I want to raise a vigorous protest against leaving these in the lurch, as will be done by the Lords Amendment, and even by that of the Lord Advocate.

Amendment to Lords Amendment made.

House agreed to Lords Amendment as amended.

Lords Amendment: In the second paragraph, leave out "a parish council" ["The expression 'assessing authority' includes a town council, a parish council."]

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said Amendment."—[Mr. Ure.]


This seems to be one of the Amendments which justifies the description of this as more a Rates Bill than anything else. I have never been able to understand why the parish council was brought into the Bill at all, and still less am I able to understand some observations which the hon. Member (Mr. Cross) made earlier this evening, because I find in looking over the Bills for the last 12 years, on all of which the hon. Member's name appears, that the parish council was never once mentioned. In 1897 the rates which were alone dealt with were municipal rates, excluding the poor rate. In 1898 and 1900 there was nothing about the rates. In 1905, again, the poor rate was excluded from the purview of the Bill, and in 1906 again, all the rates were excluded. I cannot understand how the hon. Member complains of the action of the House of Lords in following the example so persistently set by himself, and still less do I understand him complaining when I find that the Government themselves, when they introduced this Bill, also left out the poor rates, because there was no mention of the parish council at all until the last day of the Committee stage, when the Lord Advocate brought down a new Clause. It may be that the other Clauses of the Bill will introduce more small lets, and that may be a very good reason for dealing separately with the parish council rate; but that does not seem to me to be a reason for making this a rating Bill rather than a house-letting Bill. I do not see why there should be any difficulty about ever having collections of rates made by instalments, because within the last few months in Glasgow, without any statutory authority at all, municipal authorities have introduced a system of collecting by instalments, and it has been quite successful, and the same thing will be open to parish Councils. I think the House of Lords has done well in the matter.


I think the right hon. Gentleman scarcely recognises the position which is occupied by a private Member promoting measures and having to find the way of least resistance, and the position of the same Member when it comes to the length of responsible legislation. I was during those years not entirely ignoring the right of the parish councils to have their rates dealt with. I was slowly but certainly brought to realise the fact that I had to deal both with municipal and parish assessments. My other Bills did not contain any allusion to them. At this

moment I am prepared to let these matters entirely drop. It is the enacting clauses for the short lets which concern my mind. It is the consideration of other objects which I cannot entirely ignore, and which the right hon. Gentleman himself would not ignore if he were Lord Advocate. As for the first edition of this Bill, the words "parish council" may not be there, but it says "the expression 'assessment' shall mean all rates, charges, and assessments assessed and levied by any assessing authority." That would, of course, refer also to parish councils. I will make a confession to the right hon. Gentleman. I wrote the Bill. The intention in my mind was to deal with all the rates, but I was driven by force of circumstances, which I could not resist, to draft the Clause as originally embodied in the Bill. I took the line of least resistance, and when I come to consider the final form of the proposal on the eve of its being carried into law, I must think of the rates as well as the grievance with which I have been endeavouring to deal.


Many years ago, when efforts were being made to have this grievance in regard to house letting remedied, we did not intend to introduce the question of rates at all. It is because the question of the rates is involved that words have been put in to get over the difficulty in that matter. Since the House of Lords made the alteration I have been inundated with letters on the subject. The reason why I am personally in favour of the proposal is that unless the Amendment is made there may be an obstacle raised to the realisation of what we desire in the way of reforming the present system.

Question put, "That this House doth disagree with the Lord's in the said Amendment."

The House divided: Ayes, 74; Noes, 13.

Division No. 891.] AYES. [12.30 a.m.
Ainsworth, John Stirling Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.) Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)
Armitage, R. Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness) Laidlaw, Robert
Balfour, Robert (Lanark) Esslemont, George Birnie Lamont, Norman
Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight) Falconer, James Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich)
Barnes, G. N. Ferguson, R. C. Munro Levy, Sir Maurice
Beale, W. P. Findlay, Alexander MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.)
Bennett, E. N. Fuller, John Michael F. M'Callum, John M.
Bowerman, C. W. Glover, Thomas Markham, Arthur Basil
Bryce, J. Annan Guiland, John W. Murray, Capt. Hon. A. C. (Kincard.)
Burns, Rt. Hon. John Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale) Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncaster)
Causton, Rt. Hon. Richard Knight Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose) Parker, James (Hal'fax)
Channing, Sir Francis Allston Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil) Pearce, Robert (Staffs. Leek)
Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R. Hedges, A. Paget Pirie, Duncan V.
Cleland, J. W. Higham, John Sharp Pointer, Joseph
Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinstead) Holt, Richard Durning Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.
Cross, Alexander Howard, Hon. Geoffrey Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)
Dalziel, Sir James Henry Jones, Leif (Appleby) Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)
Rendall, Athelstan Sherwell, Arthur James Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)
Richards, T. F. (Wolverhampton) Summerbell, T. Wiles, Thomas
Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln) Sutherland, J. E. Wilkie, Alexander
Roberts, G. H. (Norwich) Taylor, John W. (Durham) Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)
Roe, Sir Thomas Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire) Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
Rogers, F. E. Newman Trevelyan, Charles Philips
Seddon, J. Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Joseph Pease and Captain Norton.
Seely, Colonel Walsh, Stephen
Shackleton, David James Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)
Balcarres, Lord Craik, Sir Henry Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staffordshire)
Bignold, Sir Arthur Dickson, Rt. Hon. Charles Scott Valentia, Viscount
Carlile, E. Hildred Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-
Clyde, J. Avon Forster, Henry William TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Sir Frederick Banbury and Mr. Younger.
Coates, Major E. F. (Lewisham) Hamilton, Marquess of
Cochrane, Hon. Thomas H. A. E.

Lords Amendment, as amended, agreed to.