HC Deb 25 November 1912 vol 44 cc808-11

asked the Secretary to the Treasury if he is aware that a general revaluation of the city of Dublin, as enlarged by the additions of Clontarf and other urban districts, was directed by Section 60 of The Dublin Corporation Act, 1900, and that, in Committee on the Bill, the Commissioner of Valuation swore that the revaluation could be made in about a year, and that, on the faith that it could be done within a reasonable period, the added urban areas, which had a modern and relatively high valuation as compared with the city, were protected for seven years from being rated equally with the city, so that the obsolete valuation might be made right; is he aware that nearly thirteen years have now expired and that Dublin has not been revalued, and that for nearly six years the added urban areas have consequently been over-taxed; and will he state what has been the cause of this delay?


The facts generally are as stated, but the Commissioner of valuation is not aware that he made any such statement as to the time the work work would take, nor is there anything in the printed evidence to corroborate it. The work was not begun until 1906, partly to enable the revaluation of Belfast to be completed and partly because the Corporation of Dublin, at whose request the revaluation was to be made, were anxious that it should be deferred. Under these circumstances the Irish Government did not think it desirable to proceed with it. Since 1906 the work has been steadily progressing. First, the whole city had to be surveyed and particulars collected showing how the property was held, the rents paid, etc.; after this the valuation had to be made by the permanent valuation staff of the Department, and these could only be employed on it when not engaged on the annual revision.


asked the Secretary to the Treasury if he is aware that the city of Belfast, which is more populous than Dublin, was revalued in about one year; was it after the revaluation of Belfast and it was seen that the interests of publicans were seriously affected that the valuation of Dublin was delayed; is he aware that, in an affidavit filed on the 30th of May, 1906, in the King's Bench Division, Sir John Barton, the Commissioner of valuation, swore that a skilled staff was required, and that he had not been provided with the necessary funds to enable him to proceed with the revaluation, and on this plea postponed an application for a mandamus; was he supplied with a sum of £10,000 in the latter part of 1906 to enable the work to be done; if so, how many extra persons did he employ, and were those persons clerks or valuers; and why was the work not done?


The revaluation of Belfast was not completed in one year. It was begun in September, 1899, and completed in June, 190a. The work in Dublin was much more complicated and difficult than that in Belfast, largely owing to the fact that Dublin is a much older city, I am not aware that the interests of the Dublin publicans had anything to do with the postponement of the valuation. Up till June, 1906, no extra funds were provided for the revaluation, but on that date a Supplemental Estimate for £1,000 for this work was submitted to Parliament. Six surveyors were then employed and the necessary clerical work carried out by the permanent office staff.


asked whether Sir John Barton in October, 1906. consented and undertook in a consent made a rule of Court that he would forthwith proceed with the revaluation of Dublin ordered by Statute some six years earlier, and is this valuation still incomplete, to the loss of the added urban districts; is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the valuation of Dublin is over sixty years old and made on an obsolete principle, no account being taken of business value of premises, so that a corner block public-house in a leading thoroughfare rented at £300 on a lease for twenty years, tenant paying taxes, is rated at £45 only; and can he say why, Belfast being revalued in about sixteen months, Dublin's revaluation should take thirteen years and be still incomplete?


The facts are as stated, but I am advised that it is not the case that the delay is likely to cause any serious loss to the added districts. The former valuation of Dublin was made under the same Valuation Acts as those under which the revaluation is now being carried out. Any discrepancy, such as that mentioned by the hon. Member, is due to the fact that the case was not reported to the Valuation Office by the rating body. With regard to the latter part of the question, I would refer the hon. Member to the answer I have just given him.


asked whether the delay for thirteen years in the revaluation of Dublin has caused a loss to the urban districts added in 1900, they being since 1907 rated to the city rates on their high modern valuation, contrary to the intention of the Act of 1900; one of them, Clontarf, contributing in rates only £10,000 a year to 1907, and then when rated with the city paying £22,000 a year; has the right hon. Gentleman's attention been called to the remarks of the learned Recorder of Dublin on the injustice caused by the delay in carrying out the intentions of Parliament by having the revaluation complete before the seven-year period had expired; and will he see that publican interests or insufficiency of funds no longer delay the revaluation?


From the figures available it would appear that the valuation of the added districts is not much higher than that of the rest of the city. Neither the interests of the publicans nor the insufficiency of funds are in any way delaying the revaluation, which will be issued as soon as the present annual revision is completed, thus enabling the revaluation to be brought up to date.