HC Deb 30 June 1913 vol 54 cc1490-1
75. Mr. KING

asked the President of the Local Government Board whether his attention has been called to the demand notes for a voluntary rate of 8d. in the pound now being sent out by the collector of rates from the overseers' office of the township of Ashton-in-Makerfield; whether he is aware that demand notes so sent out are calculated to mislead ratepayers to believe that the amounts demanded therein have been officially levied; and whether he will take immediate action to have the demand notes issued at Ashton-in-Makerfield withdrawn and the amounts already collected returned to the ratepayers?


My attention had not previously been drawn to this matter, but I have now communicated with the overseers of the township on the subject. I find that applications for payment of a voluntary rate to meet the cost of school improvements have been issued from the overseers' office in the name of Mr. James Livesley, who is the assistant overseer of the township. The application for the second collection is not described as a demand note and seems to show quite clearly that payment of the amount asked for is entirely voluntary. I am of opinion, however, that the issue of these applications from the overseers' office is open to some objection, and I have informed the overseers accordingly. I have no authority to take the course suggested in the last part of the question.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that these papers have at the top in large print the words "Demand Note," and that they are calculated to deceive the unwary?


There is the heading "Demand Note," but it is made quite clear that the payment is of a voluntary character.

Viscount WOLMER

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the note states in four separate places that the rate is purely voluntary, that it has been subscribed entirely by Church people with two exceptions, each of whom was well aware that the rate was purely voluntary, and does he not consider that the people of Ashton are entitled to raise a voluntary rate for their own schools without asking the leave of the hon. Member for North Somerset (Mr. King)?