§ 52. Mr. BARNES
asked the Secretary for Scotland if he has given consideration to the question of recent increase of house rent in Glasgow, and to the statements contained in the notices that the increases are in consequence of war taxation; and if he can take some steps to prevent this burden, intended to be spread over all classes, from being placed on one class of the community?
The SECRETARY for SCOTLAND (Mr. McKinnon Wood)
I regret to say that a good deal of feeling has been aroused by the fact that in some of the notices the increase of taxation necessitated by the War is mentioned as a reason for increasing the rent. As an example, I have had the following letter forwarded to me:—Dear Madam,—The Government having increased the tax on property by 1s. 3d. per £ for the present year, I beg to give notice that I am obliged to increase the rent of the house occupied by you to £21 per annum, taxes extra, commencing 28th May, 1915.In this case I am informed that the existing rent was £19. I venture to think that this is an unfortunate attitude for owners to assume at a time like this, when all classes of the community may be expected to be ready to bear their share of the sacrifices entailed by the War. I have heard of cases where the tenant has found his remedy by threatening to remove, but there are others in which, for various reasons, the tenant is not able to avail himself of this remedy, and in these cases the rise in rent is felt as a real hardship under present circumstances.
Mr. McKINNON WOOD
I have no power to take any such steps? The Government a short time ago carried the Courts Emergency Act, which gives protection to tenants who are unable to pay their rent in consequence of sacrifices entailed by the War, and protects them from ejectment; but it is a legal question whether it affects this case directly.
§ Mr. BARNES
That Act can only apply when people are in actual poverty. Would not the right hon. Gentleman consider the advisability of framing some emergency legislation to stop landlords from charging more rent, so as to prevent further industrial trouble?
Mr. McKINNON WOOD
If my hon. Friend can assure me that such legislation would pass as uncontentious, I will consider it, but I am not very hopeful.
Mr. MacCALLUM SCOTT
Has special war taxation been placed upon owners of house property more than upon any other class of the community?