HC Deb 04 July 1918 vol 107 cc1846-7
37. Major CHAPPLE

asked the Minister of Munitions what was the official value placed on the Skinburness Hotel for rating or taxation purposes; what was the rent paid for it by any tenant during the past five years; what was the net revenue earned by the hotel to tenant and landlord during the past three years and during the three years prior to the War, respectively; who were the valuers and negotiators on behalf of the Government and what commission was paid; what is the estimated revenue for the next three years; are munition workers near or have they ever frequented the hotel; and whether, if it can be shown that the property could have been bought by a private person for £5,000, there is any way by which the £1,700 overpaid can be restored to the State?


The gross poor rate assessment of the Skinburness Hotel was £60 and the assessment for inhabited house duty was £60; the rent paid by the outgoing tenant was £300 per annum, which included the use of the owner's furniture. The Control Board was advised that it is a case in which the previous net revenue would be no guide to the value; and as to the future revenue, this must depend upon the organisation which the Board may adopt for managing the hotel in conjunction with their other property at Silloth. The valuer and negotiator for the Control Board was Mr. J. D. Wallis, senior partner at Dunlop, Wallis and Co., of Manchester. He is not paid by commission, and has acted for the Board in this district generally. The Skinburness Hotel is close to Silloth, and the district is easily reached from the Carlisle and Gretna districts, which are full of munition workers. With regard to the last paragraph, there is no ground for recovering payments made unless misrepresentation could be proved; but I am satisfied, not only that there has been no overpayment in this case, but that the Board have secured very full value for the money paid.


Does the hon. Gentleman consider that there has been no overpayment if the Department has paid £1,700 more than the price for which any other buyer would have purchased?


That is assuming the fact. There is no truth in the suggestion that any other buyer could have got the property on any lower terms.