§ 64. Mr. RAFFAN
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the valuers who were entrusted with the valuation of the land provided for in Section 26 of the Finance (1909–10) Act, 1910, recorded in respect of each separately valued parcel of land particulars showing the area, the rateable value, the gross value, the full site value, the total value, the assessable site value, and various deductions from gross value, full site value, and total value; whether these particulars are set forth in columns 8 to 39 of the valuers' field books; and whether, in view of his undertaking to look into the matter and in course of time to supply the information, he will now cause a Return to be presented to the House of Commons showing the aggregate amount of all the figures recorded separately in columns 8 to 39 of the valuers' field books either as settled valuations or as provisional valuations where the valuation has not been settled, the Return to show the aggregate of these figures for England, for Wales, for Scotland, where they have been ascertained in Ireland, for the area administered by the London County Council, for each borough or town in England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland, having a population of not less than 100,000, and for any counties or other such separate areas as the Inland Revenue Commissioners may consider representative?
The particulars of the valuations made are kept in the various valuation offices, some 117 in number; but owing to pressure of work of a more urgent nature, no attempt has been made to tabulate and analyse the valuations made. In their evidence before the Select Committee the Department estimated that to carry out at the present time the work of analysis and tabulation it would be necessary to employ some 200 additional clerks for a year at a cost approximating to some £40,000. The valuation is a valuation as at 30th April, 1909, and inasmuch as it is now over ten years old, is uncompleted, and is partially made on a basis held to be illegal by the Court, and inasmuch as conditions and levels of value have undergone substantial alterations in consequence of the War, I agree with the Select Committee on National Expenditure that the results to a obtained are not worth the labour and 230 expense involved and that the work of tabulating and analysing the valuations should be abandoned.
§ Mr. RAFFAN
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in the Debate on the 14th of July when I asked for this information he said that if I would put down a question he would look into the matter and in course of time would supply me with the information?
I have also looked up the quotation to which the hon. Member alludes, and I am quite sure that some words of mine escaped the notice of the reporter. I think I said that I would supply the information if it were available. If the hon. Member reads the report further he will see that some such words as those are indicated by what I went on to say. The result of the inquiries I have made is that the information is available, and in my opinion, which is fortified by the report if the Select Committee on National Expenditure, it would not be, worth the trouble and expense involved in tabulating it.
Will the right hon. Gentleman give us an assurance that these books will be preserved, so that if another Government comes into power it may, if it chooses, supply the information?
§ Mr. RAFFAN
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there is no difficulty in supplying this information?
I have no doubt there is no real difficulty, but it requires a staff of 200 clerks and an expenditure of £40,000, and it is not worth the labour of the clerks or the money involved.