HC Deb 04 December 1922 vol 159 cc1199-200
65. Mr. BARKER

asked the Prime Minister if he is aware that the Bedwellty Poor Law Guardians passed a resolution at a meeting last March, recommending that the Government should take over the rights of royalty owners in the country and utilise the receipts in respect of royalties arising therefrom in relieving boards of guardians of the financial responsibility of relieving distress caused through unemployment; whether he is aware that relief to the unemployed has trebled the poor rate in this area and has overwhelmed the area with debt; and, in view of the Government pledge arising out of the Report of the Coal Commission, will he bring in a Bill on the reassembling of Parliament, next February, to take over the mineral rights of royalty owners and utilise the receipts to relieve local taxation?


I am aware of the resolution referred to and of the heavy expenditure of the Bedwellty Board of Guardians on the relief of distress, but I regret that the suggestion contained in the last part of the question is impracticable.


Did the previous Government give a pledge that they would nationalise royalties?


With a view to relieving the rates, any proposal made for the nationalisation of royalties was made on the basis of paying for them. If that be so, there is no way of doing it except by raising the rates.