HC Deb 21 January 1924 vol 169 cc495-6

asked the President of the Board of Education, as representing the Minister for Agriculture, whether his attention has been directed to the grave hardship caused by the operation of the Agricultural Rates Act, 1923, to occupiers and owners of all forms of property other than agricultural land, and to inquire what steps he proposes to take to ensure that the Treasury's grant shall equal the full 75 per cent, of the rates which have been lifted from land and in a very large measure thrown back upon cottage and other property

The MINISTER of HEALTH (Sir William Joynson-Hicks)

I have been asked to reply. I think the hon. Member has been misinformed. The grant under the new Act is made in respect of the deficiency caused by the reduction of the rating of agricultural land from one-half to a quarter, and it meets nearly 98 per cent. of the total deficiency.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that under the operation of the Act of 1896, and the new Act, there is a deficiency which is placing a new rating burden on cottage and other property, other than land, which equals in my area 1s. 8d. in the £, and through the whole of the county of Somerset equals from 1s. 6d. to 1s. 10d. in the £? I want to know whether that was the intention of the new amending Act relating to agricultural rates?


My information is that the effect is not as stated by the hon. Member, and that 98 per cent. of the total deficiency is made up. If the hon. Member will send me particulars and details of the county of Somerset or of his own constituency, I will at once enquire into it. [HON. MEMBERS: "Too late!"]


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in the county of Somerset there is a deficiency of —116,853 after the grant has been made? And that the deficiency will have to be met by rating cottage and other property?


The hon. Member had better put that down on the Paper.