§ 54. Mr. BLACK
asked the Minister of Agriculture what steps he proposes to take to relieve the position of ratepayers in parishes where the additional rates, consequent upon the Tithe Act, 1920, are 1828 a heavy burden upon them; and whether it is possible to give any relief before the date of the expiry of the Act?
§ Mr. BUXTON
Whilst sympathising with the position of ratepayers in certain parishes, I am advised that any measure to afford them relief would require legislation, which is impracticable this Session.
59. Captain TUDOR REES
asked the Minister of Agriculture whether, seeing that the present difficulties of farmers are partly due to the fact that the whole of the burden of tithe is borne by them and that the distribution of that burden over the community generally, instead of being exclusively imposed upon one particular class, would materially assist agriculture, he will consider the desirability of setting up a committee to consider the question of the payment of tithe, now made in pursuance of a system established many centuries ago, and the more equitably to relate it to modern conditions?
§ Mr. BUXTON
Under the Tithe Act, 1891, the liability for tithe rentcharge is placed upon the owner of the land, and farmers pay tithe rentcharge only when they are the owners of their holdings. The suggestion that landowners should be relieved of their existing obligation to pay tithe rentcharge at the expense of the community generally is not one that I can see my way to adopt.
Does the right hon. Gentleman not think it would be much more equitable to distribute the burden over the whole community rather than that one particular class should bear it?
Can the right hon. Gentleman say when that consideration is going to take place? Is he going to set up a Committee?
§ Mr. LOVERSEED
Will the right hon. Gentleman take into account also that, as stated when the last Bill was introduced, the cost would only amount to less than 1d. in the £ to the local ratepayers, whereas in Suffolk it amounts to 2s.?