HC Deb 23 November 1925 vol 188 cc1057-8

Amendments made: In page 4, line 35, leave out the word "parish" and insert instead thereof the words "part of the area."

In page 4, line 40, leave out the word "parish" and insert instead thereof the words "part of the area."—[Sir K. Wood.]


Might I get your ruling now, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, on this knotty point, as to the Amendment standing in my own name and of the hon. Member for Merthyr (Mr. Wallhead) and the hon. Member for Dewsbury (Mr. Riley) also the Amendments standing in the names of the right hon. Member for West Swansea (Mr. Runciman) and other hon. Members—why all these Amendments and the four subsequent ones and, I regret to say two or three dozen others further down on the Paper, are out, of order. I understand, Sir, that they are held to be out of order because, if they wore carried, they would impose a heavier burden on certain ratepayers and that, under some Standing Order, is held to be outside the powers of the House on the Report stage. I ask you to inform us on what ground they are held to be out of order. Further, I would ask you whether, seeing that this Bill is a Rating Bill dealing with the question of increasing and reducing the burdens of rates, that Standing Order applies to a Rating Bill as it would to an ordinary Bill dealing with matters not directly connected with rating? In particular, I would draw your attention to Clause 24, which relieves machinery owners from the burden of rating. You are aware, Sir, that if you reduce the burden of rates on some ratepayers you thereby automatic ally increase it on some other ratepayer?, and I would ask you whether, in view of these facts, this Bill ought not to be, by its very nature, exempted from that Standing Order which forbids us on Report to alter or to increase the burden upon any ratepayer.

Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER (Mr. James Hope)

There is a very old Rule of the House that on Report no local burden can be imposed or increased. If the right hon. and gallant Gentleman consults the work of Erskine May, page 418, he will find this Rule duly set out. It makes no difference whether the Bill is, a Bill for rating, or a Bill for some other public service in which burdens are put upon the rates. I remember an incident during the discussions on the Education Bill of 1902 when this principle was affirmed against the Government. With regard to Clause 24, no doubt Mr. Speaker or, in his absence, whoever is in his place, will rule upon that matter when it is reached.


My point was that this was not an Education Bill, but a Bill the whole function of which was to change the burden of the rates, and that therefore this Bill should be exempt from such a ruling. I do not think there are any precedents for a Bill dealing with rating and valuation being treated as a normal Bill under your ruling.


There is no difference, whether the purpose of the Bill concerns rating or whether the purpose of the Bill concerns some other public service whereby a charge will be put upon rates. It is- a very old Rule that no local burden can be imposed or increased on the Report stage.