Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a Supplementary sum, not exceeding £136,000, be granted to His Majesty, to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1936, for Rates and Contributions in lieu of Rates, &c., in respect of Property in the occupation of the Crown for the Public Service, and for Rates on Buildings occupied by Representatives of British Dominions and of Foreign Powers; and to pay the Salaries and Expenses of the Rating of Government Property Department, and a Grant-in-Aid of the Expenses of the London Fire Brigade.
§ Mr. W. S. MORRISON
This is an Estimate control of which rests rather with local authorities than with the House. Under settled practice the Treasury makes a contribution in lieu of rates, which is arrived at by treating property as far as possible on the same basis as if it were in private ownership and were assessed for private purposes. The remaining cause of the increase of rates is that the rates have been put up by the local authorities. The total sum is £127,410. The increase in rates in the Metropolitan area is £71,000. What has happened is that the London County Council's precept on the Metropolitan boroughs has been increased by an amount equal to a rate of 10½d. in the pound and the rates of all Metropolitan boroughs have risen. It is in the Metropolitan boroughs, particularly in Westminster, that the great bulk of Government property is congregated. The other items do not amount to very much. As regards Scotland, there have been increased rates levied at Dunfermline and Invergordon, increased assessment at Rosyth and an expansion of Post Office business which has led to an increase in rates. Also we have had to pay certain 350 arrears of rates, which account altogether for the amount under Sub-head D Under Sub-head E, this small excess in Ireland is due to the rise of 4d. in the pound in the Belfast rates. The same causes account for the increase under Sub-head H. Rates on buildings occupied by representatives of British Dominions. This is a contribution to local revenue which it is outside our power to control. If the rates go up, we have to make an increased contribution. That is the sole cause for the additional sum.
§ Mr. DUNCAN
Thanks to the Socialist Government in London we have to pay £73,900 in rates this year over and above what we estimated for. I hope when the time comes for another election London will not have to pay increased rates.