THE EARL OF AIRLIE
rose, in pursuance of Notice, to call Attention to a Return made to an Order of the House, dated March 27, showing the Deductions allowed to Occupiers before assessing for the Poor Rate in various Scotch Parishes, and the Amount of gross Rental required to give a rateable Value of £12 in those Parishes respectively, and to move for Copy of any Letter or Instructions addressed by the Crown Agent to the Inspectors of Poor in reference to that Return. It would not be necessary for him to enter upon any lengthened statement with regard to the Motion. The necessity for any lengthened statement had been obviated by what had taken place in the other House with regard to the question of the county franchise; but he was anxious, in calling attention to the Return, to show how inexpedient it would be to have the franchise in Scotland placed upon rating. There was reason to believe the Return was inaccurate and calculated to mislead, and it was alleged that the inaccuracy of the Return was owing to the nature of the Instructions given by the Crown Agent to the persons whose duty it was to supply the required information; and the Government had admitted that this Return did not show the real state of the case, and did not show the amount of deductions allowed to occupiers in various Scotch parishes before assessing for the poor rate. In several parishes no deductions were allowed, while it appeared that the parochial bodies and the inspectors of the poor had made deductions to the extent in some instances of 75 per cent. The Returns with respect to parishes showing the amount of gross rental required to give a rateable value of £12 disclosed similar anomalies—the gross 920 rental in some cases being set down at £12, whilst the return of the value showed it to be £48. There ought to be a classification in these cases, not as regards the rental, but in respect to the rate; because, suppose a rate of 1s. in the pound was levied, instead of levying the whole rate at 1s. in the pound, it ought in certain cases of classification to be reduced to a rate of 6d. in the pound. What the parochial officers did instead of reducing the rate was to enter the rental at a reduced valuation—which seemed very much the case of a distinction without a difference. The fact was, the whole question of rating in Scotland was one of those things which nobody could understand; and it was well worthy the consideration of any Government that might be in power, whether they could not remodel the system of rating in Scotland, and place it in a way of working justly and equitably.
§ Moved, That there be laid before this House, Copy of any Letter or Instructions addressed by the Crown Agent to the Inspectors of Poor in reference to a Return made to an Order of this House, dated 27th March, showing the Deductions allowed to Occupiers before assessing for Poor Rate in various Scotch Parishes, and the Amount of gross Rental required to give a rateable Value of £12 in those Parishes respectively,—(The Earl of Airlie.)
§ Motion agreed to.
§ House adjourned at a quarter before Nine o'clock, to Thursday next, half past Ten o'clock.