§ Order of the Day for the Second Beading, read,422
§ LORD HENNIKER
said, that, as this measure had been fully discussed in the House of Commons, and had been agreed upon by a Select Committee, after taking evidence on the subject, he should say but a few words in moving that the Bill be now read the second time. Its object was to remedy a hardship which now existed. Under the Metropolis Management Act, 1855, sec. 163, it was provided that any sewers rate raised under that Act, should as regarded arable and pasture land, market gardens, nursery grounds, &c, be levied in the proportion of one fourth part only of the net annual value—that was to say, they were exempt from 75 per cent of the burden that fell upon other descriptions of property. The Metropolitan Board of Works issued their precepts in a lump sum, based on the printed totals of the valuation lists of the several districts. The districts were bound to make up this sum; but, as they were bound to respect the exemptions of this description of property, the only way they could make up the sum was by levying an increased rate on householders. The hardship was that exempt property did not exist in more than one-half of the metropolitan parishes, but where it did exist was generally in the poorer districts, and the small householders were the sufferers. If the extra rate were taken all over the metropolis—that was to say, if the proposal of this Bill were adopted and the Metropolitan Board of Works were compelled to issue their precepts, with the allowance or abatement of the exemptions where they existed, then the burden would be very light indeed—hardly perceptible—whereas the burden was heavy now, coming as it did upon single districts, and generally upon poor ones. To take a case to illustrate the matter. St. George's, Hanover Square, say, would have very little to complain of; while Plumstead, the district where there was most land and exempt property, would have a great deal to complain of. The one had hardly any, if any, exempt property, and was a rich parish; while the other, getting much less advantage from the action of the Metropolitan Board of Works, had this exempt property, and the householders were nearly all poor. The Metropolitan Board of Works issued a precept for £10,000, say, to each parish; the one which had no exempt property 423 did not suffer, but the one which had exempt property had to raise the same sum; having exempt property, the 75 per cent of exemption must be raised on householders of the parish. This Bill would remedy the evil; the opposition which there had been to it had been disposed of "elsewhere," and he hoped their Lordships would give it a second reading.
§ LORD COLCHESTER
said, he did not oppose the second reading, but thought that the Committee on the Bill should be postponed for a week.
§ Motion agreed to:—Bill read 2a accordingly, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House To-morrow.