HL Deb 04 March 1880 vol 251 cc291-5

Order of the Day for the House to be put into Committee, read.

House in Committee accordingly.

Clause 1 (Short title) agreed to.

Clause 2 (Interpretation) agreed to.

Clause 3 (Extension of power to grant out-door relief in food and. fuel).

LORD EMLY moved, as an Amendment, that the word "in-door" be left out and the word "out-door" be inserted in its place. The noble Lord said, that in 1876 the present Secretary of State for the Colonies (Sir Michael Hicks- Beach) introduced and passed a Bill which placed in-door relief in Ireland on a different footing from out-door relief. A portion of the in-door relief was to be charged to the Union at large; and outdoor relief was to be charged, as it had always been charged, to the electoral division. The observation made by Sir Michael Hicks-Beach on introducing the Bill was worthy of attention. He had said that the objection to Union rating was that it had given rise to a tendency in favour of extravagance. This tendency might be found in connection with in-door relief; but by all who had studied the question it would be admitted that a small area was almost essential for the proper administration of out-door relief. He did not need to point out to their Lordships that if that was true under ordinary circumstances the administration of out-door relief under present circumstances in Ireland, when the difficulties were enormously increased, made the reason much stronger for limiting the area. The Unions in Ireland were very much larger than those in England, and in many cases a Union was situated in more than one county. It was hardly to be expected that landlords would come forward and tax their property and subject themselves to considerable difficulties, when they found that they were paying for the lâches of other gentlemen in other counties, with money over which they had no possible control. In the interest of the administration of the Poor Law, in the interest of applicants for out-door relief, and in the interests of the Bill itself, he earnestly trusted their Lordships would adopt the Amendment he had submitted to them, which only restored the Bill to the form in which it was introduced into the other House.


regretted he could not accept the Amendment of the noble Lord. After considerable discussion in the other House, a decision was arrived at to strike out the word "out-door," and insert the word "in-door," and the Bill so amended had come up to this House. The Bill incorporated the Act commonly called "Beach's Act." The districts most affected by this Bill would be the poorest and most distressed districts; and, therefore, it would be desirable that the charge should be extended over the larger area. This was the ground on which he resisted the noble Lord's proposal; but if he had been inclined, to adopt it, there was a further objection—that this House had no power of dealing with it, because it raised the question of the incidence of taxation.

Clause agreed to.

Clause 4 (Power to borrow) agreed to.

Clause 5 (Power of Board of Works to lend) agreed to.

Clause 6 (Repayment of loans made by the Board of Works) agreed to.

Clause 7 (Orders for payment of loans may be made by Local Government Board) agreed to.

Clause 8 (Confirmation of expenditure by guardians, and indemnity) agreed to.

Clause 9 (Validation of loans).

LORD MONTEAGLE moved, after the word "rent," to insert— Shall exceed the rate of 2½ per centum interest on the capital in the execution of the said works, and. The noble Lord said, that on the second reading of the Bill he had given praise to the landlords of Ireland, who had made generous abatements to their tenants in the face of the agitation which existed. It was supposed out-of-doors on that occasion that he was not an Irish landlord. He begged to correct that mistake, and say he was. In support of his Amendment he remarked that, excepting the Act 11 & 12 Vict. c. 82, there was no power to interfere in any way with the liberty and freedom of contract between landlord and tenant with regard to improvements. It was for this reason that he contended that the closing paragraphs of Clause 9 introduced a new principle of law. That paragraph provided that— Whenever by any award or otherwise the rent payable by a tenant shall be increased by reason or in respect of any works executed on his holding under the provisions of the Land Improvements Acts and this Act, then and in every such case the works so executed shall, so far as such increase of rent shall be paid by such tenant or his successors in title, be deemed to be improvements made by such tenant within the meaning of the fourth section of the Landlord and Tenant (Ireland) Act, 1870. The object of the Bill was to relieve distress, and not to benefit either the landlord or the tenant. One of the best means of relieving the distress was to encourage the employment of labour, and to induce the landlords to take up loans for the purpose of providing work for the destitute. Someone must get the benefit, and the Bill as brought in conferred it entirely on the landlords. The friends of the tenant in the other House felt somewhat aggrieved that the landlord should take a boon which they said he had purchased by no special act of his own. Accordingly, an Amendment was introduced by one not a Member of the extreme party by which the benefit was transferred to the tenant. That was much more inequitable than the original proposal, because the landlord ran some risk. He was perfectly content to withdraw his Amendment until he had heard the arguments with which the noble Lord on the Cross Benches (Lord Oranmore and Browne) supported the Amendment he had put on the Paper, for entirely leaving out the portion of the clause in which his own Amendment occurred.

Amendment moved, In page 5, line 42, after ("rent") insert ("shall exceed the rate of two and a half per centum per annum interest on the capital expended in the execution of the said works, and.")—(The Lord Monteagle.)


said, he had listened very attentively to the noble Lord, and was of opinion that the noble Lord himself was doubtful as to the effect of his own Amendment, which was some what hastily put together. He thought the noble Lord had wholly overlooked the Proviso in the clause immediately preceding this paragraph, and which was inserted in the House of Commons for the very purpose of protecting a tenant from being charged a higher percentage than the landlord absolutely paid. He was quite willing to accept a proposal which would be made by the noble Lord on the Cross Benches (Lord Oranmore and Browne).

Amendment negatived.

LORD ORANMORE AND BROWNE moved, in page 5, line 38, to leave out from ("Whenever") to end of clause.

Amendment agreed to.

Clause, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 10 (Validation of baronial presentments) agreed to.

Clause 11 (Future meetings of baronial sessions).

LORD EMLY moved, in page 7, line 11, after ("conform") to insert— ("Provided always, and that all works presented for at such extraordinary presentment sessions shall be executed by public contract.")


said, he did not object to the principle of the Amendment—that the work should be done by contract; but the noble Lord would remember that the works to which the Bill referred were to be carried out under very stringent instructions which had been laid down for the purpose. If the Amendment were agreed to it would prevent the adoption of any other means for relieving the distress, though he admitted that it was desirable that all these works should be executed by contract.

Amendment (by leave of the Committee) withdrawn.

Clause agreed to.

Remaining clauses agreed to.

The Report of the Amendments to be received To-morrow; and Bill to be printed as amended. (No. 26.)