§ Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.
§ THE EARL OF ELGIN
, in moving that the Bill be read a second time, said, that it had already passed through all its stages in the Lower House without opposition or alteration. The object of the Bill was very simple. As the law now stood in Scotland, an assessor was bound to enter on the Valuation Roll the assessments for poor rates and other purposes on shootings and deer forests which were let; but he was not bound or entitled to enter any shootings which were unlet, or still in the hands of the proprietor. He understood that that was not the case in England, but that all shootings, whether let or unlet, were rated. It was not the first time that the anomaly which existed in Scotland had been brought under notice, because so long ago as 1871 a Select Committee of the House of Commons on the Poor Law of Scotland recommended that the shootings and deer forests in the occupation of owners be assessed for the poor at the yearly value at which they might reasonably be expected to be let for sporting purposes. The Royal Commission on the Highlands and Islands—the Crofters' Commission—reported in a similar sense two years ago. Under 80 these circumstances, the Bill proposed to enact that in future the words now appearing in the Valuation Act dealing with this subject—"Where such shootings or deer forests are actually let"—should be omitted. It also laid down that it should be the duty of the assessor to enter separately for each parish, and of respect of each property, the yearly value of the shootings and deer forests so far as situated within such parish. The only other point of importance in the Bill was contained in Clause 6, which proposed certain rules to guide the assessors in estimating such yearly values. The valuation of shootings depended, to a certain extent, on the services of keepers and others, without whose services the sportings would be very much deteriorated in value. It was to guide the assessors, therefore, in this and other respects that the rules in the clause were laid down.
§ Moved, "That the Bill be now road 2a."—(The Earl of Elgin.)
said, he certainty thought the Bill a very wise one, and did not suppose it would encounter any opposition. He was not quite sure, however, of the wisdom of these rules for the guidance of the assessors; and he should like that some time should be allowed to elapse before the Committee stage was taken, in order to allow him to consult those who were practically engaged in the work of registration, and ask them to give the question their consideration.
§ Motion agreed to; Bill read 2a accordingly.
§ House adjourned at Seven o'clock, till To-morrow, a quarter past Ten o'clock.