§ Where the provisions of this Act with respect to water supply, or with respect to sewerage and drainage, or with respect to the erection of hospitals, have been or shall be put in force, the assessments hereinbefore authorised may in the whole amount to but shall not exceed the rate of three shillings in the pound whether such rate be payable wholly by the owners or wholly by the occupiers, or partly by the owners and partly by the occupiers, or the rate of sixpence in the pound as aforesaid when none of the said enactments have been put in force.
*LORD BALFOUR moved to omit the clause, and to insert thereof the following new clause:—
The general assessment by this Act authorised, which shall be imposed upon all lands and heritages within the district, including any special drainage district or special water supply district, shall not exceed the rate of one shilling in the pound, whether such rate be payable wholly by the owners or wholly by the occupiers, or partly by the owners and partly by the occupiers.
The special sewer assessment and the special water assessment, together with the general assessment, shall not in any special drainage district or special water supply district exceed the rate of three shillings in the pound as aforesaid.
His Lordship said the clause as it stood maintained the existing limit under the
Public Health Assessment of 6d. in the £. It was thought by the Select Committee that that was too rigid a limit, and before the Bill left the Select Committee an understanding was come to that he would propose a clause in place of the present Clause 131. He need not argue at any length as to the desirability of fixing some limit upon a rate of this kind. In the Act of 1867 there was a limit of 3d. in the pound, which was subsequently increased to 6d., and at that it stood at present. There were important provisions in the Bill, notably in regard to hospitals and other matters, which rendered it possible that the sixpenny limit might not be sufficient. The highest assessment at the present moment was 4½d. in the pound, where no special water or drainage district had been formed. Having regard to the expense which might reasonably be incurred under this Bill, the Committee came to the general opinion that the limit should be raised, and he proposed the limit of one shilling in his new clause. He moved that Clause 131 be omitted.
§ LORD TWEEDMOUTH
said that, though he should not divide the House, he did not agree with the proposals in the new clause. In the first place, hospitals were taken out of the class of subjects for which a special district could be formed; and, in future, they would have to be treated as part of the whole district, and would fall upon the general assessment. At present special districts could be formed for sewerage, drainage or erection of hospitals, and the limit of the rate in those special districts for those purposes was 2s. 6d. in the pound. The proposal to limit the general assessment to 1s. in the pound was departing from the precedents of the English and the London Acts, under which there was no limit to the general assessment. The local authority in Scotland for public health was a very large body; in some cases it represented the whole of the county. It was largely representative, and this arbitrary limit ought not to be put to its rate.
explained that at present there was no power to provide special districts for the hospitals. The noble Lord had probably been misled by Clause 131 of the Bill, but it was not in the existing law, which left the hospital 1116 rate to be spread over the whole district. That was why he raised the limit of the general assessment from 6d. to 1s., because the provision of hospitals was becoming much more common.
§ Clause 131 omitted.
§ On the Motion that Lord Balfour's new clause be inserted,
THE MARQUESS OF LOTHIAN moved as an Amendment the insertion of the following new clause:—
131. The general assessment by this Act authorised, which shall be imposed upon all lands and heritages within the district, including any special drainage or special water supply district, shall not exceed the rate of one shilling in the pound, whether such rate be payable wholly by the owners or wholly by the occupiers, or partly by the owners and partly by the occupiers.
The special sewer assessment, and the special water assessment, exclusive of the general assessment, shall not in any special drainage or special water supply district exceed the rate of two shillings and sixpence in the pound as aforesaid.
He said that the difference between his clause and that of Lord Balfour was rather one of form; but the effect was that, whereas under Lord Balfour's clause the total general assessment might be 3s. in the pound, under his clause it might be 3s. 6d. But while in the former case the amount of the general assessment must be deducted from the special rates in special districts, in the latter case the limit of 2s. 6d. was fixed to the special rates without deduction of the general rate. He thought this course would be more convenient, though he did not think that the limits would be reached. It was better that the district which would be benefited by the special expenditure should bear the whole of the expense.
THE EARL OF CAMPERDOWN
thought that, as far as form went, the clause of the Marquess of Lothian was preferable. It was very desirable that the special water and drainage districts should bear the whole of the expense where they received the whole of the benefit.
said that there was very little difference between the 1117 two clauses. He preferred his own simply because it was less hard on the special districts, and would not prevent the formation of those special districts which was so desirable. But in view of the expression of opinion fallen from the noble Lords, he was willing to accept the new clause of the Marquess of Lothian instead of his own.
§ Lord BALFOUR'S proposed clause, by leave, withdrawn; clause proposed by the Marquess of LOTHIAN agreed to.
§ Clause 132,—