§ Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.960
My Lords, the purport of this Bill may not be very immediately obvious, but I think I can convince your Lordships that its wording does not conceal anything of a very controversial nature. All that it really does is to prolong certain provisions of the Rating and Valuation Act, 1928. Under the Rating and Valuation Act, 1925, it was provided that certain methods in the assessment of properties should be followed. But in 1928 it was felt that if those methods were followed in regard to certain classes of small house property great and unforeseen hardship might result. The question now arises as to whether the methods which were laid down in the Act of 1928 by which those anticipated hardships were alleviated should be followed, or whether we should revert to the original proposals in the Act of 1925 which were temporarily amended in 1928, having regard to the valuation which was due to be conducted in the following year, that is 1929.
This point has been very carefully considered by all the different authorities involved. They are the Central Valuation Committee, the Metropolitan Standing Joint Committee and the London County Council. They have carefully reviewed the situation both individually and in joint conference, and they unanimously agreed to recommend that the special provisions of the Act of 1928 ought to prevail in respect to the next valuation lists in London and elsewhere. What this Bill really does it to give fulfilment to that, unanimous recommendation. I could, if necessary, give your Lordships details regarding the various classes of property which are affected and the reasons why they would be prejudiced in the absence of this Bill. In view of the fact that the recommendations of all the authorities involved are unanimous and the fact that this Bill has already passed through another place without a Division and without criticism, your Lordships may be disposed to accept the conclusion arrived at by those authorities, that the special circumstances still hold good and that a reversion to the 1925 procedure is not really desirable at the present moment. The classes of houses affected are really small properties with a low rateable value. I do not think that any controversy is raised by this Bill, and I beg to move.
§ Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a.—(Viscount Gage.)
§ On Question, Bill read 2a and committed to a Committee of the Whole House.