§ Major W. MURRAY
asked the Secretary to the Treasury whether he is aware that a large portion of the rates due by the Government to the parish council of Dornoch, in respect of subjects owned and occupied by them in the Gretna factory area and adjoining district, for the years 1916–17, 1917–18, and 1918–19, are still unpaid; and whether, seeing that the sums claimed amount to over £1,500, and that such delay dislocates the financial arrangements of a country parish, besides adding largely to the ratepayers' burden, he will now cause the sums due to be paid with such interest as has accrued?
§ Mr. BALDWIN
The hon. and gallant Member is under a misapprehension as to the position. No liability for payment of rates attaches to Crown property, so no rates can, properly speaking, be "due" from the Government to a local rating authority. Although this exemption exists, it has nevertheless been the practice of the Treasury to makeex gratia contributions in lieu of rates to local authorities in respect of Crown property, and it is to such contributions that the hon. and gallant Member is referring. In the particular case he quotes a large portion of the claim put forward by the local authority is not admitted and the Treasury is still in correspondence with the authority on the subject. As regards the accepted portion of the claim, which is payable partly by the Treasury and partly by the Ministry of Munitions, the Treasury has already paid its share up to Whit Sunday, 1917, and is about to make payment in respect of the period subsequent to that date. Perhaps the hon. and gallant Member will communicate with the Ministry of Munitions with regard to that Department's share of the contribution.