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Of these rates the first six were in education rates and as in poor payable wholly by owners, and the rates, Parliament has desired to do last three equally by owners and a number of excellent things for occupiers ; but by the Scotch Local the wellbeing of the people and Government Act of 1889, which of the nation at large, and it has placed an elective body under the done them at the expense of one name of the county council in con- interest—an interest now beyond trol of county government in the measure depressed and small in room of the old Commissioners comparison with the general wealth of Supply, owners were to con- of the country. It will be argued tinue to pay the whole of the rates that Parliament has not thrown the which they had up to that date whole burden of these many services imposed upon themselves, but any on the land or real estate, having excess was to be shared equally given large grants in aid of local between them and
them and occupying taxation. Yes, but from what tenants. It is interesting to note, source do these grants come? From before leaving this branch of the the National Exchequer, which, subject, as illustrative of the ten- independently of the rates which dency to extravagance of elective I have been detailing, is filled as bodies, that though county coun- much by the landed interest as by cils have only been in existence any other: they, landlords, tenants, four years, there is already a strik- and labourers, drink as much tea, ing increase in the grand total of smoke as much tobacco, consume their expenditure. In twenty-six as much beer, pay as heavy house counties there has been an increase, duty, as corresponding classes in as compared with the taxation in other branches of life, and, as Sir 1889-90 under the old régime, in William Harcourt himself admits, many cases of very serious mo- they have paid a heavier income ment, while in seven only is there tax. Reserving the question of the a decrease, and that of trivial death duties for the moment, the amount. The increases range up agricultural interest is more, and to 6.1d. in Renfrew, 8d. in Peebles, not less, heavily taxed than other and 1s, in Nairn; while the largest interests; yet
when burdens decrease is a fraction under 2d. in amounting to several shillings in Caithness. The total burden for the pound on gross revenue, and county rates varies from 7d. to to half as much again on net 1s. vid., and ls. to ls. 2d. of income, are imposed, it is thought every pound of gross rental may to be an answer to any complaint be accounted
to say, “You have no grievance, These details are extracted from because if the taxpayer at largea paper presented to Parliament you included—did not pay someby the Secretary for Scotland thing towards these services, you on May 2 (No. 100].
would be still more severely opThe instance of the particular pressed than you are. estate which has formed the ground- So far, we have dealt solely with work of analysis is in no way ex- one great estate. In order to prove treme; it is situated in counties that this is no peculiar instance, we where the rate is not excessive, summarise the information placed and fairly illustrates the fact that at our disposal in regard to other Victorian legislation has multiplied estates, situated severally in the mangfold the taxation on land for Western Highlands, in Mid-Lothithe purposes of county government. an, in Ayrshire, in Wigtownshire,
Here, again, in county rates as and in the Hebrides,
1. Estate in the Western Highlands.
5. Estale in the Hebrides. 1840. 1893.
1940. 1893. Poor, Nil £307 Poor,
Nil £1492 Education, £40 204 Education,
£139 558 County assessments, 227 432 County and district as
430 £267 £943
£651 £2480 The land rental of this estate, in spite of considerable capital out- The poor rental in this case has lay, is now no larger than sixty slightly decreased within the last years ago. The figures given are half century, but the burdens for an average of years, and the have increased fourfold. poor and education rates paid by These instances might be multithe tenants are not included. If plied without number, and by a these were added, the whole burden selection of telling cases such as would be not less than £1500, or could be found in many Highland six times the amount that sufliced parishes, augmentations of burden in 1840.
twice as severe could be adduced.
We have purposely avoided making 2. Estate in Ayrshire.
use of extreme examples, since the
facts here given prove our point Poor, .
over and over again, that personEducation,
alty and realty, starting, so to County assessments,
speak, fair half a century ago, £245 £1250 have not since met with equal
treatment; and that if equalisaThe rental of this estate has fallen tion is to be the order of the day, one - eighth since 1840, but the it is the agricultural interest that money the land has to find in may justly cry out for redress. discharge of public duties is five
Such being the effect of recent times greater.
legislation on landed wealth, it is
time to consider what the result 3. Estate in Wigtownshire.
will be if the measures now before
Parliament become law. Poor,
The Local Government (ScotEducation,
83 968 County assessments,
of the existing parochial board, and £1136 £3685 the establishment in its place of
a parish council in every parish, This estate affords an unusual in- elected, in the words of the Secrestance of considerable outlay in tary for Scotland,
on the widest the maintenance of the poor be- suffrage that exists." By this bill fore the Act of 1845.
as introduced every householder,
notwithstanding total failure to 4. Estate in Mid-Lothian.
pay his rates, was allowed to control
by his vote the raising and expendPoor,
£45 £184 Education,
ing the money of those who do
192 County assessments,
19 309 pay. Deferring to the spirit of
an amendment by Mr Hozier, the £106 £685 Secretary for Scotland has carried
a compromise excluding from the The increase in this case is more franchise those who are more than than sixfold.
a year in arrear with their rates.
The noisiest section of Scotch that they are; but Parliament is Radicals are wildly furious with legislating for Scotland, not only Sir George Trevelyan for deserts for the happier districts therein. ing the banner on which they Either it must provide for the have inscribed the strange de- whole of Scotland a legislative vice“ Representation but no tax- scheme which will work everyation;" and it may be that they where, or it must safeguard the will seriously set themselves to weaker, the poorer, and more wreck the bill, or that the com- backward districts by some amendpromise may prove unworkable in ments or provisions peculiarly appractice. For the moment an plicable to them. The former was amendment, which will appeal to the opinion of Mr J. P. B. Robertthe common sense of every house- son, who, when Lord Advocate in holder of honest purpose, has been the Unionist Ministry, laid it down adopted. This, however, is not as the basis of his scheme for the sufficient to avert a very serious reform of local government, that danger arising from the constitu- it “ must be applicable to the tion of the electorate, as the fol- whole of Scotland, and it must, lowing argument will show. therefore, be fitted to stand the
The parish council is to exercise strain of the various social and power in two directions: first, it is economic conditions which extend to assume all the powers and duties from the English border to the of parochial boards, and, above all, farthest Hebrides.” to dispense money for the mainte- Examining the social and econonance of the poor; second, it is mic conditions which exist over to undertake a multitude of new many of the northern counties, are duties all costing money. The the alarms we have expressed withlatter will involve a certain and out foundation ? considerable burden
every The answer may be left to any county in Scotland; but the for- one who will take the trouble to mer, in the poorer parishes where examine the condition of there is much poverty and little average Highland parish. Here wealth, where there are many is the account given of parishes mouths and little scope for profit- chosen as fair examples by Lord able industry, will result in utter Napier's Commission in 1883:destruction of rich and poor alike,
Farr, Sutherland. —of the poor because of the demoralisation attendant the
Paid by 27 large tenants, 9,656 power to relieve themselves by dipping their hands into the pro- Balance to be divided duce of the rates; of the rich
among 293 small occuor, to speak more accurately, of pants,
£681 those who make a loyal effort to
of these, 160 were rented below £6, meet their many obligations—be- and 128 below £2. cause the balance now remaining
Vig, Lewis, after the discharge of very oner- Gross rental, .
£5229 ous public burdens will be swept Paid by 25 large tenants, 3708 away.
Are these alarms without foundation ? In a large number Leaving to be divided beof parishes where the population
£1521 is moderate, wealth large in pro
tween 420 occupants,
Of these last, 393 pay under £6 aportion, and plenty of employ
year. ment at good wages, it may be Since this report, rents have
been reduced on large farms and by the owners and half by occusmall plots alike from 30 to 50 piers. Since the rate is divided
There is no manufac- in this manner, it does not seem ture and no regular home trade or an unreasonable proposition. The occupation for the people. The alternative is to provide for the landlord and the dozen or two large exercise of drastic powers of intertenants will be utterly powerless ference and control by the Local to influence the election which Government Board. must result in a council desirous In addition to undertaking all to do what the electorate wishes the duties of the old parochial -viz., generously and largely to board, the new councils, elected on relieve the wants of the mass of the “widest suffrage that exists,” their constituents.
have power to spend the produce In these parishes the poor rates of the rates, without stint or limit, are already 2s. and 3s. 2d. in the on the following objects, after obpound respectively. To predict taining, in some cases, the consent that they will grow beyond endur- of the county council and the ance when 90 per cent of the elec- board :tors are existing on a holding (a) To provide buildings for pubunder £3 or £4 a-year in value, is
lic offices and for meetings neither hazardous in itself, nor
or other public purposes. does it involve any attack on the (6) To provide, maintain, lay out, worth of the people as a class. They
and improve grounds for will naturally do as Parliament
public recreation. invites them, and relieve them- (c) To acquire land for the foreselves out of the profits of their
going objects. neighbours until the last penny is (d) To acquire rights of way. exhausted. The idea of shame in (e) To execute suitable works. becoming chargeable to the parish (f) To purchase lands compulhas already almost vanished, and
sorily at the expense of it will utterly disappear when
the rates. Parliament sends, as they will in- (9) To acquire land compulsorily terpret it, a message :
on lease for allotments. men to relieve the poor on a scale (h) To levy a special rate to which you poor men deem suit
cover the expenses thus able.”
incurred. Mr J. P. B. Robertson wisely (i) To borrow money on the said in 1889
security of the special
rate. “ It is all-important that the ad
Others will arraign the policy of ministration of poor relief should, in
the the interests of the people, be in firm conferring these powers on and steady hands; and one of the
new councils. The object of this considerations which must be looked article is only to invite those who to, in all proposals for electing paro- will have to pay the piper to conchial boards, is the necessity of saving sider in time the way the particuthe people and saving the parochial lar class of wealth they possess is boards from their being, in the dis- being treated by Parliament. charge of their invidious and delicate duties, under pressure of the most creditable sentiments."
The second measure which pro
mises shipwreck to the landed inThe scheme proposed at the terest is the Finance Bill now conclusion of this speech provided working its tedious way through for the election of the board half the House of Commons. This bill
seeks primarily to recast the death making them 11 per cent in the duties in their application to land, case of lineals, 4.1 in that of coland enormously to augment their laterals, and so on up to 11in severity. Under the specious guise that of strangers in blood. He of equalisation, it aggravates to a also imposed a new duty of 1 per point beyond bearing the existing cent on all estates, real and perinequality of burdens taken as sonal, exceeding £10,000.
The a whole imposed by the Imperial net result is that a child succeedParliament on real as compared ing to an estate over £10,000 in with personal estate. It behoves value pays, if it be in free per
to the utmost brevity sonalty, probate duty 3 per cent, in dealing with this branch of and estate duty 1 per cent—total, our subject, and to assume that 4 per cent; if it be in real estate, every reader knows the cardinal he pays succession duty 1.1 per features of the Chancellor of the cent, and estate duty 1 per centExchequer's scheme, so far as it total, 24 per cent. affects land: (1) graduation of Real estate, then, now enjoys probate—or, as it will be called the following privileges :estate duty-until a maximum of 1. It pays in the case of lineals 8 per cent is reached, every sort 21 per cent instead of 4 per of property, real and personal, in- cent. vested at home or in the colonies 2. The capital value of the sucbeing aggregated prior to assess- cession on which duty is paid is ment; (2) the payment on death calculated according to the age of on the capital value of estates of the successor; and life-interest in every kind, even though entailed, a sum being always less than the and though the beneficiary has a sum itself, duty is never paid on life-interest only; (3) abolition of the total value. privileges hitherto accorded in the
3. Four years are given to discase of real property.
charge the duty by instalments, We need not dwell on the origin without interest. of the death duties. A trifling Why were these last concesstamp duty on probate was first sions given? Because Mr Gladimposed in 1694; the principle of stone, for the first time imposing progression, according to the value duty on succession to real estate of the estate, was introduced in in 1853, deemed it right, and 1779; and in 1815 the amount earnestly argued that it was necpayable to Exchequer was substan- essary to treat land more lightly tially increased. Legacy duty was than personalty, for two reasons
. first imposed in 1780, and in 1815 first, because land bore an undue was placed upon its present scale, proportion of local taxation, and varying from 1 per cent payable second, because an analysis of the by lineals up to 10 per cent by income-tax schedules proved that strangers in blood. These duties the profits of trade were not taxed were payable on personalty only, at an equal rate with the profits of and it was not till 1853 that rent. Where the former paid 7d., duty was imposed on successions the latter-so said Mr Gladstone to landed estate. Mr Goschen -paid 9d. made in 1888 and 1889 the last The severity of local taxation in changes that have to be recorded. 1853 was as nothing to what it has He increased the rates of suc- since become, yet it was deemed cession duty payable on realty- suflicient by the hero of Liberal