§ Rear-Admiral BEAMISHasked the Minister of Health if he will provide a statement as to the incidence of rates in rural districts so as to provide a comparison between agricultural and other descriptions of land and property, demonstrating the incidence in the year 1896, at the present time, and, as far as possible, when the first re-assessment under the Rating and Valuation Act comes into force?

Mr. CHAMBERLAINUpwards of 99 per cent, of the total amount of rates collected in rural districts for public local purposes has in recent years been collected in respect of two rates, namely, the poor rate (now the "general" rate) and the special expenses rate (now the "special" rate). The following table sets out the incidence of these two rates at the several periods mentioned in the question.

The percentage of the above-mentioned total amount which was collected by means of poor rates was nearly 95 in the year 1896 and nearly 93 in the year 1927. The corresponding percentages in the case of the special expenses rate were 1489W nearly five in 1896 and nearly seven in 1927.

The small balance of the rates in rural districts (less than 1 per cent. of the total) was raised by means of library rates and lighting rates. These rates have been abolished by the Rating and Valuation Act, 1925. The expenses formerly chargeable upon them (slightly modified in incidence) have been made

1490W

Classes. In 1896. In 1927. After the coming into force in a Rural District of the first new Valuation List under the Rating and Valuation Act. 1925 (i.e., in April,1928, or April,1929). Incidence of Poor Rate (now General Rate). Occupiers of— (i) Agricultural land Paid in proportion to net annual value. Pay in proportion to one-quarter of net annual value. Will pay in proportion to one-quarter of net annual value. (ii) Agricultural buildings other than dwelling-houses. Paid in proportion to net annual value. Pay in proportion to net annual value. Will pay in proportion to one-quarter of net annual value. (iii) Dwelling-houses, shops, factories, mines, quarries, railways, canals, waterworks, and other hereditaments not specified above; and owners of tithes or tithe commutation rent charges. Paid in proportion to net annual value. Pay in proportion to net annual value. Will pay in proportion to net annual value. incidence of Separate Rate for Special Expenses. (iv) Agricultural land Paid in proportion to one-quarter of net annual value. Pay in proportion to one-quarter of net annual value. Will pay in proportion to one-quarter of net annual value. (v) Agricultural buildings other than dwelling-houses. Paid in proportion to net annual value. Pay in proportion to net annual value. Will pay in proportion to one-quarter of net annual value. (vi) Woodlands, land covered with water or used as a canal or as a towing path for a canal or as a railway constructed under the powers of any Act of Parliament for public conveyance; and owners of tithes or tithe commutation rent charges. Paid in proportion to one-quarter of net annual value. Pay in proportion to one-quarter of net annual value. Will pay in proportion to one-quarter of net annual value. (vii) Dwelling-houses, shops, factories, mines, quarries and other hereditaments not specified in (iv), (v) or (vi) above. Paid in proportion to net annual value. Pay in proportion to net annual value. Will pay in proportion to net annual value. by that Act a charge upon the general rate and special rate respectively.

In recent years the practice with regard to the rating of machinery has varied greatly as between one locality and another. The Rating and Valuation Act, 1925, provides inter alia for uniformity in this matter as from the dates on which the first new valuation lists under that Act come into force.