PUBLIC BUSINESS. - LOCAL GOVERNMENT (RATES ON SMALL DWELLINGS) BILL, 1928—FROM THE SEANAD.

The Dáil went into Committee.

I move that the Committee agree with the Seanad in amendment 1:—

Section 1, sub-section (1). The words "actually used or is" deleted in line 23 and the word "structurally" substituted therefor.

This is a drafting amendment in order better to define the buildings to which this Bill applies.

Question put and agreed to.

I move that the Committee agree with the Seanad in amendment 2:—

Section 1, sub-section (1). All from and including the words "the rack-rent" in line 29 deleted down to the end of the sub-section and the following words substituted therefor: "in respect of the small dwelling in relation to which the expression is used a rent equal to or exceeding the valuation under the Valuation Acts of such dwelling or the person who would for the time being so receive in respect of such dwelling a rent equal to or exceeding the said valuation if such dwelling were let at such a rent."

The Seanad considered that under the present standard of valuation a person receiving a rent amounting to two-thirds of the valuation, and not more than that, had not sufficient interest in the premises to be titled an owner under this Bill. I have gone into the matter and for the purposes of the Bill it does not make any difference to the extent to which the Bill will apply, and I suggest that we should agree with the amendment.

Question put and agreed to.

I move that the Committee agree with the Seanad in amendment 3:—

Section 4, sub-section (4). Before sub-section (4) a new sub-section inserted as follows:—

(4) Whenever a rate is made by virtue of this section on the owner of one or more small dwellings, the rating authority by whom such rate is made shall furnish to such owner (as the case may require) particulars of such rate in respect of such small dwelling or separate particulars of such rate in respect of each such small dwelling, and such particulars shall be deemed to have been duly so furnished if the same are transmitted by post to or left at the address appearing in the rate book of such owner or, where such address is uncertain or the address of such owner does not appear in the rate book, are transmitted by post to or left at the small dwelling to which they relate.

This secures explicitly that the owners of property of this kind will receive a definite notice of the rate being struck in respect of each particular house. Ordinarily that would be the case, but the Seanad desired it to be explicit in the Bill. It also arranges the date on which certain things will hang. It arranges that the demand for the rates will be transmitted by post, and the date upon which the demand will be transmitted by post is a date that will affect the date upon which the owners will increase their rents; will have a bearing on the date on which the rate collector can take steps to garnishee for rates in the case of bad pays, and also on the date in respect of which nine-tenths of the rates will be accepted as full payment of the rates if the owner pays the rates before that particular day.

Question put and agreed to.

I move that the Committee agree with the Seanad in amendment 4:—

Section 4, sub-section (5). Before the word "Every" in line 44 the words "Save as is otherwise provided by this Act" inserted.

This is a drafting amendment relating to amendment 5.

Question put and agreed to.

I move that the Committee agree with the Seanad in amendment 5:—

New Section. Before Section 5 a new section inserted as follows:—

5.—(1) Save as is otherwise provided by this section a rate made by virtue of this Act on an owner of a small dwelling who is not beneficially entitled to such small dwelling shall not be recoverable from such owner.

(2) Whenever a rate is made by virtue of this Act on the owner of a small dwelling and such owner is not beneficially entitled to such small dwelling and such rate is in arrear and unpaid for whichever of the following periods is the longer, that is to say, four months from the making of such rate or three months from the furnishing in accordance with this Act to such owner of particulars of such rate, the following provisions shall apply and have effect, that is to say,

(a) it shall be lawful for the rate collector by whom such rate is collectable to serve either personally or by post on such owner a notice restraining him for so long as any part of such rate remains unpaid from paying to the person beneficially entitled to such small dwelling any rents or profits received (whether before or after the service of such notice) by such owner out of or in respect of such small dwelling;

(b) when such notice has been served such owner shall, to the extent of all rents and profits issuing out of such small dwelling and either received by him before and still in his hands at the service of such notice or received by him after such service, be liable to pay such rate and the same shall be recoverable from him accordingly by all or any of the remedies authorised by this Act;

(c) the receipt of a rate collector by whom such rate is collectable for a payment made by such owner on account of the said rate after the service of such notice on him shall, as against the person beneficially entitled to such small dwelling and notwithstanding any direction given by such person, be a good discharge to such owner for moneys received by him for the use of or in trust for such person up to the amount of such payment;

(d) if such notice as aforesaid cannot conveniently be served on such owner or the rating authority by whom such rate was made is of opinion (whether before or after the service of such notice) that the amount of such rate so in arrear or some part of such amount is or probably will be irrecoverable from such owner, it shall be lawful for the rate collector by whom such rate is collectable to serve either personally or by post on the occupier of such small dwelling a notice stating the amount of the said rate then unpaid and requiring such occupier to pay to such rate collector or his successor in office all rent then due or thereafter to become due by him to such owner until the said amount of the said rate is by such payment or otherwise discharged;

(e) the service of such notice as aforesaid on such occupier shall operate to transfer to such rate collector and his successors in office the exclusive right to recover, receive and give a discharge for the rent required by such notice to be paid to such rate collector or his successor in office.

It will be remembered that under Section 1 (1) the agent collecting rents for another person is classified as an owner for the purpose of the Bill. It was felt in the Seanad that an owner of that particular kind, who was not himself benefiting from the rents, ought not to be placed legally in a position in which, say, his property could be seized for non-payment of the rates. The introduction of this amendment is for the purpose of allowing the rent of a particular house to be garnisheed either through the agent, or if not through him, through the occupier, for the purpose of paying off the rates due on a particular house. There are good grounds why it should be possible to do that, and I recommend that we should agree with this amendment.

This is a rather dangerous amendment from our point of view, and unless better reasons are given as to why we should accept it I think it should not be accepted. It opens up very great possibilities to a landlord who wants to make the position very difficult, particularly for a local authority.

I do not think there is any danger in connection with that. If there is a landlord who does not pay the rates, then power is taken to garnishee the rent for that particular house, either through the agent, if there is an agent, or through the occupier, if there is no agent. I was, personally, very desirous that we should not introduce any thing into the Bill that might get the occupier of the house into conflict with his landlord, but this only applies to a case where you have not only a bad landlord but a bad agent, so that the likelihood of trouble arising for the occupier with the landlord, simply because power is taken to garnishee the rents through the occupier, is very slight.

I do not know about its being very slight. The Minister talks about bad landlords and bad agents as if they did not exist or are very few in numbers. That is not my experience.

They like to keep out of legal troubles, and do not like to have their rents garnisheed.

If the Minister is satisfied that in the first place it is not going to bring the occupier into conflict with the landlord, and in the second place that it is not going to give added trouble to the local authority or the rate collectors I am not going to press my objection.

I think there is very little danger of that considering that it only applies to premises where the rent is collected by an agent and therefore a person not beneficially entitled to the income from those particular dwellings.

Question put and agreed to.

I move that the Committee agree with the Seanad in amendment No. 6:

Section 5, sub-section (1). The words "next after the making of such rate" deleted in lines 1-2 and the words "hereinafter specified" substituted therefor.

This is only a drafting amendment in relation to amendment No. 7.

Question agreed to.

I move that the Committee agree with the Seanad in amendment 7.

Section 5, sub-section (2). Before sub-section (2) a new sub-section inserted as follows:—

"(2) The twelve months mentioned in the foregoing sub-section shall be the twelve months commencing at whichever of the following times is the later, that is to say, the expiration of one month from the making of the rate or the expiration of fourteen days from the furnishing in accordance with this Act to the owner of the small dwelling in relation to which the said twelve months are being calculated of particulars of such rate in respect of such small dwelling."

This enables a definite date to be fixed in respect of which in any rating area an increase of rent will take place. This fixes the date on which the landlord in regard to any particular rating area will make the addition to the rents in respect of rates for the following twelve months.

Question agreed to.

I move that the Committee agree with the Seanad in amendment No. 8:

New section. Before Section 9 a new section inserted as follows:—

"9.—(1) Whenever the owner of a small dwelling who is not also the occupier of such dwelling pays to the rating authority or to a person on their behalf nine-tenths of the amount of a rate made by virtue of this Act on him in respect of such dwelling within three months after the making of such rate or within two months after the furnishing to him in accordance with this Act of particulars of such rate in respect of such dwelling, such rate shall be deemed to have been fully paid and satisfied by such payment and such payment shall be accepted by such rating authority or such person accordingly.

(2) The provisions of this section shall be in addition to and not in substitution for the provisions of any other enactment (whether public, general, local, or personal, public or private) enabling a rate to be discharged by payment of a fraction thereof within a limited time, but not so as to entitle any person to relief under this section and under such other enactment in respect of the same rate."

This amendment provides that if within three months after the striking of the rate or within two months of the furnishing of the demand notes to the owner nine-tenths of the amount due is paid up that will be accepted in full discharge of the rates. A rather strong case was made out as to the responsibility that fell upon the owners under this Bill both in respect of the extra work it threw upon them collecting the rates weekly or monthly and making themselves the channel for paying the rates and the liability that fell upon them through possible loss, that is, that they were made liable for the payment of rates that they may never collect. I was persuaded that there was a case for allowing owners who pay rates in respect of small dwellings some rebate. This proposal is to give them a rebate of one-tenth, provided that the full rates are paid within three months of the making of the rate or within two months of the receipt of the demand note, whichever date is longest. It is to be borne in mind in connection with this that, in respect of dwellings of £6 valuation and under, there is a very big margin of irrecoverable rates. I have not been able in respect of the country as a whole to get the figures because I was informed it would involve a rather exhaustive inquiry but figures have been examined in respect of certain urban areas and county councils and on a snap check of that kind it was shown that irrecoverable rates in urban districts are approximately 60 per cent. in respect of houses of £6 valuation and under. In respect of certain counties, at any rate, the amount of irrecoverable rates on houses of £6 valuation and under would approximately amount to 25 per cent. We expect to reduce very much, if not entirely, as a result of our Bill the amount of irrecoverable rates due on small holdings. Taking that into consideration, I think the rebate we are allowing to owners under this Bill is reasonable.

I am not satisfied that there is any necessity whatever for this rebate. What the Minister is asking the House to accept is to pay landlords for paying their rates and that we should give them a commission. The Minister seems to forget what was said in this House before: that prior to the passing of the Local Government Act of 1898 landlords were responsible for the payment of rates on small houses. When the landlords let those houses they took that into consideration and increased the rents accordingly. After the passing of the 1898 Act many of them refused to continue to pay the rates but they never made a reduction in the rents which were originally fixed in order to cover rates as well as rents and that obtains right up to the present. If the Minister is prepared to say in the case of an owner or a landlord who pays the rates in respect of a house within three months after the making of the rate that nine-tenths should be accepted in full payment I do not see why the same should not be extended to other ratepayers. It seems to me that you are making the landlord a present of a bonus. The Minister talks about irrecoverable rates. We know quite well that local authorities for many years have suffered quite a lot because of irrecoverable rates. The landlords got the rents but the rates for the houses for which the landlord received the rents regularly had to be paid by the other ratepayers. If any persons are entitled to get some refund it seems to me it is the ratepayers that had to make up for the irrecoverable rates. I think the House ought not to accept this amendment.

I am not in agreement with Deputy Morrissey in this matter. He seems to forget that the principle of this Bill is to make the landlord liable for what the tenant is liable at the moment. That is the principle of the Bill. The Minister has pointed out to us that the amount of irrecoverable rates from this particular class of property, as embodied in this Bill, is very considerable, as all those who are connected with local authorities know. Now that liability is being transferred to the owner. The consequence is that the liability for these irrecoverable rates will be materially reduced. In other words, the transfer of the liabilities is made from the local authority to the owner. The owner now, under this Bill when it becomes an Act, becomes a collector of rates for the local authority.

In respect of his own houses.

These rates at the moment are collected by the local authorities and that liability is being transferred to the owner. Under this Bill the owner, in the discharge of the obligation cast upon him, will have to collect these rates, which at the moment the local authority has to bear the expense of collecting. In other words, under this Bill the local authority is freed from the expense of collecting these rates and from the liability which it had up to this in regard to irrecoverable rates. All that is now transferred to the owner. Now, because it is proposed to give the owner a small rebate in the nature of a deduction of 10 per cent. for rates that are paid within three months of the striking of the rate or of the receipt of the notices, Deputy Morrissey cries out and says "that it is an injustice."

Hear, hear.

Let us have some sense of equity in this House.

Hear, hear.

Let us consider the nature of the liability that is cast on the owner under this Bill. In return for that, he is to get a deduction of 10 per cent. Let us for a moment see what the effect of that deduction is. As all ratepayers know, the present system is that rates are paid in two moieties: the first when the rate is struck, and the second on the 1st of October. Under this Bill, this allowance of 10 per cent. is only payable to the owner if the full amount of the rate—not the two moieties that people have been accustomed to pay—is paid within three months. As I have said, we ought to have some sense of fairness in this matter. To my mind, this is a small allowance that is made to the owners in view of the additional responsibilities that are cast upon them. I think that it is small in the extreme, and I hope that the House will have a sense of proportion and accept the amendment.

Deputy Good talks about equity. I quite agree with him.

It is about time.

What I suggest to Deputy Good is that he ought to look at the equity of the matter from the point of view of ordinary tenants who do not own their houses, people who are paying rent for them, and who have been compelled to pay, in addition to their own rates, the rates on the houses of landlords who were enabled by the Act of 1898 to escape their liabilities. In the town in which I live the irrecoverable rates for the last couple of years amounted to a sum which represented a rate of 1/3d. in the £. The landlords of these small dwellings, some of them hovels, have continued to get their rents weeks in and week out, while myself and others in the town have had to pay not only the rates for the houses which we occupy but, in addition, rates to the extent of 1/3d. in the £ for houses that were owned by these landlords.

It is now suggested that it is unfair that these landlords should be asked to pay the rates in respect of the houses which they own themselves. One would imagine from what Deputy Good has stated that what was happening was this: that the landlords were now being compelled to pay the rates and that they had no way of recovering them. The landlord is asked to pay the rates, but it is the occupier of the house who really pays them, because the landlord is getting the power under this Bill to increase the rent by the amount of the rate that he will have to pay. We know quite well what is going to happen when the Bill becomes law. The landlords will try not only to increase the rents by the amount of the rates that they will have to pay, but a good many of them will double the amount if they can get away with it. There is just this point that I would ask Deputy Good to look at. Under this Bill the landlord will be entitled to collect from the tenant the full amount of the rate struck, but he will only pay over to the local authorities nine-tenths of the amount which he collects from the tenant. He can put the other one-tenth in his own pocket.

For the expenses incurred in collecting.

And for the risks incurred in not collecting.

I suggest that there will be no extra expense involved in the collection of the rates, because the rates will be embodied in the rents. The Minister talks about risks. I would ask him and the House to recognise this: that a great many landlords in this country have been in receipt of moneys, originally put on to meet rates, during the last 20 or 25 years, to which they are not entitled.

That has nothing to do with this Bill.

It has something to do with the equities which the Deputy talked about. I must be taken as against this amendment.

I wonder could the Minister give us any idea as to whether the economies in collection will be appreciable in, say, the case of any individual council. Apart altogether from the question of these small holdings, the proposal has been talked about a good deal all over the country as to whether there could not be a more economical method than the present one of collecting rates, or rather as to whether the expense involved in their collection could not be reduced. I have heard the question discussed again and again as to whether it would not be worth while giving a commission, or some discount to people who paid their rates before the time they are legally obliged to do so. We know, of course, that in recent times a number of cases of fraud have occurred on the part of rate collectors. I am interested to know if the Minister has any information as to whether, under the proposed system, any appreciable economy will accrue in the case of any particular council.

As to the question raised by Deputy Moore, that particular matter is getting very careful consideration in the Department. There are many things in connection with rate collecting that we will have to look to and attend to in the future, perhaps by means of some other kind of legislation. I would not care to drag a discussion of the issues involved in that into this particular Bill where we are getting a very economical way of collecting the rates in respect of a good lot of property and of a difficult class of property. With regard to figures and in reply to what Deputy Morrissey said, in the case of the Cashel Urban Council, if we had the machinery working that it is proposed to set up under this Bill in the year 1927-28, that council would have been saved perhaps a sum of £102. At any rate, under the present proposal, the council would have been saved approximately 90 per cent. of that, because out of £120 irrecoverable rates £102 represented rates on the class of property that this particular Bill deals with.

In the case of Clonmel, for the two years ending March, 1927, out of £300, the sum of £147 represented rates in respect of this particular class of property. If we had the machinery of this Bill working during these two years, we could have collected that sum of £147, or at all events the greater part of it. What I suggest, on a full consideration of the matter, is that in respect of these irrecoverable moneys and in respect of getting some other moneys paid in at an earlier part of the year, it is worth while paying the owners of this class of property something. In the case of Dungarvan, in the County Waterford, for the two years ending March, 1927, out of £940 irrecoverable rates, the whole of the £940 proved to be irrecoverable in respect of this class of property.

Might I point out to the Minister that the £900 which will now be collected and paid in by the landlord was before paid in by the ordinary ratepayer? He had to pay that in addition to the rates on his own house, and he got no ten per cent. rebate.

I suggest the ordinary ratepayers will be very pleased indeed if, instead of having to pay in this £940, they get the owners, at a cost of ten per cent. of that amount to pay in the £830 or whatever the exact figure is, because the ordinary ratepayers themselves will be saved the payment of that £830.

The ordinary ratepayer would be more pleased if the ten per cent. was not there.

In the same way, in the County Mayo for the two years ending March, 1927, the amount of irrecoverable rates on this particular class of property was £270. Owners can very well argue that in respect of these irrecoverable rates oil this particular class of property you are asking them to pay rates whether they get them or not. I am not over impressed by the argument that the landlords do not collect their rents and, therefore, will not be able to collect the rates, but I suggest that the ordinary ratepayer in respect of this class of debt is getting a good bargain if he gets these irrecoverable rates collected at a cost of ten per cent.

May I point out that if this amendment is accepted the Minister is going to make the tenant of the house pay a commission on the rates to the landlord?

Yes, that is so.

I cannot see that argument.

Capital must get its price.

The rate is levied at present on the full amount, and that is the maximum liability of the tenant. The local authority, in view of the amount which it gets under this arrangement and which it does not get at present and is going to get at an early date, is prepared to make an allowance of 10 per cent. off that rate. To get that allowance the money has to be paid three months after demand for the rates for the whole year. In other words, the landlord has to pay in cash for the rates nine months before he gets paid for them. What Deputy Morrissey asks is that the landlords are to have this additional liability cast on them of bearing the burden of the rates, and they are to pay this money to the local authority nine months in advance. In such a case return for it. I am afraid if that is to be the attitude of this House with regard to landlords there will in the future be few landlords of houses or any other property.

I think Deputy Good's argument is wrong. Landlords are not being asked to pay nine months in advance. In such a case they would be treated as an ordinary ratepayer might be. Would Deputy Good, or any other person, point out why a landlord should get a special concession which is not available to the ordinary ratepayer who pays his rates within the time limit fixed in the amendment? There is no question about it, but the landlord will be able to collect these rates in his rents, and that will not cause him any more trouble or additional expense than he is now caused in the collection of the ordinary rents. I do not think the landlord is entitled to any concession that is riot available to the ordinary man who pays his rates within three months.

I agree that the landlord is not compelled, under the section, to pay the rates inside of three months. If he does, it is a question of the local authorities paying two collectors, 10 per cent. to the landlord and 5 per cent. to the rate collectors. That would all have to come out of the ratepayers' pockets, and I would not agree with such a proposition.

I think the amendment is reasonable. The landlord is asked to collect the liability of another. It may be argued that the person with a valuation above £6 has to pay the rates in full. A lot of these rates will not be described as irrecoverable, and they will not be paid for a year or more after a rate is struck. If a landlord pays out the cash he is kept lying out of his money. Anybody who has experience of these small houses knows there are losses owing to removals, and if you do not get your rent you will not get the rate that will be struck. I think the amendment is reasonable, and I am quite sure it will satisfy the local authorities.

The advantage which I see to the local authorities in regard to this proposal is that the landlord, for a concession, pays the rates sooner, and the local authorities have the use of the money for carrying on.

I have not heard the Minister make any attempt to justify this point, that the landlord will pay into the local authorities only a certain amount, while he will collect the full amount from the tenants. Will the Minister give any justification for that?

Yes; when concluding, I will justify that.

May I point out to those on the other, side that, as I understand it from the statement of the Minister, it is a condition of the rebate of 10 per cent. that this money for the whole year is paid within three months? Am I correct in that?

In other words, at the end of three months the utmost the landlord can have collected is 25 per cent. of the total rates if he collects at a weekly rent. If he gets this 10 per cent. he is called upon to pay up the whole amount of the rates for the year before the expiration of three months. Let us be quite clear about this. Figures are things that may be manipulated.

LABOUR DEPUTIES

Hear, hear!

We will have no manipulation on this occasion, let the Labour Deputies clearly understand, and that is why I am taking the trouble to make my position clear. The proposal is, as I understand it from the Labour Deputies, that he is to pay down this money to the local authority and get no advantage in return. If he does not pay within three months, but pays at the end of six months or twelve months, under the proposal he gets no rebate.

No more than anyone else.

He is acting the part of tax collector for the local authority and gets nothing for it. If he does not pay the whole of the rates within three months, although he may not have got them, he gets no allowance for the additional, burden cast on him.

If the ordinary ratepayer pays within three months, would Deputy Good say that he should get a remission of 10 per cent.?

In Deputy Morrissey's constituency they paid practically nothing at all. These rates sometimes amount to only 6d. a week, and the bother of collecting them is more than they are worth. We are dealing now with valuations under £6 per annum. Take it that the rate of the local authorities is 10/-. That means that the total amount of the rates on a house of £6 valuation would be £3. A shilling a week is, or should be, collected from each of these people in the ordinary way. What happens is that the rate collector, as he cannot afford the time to go around all the houses, goes to the most of the ratepayers at two periods and calls on them to pay 30/- at the end of the first six months. That is a considerable amount to some of these tenants, who are unable to pay it. Then at the end of the second moiety he demands £3, but the people are in greater difficulty to pay that than they were in the previous six months, the result being that most of these rates are returned as uncollectable. Under the new regime the landlord will be liable and the rates will be collected from him at all events, but whether he succeeds in getting them from the tenant is another matter. There is another principle which I want to make clear, and it is one which I hope this House will retain, namely, the liability upon the tenant for the payment of rates.

It has been retained.

Deputy Morrissey and I do not see exactly eye to eye on these matters. I hold that the principle of making the tenant liable for the payment of rates is very sound, because it gives him an interest in civic life and in those who represent him in the local authority. Tenants told me under the old regime that it made no difference to them whether the rates were 10/- or £1, as they had to pay the same amount. I want no tenant to be able to say that. I want to have him taking a definite interest in the rates. The Minister assures us that under this Bill the rates would be a separate charge, and though the liability is to be discharged by the landlord the tenant would still have an interest in the amount of rates he pays and in seeing that a proper type of person represents him in the local authority.

That, I am afraid, is rather wide of the amendment.

Deputy Good and Deputy Carey contend that this is a good thing for local authorities, as they will have this money at their disposal, but, so far as I can make out, they are going to pay 28 per cent. per annum. First of all, they pay 10 on 75, as Deputy Good admitted, and if you take 75 at 10 it is 13? per cent. That is, assuming that they collect the remainder for nine months in weekly sums. It means that if the landlord has to collect the rates the money will be outstanding for an average of four and a half months, which means 28 per cent. per annum.

My point is that you get in money that you would not otherwise receive.

The Deputy apparently did not listen to Deputy Good's speech.

I think the principle underlying the amendment is good and equitable. At one time or another local authorities have had to complain about the amount of rates outstanding, particularly in respect of dwellings of smaller valuation. It seems reasonable to suggest if this principle be adopted, that there could be a claim made for tenants of houses of a valuation higher than £6 who are not, perhaps, in good circumstances and that, if they pay the rates within three months of the striking of the rate, or within two months after the demand, they should also be given the advantage of the 10 per cent. I think that many, if not most, of the local authorities would be glad to get all rates within three months of the striking of the rate on the understanding that they could do away with rate collectors and have the use of the money for a whole year. That, however, is probably dragging in a matter which is outside the scope of the Bill. It has been suggested by some of my friends here who do not like this favouritism in the Bill that it would perhaps be good for both sides, both for the local authority and the landlord, if the Minister would agree to accept the figure 5 instead of 10 per cent.

The principle is wrong.

I do not know. The local authority would be glad to get the money.

100 per cent.

They do not get 100 per cent. They do not get it in the Deputy's own town.

They get it all right, but the others pay.

The others would be glad to pay provided they got some quid pro quo. If it would be acceptable to the Minister, perhaps it would be in order to move that reduction in the percentage.

This is a Seanad amendment inserted in the Bill and it would be in order, though sufficient notice has not been given, to move an amendment to the Seanad amendment to substitute another figure for 10 per cent.

If the Minister would not give facilities for it I do not think there would be any use in moving the amendment.

It is a question for the Minister and the Seanad.

With regard to giving facilities, I made no provision for this in the original Bill, but I am fully converted to the view that 10 per cent. is a reasonable allowance to make. Someone said that figures have been manipulated, but it is really words that have been manipulated. No attempt has been made to manipulate figures. In reply to Deputy O'Kelly, my view of the matter of 10 per cent. is so pronounced, and there are so many Deputies who appreciate the justice of that particular figure I would be averse to leaving the matter over for the moment and giving an opportunity to amend it. I stated before, when the matter was before the Dáil, that I would recommend the acceptance of all these amendments. That, I think, was sufficient notice of my intentions for any Deputy who wanted to move amendments.

With regard to the point as to whether it should be 5 or 10 per cent., it may be of interest to some Deputies to state that in Dublin houses of £8 valuation and under are allowed a remission of rates if the rates are paid within two months after the beginning of the year. The remission amounts to between 18 and 20 per cent. The rates in Dublin are divided into a poor rate and a municipal rate. The poor rate is about one-fourth of the total rate. A remission of 25 per cent. of the municipal rate is given on houses of £8 valuation and under. That, if worked out, would mean about 18 or 20 per cent. of the total rate. Therefore the principle enshrined in this amendment is already in operation in Dublin. I think that 10 per cent. is a reasonable amount to allow in all the circumstances. I wish to draw the attention of Deputies to the fact that such a principle is in existence in Dublin and is working well. One of the conditions is that the house must be in good sanitary condition. The remission is given on houses under £8 valuation if the owner makes application and certifies that the house is in good condition.

Might I ask the Deputy whether the remission he has spoken of is given to the tenant of the house or the landlord?

It is given to either one or the other.

That is not what is in the Bill.

It is given to the owner in this case because the occupiers generally do not make application, and it is only where houses are in good sanitary condition that the remission is allowed. Sometimes houses are taken out of the list because the houses are not in good sanitary condition.

Do I understand from Deputy Conlan's statement, that the result of the passing of this Bill will be that the rates of a tenant, under 6 valuation, who was paying his rates and got 25 per cent. remission will now be collected by the landlord, who will give him no remission?

This Bill does not interfere with the privileges already existing. That is mentioned in another portion of the Bill.

Will the landlord be compelled to give this remission which the tenants are now getting from the Commissioners in Dublin, to the tenants?

Perhaps I may answer that. The position will be that an occupier who was paying a particular rate, reduced by the amount the Deputy speaks of, will not be liable under this Bill to pay more than he was liable for previously, and that in respect of a rate, so reduced, the landlord will not get an additional reduction on that rate, of the 10 per cent. involved in this Bill. Most of the Deputies who were arguing against this amendment confused a person who pays rates because of his own direct liability with a person who is paying rates for which another person is really liable. One of the principles kept clear in this Bill is that we are not going to raise from the shoulders of a local government elector a liability to pay rates, and that that shall be definitely shouldered by him in the future as in the past. The owner of the property on which there is a rate is going to be made the collecting agent. The owner of that property will perform a certain service in the future. In the first place he will collect these rates and collect them in a way that is suitable to the occupier, in smaller amounts than would be collected by the rate collector. He is going to pay them three months after the making of the rate or within two months of the receipt of the demand. He is going to collect rates, a large amount of which have not been recovered up to the present. In respect of that service we are going to allow him a rebate. Deputy Dr. Ryan has pointed out that he has already got interest for three months on money which he collected and that he is going to be out of interest for nine months. As a matter of fact, the periods will be two months and ten months.

I accepted Deputy Good's figures.

For all practical purposes unless he waits for the last two days after the receipt of the demand to pay up his total rates, he has to pay up the money before he gets it, so that to that extent he is at a certain loss. He is also at the loss, which it is argued will exist to some extent, that he will be paying rates in respect of certain properties for which he will not be able to collect rates afterwards. Generally, I think the bargain that we are making as between the ratepayers and the owners of this class of property is a good one for the ratepayers.

Amendment put.
Question—"That the Committee agree with the Seanad in amendment 8"—put.
The Committee divided: Tá, 61; Níl, 54.

  • Ernest Henry Alton.
  • James Walter Beckett.
  • Ernest Blythe.
  • Séamus A. Bourke.
  • Michael Brennan.
  • Seán Brodrick.
  • John Joseph Byrne.
  • Edmund Carey.
  • John James Cole.
  • Mrs. Margt. Collins-O'Driscoll.
  • Martin Conlon.
  • Michael P. Connolly.
  • Bryan Ricco Cooper.
  • William T. Cosgrave.
  • John Daly.
  • Michael Davis.
  • James N. Dolan.
  • Peadar Seán Doyle.
  • Edmund John Duggan.
  • James Dwyer.
  • Barry M. Egan.
  • Osmond Thos. Grattan Esmonde.
  • Desmond Fitzgerald.
  • James Fitzgerald-Kenney.
  • John Good.
  • Denis J. Gorey.
  • Alexander Haslett.
  • John J. Hassett.
  • Michael R. Heffernan.
  • Thomas Hennessy.
  • John Hennigan.
  • Mark Henry.
  • Patrick Hogan (Galway).
  • Richard Holohan.
  • Michael Jordan.
  • Patrick Leonard.
  • Finian Lynch.
  • Arthur Patrick Mathews.
  • Michael Og McFadden.
  • Patrick McGilligan.
  • Joseph W. Mongan.
  • Richard Mulcahy.
  • James E. Murphy.
  • Joseph Xavier Murphy.
  • John Thomas Nolan.
  • Bartholomew O'Connor.
  • Timothy Joseph O'Donovan.
  • John F. O'Hanlon.
  • Daniel O'Leary.
  • Dermot Gun O'Mahony.
  • John J. O'Reilly.
  • John Marcus O'Sullivan.
  • Patrick Reynolds.
  • Vincent Rice.
  • Martin Roddy.
  • Timothy Sheehy (West Cork).
  • Michael Tiemey.
  • Daniel Vaughan.
  • Vincent Joseph White.
  • George Wolfe.
  • Jasper Travers Wolfe.

Níl

  • Frank Aiken.
  • Denis Alien.
  • Richard Anthony.
  • Neil Blaney.
  • Gerald Boland.
  • Patrick Boland.
  • Daniel Bourke.
  • Seán Brady.
  • Robert Briscoe.
  • Henry Broderick.
  • Daniel Buckley.
  • Alfred Byrne.
  • Frank Carty.
  • Michael Clery.
  • Hugh Colohan.
  • Eamon Cooney.
  • Martin John Corry.
  • Mark Killilea.
  • Michael Kilroy.
  • Seán F. Lemass.
  • Patrick John Little.
  • Ben Maguire.
  • Seán MacEntee.
  • Seamus Moore.
  • Daniel Morrissey.
  • Thomas Mullins.
  • Timothy Joseph Murphy.
  • William Davin.
  • Thomas Derrig.
  • Earnon de Valera.
  • Frank Fahy.
  • Hugo Flinn.
  • Andrew Fogarty.
  • Seán French.
  • Patrick J. Gorry.
  • John Goulding.
  • Seán Hayes.
  • Patrick Hogan (Clare).
  • Samuel Holt.
  • Patrick Houlihan.
  • Stephen Jordan.
  • Michael Joseph Kennedy.
  • William R. Kent.
  • James Joseph Killane.
  • Thomas J. O'Connell.
  • Seán T. O'Kelly.
  • William O'Leary.
  • Matthew O'Reilly.
  • James Ryan.
  • Martin Sexton.
  • Timothy Sheehy (Tipperary).
  • Patrick Smith.
  • Richard Walsh.
  • Francis C. Ward.
Tellers: Tá: Deputies Duggan and P. Doyle. Níl: Deputies Davin and G. Boland.
Motion declared carried.

The Committee has agreed with all the amendments made by the Seanad.

The Dáil went out of Committee.
Question—"That the Dáil agree with the Committee in the said amendments"—put and agreed to.
Message to be sent to the Seanad accordingly.