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tained value, such as houses, agricultural land, &c., the question of rating is comparatively simple. The principal difficulties arise with regard to such property as great country mansions, for which there is practically no means of estimating a reasonable rental, and as to public undertakings, such as railways, docks, &c.
It is impossible within the limits of the present work to deal with the many peculiar provisions and principles with regard to particular classes of property; any account that we could give within our limits must, from its very brevity, be misleading. The more practical branch of the subject being less technical, may be explained at greater length.
A list of the property liable to be rated to the poor rate, Valuation List. with its value, is prepared in every union. This list is known as "The Valuation List ;" and although prepared primarily for the purpose of enabling the Guardians to assess contributions on each parish, towards their common poor fund, it serves other purposes in connection with local taxation.
The statutes dealing with the preparation of the valuation list are—
The Union Assessment Committee Act, 1862 (25 & 26
The Union Assessment Committee Amendment
These Acts apply tɔ every union which is constituted under the Poor Law Amendment Act, 1834 (4 & 5 Will. IV. c. 76). In incorporations and unions under other Acts, the poor law authority may adopt the Union Assessment Acts, and in most cases have done so. In single parishes under Boards of Guardians, constituted under the Poor Law Amendment Act, 1834; or under a Local Act, the Local Government Board may, by Order, bring the Acts into operation; but the Acts do not apply within the Metropolis.
In unions and incorporations in which these Acts are in force, a valuation list is prepared for each parish, and the combined lists of all the parishes in the union form the valuation list for the union.
The Board of Guardians or other authority annually appoint
1 Certain provisions on the subject are also contained in the Poor Law Amendment Act, 1868 (31 & 32 Vict. c. 122) sec. 30-32, 38.
a committee called the "Assessment Committee" of the union. Where the union is co-extensive with a municipal borough, the Clerk to the Guardians, upon the appointment of the Committee, if directed by the Board of Guardians, sends a list of the members of the Committee to the Town Council, who may then appoint additional members of the Assessment Committee; but the Town Council have no right to appoint additional members unless the Board of Guardians direct their Clerk to send them the list of members.
At the present time valuation lists have been prepared, and are in force for almost every parish in England and Wales to which the Acts are applicable.
The valuation lists in force for the time being for a union are kept in the custody of the Guardians; and a certified copy of the valuation list in force for each parish is kept by the Overseers with the rate book of the parish, and is open for inspection. In order to keep the valuation lists up to date, the Overseers from time to time prepare supplemental lists, or, if necessary, new lists. A supplemental list may be made by the Overseers whenever they think it necessary; the Assessment Committee also, may from time to time direct the preparation of new or supplemental valuation lists.
The form of every valuation list is as follows:
Valuation List for (the parish or place for which the list is made), in the County of
Where a supplemental or new list is prepared by the Overseers, they send a copy of it to the Board of Guardians, and the list itself they deposit with the rate books, &c., for inspection by any persons rateable in the parish, and give public notice of the deposit on the next Sunday, by affixing a notice of the deposit on church doors.
On the next Monday fortnight they must transmit the original list to the Board of Guardians, where it remains still open for inspection by any ratepayer or Overseer of a parish within the union.
At any time after the deposit of the list, and within 28 days of the deposit, any person aggrieved by the list may give notice of objection to the list, which notice must be sent to the Board of Guardians and to the Overseers of the parish in which the property, in respect of which the objection is made, is situated. If the grievance is in respect of property other than the objector's own property, notice must also be sent to the person liable to be rated in respect of that property. In a notice of objection the ground of objection must be stated.
The Assessment Committee hold meetings to hear objections, and whether objections are made or not, may correct and alter the list. After they have corrected the list they approve it and send a copy to the Overseers. The list so approved becomes "the valuation list in force," or if it is a supplemental list, part of the "valuation list in force," but if it has been altered by the Assessment Committee it must again be deposited with the rate book for a period of between seven and fourteen days, during which time objections may be made in the same way as before. If any objections are so made the Assessment Committee will hear them, and again, if necessary, alter and approve the list. The certified copy sent to the Overseers is kept by them with the rate book, and is open to the inspection of ratepayers in the same way as the rate book.
The Overseers of any parish in the union, with the consent of the inhabitants in vestry assembled, may appeal from the valuation list as approved by the Assessment Committee, either on the ground that their own parish is valued too high or that some other parish is valued too low. The appeal lies to the Quarter Sessions of the county or borough comprising the greatest number of parishes in the union, or in the case of equality of numbers, to the Quarter Sessions within whose jurisdiction the parish lies, in which the workhouse of the
Making a Poor
union is situated. The appeal must be made to the first sessions after the expiration of one month from the deposit of the list.
"The valuation list in force" remains in force until a new list or supplemental list has been made and approved; subject to the following provisions.
(1.) Where a poor rate is made based on the valuation list, and a person proposes to appeal against the rate, he must give 21 days' notice of his intention to appeal to the Assessment Committee, stating the grounds of his intended appeal. The Assessment Committee must hold a meeting to hear the objection, and may, if they consider the objection valid, alter the valuation list accordingly. It may be pointed out that no person may appeal against a poor rate unless he has first failed to obtain relief from the Assessment Committee. Owing apparently to careless drafting of the Union Assessment Amendment Act, 1864, the appellant against a poor rate must give notice of appeal to the Assessment Committee, whether the ground of his appeal is the unfairness of the valuation list or not; so that notice must be given even in a case where the Assessment Committee are powerless to grant relief, though whether the Assessment Committee in such a case have to go through the formality of a meeting to hear the objection seems doubtful.
(2.) If a successful appeal against the rate is made after the refusal of the Assessment Committee to give satisfactory relief to the appellant, the valuation list must be altered in accordance with the result of that appeal.
(3.) Where an appeal is made by Overseers against the valuation list, the list may be corrected by the Quarter Sessions.
The poor rate is actually estimated by the Overseers of each parish.
The expenses that the Overseers will have to meet are the immediate expenses of the parish, Orders for contributions from the Guardians of the Union, and Orders for contributions in certain cases from other authorities.
As far as possible the Overseers, as a rule, make poor rates for six months at a time, estimating what will be required to meet all the expenses during those six months; the rate is then calculated out in the following way :
The total sum required is compared with the total rateable value of the parish as it appears in the valuation list, and from that comparison the Overseers decide at what rate in the pound the rate will have to be made, making an
allowance for property unoccupied, and difficulties of collection, &c.
The actual sum required from each occupier is estimated in accordance with the valuation list and put in the rate book.
The rate thus prepared must be submitted by the Overseers to two or more Justices of the Peace, who must "allow" it, which they do by signing a statement at the foot of the rate book to the effect that they consent to and allow the assessment. The rate is then published, after which the Overseers or Collectors of the poor rate proceed to collect it. The form of a rate book is shown in Appendix F; it will be seen that columns 4 to 10 are copied from the valuation list. We now proceed to give an account of a county rate, that County Rate is to say, a contribution assessed on the whole or part of their county by the County Council.
The county rate is levied by the Overseers, usually as part of the poor rate. The County Council compute what the contribution of each parish should be, and obtain payment of that contribution in a lump sum through the Guardians and Overseers. For the purpose of raising the county rate a basis or standard Basis is prepared for every county save the County of London, which basis is really a list of the parishes and parts of parishes in the county, with the rateable value of each-the rateable value being calculated on the same principle as rateable value for the purpose of the poor rate. The preparation of this basis will be the duty of the County Council, and must practically be carried out by a Committee.
For the purpose of obtaining the necessary information, the Committee have wide powers.
Ist. The Clerk of every Union Assessment Committee must annually, in December, send to the Clerk of the County Council copies of the totals of the gross estimated rental and rateable value of the several parishes in the union, as corrected up to date by any supplemental valuation lists. 2
2nd. The Committee may, by an Order in writing, direct Overseers of the poor, Constables, Ássessors and Collectors of public rates for any parish, borough, or place within their county, and all other persons having the custody of any public or parochial rates or valuations for such parish or place, to make returns in writing to the Committee at such times and places as they may appoint, stating the rateable value of the whole or any
1 See 15 & 16 Vict. c. 81, secs. 2-20.
2 Union Assessment Committee Amendment Act, 1864, sec. 9.