The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 14
The Inhabited House Duty
The Inhabited House Duty.
In the Almanack for 1876, and previous years, five pages were devoted to a compilation from Mr. Locke King's Return No. 384 of Session 1872, giving an "Account of the Number of Dwellings assessed to the House Duty in each County, Division of a County, City, Borough, and Parliamentary District of Great Britain, the Kates of Assessment, and the Amount paid in each in the year ending April 5th, 1871," to which were added the entire number of Dwelling Houses, inhabited and uninhabited, assessed and unassessed, and building according to the Census of 1871. For these five pages there was substituted in the Almanack for 1877 the following Summary:—
A Parliamentary Return of 1883 enables us to compare the figures with those of the last Census, and with the assessments of 1882.
|Number of Houses Assessed.||Number not Assessed.|
|England and Wales||1,037,070||4,059,262|
|Totals for 1882||1,111,386||4,778,516|
Among the exemptions are 16,740 charity premises, 17,990 places used solely for business purposes, and 4,375,280 houses below the £20 limit of assesment. Of the houses below the £20 limit in 1882, it is important to note that 3,124,115 were even below a £10 limit.
|4th Class (i.e., mud cabins of one room)||40,665|
|3rd Class (mud houses with 2 to 4 rooms and windows)||384,475|
|2nd Class (farmhouses or town houses, with 5 to 9 rooms)||422,241|
|1st Class (houses of a better description)||66,727,|
Such facts shew the room there is, and the necessity, for a thorough revision of the House Duty, preparatory to a proper system of Taxation. At present the duty is evaded in many thousands of instances by fixing the rental just below the £20 limit; assessments in numberless instances are defective, and not seldom grossly collusive. In the great towns there is many a single building assessed at a higher figure than a dozen or score of palatial country mansions. Duke, Baron, or Squire has his steward or his bailiff, and his tenants on the Board of Guardians, or other rating authority, and all are naturally anxious to "make things pleasant" for their superiors.page 170
- Page 175.—Where may be seen the growth of Rent in the assessments to Schedule A of the Income and Property Tax, as well as the growth of Profits in Schedules C and D.
- Page 117.—Where are recorded the figures of Food Consumption per head of the population. This table, telling of the gradual incoming of plenty to the once-starved labourer, is perhaps the most eloquent within our covers.
- Page 104.—Where the reader may see the reduction of Crime by 63 per cent., though population has increased by nine millions.
- Pages 101—102.—Where the reduction of Pauperism is strikingly set forth.
- Page 159.—Where the figures of Wheat and Flour Importation since Corn Law Repeal are recorded.
- Page 171.—Where the same particulars are given for all kinds of Food Imports.
- Pages 158-9.—Where the effect of Abolished Duties on Trade and Shipping is shown to be marvellous.
- Pages 157-8.—Where another result of free trade is seen to be an enormous expansion of the staple manufactures and trades of the country—Cotton, Wool. Coal, and Iron.
- Page 122.—Where from the Clearing House Returns some notion may be gathered of the vastness of our National Monetary transactions.
And finally in the following record of national prosperity such as no other country in the world has ever been able to show:—page 171
Sir Stafford Northcote's Return, No. 469 of Session 1863, from which the figures of 1840 are taken, includes pigs amongst the things prohibited in that year; but these interesting creatures are not mentioned, either in the Finance Accounts or the Statistical Abstract. All the articles above enumerated were duty free in 1870, excepting Cocoa, Coffee, Currants, Raisins, Sugar, and Tea. Sugar was liberated in 1874, and the sooner the other five articles are set free the better it will be for the country, and the nearer we shall be to real Freedom of Trade.