England: Summary of Bills for the Rating of Land Values introduced into the house of commons since the issue of the final report of the royal Commission on Local Taxation.

The first Bill for the rating of site values brought in after the Royal Commission on Local Taxation had reported upon the subject, was the "Urban Site Value Rating Bill," introduced by Mr. Trevelyan, M.P., in 1902. It was framed with the object of carrying out the recommendations in the separate Report on Urban Rating and Site Values by Lord Balfour of Burleigh, the late Lord Kinross, Sir Edward Hamilton, Sir George Murray, and Mr. Stuart, M.P., contained in the Final Report of that Commission. The Bill would have given power to the London County Council and the Councils of the larger Boroughs and Urban Districts to raise, alongside of the existing rates, a special rate upon site values throughout their areas. Site value was defined as "the annual sum at which the surface of the land might be expected to let clear of the building (if any) situate on the land," and the rate was to be charged upon uncovered land ripe for building as well as upon land already built upon. The rate for each financial year was limited to 2s. in the on the site value, and was to be charged upon the persons at present liable to pay rates (or, in the case of unoccupied property, upon the person entitled to immediate possession), and collected in the same way as the present rates. Contracts existing at the time of the passing of the Bill were not to be disturbed, but an occupier under a lease or agreement made after the measure had passed, was allowed to deduct from his rent one-half of the rate on the site value at the commencement of his tenancy. Intermediate lessees were given a similar right of deduction. The purposes upon which the proceeds of the site value rate might be expended were enumerated in a schedule, which, it is explained in the memorandum attached to the Bill, was framed so that the rate could only be applied to purposes which tend to increase the value of the land upon which the rate would be assessed. The second reading of the Bill was defeated by a majority of 71 in a House of 387.

In 1903, the "Land Values Assessment and Rating Bill" was brought in by Dr. Macnamara, M.P. The Memorandum attached to the Bill said its object was to give Urban Authorities a new source of revenue in relief of the present rates, and so to diminish the existing burdens on building enterprise. The Bill would have enabled the London County Council and the Councils of every Borough and Urban District to raise money for local expenditure by means of land value rates. "Land value" was defined as "the price for which the hereditament could be sold, as by a willing seller to a willing buyer, if it were freehold in possession, and if there were no building or structure thereon." This is, in effect, the capital value, and it would, of course, include unoccupied property. The rate for each financial year was limited to 1d. in the on the land value, and was to be charged upon the persons at present liable to pay rates, or, in the case of unoccupied property, upon the person entitled to immediate possession. In London the County Council, and in Boroughs and Urban Districts the Councils thereof, were to be the Collecting Authorities. Contracts existing at the passing of the Bill were to be respected, but an occupier under a lease or agreement made subsequently was to be entitled to deduct from his rent the amount of the land value rate calculated on the land value at the time when the rent was fixed. Intermediate lessees were given a similar right of deduction. The second reading of this Bill was also refused, the majority against it being 13 in a House of 353. The "Land Values Assessment and Rating Bill" of 1904 was presented to the House by Mr. Trevelyan, M.P. It proposed to charge unoccupied hereditaments, as well as occupied hereditaments, in London, the Boroughs, and the Urban Districts, with all local rates, but unoccupied hereditaments comprising buildings as well as land were only to be chargeable upon the annual value of the land. Any hereditament, however, of which the annual value of the land exceeded the rateable value was to be rated upon the land value, - a provision which would apply where land ripe for building is not used for building, or where very poor buildings are allowed to stand on valuable sites. The annual value of land was defined as "an amount equal to three per cent. of the amount for which the land could be sold as by a willing seller to a willing buyer," which is, in effect, equivalent to three per cent. upon the selling or capital value. Restrictions upon the use of the land, other than those, if any, imposed by the lease were to be allowed for. In the case of unoccupied property the rate was to be payable by the person entitled to immediate possession. No interference with contracts existing at the passing of the Bill was proposed, but an occupier under a lease or agreement subsequently made, might deduct from his rent the rates upon the annual value of the land. Existing exemptions from rating were preserved, and the ascertainment of the land value was to be utilised in calculating the deductions for repairs, etc., which represent the difference between the gross value and the rateable value under the existing law. The second reading was passed by a majority of 67 in a House of 379. It was not, however, proceeded with.

The Bill of 1905, with the same title as the Bills of 1903 and 1904, was presented by Sir John Brunner, M.P., and was almost identical with the Bill of 1904. The two most important distinctions were (1) that the deduction allowed to be made from his rent by an occupier under a lease or agreement made after the passing of the Bill, was limited to the rates upon the land value as it was assessed at the time the lease or agreement was made, and (2) that the London County Council or the Councils of Boroughs and Urban Districts might exempt public parks, pleasure grounds, and open spaces from the operation of the measure. This Bill also passed its second reading, the majority being 90 in a House of 314, but no further progress was made.