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ILW A YS, RAILWAYMEN, and…

THE WASHINGTON LABOUR CONFERENCEI

l Workmen's Examiners. I

H. Seymour Berry & The StrikeI

I Merthyr Water -Charges.-I

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Merthyr Water Charges. I HICHEST IN SOUTH WALES. LABOUR COUNCILLOR CRITICISES TENE-I MENT ASSESSMENTS. Merthyr scale of charges for watea- used for domestic purposes is the highesft in South Wales. Yet the Waterworks Committee of the MertJiyr Corporation spent much time on Monday, at tne instance of the Law and Parliamentary Commit- tee in discussing the advi sibility of seeking in the proposed Bill in Parliament powers to in- crease the rate further. Returns presented- by the borough conitroller (Mr. W. R. Harris) showed that all other South Wales industrial areas were below the Merthyr figure and of the English towns, with which he had got into touch, only Leicester and Lincoln ware above. The scale was maximum allowed in the Merthyr Water Act, 189o, and the adoption of new waterworks undertakings had prevented a reduction. Mr. David Parry remarked that he understood that the ratable values of te-nemen,t property were lower in Merthyr than eisewheTe in the coalfield. A 26 house in Merthyr would lw assessed at £ 8 in Pontypridd, he amplified. Controller: The overseers a-asess property ac- cording to the (instriiet i outs of the Assessment Committee. Mr. Parry: I have been given to understand that the assessment of tenements throughout the other boroughs is 25 per cent, above ours. Aid. W. Lewis: To my knowledge- from en- quiries, I am certain Merthyr's ratable value is no lower. Ald. F. T. James: We still have a large amount of smsll rated property, and the result is that when we make comparisons other areas may be shown .to possess a better class of house, more modern, and yielding larger rent and con- sequently of a. higher ratable value. As a borough ours shows a. preponderance of tenement or cottage property. He did not favour the proposal to increase the water rates, as sooner or later the addltion would come out of the pockets of house-tenants. Moreover, as 20 years ago, there would be failure an carrying the sug- gestion through. The only ground that could be put forward, in justification, was that the Corporation were committed to a large water- scheme with a huge expenditure for years to come. They wished to increase the water re- venue, but he did not think they ought to in- crease it on 'the domestic supply charges to the detriment of a large tenant claps. TENEMENT RATES. < I Mr. Parry: I lam satisfied myself that the rents charged for this tenement property is often equivalent to those of modem houses, and I am doubtful whether these cottages generally are assessed properly. Ald. James: Now you are going on to unequal or unfair assessment, and the Assessment Com- niittee of the Merthyr Union are about, consider- ing the re-assessment of the whole of the cot- tage property, 'because it has been alleged that in some cases the rottagecs are not rightly as- sessed. Mr. L. M Francis: Is fit possible to ask Par- liament to grant us powers to increase the charges, having regard to the advance in the cost of construction of the reservoir, to outside authorities without including domestic water ? Aid. James: It will come into the bill. Mr. Enoch Morrell: Our own erea does not enter the question at all. Nor wlill this prejudice us. We are going to Parliament for powers to increase our charges for the sale of water in bulk. Mr. Harris: In Teply to Mr. Parry I should say that even if in this paris-h £ 6 cottages were raised to t7 or k8 the water-rate would he un- changed as the scale is the same from 26 to RS. Ald. Lewis: Where are we going to get the additional revenue to pay for the waterworks unless we increase the water prices ? Aid. James: We shall ask Parliament to sanc- tion increased rates for outside authorities. Mr. Harvey, the engineer, raised this question and drew up a table showing these low rated houses paid a very small sum per 1,000 gallons, and this seemed to him to require revision. A house under £ 4 ratable value, paid ld. per 1,000 gal- lons £4 to £ 6, 2id. t6 to 28, 2.68d., and JE8 to £ 10, 3.13d. Aid. Lewis interposed that the Rliondda Val- ley authority would take a very large volume of water on the completion of Merthyr's new re- servoir at a "low and unfair price. Mr. Morrell: That is what we want to alter. On Mr. Morrell's motion, seconded by Mr. C. Fenwick, it was agreed to leave the domestic water charges unchanged.

Rusholme Bye-Election. I

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