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THE BURDEN OF THE RATES. THE cry for economy in national ex- penditure is growing in insistence every day. After what transpired at the meeting of the Finance Committee this week we expect that the ratepayers of Llanelly will call upon the Corporation to take drastic steps in the direction of re- trenchment. The burden of the rates hears heavily upon the community in these trying days and the prospect of an addition of Is. 4d. to the district rate is one that will bring consternation to every household in the town. We must give the Finance Committee credit for having carefully considered the estimate of ex- penditure We do not forget, either, that the bulk of the increase is due to the ever-recurring demands of the employes for increased wages. It is a significant fact that the wage bill to-day is C200 a week more than in 1914. After making allowance for all this, however, we do not think that the committee have shown any desire for economy in other directions. What is wanted is a sharp pruning knife to ruthlessly and remorselessly cut down every shilling that can be saved. Apart from the intolerable drain which they moan to the pocket of every burgess; heavy rates are a serious handicap to the development of the town. No new in- dustries will be attracted to Llanelly with the rates soaring to the neighbourhood of 15s. in the L. It is high time, too, that the assessments were made more equitable Glaring cases have come to our notice of premises being absurdly under-asaessed. Two adjoining properties can be men- tioned, of equal area and approximately equal value, and yet there is a difference of in the assessments. Taken as a whole, there can be no doubt that assess- ments in Llanelly arc low. They are cer- tainly lower than in Swansea, Merthyr, and Aberdare. This will partly account for our rates being comparatively higher than in those towns, though it does not necessarily mean that the actual amount paid by the average Llanelly ratepayer is more. We would further impress upon the overseers the urgent duty of bringing into operation the new scale of works assessment. This is primarily the func- tion of the Assessment Committee and why it has not already been done passes our comprehension. As Coun. Jennings points out, it is distinctly unfair to the ratepnyers of Llanelly that this increased revenue should be lost to the town through the inaction of the Assessment Committee. PRICES AND PROFITS. I WITH the appointment last week of local committees to carry out the work allotted to them under the Profit- eering Act interest in the Ace and in the steps to be taken to put an end to ex- cessive prices has been greatly stimula- ted. Prices in general have undoubtedly fallen, and though this, especially in working-class districts, is partly due to the establishment or to the fear of open- air markets, it is also to be attributed to the apprehension of the working of the Act. As was stated in this column last week, traders have been considering their position, and the fall of prices then noted has been. even more marked during the last few days. A reduction in the price of sugar is announced by a large firm with many retail shops. That the pub- lic entertain high hopes that something will be done by the local committees is apparent from the indignation expressed in districts where the local authority has ,1 reruseo. zo appoint a committee. The of- ficials of the Profiteering Act Depart- ment lay great stress on the fact that the successful working of the Act de- pends almost entirely on the co-operation of the public.

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