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1888, 637,581 beds were let to men, and 33,986 to women, at 4 d., 3 d., and in the women's lodging house) 3d. per night. The net revenue from all seven was £3,999, representing 45 per cent. on their
Probably not less than 10,000 families ought to be rehoused in Bristol, and allowing the minimum of two rooms per family, 20,000 new rooms would be required, which could be erected at a cost of (say) £50 a room; the cost of the sites would be comparatively small, as the Corporation owns so much property in the city which it could utilise for the purpose. A rent of 2s. a week for two rooms would produce £5 4s. a year, so that supposing the money were borrowed by the city at 3} per cent., the scheme could not involve a large deficiency, if any, allowing for possible increased cost of building, losses and expenses of management. The rents would not be above the ordinary rate now fixed by competition, which at present is said to be 1s. to 3s. 6d. for single rooms, and 2s. to 4s. 6d. for two rooms, † for much inferior buildings. Any deficiency would properly be met out of the landlords' and not out of the ratepayers' pockets, by an addition to the landlords' incoine tax. I
BRISTOL'S ANNUAL RENTAL. No authoritative statistics are available as to the price which the people of Bristol pay for the privilege of living in their city. It may, however, be computed from the assessment of property to the poor rate, which is as follows :
236,949 SS. Philip and Jacob
163,681 St. James and St. Paul...
95,431 Westbury (city part)
121,311 Bedminster Union (city part)... 113,128
£1,211,619 * One-fifth has been added to the rateable value, the proportion given in the return of the Bristol Incorporation of the Poor for the city proper.
Therefore it may be computed that the owners of the land and houses of Bristol enjoy an annual rental of about £1,250,000, or more than £25 per annum from each Bristol family.
In London it is estimated that two-fifths of the gross rental represents the annual value of the bare site or “ground-rent."* If the same proportion held good in Bristol, the amount annually paid for the use of that narrow area of hill and marsh, beside the Frome and the Avon, which countless generations of toilers have made so productive, would be about £500,000 per annum, || the other £750,000 representing the annual value of the buildings. But probably the value of the buildings in Bristol bears a higher proportion.
* Statement of the Trustees under the Glasgow Improvements Act, 1866, for the year 1887-8; and see Fabian Tract No. 8, “Facts for Londoners."
+ P. 35 of Report of Committee of Inquiry into Bristol Poor. See proposals in Report of Housing Conference, 1890. (J. T. Dodd, Hon. Sec., 20 Old Buildings, Lincoln's Inn.)
|| See “ Facts for Londoners ” (Fabian Tract, No. 8) p. 11.
This shows an enormous growth of value in the present generation, during which the population has grown by more than a third. It is impossible, of course, to distinguish precisely between the increase due to the new buildings, and that arising from enhanced ground-value. But the city proper has long been entirely covered with buildings, and although some of these have been rebuilt, the steady rise in its annual assessment during the last twenty years, records mainly the growth of “unearned increment. In 1870 the rateable value of the district was £256,529, as compared with £383,862 in 1890, an increase of £127,333, or fifty per cent. in twenty years. At fifteen years purchase, this new annual rental value represents a capital sum of nearly $2,000,000, a very large proportion of which must be pure unearned increment, and therefore virtually a gratuitous present from the people of Bristol to the proprietors of their homes.
BRISTOL'S LOCAL GOVERNMENT. The municipal government of Bristol is centred in the Town Council, which also acts and levies rates as the sanitary authority, but there are, in all, eight public authorities of various kinds. (1) The Town Council and (2) the School Board have jurisdiction over the whole of the city. There are three Poor-Law authorities (the Board of Guardians for the city proper (3), 18 parishes: the Barton Regis Union (4), 5 parishes: and the Bedminster Union (5), responsible for the city portion of Bedminster). These spend rates assessed by the overseers of the parishes. The overseers also assess and hand over to the Town Council and the School Board, the Borough and Dock rates. The other separate authorities within the city are (6) the overseers of St. Philip and St. Jacob, (7) the St. Philip's Burials Board, composed of nine members of St. Philip's Vestry acting as a Burials Board, and (8) the administrative authority of the united parishes (called the district) of St. James and St. Paul. The times and method of election, and the qualifications of candi. dates for these bodies, are in almost in each case different, and it is obvious that under such conditions, there must be waste of power, of money, and lack of interest and of harmony, and an unnecessary multiplication of officials. At present there are some 180 elected members of the various governing bodies, and with ex officio members, about 250 in all. The facts have been brought out clearly by Mr. F. Gilmore Barnett, in his pamphlet “The Bristol Town Council as it is, and as it ought to be” (published by W. Bennett, John Street, Bristol, 1884, 1/-); and his contention is that the whole civic budget should be brought forward and discussed in its entirety, with a full sense of responsibility, before a single representative body, elected by the people, upon broad and well-understood issues. The table on page 10 is taken from the pamphlet.
BRISTOL'S ANNUAL BUDGET. The financial arrangement of Bristol's multifarious public bodies are as complicated as their respective powers and functions. The Town Council, as a Corporation, does not levy any rate, but the General District Rate, over the whole municipal area, is made and
collected by the Town Council acting as the Sanitary Authority. The highest total rate paid in any parish in the municipality is 58. 10d. in the £, the lowest 5s. 3d. The statistics in the table on page 10 show the rates levied within the several districts.
The balance-sheet on page 9 shows that the annual expenditure of the city is equal to about one half of the annual rental of the city. The first reform needed to render a unified budget possible is that the Docks Committee and the School Board should make their financial year square with that adopted by the Town Council adn the Poor Law authorities.
£ Debt in respect of Docks Estate
1,875,022 Corporation Debt on various Accounts
132,778 under Portishead Dock Act, 1871
89,920 Urban Sanitary Authority's Debt
417,981 School Board Debt (September, 1890)
£2,618,278 (See City Treasurer's Statement and School Board Year Book, 1891.) In December, 1883, it amounted to £1,358,513. (exclusive of the School Board debt), the great increase since then being on the Docks Account. (See Mr. Barnett's pamphlet.)
The aggregate indebtedness of the various public authorities of Bristol amounts therefore, to about £2,600,000, or almost exactly two years rental. The Bristolians pay every two years to the proprietors of their city, for the mere privilege of inhabiting it, as much as the whole outstanding cost of the docks, schools, public buildings, and street improvements.
In spite of the large Dock debt, the aggregate Bristol debt, which is 2.6 times the annual rateable value, is not higher than the average of the 58 English municipalities having municipal stock (2.65 times the annual rateable value*). This is partly due to its continued abandonment to private adventurers of its water supply, gas works and tramways, for which the inhabitants are none the less “ in debt," and pay an annual tribute. Deducting the Dock debt, Bristol owes only 0:65 times its annual rateable value, as compared with an average indebtedness for unproductive public services of 1.12 times the annual rateable value. It is impossible to avoid the suggestion that the Bristol authorities have been less active than those of other municipalities in those departments of collective expenditure such as public sanitation, the re-housing of the people, and the common provision for the needs of crowded urban life, which, though not pecuniarily remunerative, are of such inestimable public advantage.
See Financial Reform Almanack, 1891, p. 13.
(LADY-DAY, 1889, TO LADY-DAY, 1890), PUBLIC EXPENDITURE.
£ Borough Rate (including Libraries Rate) 8,000 General Expenses of Municipal Corporation.
32,000 Rents of City Property 26,500 Lunatic Asylum, New Buildings, &c.
4,160 Expenses for purchase, repairs, &c., of City Property +18,628
148,067 Paving, Sewers, Lighting, Street Watering, Salaries, etc. 92,000
Street Improvements and Bridges
9,390 Elementary & Industrial Schools Maintenance & Expenses... 32,826
5,266 Purchase of Land, Erection, Alteration and Furnishing of Loans raised
* The Docks Account is almost balanced by the net amount received from Town, Wharfage, and Mayor's Dues in the Town Council Account. These Dues with the
+ This includes an unusual sum, £12,000, expended in purchasing property in the city.
Year ending Lady-Day, 1890.
Rate, 1881. 1881. acres. per £
Bristol City proper 57,479 8,529 755 1/01 | 24d. '64d. , 6d.* 42,000
28,695 3,698 915 10d. , 14d. | 64d. 6d. 19,500
13,347 2,111 703 11d. 24d. 6 d. 4d. 9,000 Bedminster
38,131 6,525 1,037 1/4 2d. 6d. 4d. 13,000
Bristol Municipal Area 206,874 32,061 4,632 51,000 8,000 25,000 20,360104,360 £148,067
See C. 3563, pp. 285, 321, 353, 354. The area in local returns is given as 4,971 acres: the figures for Westbury and Bedminster being 853 and 1,426 respectively. Bristol Urban Sanitary District has 4,538 acres (Ordnance Calculation).
* This includes the Harbor Rate (2d. in the £) levied only upon the city proper, and yielding £2,360 (net),
+ N.B.- An additional rate of 3d. in the £ (Avon Intercepting Sewers Rate) is levied by the Sanitary Authority over a portion of the city, realising £2,392.
Authorities within the
Tenure of Office.
Method of Election.
Elected Ex-officio members. members.
(1) Town Council
November 1st 3 years, 1-3rd Ballot, occupiers 48 (16 al-
year. (2) School Board
Any time of 3 years, all re- Ballot, one vote 15
tir'g togeth'r (cumulative).
vote. (4) Barton Regis Board of April 7, 8, 9. One year.
* Voting paper Guardians
left at house
and collected. (5) Bedminster Board of April 7, 8, 9. One year.
* Voting paper
left at house
and collected. (6) St. Philip's Vestry, Easter Mond. 3 years, 1-3rd * Open voting in Overseers
retiring each vestries.
year. (7) St. Philip's Vestry, About 1st Thu. 3 years, 1-3rd * Open voting in
9 Burial Board
after Sept. 3.
year. (8) Commissioners (18) of 20 days before 3 years, six Public meeting, 18
District of St. James 3rd Monday retiring each occupiers one
* The scale of voting for Barton Regis and Bedminster Boards of Guardians is one vote to six, np to £250, for owners and occupiers; persons can vote in both capacities; candidates must be rated at £30. For St. Philip's Overseers and Burial Board, occupiers have one vote under £50 and one vote for every £25, but not more than six votes. Candidates must be resident ratepayers.