The Chancellor of the Exchequer in a speech delivered at
Birmingham on Friday last hinted that he was in favour of relieving rates at the expense of the tax-payer. This is also mentioned in the King's speech, and in a point made in the Liberal -Committee's book which we review to-day. There is much to be said in favour of it, because it is not true to say that it matters nothing out of which pocket a man pays for public services. Rates do fall very unfairly sometimes ; for instance, an idle shipyard must pay whereas it may pay no Income Tax except under Schedule " A," though it is difficult to prove conclusively that rates hamper industry much more than taices. But it must be remembered that local taxation and spendingis generally more carefully criticized than centralized operations. Local authorities are far more tempted to spend grants, percentages and so forth which they can extract from Whitehallthan money which they must extract from their neighbours and con stituents ; and the rate-payer on the spot looks much more closely into the spending, of his money than the tax-payer can.