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Local Government Board Responds to Labourers' Cottage Rent Resolution |

Local Government Board Responds to Labourers’ Cottage Rent Resolution

In response to a resolution passed by the Kilmallock District Council, urging consideration for rent abatements for certain tenants of labourers’ cottages, the Local Government Board has issued a firm stance, declining the proposal. The Board’s decision comes amidst concerns raised by the Council regarding the increased cost of living, particularly in the wake of wartime conditions.

The Board’s reply, while sympathetic to the challenges faced by tenants, emphasizes the financial realities of maintaining labourers’ cottages. According to their figures, the rents collected in the previous year amounted to £17,450, while the expenditure exceeded £20,000 (£5,868 for annuity payments and £870 for repairs, rent deductions, etc.). This indicates that tenants contributed only approximately 37% of the total cost of providing and maintaining the cottages.

In addressing the Council’s concerns about the rising cost of living, the Board draws attention to the significant profits reaped by the farming class during the same period. They highlight the increased returns enjoyed by farmers for their livestock and agricultural produce due to wartime demand.

Furthermore, the Board underscores the principle that any grievances regarding the impact of rising food prices on tenants should be addressed through fair and proportionate wage increases from their employers. They argue that reducing the already modest rents charged for labourers’ cottages, as proposed by the Council, is not a viable solution.

The letter from the Local Government Board also references a recent communication from the Limerick County Council, which presumably echoed similar sentiments regarding rent abatements for labourers’ cottages.

Importantly, the Board reiterates that the letting of cottages and plots under the Labourers’ Acts was never intended to hinder the payment of full wages to labourers. It stresses the importance of ensuring that labourers receive fair compensation for their work, separate from the rental agreements for their accommodation.

In conclusion, the Board’s response signals a commitment to maintaining the financial integrity of labourers’ cottage schemes while acknowledging the challenges faced by tenants. The decision reflects a balance between fiscal responsibility and equitable treatment of labourers in the context of evolving economic conditions.

Evening Irish Times – Tuesday 03 October 1916

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