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Counties of Ross & Cromarty: Commissioners of Supply

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Counties of Ross & Cromarty: Commissioners of Supply

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The Commissioners of supply were first established in Scotland in 1667 to collect the cess, or national land tax, on a county basis. The Commissioners were themselves the substantial landowners of the county, defined after the Union as those possessing property, superiority or liferent of lands with a minimum annual value of £100 Scots. They gradually acquired duties other than tax collection, although that remained their main function. During the eighteenth century they collected various assessed taxes such as window and horse tax. In the Highlands Commissioners of Supply became responsible for roads and bridges under the Highland Roads and Bridges Act 1862 (c.105). They became an important institution of local government and provided a voice for the views and concerns of landowners. In some counties attention was paid to police and vagrancy matters, and taxes could be levied for prisons, asylums and county buildings. Almost all their functions were transferred to the new county councils in 1890 with one important exception. Commissioners of supply formed part of the membership of standing joint committees, which were the police authorities in counties until 1930, and also were required to approve all capital works undertaken by county councils. Both standing joint committees and commissioners of supply were abolished in 1930.


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