HC Deb 21 June 1808 vol 11 cc974-5

The house went into a committee on the Assessed Taxes bill. Several new clauses were proposed, and several amendments of omission and insertion made. Mr. Wardell, as a check upon vexatious surcharges, moved that the inspector should state the grounds of the surcharge in the certificate, so as to enable the party to come prepared to meet it. Various cases of vexatious surcharge were stated from both sides of the house, the necessity of some specification was allowed, and an amendment calculated to answer the purpose, was agreed to. The hon. gent. also suggested that persons surcharged should be required to answer on oath only to the particular object of the surcharge, and not generally to swear to the correctness of the original return in every point. After some explanation, the Chancellor of the Exchequer expressed his intention to I take this case into consideration, and to apply such remedy as the case should require.—Another amendment was proposed by Mr. Wardell, for reducing the excessive penalty of 500l. on vexatious surcharges, to a more reasonable and practicable amount of fine, and for having that amount levied directly by the commissioners, instead of making it the ground of a tedious suit at law. On the suggestion of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the penalty was fixed at 100l. On the other part of the clause the amendment was withdrawn, on the suggestion of Mr. W. Smith, who proposed the postponement of the clause, to afford time for considering an adequate remedy. The question being put on Mr. Smith's motion, a division took place: For the postponement 21; Against it 63. Majority 42.—On a proposition of the Chancellor of the Exchequer to appoint special commissioners or inspectors general to superintend the decisions of appeals, with a salary of 600l. a year, with travelling expences and allowances for clerks, &c. a discussion arose, some thinking the appointment unnecessary. Upon a division the numbers were: Ayes 58; Noes 15. Majority 43.

The other clauses were then agreed to and some new clauses were added.