HC Deb 05 March 1830 vol 22 cc1316-7
Mr. Hume

said, that any one who attended to the mode in which the Assessed Taxes were collected, must be aware of the great and unnecessary severity frequently exercised in the collection, and the great number of the surcharges which were made. He had moved for an account of those surcharges, the returns to which would satisfy the House, he believed, of the great annoyance to which the public were exposed in this way. He understood that it was a practice in the board of Taxes, when a person was in arrear, for the solicitor to the board to write to him, calling on him for payment, and to charge 7s. for the letter. Now, as the solicitor to the board was a salaried officer, he wished to know how such sums were applied, whether they went to him, or to the board, or to the clerks. He would therefore move for "A Return of the number of letters sent by the solicitor of the Board of Taxes to persons in arrear for their assessments, the sums paid for each letter, the amount of the whole, and in what manner it was applied, in the years 1828 and 1829; distinguishing', if possible, the number in each quarter."

Sir M. W. Ridley

wished to take that opportunity of asking the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether it was his intention to renew the Assessed Taxes' Composition Act, which was about to expire. Great convenience had been the result of that Act, and much prevention of surcharge experienced by its operation.

Mr. Bright

said, that great, and he believed well-founded complaints were made in his part of the country, in consequence of the number of surcharges in the assessed taxes, but instead of renewing the Composition Act, he did hope, such was the great distress of the country, there would be no necessity for that act, but that the right hon. Gentleman would consent to repeal the assessed taxes altogether. Great relief, he thought, would be experienced in the country if Government would even consent to a reduction of the tax on servants. A vast number of persons now out of employment would be greatly benefitted by that course. He did not mean the tax on livery servants, for those who kept them could generally afford to pay for them.

Sir M. W. Ridley

wished to know from the right hon. Gentleman whether he had heard his question, or if any particular feeling prevented him from answering it at present?

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

was understood to say in reply, that, some arrangements were in progress respecting the assessed taxes generally, and that he would be prepared shortly to give an answer.

Sir F. Burdett

said, that many instances of surcharges were known in the country, which might be avoided if the Composition Act were renewed, but the better plan would be to abolish the taxes altogether.

The Motion was agreed to.