HC Deb 24 August 1835 vol 30 cc941-2

On the Order of the Day for bringing up the Report on the Stamps and Assessed Taxes' Acts,

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

expressed his regret that he had not been in his place on a former day, when the hon. Member for Durham adverted to a subject which had occupied the attention both of the present Chancellor of the Exchequer and of Lord Althorp. He had only delayed it with the view of considering the whole question together; but he admitted the importance of giving relief to the lower class of Life Assurances, and he believed it could be done without any great sacrifice to the interests of the revenue. He looked upon life assurances of as much importance to the lower classes as benefit societies, operating as a premium upon industry, and enabling a man, especially in the manufacturing districts, where life was exposed to many casualties, to make a provision for his family. He had therefore taken the scale alluded to by the hon. Member for Durham, and meant to propose that on all policies of 50l. and under, the duty should be 2s. 6d.; that on all policies of 100l. it should be 5s.; and with policies of 500l. and upwards he meant to do nothing. This would be the scale; but if he had wished to give relief to all classes it would be nearly impossible to guard against fraud, since insurers to the extent of 500l. would split their policies into five of 100l. each, and would thus injure the revenue. He had the greatest possible pleasure in declaring his intentions in this respect.

Report received.