HC Deb 13 August 1853 vol 129 cc1707-8

said, he had now to move for leave to introduce a Bill to supply an omission in the Bill which had passed through both Houses of Parliament, and which he believed had received the Royal Assent, with respect to the redemption of the lend tax. There had been a certain preference for a limited time given to parties interested in the lands on which the tax was to be so redeemed for the purpose of that redemption. That, he repeated, was for a limited time; and since then the redemption of land tax had been open to all the world. Various inconveniences had attended the present state of the law. The minute charge to which the land tax commonly amounted, was unnecessarily kept alive. Independent and separate parties had been introduced in an anomalous relation between the owners of the soil on the one hand, and the Government on the other. The Government still remained subject to the responsibility of collecting the land tax, even when they had no interest in it; and, in consequence of the redeemed land tax standing in the nature of personalty, the Government had been often required to institute difficult and laborious investigations to ascertain the ownership, after it had been lost sight of for a period of time. Up to the present time the redemption of the land tax was offered on terms less favourable than the purchase of stock. By the Act of the present year it was proposed to give it on terms materially more favourable; but the intention of that Act was to improve the condition of those interested in land, with respect to the land tax, and not to offer an inducement to persons not interested in the land to come in as intermediate purchasers. The measure with respect to the redemption of land tax was introduced with views of getting rid of it as a distinct charge. It had been found, however, that the Bill he had previously introduced did not give effect to those views. He did not propose to deal retrospectively with the anomalous cases which had arisen. It would be better in a future Session to consider whether an arrangement might not be made which might be conducive to the convenience of the parties and the advantage of the Government, for merging the land tax and getting rid of it—for disposing of the land tax where redemption had been effected under former Statutes. He proposed to enact by the Bill which he now wished to introduce, that redemption under the Act which had just passed should be confined to persons having interest in the land; and, not only so, but that when the redemption was effected by those parties, the land tax should merge absolutely; that no fee, farm, or rent charge of any kind should be substituted for it; and, in fact, that it must cease to exist, and be as if it had never existed at all. It would be necessary that the Bill should pass through all its stages at once, and go without delay to the other House. He begged, therefore, to move for leave to introduce a Bill further to amend the Laws relating to the Redemption and Purchase of the Land Tax in Great Britain.


said, that though the question of the land tax was of trifling importance in the more opulent parts of the country, it was felt in other districts to operate like a property tax; and he was, therefore, glad to learn that in another Session the subject would, probably, be dealt with in a more general and comprehensive form.


said, he complained that the redemption of the land tax in Ireland, which was at one time sixteen years' purchase, had been raised by order of the Treasury to twenty-five years' purchase; and that during the proceedings under the Incumbered Estates Commissioners, the Government had insisted on having that twenty-five years' purchase, though the property brought only ten years' purchase.

Leave given.

Bill read 1°, 2°, and committed; considered in Committee, and reported, without Amendment; read 3°, and passed.

The House adjourned at a quarter before Two o'clock.