HC Deb 29 June 1854 vol 134 cc926-9

Order for Committee read.

House in Committee.


moved Resolutions regulating tile duties to be hereafter charged upon leases of lands, &c. for any term of years exceeding thirty-five; and providing, by the first schedule, that if the term shall not exceed 100 years, a duty of 3l. per 100l. shall be charged; and by the second schedule, that if the term shall exceed 100 years a duty of 6l. per cent shall be charged.

Motion made, and Question proposed— That in lieu of existing Stamp Duties the following Duties be charged:— Lease or Tack of any lands, tenements, hereditaments, or heritable subjects, for any term of years exceeding thirty-five, at a yearly rent, with or without any sum of money by way of fine, premium, or grassum paid for the same, the following Duties in respect of such yearly rent:—

If the term shall not exceed 100 years. If the term shall exceed 100 years.
£ s. d. £ s. d.
Where the yearly rent shall not exceed £5 0 3 0 0 6 0
And where the same shall exceed £5 and not exceed £10 0 6 0 0 12 0
And where the same shall exceed £10 and not exceed £15 0 9 0 0 18 0
And where the same shall exceed £15 and not exceed 20 0 12 0 1 4 0
And where the same shall exceed £20 and not exceed 25 0 15 0 1 10 0
And where the same shall exceed £25 and not exceed 50 1 10 0 3 0 0
And where the same shall exceed £50 and not exceed 75 2 5 0 4 10 0
And where the same shall exceed £75 and not exceed 100 3 0 0 6 0 0
And where the same shall exceed £100, then for every £50, and also for any fractional part of £50 1 10 0 3 0 0"

said, he must complain of the perpetual changes which it was found necessary to make in these Acts, which, he thought, ought to be more carefully drawn in the first instance. Notwithstanding the short time which had elapsed since the last Act, it was now found necessary to amend it. He objected to the Amendment now proposed, for he could see no reason why so great a difference should be made in leases for 100 years, and in those over that period. The principle was bad, and would only lead to mischievous results in practice. He should move, therefore, to omit the second column of the hon. Member's Motion, and to make the stamp duties on leases irrespective of their term.

Amendment proposed, to leave out the words "if the term shall not exceed 100 years."

Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the proposed Resolution."


said, he objected to a discussion being taken at that late hour on this important point.


said, he would remind the Committee that this was but a preliminary Resolution, necessary in order to enable the Government to bring in a Bill, and he would therefore suggest to his hon. Friend to allow it to pass, and to make his objection in Committee upon the Bill. If his hon. Friend would assent to this, there would be no need to discuss the principle of the proposed alteration at that time. The question would then have been before the House for some time.


said, he would rather take the opinion of the Committee at once.


said, he thought that some explanation of the Resolution should be given by the Government at the present stage of the measure.


said, the change was proposed in order to meet, if possible, the views of the hon. Member for Sheffield himself, though it met with his opposition. The hon. Gentleman (Mr. Hadfield) had urged that there was a strange disproportion between a certain portion of their stamp duties and another portion about which he concerned himself, namely, conveyances subject to a chief rent, and he argued that there was a great discrepancy between the yearly annual rate of duty that was levied on leases for 10,000 years, and on conveyances subject to a chief rent which was assimilated to the duty upon conveyances in fee. In a strict point of view the system established by the measure of last year was perfectly defensible. In point of fact, a conveyance at a chief rent was a conveyance out and out; but the payment of the price was thrown into the form of a perpetual annuity, instead of having a sum paid in gross. There was no doubt, however, that in some of its features it approximated to the character of a leasehold, and he wished to place them in as fair a relative position as was possible. Taking the rate of duty upon conveyances in fee at ½ per cent on the capital of the purchase money, they had adjusted leasehold duties, taking twenty-five years' purchase, and likewise conveyances, subject to a chief rent in proportion and relation to the duty upon conveyances in fee.


said, he did not think that the right hon. Gentleman had much mended his original proposition. There were three descriptions of property affected. Annual rents, under 100 years and above thirty-five years, annual rents above 100 years, and leases in perpetuity. The first the right hon. Gentleman increased six times, the second twelve times, and the last be reduced one-half. Would it not have been fairer to have had an ad valorem, stamp duty on all. The plan of the right hon. Gentleman only made the inconsistencies of the duty more glaring than they were before. He contended that the annual rent was the true test of value, and that upon that an ad valorem duty should be levied.


said, the House had been sitting since mid-day, and it was now half-past twelve o'clock at night. He therefore proposed that the Chairman should report progress.

House resumed.

Committee report progress.