HC Deb 10 July 1856 vol 143 cc617-8

moved for leave to introduce two Bills. The first provided for the reduction of the duty upon proxy papers for voting I in respect to railway companies from 2s. 6d. to 6d. That reduction, he believed, would meet with general approbation, as he was informed that the present rate of duty acted as a practical restriction upon the shareholders from voting, and thereby prevented them from controlling the acts of the directors. It was a matter of public policy to make the alteration he proposed. The Bill also proposed to effect a similar reduction in respect to certain instruments in Scotland called mandates, which were proxies for voting in respect to municipal and parochial matters. He also proposed to make an alteration with respect to the stamping of articles of clerkship to attorneys. At present, if the articles were not stamped before taken out they were invalid, and he proposed to adopt in regard to those instruments the same course that was pursued in respect to similar documents, and to allow them to be stamped at a future time upon payment of a penalty The other Bill which he wished to introduce was intended to give to landowners in Scotland the same advantages with respect to the income tax which were virtually enjoyed by landowners in England, and which had been conferred by Act of Parliament upon landowners in Ireland. In Ireland there was an express provision by law that in calculating the income tax an exemption should be made for so much of the poor rates as fell upon the landlord. In Scotland the general incidence of the local rates was upon the landlords, who were in general, he believed, charged by the law directly with those rates. The effect of that state of things was, that the landlord received his rent without any deduction being made for the local taxes; he paid the local taxes himself, and his income tax was charged upon his gross rental, including the local rates. That was a disadvantage under which the Scotch landlords laboured in comparison with the same class of persons in England and Ireland, and from it he now proposed to relieve them. He further proposed to make an alteration with respect to the clerks of the Commissioners of Income Tax in England. The effect of raising the rate of income tax had been so to increase the scale of allowance to the clerks of the Commissioners as to render it excessive. He proposed that with respect to all those gentlemen whose salaries amounted to more than £500 a year, their poundage should be reduced from 2d., which it was at present, to 1d. in the pound, provided the alteration should not reduce their salaries to less than £500. If this reduction of the poundage should have the effect of bringing the salaries below £500 a year, they would be made up to that amount. The effect of the proposed provision would be that about thirty of the present clerks of Commissioners of Income Tax out of about 700, would undergo a diminution of their salaries. He also proposed to make a slight alteration in the land tax. At present the power of redeeming this tax was confined to persons who had an estate in fee simple. Persons having limited interests, such as life estates, did not possess this power, and he now proposed to confer it upon them.

Leave given.

Bill ordered to be brought in by the CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER and Mr. WILSON.

Bill read 1°.

The House adjourned at Two o'clock.