§ MR. WILSON moved that the House at its rising should adjourn until Monday.
§ MR. CRAWFORD
Sir, I wish to draw the attention of the House for one moment to a matter which has excited, I may say, a great deal of indignation in that part of the metropolis I have the honour to represent. I allude to the recent abstraction from their proper places of deposit of some confidential Returns of Income presented to the Commissioners of Income Tax, and their being used in shops as waste paper. I beg to ask the hon. Secretary to the Treasury whether the Government have taken any steps for inquiry into the circumstances under which this abstraction took place, and whether he has any objec- 1734 tion to lay upon the table of the House any correspondence that may have passed upon the subject?
I am very sorry to say that some weeks ago it came to the knowledge of the Commissioners of Inland Revenue that certain Income Tax Returns under schedule D of mercantile firms in the City of London had been used as waste paper, in some shops in Thames Street, I believe. The attention of the Commissioners was immediately directed to the matter, and an inquiry was made. The custody of those papers is not under the control either of the Government or of the Commissioners of Inland Revenue. They are kept by the Commissioners of Income Tax for the City of London, and they alone are responsible for their safe custody. It appeared upon investigation that a bundle of these Returns had been abstracted from the Office of the Commissioners by a woman whose duty it was to clean it; but I am happy to add that immediate steps were taken by the Commissioners of Inland Revenue and their officers for the purpose of recovering them, and that the greatest bulk of them, with a very small exception indeed, were recovered, and are now in the possession of the Commissioners of Inland Revenue. I shall not object to the production of any correspondence that has taken place upon the subjects