HC Deb 09 August 1859 vol 155 c1259

Order for Third Reading read.


said, he wished to draw the attention of the Chancellor of the Exchequer to the very anomalous and arbitrary principle upon which the present scale of duties on probates of wills was constructed, and to point out the necessity which existed for effecting an alteration and improvement. Its operation was most unjust. The scale rose in a progressive ratio up to £1,000, and then decreased, but without any regularity; so that the duty payable on £1,000,000, at which sum the maximum of charge was reached, bore no proportion whatever to that charged on £l,000. This state of things was a great temptation to fraud, and he thought that the most advisable course would be to fix a regular per centage, as in the case of other duties, whatever the amount of property might be.


said, he was of opinion that in any rational arrangement of the probate duty the stamps should be adjusted, so far as the nature of a duty of that kind would admit, in such a manner as to constitute the same ad valorem duty upon all amounts of property. The present arrangement in that respect was not only anomalous, but unequal and unfair in substance, and it was certainly desirable that a change should be made. There was no doubt, however, that it was necessarily incidental to the nature of stamp duties that they should fall unequally on particular points—namely, the dividing points. But the question was a very large one, and at that moment it was utterly impossible to enter upon its discussion with the prospect of any good or useful result.

Bill read 3° and passed.