HC Deb 17 February 1863 vol 169 cc409-10

said, he wished to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Whether it is not the case that proxy papers for voting in public companies require a sixpenny stamp; whether he is aware that any committee of shareholders seeking a reform in the company are placed at a great disadvantage in comparison with the Directors, in having to pay for large numbers of proxy stamps, while the Directors can charge that expense to the Company; and, considering that the exercise of a franchise is in question, whether the principle of a penny stamp, as now applied to cheques and other instruments, may not be a sufficient amount of taxation to impose upon proxy papers?


said, no representations had been made to him as to the inconvenience experienced by the shareholders of railway or other companies in consequence of proxy papers requiring a sixpenny stamp. If inconvenience arose from the practice of the Directors charging the expense of these proxies to the funds of the Company, the proper course to pursue was for the shareholders to prevent them so charging the expense, or by establishing for themselves the right of having proxies without limit at the general expense. He had no information which led him to believe there was any case for a change in the law with respect to the duty on proxies. A short time ago they were liable to the same duty as a power of attorney—namely, 30s.; then the duty was reduced to 2s. 6d., and finally to 6d.; and it was the opinion of those well informed on the subject that that was a low charge considering the nature of the functions, and that nothing was to be gained by an alteration.