HC Deb 25 April 1864 vol 174 cc1552-5

Order for Second Reading read.


said, he rose to move that this Bill be read a second time. He would take that opportunity of giving the information sought the other evening by the hon. Baronet the Member for Ayrshire (Sir James Fergusson), with regard to the estimated value of the new assessment for Income Tax. The hon. Baronet was under the impression that no allowance was made for that new assessment; but that was not so. The new assessment under Schedules A and B, which took place in 1857, exhibited an increase of £12,000,000 over that for 1856 in the amount of property and profits charged to duty; the new assessment for 1861 exhibited an increase of £9,000,000 over that for 1860. It might fairly be presumed, therefore, that a new assessment for 1864 would result in an increase of at least £9,000,000 under those schedules over those for 1863, which at the rate of 6d. per pound would produce £210,000 on the year's assessment, and in the financial year 1864–5 about £140,000. To the increase under Schedules A and B was to be added the improvement that might be reckoned upon under Schedule D; and as the assessment for 1862 over that for 1861 at like rates showed an increase of £100,000, and the assessment for 1863 over that for 1862, corrected to 7d., an increase of £100,000, it had been assumed that the profits of trade in the assessment for 1864 would yield a further increase of £90,000, which would produce in the financial year 1864–5 about £50,000. The total estimated produce of the new assessment for 1864 was, therefore, £190,000. In Committee upon the Bill he should move to insert the Resolution which had been agreed to by the House relating to Fire Insurances, and he should also move to insert certain clauses referring to Fire Insurances which he would lay upon the table that evening. He should also move in the licences to be granted to the sellers of tea to strike out altogether the words, "and not being within the limits of any municipal or parliamentary borough." In accordance with a suggestion from some other hon. Members, he would also move to enlarge the words to describe the bodies at whose meetings proxies might be used. He also intended to move a formal clause; relating to a standard of sugar. The hon. and learned Member for Wallingford had called his attention to a point connected with the stamp duties upon policies of insurance under settlement, and he had made a provision which he thought was a liberal one. In cases where the payment of the premiums upon a policy of insurance was secured by a covenant on the settlement, then the sum secured would be taken to be the property liable to the stamp duty.

Moved, "That the Bill be now read a second time." — (Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer.)


said, he thought that upon the last point which he mentioned the Chancellor of the Exchequer might very properly make a further concession. It was a common thing for a husband to make a marriage settlement, a policy of insurance upon his life being the subject of the settlement. Supposing the case of a policy of insurance of £10,000 being so settled, upon which only one premium, amounting perhaps to £100, had been paid, it would be a hardship to call upon the settler to pay an ad valorem upon the whole amount as though it were £10,000 in money or Consols. The concession offered by the Chancellor of the Exchequer would be but a little relief, as in nearly all marriage settlements conveying policies of insurance there were covenants to pay the premiums. It was generally felt that it was a hardship to enforce the ad valorem duty in cases of policies of insurance, and he therefore hoped that if he gave notice of a Motion to omit the words "policies of assurance" from the clause he should have the support of the right hon. Gentleman.


said, that as the law stood, if a settlement contained a provision that after the death of the settler a given sum of money should be paid to a certain person, and if the sum of money so covenanted to be paid was settled, then it paid the stamp duty upon the amount settled. If in order to insure the payment of the sum by the Insurance Office a covenant to pay the premiums was inserted in the settlement, there was no difference in principle between the two cases.


said, there was another important subject to which he wished to call the attention of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, namely—licences for the sale of intoxicating liquors. Of late years legislation upon that subject appeared to have diverged further and further from the principles which had been laid down by Committees which had considered the question. In 1850, twenty years after the passing of the Beer Bill of 1830, a Committee of the House of Lords, after an elaborate inquiry, recommended that beer licences and spirit licences should, as was formerly the case, be included in one form of licence. In 1854 a Committee of the House of Commons made a similar recommendation, and added that licences should be granted by the magistrates. All recent legislation had been in a diametrically opposite direction, and year by year had tended to put licences under the Excise, while the influence of the magistrates was becoming less and less; and in the Bill before them provision was made for occasional licences which were to be granted by the Excise authorities quite independent of the magistrates. From his own experience he could speak of a practice which especially prevailed in the counties adjoining the metropolis. When the beer licence was obtained the house for which it was granted was fitted up as a gin palace in a most expensive manner. That expense was incurred not solely for the purpose of attracting custom, but also with a view to influence the magistates when applied to for a spirit licence by an appeal to the excellent accommodation provided. Those houses were usually built by brewers and distillers, who spared no expense to obtain the licence, which would be of much benefit to them, as when a licence was granted the rent was immediately enhanced. If that system were to continue it would be as well to consider whether the State might not derive some advantage from it, and, therefore, he would submit to the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he could not deal with the whole subject of licences upon the consumption of intoxicating liquors, and establish a uniform licence whereby the State would be a gainer.


was understood to say that the Bill merely recognized the existing licences, giving the owner power under certain restrictions of having occasional licences. But the points raised by the hon. Gentleman could be discussed with more advantage in Committee.


said, he thought that the stamp duty on marriage settlements ought not to be charged at the same rate upon realized property, and which would accrue from a Life Insurance policy.


said, he had understood the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer to say, that there would be no extra duty imposed by the Bill under the consideration of the House. He found, however, that on orders of all kinds for receiving money, stocks, shares, or any property partaking of the character of stocks, there was to be a duty of 5s. He did not object to such a proposal, but merely called the attention of the right hon. Gentleman to it. At present he believed it was the practice with dock companies, some railways, and a great many public companies, to issue merely written letters authorizing parties to receive dividends on stocks. He believed that the arrangement proposed by the Bill would be fair, but he thought that the matter was hardly understood by the public.


said, he would remind the right hon. Gentleman that he had not carried out his promise, that under Schedules A and B the assessment was to be made by Inland Revenue officers, instead of by the local assessors. He thought that the burdens of the Income Tax would be considerably mitigated if the Government availed themselves of the services of the local assessors, instead of permitting the Inland Revenue officers to do the work.


said, he could not speak again, but he believed that he should be able to satisfy the hon. Baronet at a future stage of the Bill.

Motion agreed to.

Bill read 2° accordingly, and committed for Thursday.