§ MR. H. B. SHERIDAN
said, he would beg to ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, When he expects to be able to bring on the Terminable Annuities Bill; and whether, considering that the discussion is to be taken on the next stage of the Bill, he will name an early day, and give notice of that day to the House?
THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
replied that he was unable to name a day for the discussion of the Terminable Annuities Bill, but he hoped it would not be delayed for any long time, though he did not assent to the ground named by the hon. Member—namely, that the discussion should be taken on the next stage of the Bill—unless the hon. Member meant the discussion on his own very important Motion. The Bill itself had been already discussed at considerable length. It was quite understood that the hon. Gentleman should have an opportunity, with full notice, of making his Motion, and he trusted it would be possible to name a day before any long time had elapsed. As notice of a Question had been given which he could not subsequently answer according to the forms of the House, he would take the present opportunity of replying to it. The hon. Member for Lincoln (Mr. Heneage) wished to "call the attention of the House to the mode in which agricultural statistics relating to 'Cropping ' are being collected in certain districts of England; and to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware of the rumour that certain confidential Income Tax Assessment Books for Schedules A and B had been given up by the sworn district Income Tax Commissioners to inferior officers of the Excise, for the purpose of assisting them in their collection of the above-named 'Cropping' statistics." Instructions had been issued by the Board of Inland Revenue directing the Surveyors of Taxes to furnish the officers of the Excise, in cases where it was found necessary, with the names and assessments of persons under Schedules A and B, with a view to enable those officers to ascertain who were the parties from whom the statistics ought to be obtained. The District Income Tax Commissioners, he might remark, were not 476 sworn to secrecy with regard to Schedules A and B, but only with regard to Schedule D. He would suggest that this was a matter of public jurisdiction, and that the best course to be adopted by the hon. Gentleman would be to call for the information as to the instructions, which could, if it were thought desirable, be laid before the House forthwith. Before sitting down he wished to state that they had now arrived at a period of the Session when it became necessary for the transaction of public business to propose the use of morning sittings, and that it was the intention of the Government to propose in the course of the evening that the House should meet at twelve o'clock on Tuesday next. Last year the morning sittings had commenced about the 31st of May. In the course of the evening he would state to the House what business it was proposed to take on Tuesday next.