HC Deb 29 April 1869 vol 195 c1849

said, he would beg to ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, If his attention has been drawn to the exemption from Stamp Duties on mortgages and other instruments, extending even to cheques on their bankers, permitted to cities, towns, and places adopting the Local Government Act, 1858; to inquire how this privilege arises, as it forms no part of the Local Government Act, 1858; and, if such exemptions are allowed, why the principle is not extended to all towns and to all persons that aid public improvements?


Sir, the manner in which this exemption arose may be easily explained. It appeared first in the Public Health Act of 1848, by which it was enacted that all the instruments under that Act should be exempt from stamp duty. In 1858 the Local Government Act was passed, which enacted that that and the former Act should be read together, and thus the claims of exemption were imported into the second Act. When the hon. Gentleman asks why the principle of these exemptions should not be extended, I reply, for the reason that they ought not to exist at all; and that, therefore, I am not willing to extend them. This is an instance of the levity with which large exemptions are inserted in Acts of Parliament, to the injury of the tax-payer in general and the loss of the Revenue.