HC Deb 07 March 1870 vol 199 cc1463-5

Order for Second Reading read.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."—(Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer.)


said, that although he did not approve of some of the details of this Bill, he would not oppose the second reading.


said, while thanking the Chancellor of the Exchequer for the promptitude with which he had introduced the Bill, he trusted the right hon. Gentleman would forgive him if, when they got into Committee, he moved the omission of the additional 10s. stamp duty, and left the Bill to act purely as an indemnity against the effect of the decision which had been recently given. If it were desirable to put upon every building lease, large or small, the additional stamp of 10s., it should be made uniform on all leases. But he protested against fixing heavy charges upon small properties, and he hoped that the Legislature would at any rate free small owners of property from the injustice.


said, he agreed with the hon. Gentleman who had just spoken as to the advisability of the omission which he suggested. Though he (Mr. Alderman Lawrence) had at first thanked the Chancellor of the Exchequer for the Bill on behalf of his constituents, he had thought, on reading the second clause, that he had begun to halloo before he was quite out of the wood. He trusted that the right hon. Gentleman would re-consider that portion of the Bill before they got into Committee.


said, the Bill, which was intended to be one of indemnity, had actually been framed so as to be a Bill of imposition; and to the latter part of it he strongly objected.


said, the effect of the measure would be to put a now and most unjust and oppressive tax on the poor man. He was glad the other night when he heard the Chancellor of the Exchequer say that he was about to do a popular thing: and, as a strong adherent of the Government, he called upon him now to redeem his promise by exempting the poor man who desired to become possessed of a tenement, from an additional tax of 10s. The Liberal Chancellor of the Exchequer ought not to throw a fresh difficulty in the way of humble voter enfranchised by the Bill of the right hon. Gentleman opposite.


said, he hoped the House would allow him to explain how the matter stood. By the recent decision of the Court of Exchequer, in addition to the ad valorem duty it was necessary that all leases containing a covenant for building or repairs should have a stamp of 35s. In obedience to the request of lion. Gentlemen, lie had introduced the Bill giving indemnity to those having leases subject to the additional stamp prior to that decision. The result, if the measure stopped there, would be that every lease executed prior to the 1st of February would be exempt from the tax, and every lease executed after that would have to pay it. He had been very much pressed to consider the case; he did consider it, and lie had acceded to the request made by introducing the Bill of indemnity, but, wishing to act fairly, he thought it would not be sufficient to leave the matter there, but that it would be right and proper to anticipate so much of his general Stamp Bill, and reduce the tax for the future to 10s. And now the hon. Alderman and other hon. Gentlemen came forward and pressed him to strike out the clause imposing the 10s. tax. He was quite willing to do so; but the only effect of it would be to let the tax remain at 35s.

Motion agreed to.

Bill read a second time, and committed for Thursday.