HC Deb 08 July 1872 vol 212 c790

asked Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, If his attention has been called to a recent decision of magistrates in Lancashire, whereby a farmer residing at Mellor, near Blackburn, was fined £5 for evasion of horse duty, the said evasion being held to consist in the gratuitous driving home of four friends from market; and, whether such decision be in accordance with the spirit and intention of the Act; and, if not, what steps he is prepared to take to remove the uncertainty that exists as to the liability to duty of farm horses occasionally and gratuitously used for purposes not strictly agricultural?


Sir, I cannot say that the decision is against the letter of the Act, but it has always been my opinion that where the Inland Revenue Department are satisfied these services were really gratuitous—the burden of proof lying upon the persons who carried them—it is better that such prosecutions should not be instituted. I do not think there is any case for altering the Act, but I will communicate with the Inland Revenue Department and endeavour still further to mitigate the penalty inflicted in the case under notice.