HC Deb 22 February 1876 vol 227 cc679-80

asked Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, If his attention has been directed to the case of Sassoon v. Harris, and the severe strictures of the Bench on the Stamp Act, reported in the "Shipping and Mercantile Gazette" of the 17th January last; and, whether he will consider the desirability of assimilating the Duty on Marine Insurance to that on Fire and Life policies?


Of course I have noticed, as everybody has done, the case in question. I understand that this is by no means the first occasion on which a similar complaint has been made. Indeed, as long ago as 1812 precisely the same difficulty was felt, and was somewhat similarly animadverted upon in a Court of Law. The hon. and learned Member for Dewsbury (Mr. Serjeant Simon) has introduced a Bill intended to meet this difficulty, and he has been in communication with me, and, through me, with the Board of Inland Revenue on the subject; and if an arrangement can be made as to the terms of the Bill, it will be of such a character as will obviate the difficulty complained of, which gave rise to this particular case. With regard to the last part of the Question, I believe the hon. Gentleman is in error in speaking of the duty on fire and life policies as if it was the same on both. There is a considerable difference between them. There is a fixed duty in the case of fire policies, and a sliding scale in the case of life policies. AS to an assimilation of the marine insurance duty to the fire insurance duty, the question is really one of revenue, to which I am not prepared to give any answer.