HC Deb 12 April 1883 vol 278 cc63-4

asked Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Whether the contemplated change in the collection of the Income Tax should not be postponed, it being similar to that proposed by the Inland Revenue Board in the Customs and Inland Revenue Bills of 1866 and 1879, both of which were withdrawn when it was ascertained, from a deputation of collectors, that the Clause had been introduced without their having been heard; and, whether in justice to the collectors, more time and consideration should not be given to this matter before so many persons are deprived of their means of livelihood, and whose services have been so much esteemed by the taxpayers, and who are not aware that, up to this time, anything but satisfaction has been expressed with the present mode of collecting the Income Tax?


Sir, with reference to this Question, I should prefer to give full explanations of our proposals when the clauses carrying them out are discussed in Committee on the Customs and Inland Revenue Bill; but I may say, generally now, that these proposals differ widely from those that were made in 1864 and in 1879, the former of which would have transferred to the Board of Inland Revenue the collection under all the Schedules, whereas we only deal with Schedules D and E, and the latter proposal—that of 1879—made inadequate provision for the equitable claims of the present collectors to compensation. The plan we propose works admirably in Ireland and Scotland and in many large English towns, the collections being more prompt and satisfactory in every respect. So far as the public are concerned, there can be no question that the collection by officers of the Board is much preferred to the old system, where that system has been discontinued. As to the collectors being deprived of their means of livelihood, I have already pointed out that they will retain the collection of Income Tax under the other Schedules and will receive compensation for their losses under Schedules D and E. If the Income Tax had been repealed, as proposed in 1874, they would have received no compensation whatever.


What is the difference in the arrangements made in 1874 and those made this year?


Sir, if my right hon. Friend has so far forgotten his history, I shall be glad to recite it to him again. He must remember that the present Prime Minister expressly proposed at the Election in 1874 to repeal the Income Tax.