HC Deb 18 August 1887 vol 319 cc916-7
MR. HOBHOUSE (Somerset, E.)

asked Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, If he is aware that in blocks of improved industrial dwellings, wherever two or more single room tenements are let together, the Commissioners of Inland Revenue require the payment of Inhabited House Duty, although the aggregate annual value of the tenements let together is below the limit of £20; whether such a practice is in accordance with the concession explained by the Secretary to the Treasury or the Chancellor of the Exchequer, on the 29th February, 1884, in the House of Commons, that such blocks of industrial dwellings were to be exempt from Duty— Provided only that the conditions were satisfied, that the block consisted of tenements each of which was under £20 value; and, whether, since the result of such, a practice must be to discourage the proprietors of improved industrial dwellings from letting more than one room to poor families, he will consider how far the directions given by the Treasury to the Commissioners can be modified so that this result may be avoided?


The exemption from House Duty which the Inland Revenue is empowered to give in the case of tenements forming part of improved industrial dwellings is limited by two conditions—namely, (1) that the tenements should be under £20 in value; (2) that they should be structurally separate from the rest of the buildings. In the exceptional cases referred to by the hon. Gentleman the second of these conditions does not exist, inasmuch as the two rooms, though each by itself structurally separate, are not, when occupied together, so separate. The condition with respect to structural separation is, I think, in strict accordance with the promises of my right hon. Friend the Member for South Edinburgh (Mr. Childers) as Chancellor of the Exchequer, in the debate of February 29, 1884. At the same time, I am prepared to admit that the effect of the Rule about structural separation is, in the exceptional cases to which the hon. Gentleman's Question refers, somewhat anomalous; and I am prepared to consider whether that Rule cannot be modified in such a way as to meet these cases, and to provide for exemption from House Duty of all tenements under £20 in bonâ fide industrial dwellings.