HC Deb 20 June 1889 vol 337 cc313-4

I beg to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether under Section 18 of "The Customs and Inland Revenue Act, 1889," the ad valorem duty of ten shillings per cent must be paid on every contract for the sale of copyholds, although only a duty of sixpence must be paid on a similar contract for the sale of freeholds; whether this will render it necessary to put every contract for sale of copyholds on the abstract of title, and thus greatly increase the expense and difficulty of dealing with copyholds; and, whether the Government are prepared to introduce a Bill in the present Session for the purpose of putting copyholds on the same footing as freeholds with respect to Stamp Duty, and for otherwise amending Section 18?


There is some point in the question of the hon. and learned Member, though I am not prepared to admit all that is implied in it. It was certainly not the intention of the Government to increase the expense or difficulty of dealing with copyholds, and the effect of the section referred to is not to put any additional burden upon such transactions, but to alter the stage at which stamp duty becomes due, with a view to avoiding risk of loss to the Revenue. My attention has, however, been drawn to the inconveniences which may possibly arise in connection with the abstract of title, and I am at present engaged in consultation with my legal advisers for the purpose of obviating any such inconveniences by an Amendment of the section.