HC Deb 30 March 1894 vol 22 cc1043-59
MR. BARTLEY (Islington, N.)

drew attention to the necessity for some juster system of Income Tax being adopted by which a lower rate of tax should be charged on incomes derived from industry to that charged on incomes derived from realised capital. He said, it was somewhat unfortunate that this could only be an academical discussion, as the Rules of the House prohibited more than one Division, but the Chancellor of the Exchequer ought to be grateful to him for bringing forward the subject in time for his Budget arrangements. This was a most opportune moment for discussing the incidence of the Income Tax. For four or five years past he had always been met by Chancellors of the Exchequer on both sides of the House by the objection that, however much they sympathised with the general principles of the Motion, however much there was to be said for it, they had arranged their Budgets, but would think of it for another year. A new Budget of a most startling character was now promised, and he would suggest to the Chancellor of the Exchequer a solution of a very difficult problem. This was not a new subject. The incidence of Income Tax had been a burning question for many years. It had been found that the more the screw was put on, the more the tax realised, though he did not wish to say for a moment that the present Chancellor of the Exchequer was anxious to screw out more than his predecessors. But the fact remained that year by year a larger amount was being realised by the Income Tax, and raised from a deeper and poorer stratum of society. Many thought that trade and industry were not affected by this tax, but, in fact, no tax more affected the trade and commerce of our country than this particular one. Glancing at its history, in 1842, when it was reintroduced by Sir Robert Peel on its present basis, 1d. in the £1 brought in £850,000, while at the present time 1d. in the £1 produced more than £2,000,000 sterling, showing how the tax had been developed in the last 50 years. That was, no doubt, a satisfactory proof of increased prosperity and wealth, but it had another side. It had been said that this being a tax upon the rich which they could afford to pay it did not matter much what the Chancellor of the Exchequer imposed, but that was not the fact, for yearly the tax was pressing harder upon the lower middle and poorer classes of society who were engaged in the work of the country. By the last Returns in 1889 under Schedule D., which included all the workers, professional persons, merchants, people in trade, and others earning incomes, representing one-third of the whole pro- ceeds of the tax, 436,000 persons paid. Of those, 215,000,or about half, paid upon incomes under £200 a year. That was a very startling fact. Another quarter of the whole number, 10(3,000, paid on incomes of £200 to £300, and 63,000 from £300 to £500. In fact, the 385,000 persons paid on incomes of £500 and under, while only 50,000 paid on more. It would be interesting to know that only 21,000 paid on £1,000 a year and upwards. This referred to England and Wales. In Ireland, of course, the proportion of small incomes was even larger. A slight study of the Returns showed that more and more the tax was pressing upon the poorer classes of society. From 1843 to 1870 the numbers assessed at the poorer end remained almost stationary, but in the 15 years from 1874 to 1889 an immense change had taken place in the incidence of the tax upon these classes of the community. The smaller incomes partially exempted had largely decreased from £21,500,000 among 358,000 persons to £8,750,000 among 215,000 under £200 a year. The slightly larger incomes had increased from nearly £9,000,000 among 39,000 persons in 1874 to nearly £13,000,000 among 106,000 persons in 1889. This was very hard upon the lower middle classes, and showed that the net was always being drawn tighter and tighter. From £300 to £500 there had also been a large increase, but only a slight increase from £500 to £1,000, while upon the incomes above £1,000 paying the tax there had been a considerable decrease. Those facts would not be gainsaid by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and they showed that more and more the Income Tax was being paid by the lower middle and poorer classes of the community, the classes who ought, on the contrary, to receive the most consideration, and whose industry was largely instrumental in making the country. That consideration alone ought to force on the Chancellor of the Exchequer the importance of imposing a fairer incidence of this tax than existed at present. It was originally intended, as its name implied, to be assessed upon incomes; but it was now far more, for it was charged upon gross not nett income. No allowance was made for repairs to property or depreciation of machinery; assessments were made upon buildings and plant with absolutely no set-off. Again, in many cases, the tax was levied upon much larger incomes than people actually enjoyed. That also had a very important bearing upon the subject. It was often said that many people made false returns and paid upon less than they really earned. That might be so, but these matters were looked after very carefully, and in most cases people paid upon more than they should rather than upon less. Another great grievance in connection with this tax was the mode of collection. They were grateful to the late Chancellor of the Exchequer for abolishing the system of poundage, but there was still a grievance in reference to appeals. The whole system of appeal was, according to many letters he had received on the subject, a farce. The unfortunate person assessed was not allowed any advice or even to be present in the room while the assessors fixed the assessment, and there was no appeal whatever. An amusing instance at Ealing had come to his knowledge, where the owner of a property stated exactly its cost, and was supported by a surveyor, but, nevertheless, he was assessed at infinitely more than the property should have carried. Taking all those points in to consideration, it was clear that a much fairer system was demanded by the public. The only way in which this tax could be fairly adjusted was by making a distinction between industrial and spontaneous incomes derived from real property or securities. Spontaneous incomes and those derived from labour should not be as at present, assessed in the same way. An enormous difference existed between the positions of two men receiving £200 a year each, one from, say, Consols, and the other from his work, whether as professional man, doctor, clerk, or shopkeeper. In the one case the man might fairly spend every shilling of his income; but the man who had to earn his £200 was already taxed to an enormous extent. As a prudent man he must insure his life, and he must put by something to provide for accidents or being out of employment. He would probably be taxed by the exigencies of life as a wise and thrifty man to the extent of £30 of his income, or 15 per cent., paying ordinary taxes in addition like everybody else. That £30 a year the other man might spend, and to tax both equally was absolutely to discourage and even prevent provision for the future in the case of the income-earner, who would so far be greatly handicapped. In foreign countries—France, for example—spontaneous incomes only were taxed. Nobody would gainsay that the two classes of incomes were totally different, and that a man who had an income coming in whether he was well or ill, working or idle, which would on his death be continued for his wife and family, was in an entirely different position from a man whose income was absolutely dependent upon his continuing in health and work. This had been pointed out long ago. In 1842, when Sir Robert Peel reintroduced the tax, Lord Brougham said in the House of Lords— It is expedient to make a distinction between incomes arising from capital of every description and incomes arising from labour merely by levying a smaller proportion upon the latter than upon the former. Lord Brougham was a great authority, and so far from being an aristocrat in anything he was one of the Leaders of the Democratic Party at the time. In the House of Commons also an Amendment was moved to omit the words "profession or trade, employment or avocation." That was the very question he was now raising, and the Amendment was supported by such well-known men as Lord John Russell and Mr. Hume. Against the opinion of such authorities, it was strange that this tax should have been allowed for 50 years to go on being levied in so obviously unfair a manner. Certainly, it was only regarded as a temporary tax in the first instance, and it was supposed would soon be given up. But it had always been, and probably would always be, found one of the main taxes on which the Chancellor of the Exchequer could rely. He thought he had made out a clear case, that it was most unfair to levy this tax upon spontaneous and industrial incomes alike. But it had been said that if a change were made, rich people receiving industrial incomes would benefit, large merchants, bankers, barristers, and others, who could afford to pay a higher rate. That was quite true, but the objection could easily be got over by fixing a limit, no matter where it was put, £1,000 or £500, so long as the principle was adopted that industrial incomes should not be taxed at the same rate as those otherwise derived. If that could be carried out, it would be the beginning of a great change, and would certainly make the Income Tax fairer in every sense. Another objection was that poor people sometimes had small and spontaneous incomes. But those persons were so far, of course, better off than people dependent upon industrial incomes, and there would be no objection to their being allowed a rebate at present under a certain amount. A third great objection was, that it would cause enormous trouble to make a change. No doubt; but that was no reason why the change should not be carried out, if it was fair and reasonable. It was the Chancellor of the Exchequer's business so to frame his Budget that it would work fairly smoothly, and without hardship or injury to any particular class. However, we had at present a system of differential rates for different classes of income. Schedule B was not only at a different rate from other Schedules, but it varied for different parts of the United Kingdom. Different rates were imposed for England, Scotland, and Ireland. Taking all these facts together, he urged that he had distinctly made out a case for an alteration in the present system of levying the Income Tax. The Income Tax represented more than a sixth of the taxes of the country. There had no doubt been several Committees on this subject, including one which sat in 1861, and in connection with which separate Reports were issued by the late Mr. Lowe, the late Mr. Hubbard, and the late Sir Stafford Northcote. In 1861, however, the whole subject of taxation was different from what it was now, and it was pointed out at the time that it would not be fair to alter the system of the Income Tax unless there was an alteration of many other taxes, and especially of the Succession Duty. Since that time great changes had taken place, and the pressure of the Income Tax had been growing more and more upon the middle and lower strata of society. It was urged by some that there should be a graduated Income Tax. In one of the organs of the Government it had been suggested that persons with an income of £100 should pay a 1d. tax, and persons with £200 2d., the tax increasing by 1d. for every £100 of income. Well, he had always held the opinion that the poorer persons in this country paid more per £1 than the richer persons, but he believed that a differential Income Tax was practically impossible to carry out. There would be so much temptation on the part of men to reduce their incomes, because if they went up to a certain amount the rate at which the)' would have to pay would be very largely increased, that he thought such a system would be very pernicious. The proposal he advocated was, however, of a totally different character, and was infinitely fairer in every way than that of a graduated Income Tax. The pressure upon industrial incomes was becoming greater and greater. The amount of the incomes derived from past savings was becoming greater from year to year, and the relative proportions of the two kinds of income showed that the spontaneous incomes were much larger than the industrial incomes. It might be asked what effect the system be advocated would have upon the Revenue. Of course, hon. Members could not conceal from them selves the fact that the Chancellor of the Exchequer was more in need of money than he had been on former occasions, and it might, be said that this was an inopportune time for raising the question. he could not see that this was so, because his argument was not that there should be a decrease in the burden, but that the burden should be better adjusted. If the smaller industrial incomes were relieved or were not increased it would be perfectly fair to add to the spontaneous incomes an amount which would be quite sufficient to make up the difference. He acknowledged fully that in his view the tax on industrial incomes might ultimately be done away with altogether, as in France, and that the Income Tax might be levied on spontaneous incomes only. He did not, however, propose this at present, although such a system would do away with nearly all the difficulties of taxation. All he proposed now was that they should get the wedge in, and should make some difference between the two classes of income. It was possibly unwise from one point of view to tax past thrift, but what was desired was to encourage people to be thrifty. The difference between the spontaneous in- come and the industrial income was so great, however, that some such proposal was necessary. The man who had to work his hardest in order to pull along was handicapped by the Income Tax. He was bound to set aside from 10 to 15 per cent. of his earnings in order to provide against sickness, want of work, early death, and other contingencies. When people, however, pointed out that they were taxed on their small incomes on the same scale as men who derived an absolutely permanent income from an investment, hon. Members would see that it was very difficult for those who advocated thrift to reply to them. He trusted that, as the Chancellor of the Exchequer must be cogitating how to arrange the fiscal burdens of the coining year, the right hon. Gentleman would take this great opportunity of saying that he would even in a small degree make a change by which a man's industrial income should be taxed at a lower rate than his spontaneous income. If the right hon. Gentleman would do this he would do that which he (Mr. Bartley) was sure would appear just and fair to a large part of Her Majesty's subjects.


The object of this Debate is to induce the Chancellor of the Exchequer, on the eve of the Budget, to discuss the exact principles on which particular taxes should be levied. I have never known such an attempt succeed, and I have never known such an attempt made in a bolder, or, I may say, a more audacious manner than this has been made by the hon. Member. He must, however, excuse me if I say that "in vain is the net spread in the sight of any bird." I will not discuss with him whether there ought to be a graduated Income Tax, or whether there should be a difference made between small incomes and large incomes, and whether there ought to be distinctions made in the incomes derived from one source and incomes derived from other sources. Such a discussion would be premature to-night. The hon. Member will have opportunities of expressing his opinions in a much more effective manner than he can do at the present moment, and I will, therefore, ask him to allow me to postpone my statement until it can have more real effect than it can have on the present occasion. With reference to his arguments, they are, no doubt, excellent, but they are not novel. I have heard that speech made for 25 years.


I said so several times.


I should say that altogether I have heard that speech and these arguments 45 times in the House of Commons.


Never answered.


It was supposed that there was an answer given in 1853 by my right hon. Friend the Member for Midlothian (Mr. W. E. Gladstone). The speech has been made year after year. Mr. Hubbard, a lineal ancestor, in a financial sense, of the hon. Member, brought the subject forward year after year, and stated precisely the same arguments. In 1861 a Committee was appointed, of which Sir Stafford Northcote and Mr. Hubbard were leading members. As the hon. Member says his arguments have never been answered, I would ask him to see the Report prepared by Sir Stafford Northcote as a Member of that Committee. I think everybody would consider that Report a conclusive answer to the hon. Member. If you were to apply to a man with an industrial income a lower rate of tax than you applied to a person who had an annuity of £100 in the funds, the result would be to create an absurdity. The distinction between various incomes must depend rather upon the amount than upon the character of such incomes. It could not be contended that the owner of a great brewery, for example, should pay at a lower rate than an annuitant, because the annuity proceeded from a different source. There is a great deal in the hon. Member's speech with which I agree, and a great deal with which I differ, but he must excuse me if I postpone until another occasion telling him with what part of the speech I agree and with what part I differ.

* SIR J. LUBBOCK (London University)

said, he did not think the very interesting figures brought forward by the hon. Member for North Islington (Mr. Bartley) had justified the conclusion he had adduced from them. The hon. Member said that only 50,000 of the taxpayers in Schedule D paid on incomes of over £500. It would, however, be found that an immense number of those who had incomes of over £500 under Schedule D had also incomes which came under other Schedules. Then the hon. Member said that there were only 20,000 persons under Schedule D with over £1,000 a year, and that the number was decreasing. He (Sir J. Lubbock) did not think anyone could imagine for a moment that there were really fewer persons with incomes of £1,000 a year under Schedule D than there were some years ago. Surely everybody knew that the number of such persons must be much larger than it was formerly. Perhaps the explanation was, that there had been a great tendency of late years for small firms to be absorbed into larger ones, small breweries and other undertakings to be absorbed into larger ones, so that the returns which used to be made by a considerable number of persons were now made as one Return by a Joint Stock Company. The hon. Member had suggested that the owner of Consols ought to pay at a higher rate than the person who derived his income from his own exertions. Consols, however, could not be taxed as Consols, or faith would be broken with the public taxpayer, and a very bad example would be set to foreign countries. It would be inequitable to tax Consols as such, nor did we do so—we taxed income, and the holder of Consols paid on his income. A higher rate of tax could, therefore, not be equitably placed upon Consols than upon other incomes.


said, he had not suggested anything of the kind. He had only referred to Consols as one of the specimens of spontaneous incomes.


said, his point was that the Chancellor of the Exchequer could not deal with Consols unless he was dealing with all incomes. Consols could not be taxed, although the income derived from them could be. The next item of spontaneous income referred to by his hon. Friend was that derived from land, but it had been a very decreasing income of late years, and he could not think that this would be at all a happy moment to choose for adding to the burdens now resting upon the agriculturists. As to houses, a difficulty of a different character arose. The amount required for repairs differed immensely in different kinds of houses. The moment the question of an allowance for repairs was introduced the Chancellor of the Exchequer would be landed in a labyrinth of difficulties from which it would be impossible to escape. His hon. Friend said that it would be easy to distinguish between "spontaneous" and "industrial" incomes. He thought it would be almost impossible. His hon. Friend said that a man who had a spontaneous income was secure, and need not save. Income from savings might be spontaneous, but was not necessarily secure. Could it be said that a man whose money was invested in such securities as Portuguese or Greek funds had a secure income, or that the income of a man who had invested in some industrial undertaking was necessarily secure? Then, how was a distinction to be drawn between incomes derived from Bank of England Stock and incomes derived from the Stock of a small bank, or between incomes derived from a small brewery and a large brewery? The hon. Member had suggested a different kind of tax upon concerns making £1,000 a year from that upon concerns making £500 a year, but of course the number of shareholders or partners would have to be taken into account, and hero another difficulty would arise. The hon. Member added the injustice of Income Tax was worse because it had been going on for so long. He (Sir J. Lubbock) should rather have drawn the opposite inference, because, happily, an inequality which might be very great at first was, if continued long enough, compensated for to a certain extent by other considerations. It was, however, perfectly true that the members of the legal and medical profession derived their incomes from the exercise of their brains, and that other persons might perhaps derive a similar amount of income without any exertion to themselves. The truth was that no tax could be a just and fair one. We must regard the taxation of the country as a whole, and if we found that some taxes pressed heavily on some classes, who should find that others pressed heavily on others, and the result was that some sort of justice was arrived at. Taxes derived from the Customs pressed, no doubt, with severity on certain classes of the people. That injustice was made up to a certain extent by the Income Tax, and in that way one tax to a certain extent compensated for the inequalities that existed in another. The matter was very carefully gone into by the very strong Committee of 1861. Nobody could read the very interesting Blue Book which related to that Committee and fail to see the extraordinary difficulties there was in dealing with the question in the manner proposed by the hon. Member. At the same time, great injustice would be done unless the Income Tax was kept within a moderate and reasonable limit. If it were raised much more than at present all the evils that had been pointed out would be aggravated. There were two points which he thought it desirable that the Chancellor of the Exchequer should consider in his Budget. He had never himself been able to see why the English farmer should be called upon to pay a different rate of Income Tax from the Scotch or the Irish farmer. If there was any reason for a difference originally there was no such reason now, particularly at a time when the agriculturists were suffering so greatly. He urged that they should be placed on the same footing. The other point on which he wished to say a word was as regards the assessment of industrial incomes. One great compensating circumstance in connection with the Income Tax used to be, that in the case of incomes derived from trade it was taken on the average of three, years. If a man had made an average income of £1,000 a year for the previous three years and made more than that amount he could not be called upon to pay more than he returned, but if he made less than the £1,000 he was allowed a rebate. It was calculated by the Head of the Inland Revenue Department before the Committee of 1861 that this privilege was practically equivalent to an allowance of 30 per cent. That had been altered without, so far as he could learn, any sanction to the change having been given by the House, and he submitted that the old method of calculation should be revived, which would to some extent meet the objections urged by the hon. Member for Islington.


said, he should like to point out a case of great hardship in the levying: of Income Tax on industrial incomes. It was the case where male and female school teachers married. When single their incomes were exempted from the tax, but when married the joint incomes were liable. In some cases the expenses of married couples might be less than those of the parties when single, but that could not be so where there were families. He trusted the Secretary to the Treasury would look into the matter. There were not very many cases, he should imagine, but there certainly were some.

MR. LABOUCHERE (Northampton)

said, that no doubt the difficulties in the way of making distinctions as to the manner in which income was derived or in graduating the Income Tax were almost insuperable; but the difficulty had been overcome in some of the Colonies by substituting for a tax on income a tax on property. If the House would consider the matter for a moment they would see that this met all the difficulties and all the objections urged against making the suggested distinctions. For example, a person possessed £100,000; whether he invested the money in Consols or in foreign securities he paid equally on the £100,000. Though his income from foreign securities would be larger his risk would be greater. The system adopted with reference to incomes derived from trades or professions was to fix the number of years' purchase which a trade or profession was worth. A man who was making £3,000 a year from any trade or profession would not pay in the same way as the man who had invested £100,000 in Consols; he would pay 10 years' purchase, or £30,000. In this way the distinction would be kept up very clearly between incomes derived from investments and incomes which were not of that permanent character, derived from trades and professions. This had been done in the colonies, and he had never clearly understood why the same system had not been adopted in this country. He was not going into the question raised by the hon. Gentleman opposite. The hon. Gentleman had fairly stated his case, and, as the Chancellor of the Exchequer had said, it had been stated again and again that the objections to it were technical.


said, he thought the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer had treated the interesting speech of the hon. Member for Islington with hardly as much respect as it deserved. He had said that he had heard it 45 times before. Well, he (Mr. Gibbs) should certainly think that the Chancellor of the Exchequer's reply had been made 45 hundred times before. There were two answers always made to anyone who proposed to lighten any tax. The first was that the Budget had not yet been brought out, and that therefore the thing was altogether premature; and the other was that the Budget had been settled upon, and it was altogether too late. It could hardly be denied that the hon. Member had made out a very good case, whether it had been made out before or not, and so far as he (Mr. Gibbs) understood, the only thing urged against it was that it was very difficult to amend the tax. No doubt it was difficult, but the Chancellor of the Exchequer and his officers were, as they all knew, very clever people, and he was sure that it was not beyond their powers to lighten the burden. It had been pointed out very clearly what great injustice was done by the way in which taxes were altered in the House without anybody knowing anything about it. The manner in which the Income Tax was assessed had been altered, and many people were very much surprised when by practical experience they discovered that that alteration had been made. He trusted the Chancellor of the Exchequer would consider these matters, and endeavour to give some relief where it was very much wanted.

MR. J. LOWTHER (Kent, Thanet)

I wish, for the convenience of the House, just to mention that I do not intend to bring forward the Motion which stands in my name upon the Paper with regard to alien emigration. Looking at the present state of the House, it seems to me desirable to postpone that Motion to some more favourable opportunity. But before the discussion in which the House is now engaged terminates, I should like to enter a caveat against the presumption that the Members of the Opposition generally endorse the doctrines which my hon. Friend has laid down. My hon. Friend holds views with regard to taxation with which I, at any rate, cannot concur. The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer has stated that a case has never been known in which a gentleman holding his position has been "drawn." The right hon. Gentleman has no disregard for the process of establishing precedents, and I think that everyone who listened to his reply to my hon. Friend must have come to the conclusion that my hon. Friend, at any rate, has beaten the record in having been the first Member who has succeeded in "drawing" a Chancellor of the Exchequer. I am bound to say that the right hon. Gentleman proceeded to reply to his own argument as to what had been the invariable practice in regard to his predecessors, for he certainly was most successfully "drawn." As to the reply of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, I do not wish to go into the points on which he dwelt. I was relieved to find that he does not contemplate in his Budget embarking in some of the transactions suggested by my hon. Friend. My hon. Friend guarded himself against being supposed to favour rash experiments of the kind he spoke of; but, at the same time, if incomes below a certain point are to be exempted from taxation, then the bulk of the Revenue must be raised from a small portion of the tax-paying community, and when that is taken concurrently with the suggestion which, I am afraid, is not altogether without "sympathy on the Treasury Bench, under which those who are to pay the great bulk of the taxes have loss electoral power than even that which they now possess, I think it will make most of us chary of endorsing such a proposal. The Chancellor of the Exchequer spoke of attempts which have been made to discriminate between various classes of incomes. As I understood my hon. Friend, he proposed that incomes derived from what he called industries, including profits in business and trade, whether great or small, were in a different category from incomes derived from settled property, whether real or personal. My hon. Friend does not speak benevolently of the unfortunate small freeholder. I for some years represented a large number of small freeholders, upon whom I know well that taxation presses very hardly. My hon. Friend says he does not propose to diminish the amount of money at the disposal of the Chancellor of the Exche- quer, but that he only proposes to make the knapsack fit more evenly on the shoulders. What does that mean? It means that under my hon. Friend's suggestion the other Income Tax payers would pay more than they have done hitherto, which I think would be a great hardship upon them. I must own there is something to be said as to the different sources from which incomes are derived. My hon. Friend was on fair ground when he dwelt on the general proposition, but the moment he came to deal with it in detail his difficulties commenced. Now, my hon. Friend spoke of the interest a person has in a sum of money during his lifetime, and suggested that at his death that interest is available to those who succeed him. I am not sure that that is always the case. My hon. Friend knows very well that there are settlements which preclude persons entitled to a beneficial interest for life from disposing of the funds in a manner in which they may think fit. Then my hon. Friend talked about insurance. He said that a prudent person in receipt of an income of modest dimensions is bound to sot aside a part of his income, at least, as an insurance fund. I would remind him that a prudential consideration would equally apply in a large number of cases to persons in receipt of incomes even from settled funds. The Secretary to the Treasury realises that. What I wish to enter a protest against is any system of what is called graduated taxation. I understood my hon. Friend to suggest the exemption of incomes up to £200 a year from Income Tax. I do not think that that would be at all wholesome advice for the Chancellor of the Exchequer to take as tendered to him on behalf of the Conservative Party. As I say, the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, unlike any of his predecessors, has been "drawn," and I hope the result of this discussion will be to show that any wild scheme that might have been suggested by hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the House tending in the direction of differential taxation and graduated Income Tax would certainly not meet with the approval of the great mass of Members in this House.

* MR. EVERETT (Suffolk, Woodbridge)

said, he wished in a word to endorse what had fallen from the right hon. Baronet in regard to the taxation of farmers' incomes. It had been a matter of complaint for years that farmers' incomes were taxed on different scales in England to those in Scotland and Ireland, and he would respectfully suggest to the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer that this would be a particularly happy year to put the English farmer on the same footing as the Scotch and Irish farmers. Scotland and Ireland had been favoured by Providence with a particularly bountiful season, while the English farmer had been impoverished to an unprecedented degree. It would make small difference to the Revenue, and would be a welcome mark of sympathy with the English farmer, who would be still more grateful if he could be furnished at all with an income on which to pay, but he was afraid that to furnish that was not in the power of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. In regard to the main question they were debating, it should not be forgotten that the Income Tax was only a matter of pence in the pound after all; but the rates were a matter of shillings in the pound, and personal property and earned incomes were exempt from the burden of the rates.