HC Deb 01 May 1894 vol 24 cc50-2
MR. JEFFREYS (Hants, Basingstoke)

I beg to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether at the death of an owner of real estate valued at £101,000, with a gross income of £3,000, a lineal successor of the age of 35 would pay Death Duties at the present time of about £1,720, whereas under the new scheme he would have to pay £6,060; whether in the case of the above estate being left to children in portions of £10,000, each child under the new scheme would have to pay 6 per cent., or £600 Death Duty; and whether, if an estate valued at £10,000 were left to one child, that child would under the new scheme only pay 3 per cent., or £300?


In answer to the first part of the question, I have to say that a person leaving £101,000 in real estate will, according to the proposals of the Government, pay by in- stalments exactly the same sum as if he left £101,000 in personalty. It is quite true that under the existing law the owner of realty pays a very much smaller amount. The object of the proposals of the Government is to redress that inequality and injustice. The two latter questions are founded on a misconception of the nature of the new Estate Duty. That new Estate Duty, like the Probate Duty, is charged upon the total value of the corpus of the estate, and has no regard whatever to the portion left to children or other persons amongst whom the estate may be subsequently divided. These are questions which belong to the Legacy and Succession Duty, which are wholly distinct from the Estate Duty.


But is it not a fact that, whereas at present a successor to a real estate with a gross income of £3,000 now only pays £1,720, under the new duties he will have to pay £6,060?


Yes; if the income is net, not gross. The reason for the reform is that real estate now pays less than personalty.

MR. BRODRICK (Surrey, Guildford)

In regard to that may I ask on what figures the right hon. Gentleman based the calculation that real estate would, under the new duty, pay only double what it had hitherto paid?


I gave the figures in my Financial Statement. The authorities of the Inland Revenue formed an estimate on the basis of the information in their possession, and on that estimate the Government has acted. Experience has shown that the estimates of the Department are wonderfully accurate, but I do not conceal from the House the fact that in this case the estimate is much more conjectural than usual.


May we take it that the right hon. Gentleman, in asserting that the landlords would pay only between £200,000 and £300,000 extra, was relying upon a conjectural estimate?


I have given the best estimate which can be made by most experienced persons.


Can the right hon. Gentleman give us an estimate showing the figures on which he comes to the conclusion that the contemplated duty on real estate will be double that now paid? May I move for it as a Return?


It is impossible to form an accurate estimate, but I repeat that the Inland Revenue Authorities have given me the best they can, conjectural though it is.