HC Deb 31 May 1894 vol 25 cc83-130


Bill considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)

Clause I.

MR. JEFFREYS (Hants, Basingstoke)

moved, in page 1, line 18, after "all," to insert "personal" He said, he proposed if this Amendment were carried to move another Amendment subsequently so as to make the words run "upon the value of personal property settled or not settled." His object was to draw attention to that portion of the Bill which proposed to levy equal Death Duties on real and personal estates, although those properties were most unequally taxed during the lifetime of the owners. He thought it right that some of the burden upon land should be reduced, and that personal property should be made to contribute its fair share to the rates, which were levied for the benefit of all. Land had in very many instances to pay the Land Tax, which did not go to the benefit of the country, but was paid into the Imperial Exchequer. The tithes were also borne exclusively by the land. They constituted a very severe burden which was not borne by personal property, so that in this instance, again, land was unequally taxed as compared with personal property. Then there was no doubt that agricultural land was most unfairly rated. The rates were assessed in regard to land over a very much larger area than in regard to houses. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for India (Mr. H. H. Fowler) had lately presented a Return in which he showed that in his opinion the rates on agricultural land had diminished of late years. The right hon. Gentleman told the House the other day that the average rate of agricultural laud throughout the country was something over 3s. in the £1, whereas rates in towns were very much higher. The right hon. Gentleman, however, forgot that, whereas a man who occupied a house or business premises in a town paid only on the buildings, the occupier of land in the country had to pay rates not only upon the buildings, but upon every acre of land he held. It was here that the unfairness came in. A farmer who occupied land on which he was assessed for the amount of £300 a year might possibly live in a house which was only rated at £20 a year. In all fairness that man ought to pay rates upon £20 a year for School Boards and various other purposes, and not pay upon the agricultural land he occupied, inasmuch as the rates were levied for the benefit of the occupiers of houses. Let the House compare this man with a pro- fessional man, say a doctor, who lived in a village and also had au income of £300 a year. Whilst the farmer had to pay rates on the whole of the £300, the doctor would pay merely on the house he occupied, which would probably be rated at about £50 a year. The result was, that the wretched farmer had to pay six times as much in rates as the doctor. He was sorry to say that this was a question which was very much misunderstood in towns, and people very often said they wondered that those who lived in the country complained of the rates when they were so low. It was not the rate that agriculturists complained of, but the area over which it was assessed. If there was to be equalisation of the Death Duties Parliament ought to take into account how very much more easily Death Duties could be collected on personalty than on real estate. In the first place, upon Death Duties becoming payable upon an estate, that estate must be valued. If there was any difference between the Government valuation and the valuation to which the owner thought himself entitled, the latter must call in a surveyor to make an independent valuation. He (Mr. Jeffreys) was told that when an estate was valued at slightly over £100,000 a year, and on which the Death Duties would be £6,000, the cost of the valuation was something like £500. Probably the person who succeeded to the estate would have to make a mortgage to pay the Death Duties, and the cost of that mortgage in lawyers' fees would probably be between £300 and £400. Therefore, in addition to the Death Dirty, the successor would have to pay £800 or £900. The state of things was very different where a man succeeded to £100,000 worth of personalty. If part of the personal property were in Consols all the executors would have to do would be to write to a broker to sell out £6,000 worth of Consols, and he believed that could be done for £7 10s. These facts showed how great an inequality there was between the Death Duties on personal property and those on real property. The Chancellor of the Exchequer said the other day that in the Colony of Victoria they set the Mother Country a good example, and collected the Death Duties very easily. He (Mr. Jeffreys) had some friends who about six months ago were left a property in this very Colony of Victoria. The laud was near Melbourne, and consequently of rather higher value. His friends sent to know what they would have to pay for Death Duties, and the agent wrote back stating that the Government had assessed the value of the land at £210,000. But at the same time the agent told them the duty was 10 per cent., and they would have to pay £21,000 on account of having this property left. Since that time—about six years ago—property had very rapidly diminished in value. The owners of the estate first of all said the value was excessive, the agent appealed against the valuation, but gained nothing and had to pay the costs. They then said they would sell the land, but the big boom had passed over and they could not sell it except at au immense sacrifice, and at a price which would hardly realise the £21,000. In fact, they could not get the £21,000 they were called upon to pay, and they had to raise this money, the consequence being they were now a great deal worse off than they were before they were left the property. Of course, that was au extreme case, and he did not mean to say that land in England fluctuated in the same degree as in the colonies, but it showed that a fictitious value might be placed upon an estate, and he gave this illustration in order that the Chancellor of the Exchequer might take precautions to see that estates were not valued too highly. He hoped land would not be valued at a fictitious price, but simply at the net income it gave to the owner. If, at the last, the estates had to pay equally on real and personal property, at least during the lifetime of the owner, some abatement should be given on the rates and taxes which real property now paid in order that it might be put more on an equality with personal estate. If that were done, he did not think people would have such an objection to the equalisation of the Death Duties as they had at present. Let the duties be equalised in the lifetime of the owner before any more taxes were thrown on the already overburdened landed estates of this country. He begged to move the Amendment.

Amendment proposed, in page 1, line 18, after the word "all," to insert the word "personal."—(Mr. Jeffreys.)

Question proposed, "That the word 'personal' be there inserted."


said, lie hoped the hon. Member would not think he was treating him with any disrespect if he did not go over the ground which had already been decided on the Second Reading. This, of course, was a proposal to reject the Bill. The object of the measure was the equalisation of the Death Duties, which were to be placed on real and personal estate. If that equalisation was not to be effected, then the very object of the Bill was defeated. He did not know exactly the position of hon. Gentlemen opposite on the principle upon which this Bill was founded. The first principle was the equalisation of Death Duties upon real and personal property, settled or unsettled. He did not know whether hon. Members on the other side of the House were going to oppose the principle of equal Death Duties upon real and personal property. If they were, he should be glad to understand it, and this Amendment would clearly raise that issue. The question of rating was one which could be dealt with quite apart from that of the equalisation of the Death Duties. The Amendment, if carried, would discharge all ground landlords from any taxation under the Death Duties, and he would invite the right hon. Gentleman the Member for St. George's, if he was going to support the Amendment, to state if that was what he and his Party intended, and then they would know where they were. The Amendment gave immunity to the ground landlords of Loudon and the great towns of England by striking real property out of the Bill. The Government considered that would be the gravest injustice in connection with the taxation of this country, and they could not, therefore, accept the Amendment.

MR. CHAPLIN (Lincolnshire, Sleaford)

said, that he quite sympathised with the necessity of a certain amount of refreshment for the Members of Her Majesty's Government, and especially for the Leader of the House, but it was somewhat unfortunate to be called upon to reply, in the Chancellor of the Exchequer's absence, to the statement which was made half an hour ago by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The right hon. Gentleman complained of the hon. Member for Basingstoke for attacking the principle of the Bill in his Amendment, because he said what the Government desired was the imposition of taxation equally upon all the different kinds of property in the country. But what the Opposition complained of was that there was no kind of equality whatever in the Bill. That had been the burden of their complaint over and over again; and he was bound to say that if there was one thing that justified the Amendment of his hon. Friend more than another it was the fact that, in spite of the objections they had raised to the Bill, and to which they had called the attention of the Government time after time on this particular point of equality, they had never received not even the semblance of an answer from any single Member of Her Majesty's Government. That was the complaint which he repeated now; and, conversant as he was with the habits and practices of the House of Commons, he thought that under the circumstances the Chancellor of the Exchequer should have been in his place. Knowing that one of his opponents, sitting immediately opposite, was about to rise, the right hon. Gentleman might at least have shown that respect for the House of Commons which, under the circumstances, they were entitled to ask of him. He did not see how they could debate a question of this sort if they were to be treated in that manner, and although he did not desire to take the step which he would be perfectly justified in taking —namely, to report Progress until the Chancellor of the Exchequer returned, ho hoped it would be conveyed to the right hon. Gentleman that he had made a remonstrance against the right hon. Gentleman's absence, which he did not think, under the circumstances, was without justification. What the Opposition complained of was that the Government in the Bill dealt with all kinds of property exactly on the same footing; that they treated real property and personal property exactly alike, though the two properties were absolutely dissimilar, and incapable, consistent with justice, of being treated as the Chancellor of the Exchequer proposed to treat them under the Bill. Now, the effect of the Amendment of his hon. Friend would not be, in his judgment, by any means that which the Chancellor of the Exchequer ascribed to it. The right hon. Gentleman said his hon. Friend wanted to dissociate real property altogether from personal property; and that he desired that real property should not under any circumstances be taxed on its capital value. What the Amendment did was to propose to leave personalty exactly as it was in the Bill, and to leave open for later consideration the mode in which real property was to be treated. In that way the Amendment provided an opportunity for the consideration, at all events, of proposals which, it seemed to him, were urgently called for with regard to realty. The difficulty in dealing with realty was that realty in itself differed so greatly in character. The right hon. Gentleman had taunted the Opposition with a desire to allow real property of all sorts and kinds the opportunity of escaping from taxation under the Bill. He did not propose anything of the kind; but he submitted to the consideration of the Government that if they considered on the one hand real property, which consisted of vacant land immediately adjoining London, and it might be not far from Belgrave Square, which might not let for very much now, lint which had an enormous prospective value, and, on the other hand, if they considered the vast quantity of derelict property in the County of Essex at the present moment, was it not contrary to common-sense and common reason that those two classes of property should be treated exactly on the same footing in the Bill? He would not go so far as to say that it was absolutely defensible to protest against the way in which town property such as he had described was proposed to be treated in the Bill—though lie was aware a good many arguments could be advanced against the imposition of any duty on such property until it had actually acquired its future value. There was, no doubt, a great deal of land of that description, land which, while it possessed no annual value at present, while it was bringing in nothing now, possessed an enormous prospective value in the future; and with regard to that class of land, he was not prepared to attack the proposals of the Government, though, as he had said, there might be something urged against its being treated in the Bill in its present condition. But there was land exactly the converse of that; there was land having a present letting value, but its prospective value for the purposes of sale was absolutely worthless, or so small that it could hardly be said to have any value at all. It was that kind of real property that was undoubtedly going to be hit, and hit more severely than any other kind of property in the country, by the proposals of the Government. He had already called attention, to the similar treatment which the Bill proposed to deal, to those two classes of property, although unquestionably they were totally different in their nature, and not one single Member of the Government had ever attempted to answer his arguments. Why did they not answer them? Was it because they were not able to answer them? Was it that they were not deserving of an answer, or was it because the Government were afraid to answer them for the reason that they knew they would he obliged to admit that what they proposed to do was unjust and absolutely impossible to defend? What the Government wore going to do in the case of the derelict property which he had described was to drive the unfortunate owners into a forced sale. He was sorry to be obliged to repeat these arguments over and over again, but unless—as the Chancellor of the Exchequer himself once said—they kept "pegging away," they would not get any reply at all from the Government, and he said that on an important question of this sort they had a right to an answer, and a defence of their views from the Government, if they had got any defence whatever. To force a sale in this manner by taxation, to compel a man to get rid of property because of the burden which the Government had suddenly thrown on him, was the most cruel and high-handed proceeding ever attempted by Parliament, for no one had denied that under the Bill circumstances might arise, and were almost certain to arise, with regard to this kind of property which would drive the unfortunate owner into a forced sale. He would remind the House again how this kind of proceeding was described by the late great Leader of the Party opposite—the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Midlothian. The right hon. Gentleman said it would be "invidious, offensive, unwise, and unjust." Had the Government anything to say in reply to-a serious charge like that which was made by the very man whom they had followed and worshipped for many years? His hon. Friend who moved the Amendment pointed out the injury the Bill would do to a vast amount of property and a vast number of proprietors in England. His hon. Friend supplemented his observations by giving a very remarkable colonial case; and the only point on which he differed from his hon. Friend was when his hon. Friend admitted that that case was a very exceptional case. He was not sure about its being a very exceptional case. He was sure that during the last 10 or 15 years his hon. Friend would have found, if he had searched, numerous instances of changes in value of property in England equally as great as those which had occurred in the colonies. Unless the Government desired wilfully to inflict this great injustice upon owners of land, they should endeavour at least to meet the arguments of the Opposition; and if the Opposition were wrong, to disabuse their minds of the misapprehensions under which they must be labouring by convincing them that there was some attempt at justice in the proposals of the Bill. The Government ought at least consider whether it was not possible to classify those different kinds of real property. If the Amendment were carried it would not interfere with the future of the Bill. It would throw upon the Government the necessity of classifying and separating real property in a way which would effectually distinguish between that kind of property which possessed little letting value at the present moment, but an enormous prospective value for sale, and that other kind of property which could be let at present and from which an iucome—a precarious income—could be obtained, but which it would be almost impossible to sell if it were put into the market under a forced sale. These were propositions which he ventured to submit to the Government, because he thought they were fully deserving of the consideration of the Government; and in making them he did not think the Opposition laid themselves open for a single moment to the charge of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, that they desired to upset the principle of the Bill, or to enable property to escape the incidence of taxation which it was justly called upon to bear.

MR. H. HOBHOUSE (Somerset, E.)

remarked that it was incumbent upon those who represented agricultural con- stituencies to take this opportunity of putting before the House the widespread feeling of alarm at the prospect of any increase of taxation. They were quite willing to accept the principle of equality of taxation; but they could not help recognising the fact that if this Bill were carried without any rectification of the one-sided character of local taxation, the result would not be equality in the taxation of different kinds of property. It was not disputed that in country districts there were many instances of men living side by side who had equal incomes and who yet contributed in a most unequal manner to expenditure for objects which benefited both. No one could contend that the manufacturer contributed equally with the agriculturist to the rates for local expenditure. When they talked of rates they were told that that had been disposed of in the able speech of the Secretary for India. He did not hear, but ho had read that speech, and he fully recognised the ability and clearness, and, given certain premises, the conclusiveness of that speech, but it was in no way an answer to their present contention. He was ready to admit that in the generality of country districts the rates were not largely higher than they were a quarter of a century ago, but he thought the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for India forgot two things: first, that a low rate was often felt much more in times of depression than a high rate in times of prosperity, and then he had taken for his statistics a minimum period for the rates, a period after considerable aid had been given towards reducing local taxation, and immediately preceding a large rise in taxation. Owing to the efforts of his right hon. Friend himself there would be large additions to local rates in the near future, and they would fall far more heavily on the owners of land than on the owners of personal property. There was no doubt that rates were increasing, while the value of property in agricultural districts was decreasing. In many districts there was no unearned increment, and the increase of rates fell almost immediately upon the owner rather than the occupier. Where rents were falling there was a general refusal to accept leases for more than a year, and, of course, with yearly re-letting the increase of rates fell on the landlord. And it was on this class that the Bill pro- posed to put further heavy burdens. They were imposing new and heavy burdens upon the owners of agricultural land by this Bill without giving them any quid pro quo worthy of real consideration. He would remind the Government that by putting the taxes on landowners simply, they could not in the agricultural districts prevent that burden and injustice being felt by all classes of the community. At this very critical moment for agriculture a little further burden of taxation might prove the determining cause to small owners to give up their residences, and he ventured to say, having witnessed what had been going on for some years in the country districts in this direction, that any further tendency in the direction of absenteeism would be seriously detrimental to their country districts. Depopulation in the agricultural districts was going on fast enough without their imposing any extra burdens on land, which must tend to diminish the wages of the working classes and further impoverish the community. There was a further plea against this new taxation. One of the most important parts of their fiscal system was that while they admitted all imports free, which benefited the community as a whole, it undoubtedly inflicted great injury on a certain class. He, personally, had always been a free trader, and he had always contended that the good of the whole was to be preferred to the good of the few, but he could not disguise from himself that the few in this matter, the owners, and, to some extent, the occupiers of agricultural land, were being sacrificed to the benefit of the population, especially those in large towns; and considering this was the effect; of one portion of their fiscal system the Government might reasonably be urged to treat the class that was injured with tenderness and liberality, and to give it further relief from the pressure of local rates.

*SIR MARK STEWART (Kirkcudbright)

desired to make one or two observations upon the present state of agriculture which had a direct bearing upon this question and which appeared to be absolutely ignored by the Government, whether from ignorance of the question or indifference he knew not. Land was going out of cultivation in all directions, and proprietors who were willing to improve were to be further handicapped by the operation of this Bill. At present he was paying £40 or £50 a week in wages in improving the land and carrying on large agricultural operations. But what was the good of that? because if anything happened to him the Government would be able to practically ruin his son. Was that a prospect to give encouragement to the profitable cultivation of land? Was it an inducement to hold out to gentlemen who were really anxious to develop industry, to keep the people on the laud, and give them occupation all the year round? Was there any prospect of improvement? They knew there was not, and yet the Government chose this critical time to equalise the taxation between personalty and realty. If they really equalised taxation and rating he should be satisfied, but they were doing nothing of the sort. The rates were continuing with a pressure never hitherto felt, and taxes were certainly not diminishing. They were perfectly willing to bear their just proportion of taxes and rates; but if they were going to put matters on an equality they must bring in personalty to bear a just payment of rates. That was utterly ignored by the Government. There was something peculiar when a Government never gave an answer to questions put forward night after night, and that too, not with any desire to obstruct business, for they were anxious that the Government should get on with its business; but when the Government were week after week bringing in measures that had not to do with the common weal, but were merely of interest to a Party, it was time to make a protest, and he had to tell them that if they went any further in a way that was detrimental to the agricultural community their days as a Government would be numbered. It was a very simple matter that personalty should be taxed, but what was to become of the mortgaged property, which was heavily mulcted by these Death Duties. What did the Government intend to do? Did they intend to take up all the property into their own hands? They would ruin many proprietors in different parts of the Kingdom. It was impossible that these proprietors could pay in the course of eight years. Practically this was four years' clear rental of their property on large estates, and were there many proprietors who, apart from what personalty they might have, would be able to pay anything like that sum without dismissing every labourer and stopping every improvement? If they took away four years' net rental, he put it to any practical man whether it would not take four more years to put the estate into the state in which it was originally? That was eight years. Then supposing three or four deaths occurred after short intervals, did the Chancellor of the Exchequer propose year after year to tax such a property up to the hilt for three or four successions consecutively? Why, no property in this world could stand it! No information was vouchsafed as to the method of valuation which was to be adopted. He knew many properties which were extremely nice to live upon, having beautiful ornamental trees, good fishing, and a good bit of grouse moor, but the rentals of the laud were ridiculously low. There was no land that had gone down in such proportion as second-class land. He knew moorlands which formerly returned a very good income from the sheep farms, and now returned nothing. There were few owners who got 60 per cent, of the gross rental; there were many who did not get 50 or even 40, and yet they were to be called upon to pay as if they were getting £100 for every £ 100, and in in addition to contribute heavily to local taxation besides, which was increasing year after year. He hoped the Chancellor of the Exchequer would consider these matters, which were practical matters, and if he would remedy these defects in the way that had been suggested from that side of the House, the right hon. Gentleman would, he was satisfied, experience little difficulty in carrying this measure.


said, he rose to protest, against the continuation of the discussion on an Amendment of this kind, which was really not a discussion on an Amendment to the Bill, but a Second Reading discussion. If there was any principle in the Bill at all, it was that real property as well as personalty should contribute to the Death Duties. The Amendment was a claim on the part of the landed interest that they should be exempt. ["No!"] Yes. This determination that real property should not bear the same burden which the Opposition were willing, according to the Amendment, to put upon personalty, was flagrant—its injustice was palpable. It was the old story ever since the days of the Succession Duty—"Oh! if you tax us we will leave the country." He remembered Mr. Bright telling him a story of his talking to a peasant on the subject of the Succession Duty and the Corn Laws, and he said to the peasant—"The country gentlemen say if you tax tax them like other people they will go away," and the peasant's answer was—"Well, they cannot take the land away." That was a remark which could not be answered. He heard the right hon. Member for Sleaford complain that he (Sir W. Hareourt) was not arguing this question. He thought the days of argument on the question whether real and personal property should be treated alike upon this taxation of Death Duties was a thing upon which argument was exhausted.


That was not in the least what I said, as the right hon. Gentleman if he had been here would know. I addressed a speech to the House of a totally different character, and while I said we admitted the fairness of real property being taxed, I asked" whether it was not possible to classify real property under two heads, it being in many instances of so different a character.


said, that was only another way of carrying out the old system of the propertied class and demanding a special privilege. The Bill was introduced for exactly the opposite object. Their opinion was, that the exemption that had been given to this class of taxation of real property was unjust, and the whole object of this Bridget was to redress that; it was to equalise taxation upon all classes of property. [Cries of "No!"] If that was rejected the Budget was rejected. The object, as they had stated it, was the equalisation of real, settled property and persona] property. The issue was clear—they were either for it or against it. If they were against it let them go to a Division and have done with it. Hon. Gentlemen opposite wished to omit real property from the Bill, and they would only be wasting time in further discussing it.

MR. GOSCHEN (St. George's,) Hanover Square

said, he quite agreed that it was impossible for the Chancellor of the Exchequer to be in attendance during the whole of the Debate, but when he came back he ought to have some general idea communicated to him by his colleagues as to the tone of the speeches which had been made in his absence.


said, he heard the Mover of the Amendment and he heard the right hon. Gentleman himself. He was sorry he did not hear the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Sleaford (Mr. Chaplin), but his speech was the only one he had missed.


said, there was another speech which the right hon. Gentleman had missed, but he was not quite sure, if the right hon. Gentleman had heard the other speeches, that he might not have taken the same tone, because they were all familiar with the methods of the right hon. Gentleman. The right hon. Gentleman said, "You are either for us or against us;" he could only see a vote in the House; argument was not of much use to him, the right hon. Gentleman passing over any suggestions made on that side of the House to relieve the heavy increased burden that was put upon land, and treating it almost, he might say, with contempt, his patience not being equal to listening to the arguments. The right hon. Gentleman must remember—and no one was bound to remember more than the right hon. Gentleman—that this was an extremely complicated Budget: also that the Debate on the Second Reading only took three nights, and now the right hon. Gentleman reproached hon. Members on that side of the House with raising what the right hon. Gentleman called Second Reading questions. This question could not be dealt with at length on the Second Reading; it was, of course, initiated; it was touched, but it was not fully debated. The enormous increase involved by the right hon. Gentleman's duties could not escape the attention of hon. Gentlemen opposite, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer must see that it deserved the attention of every person in this House. It was a question that should not be hurried over, and he was surprised that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who was so conciliatory a short time ago, had not been able to maintain his conciliatory attitude for three or four hours together.


This is gross obstruction.


asked, did he hear the right hon. Gentleman say this was gross obstruction? Those were scarcely Parliamentary words, and it was not by the use of such words that the right hon. Gentleman would further these proceedings. If the right hon. Gentleman said this was an issue on which they must either say they were for it or against it, and the object was to withdraw realty altogether from increased taxation, the right hon. Gentleman was mistaken, and he knew he was mistaken. The right hon. Gentleman knew that in further portions of this Bill it was perfectly possible to introduce such Amendments—even accepting the general principle of equalisation—that might more or less produce the results the Government would desire to secure.


The Amendment is to leave out real property altogether.


said, that was so, but not to leave it out permanently. He was glad the right hon. Gentleman had reminded him of that fact—it was to leave out real property from this particular clause and from this particular Estate Duty.


It is the only place where it is mentioned.


Exactly; that is the point. The Bill was so drawn that there was no opportunity to be given to them to modify it; it was most skilfully drawn, and they were well aware of that skill, because it was extremely difficult to present their case. No doubt the Chancellor of the Exchequer gave instructions to draft the Bill in such a manner that if the lauded interest or any other interest threatened to escape from it the right hon. Gentleman might be able to get up and say "They withdraw entirely from the principle of taxation"—that was to say, the impost. It must be met, as they were meeting it, by taking the opportunities which the right hon. Gentleman tried to refuse them, of raising this class of questions, and looking to the whole Bill, and not only to Clause 1, and see that justice was done. He had hoped better things as regarded the Chancellor of the Exchequer; he thought he would have dealt with this matter carefully and judicially, but he had not done so, and had attempted to ride roughshod over them, but lie did not succeed. There was an attempt made the other night to get rid of an Amendment that the right hon. Gentleman ridiculed, hut what was the result? It was brought forward in another form that led to an interesting Debate, as was acknowledged by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and that ought to have shown him it was impossible to save time by the methods he wished to adopt. The right hon. Gentleman would admit that he challenged him sufficiently with regard to these matters to give him a title to interpose in these Debates. The right hon. Gentleman raised the point that he (Mr. Goschen) had dealt entirely, conclusively, and finally with local taxation. This was the point the right hon. Gentleman put to him this evening—he said the Member for St. George's, Hanover Square, "had shown his full hand." But then the right hon. Gentleman was not leaving the status quo as he (Mr. Goschen) left it. The right hon. Gentleman came and put a number of new burdens upon laud and then said, "Oh, but you have no claim to raise the point of local taxation, because your own Chancellor of the Exchequer said he had shown his full hand." That was the point that hon. Members on that side of the House had enforced, that if they had these increased burdens placed upon them now they would wish to have had some promise or some hopes held out by Her Majesty's Government that that portion of public contribution which they believed they paid in excess should be compensated. That was a fair point. The right hon. Gentleman expressed surprise and taxed the landowners with refusing to pay their fair share of taxes. The right hon. Gentleman said, "It is a scandal that they have not paid before." [Sir W. HARCOURT: Hear, hear!] Then was it not a scandal for many years when they did not pay enough to local taxation? The right hon. Gentleman looked at this matter from an Imperial point of view. It had been said that two wrongs did not make one right, but it was quite possible that real and personal property were so separate and so different in character that they might exact more Imperial taxation from personal property and more local taxation from real property. That had been in the past the general principle, and it had been more or less defended by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Midlothian (Mr. W. E. Gladstone) himself, and they could not say one was a scandal without admitting there was a scandal on the other side. He had endeavoured to rectify the matter as much as possible: he raised the contributions from realty; he raised them as regarded Succession Duty and diminished them as regarded personal property. Now the right hon. Gentleman disturbed them, and scoffed at the attempt of landed proprietors to secure what they considered to be fair treatment. Now the right hon. Gentleman laid down the principle of what he called abstract equality; he laid down the absolute principle of equality; but when he came to apply it he found, as had been explained to him over and over again—although he took no notice of argument—that realty and personalty were not so identical in character as to admit of absolute equality of treatment. That was the point, and the right hon. Gentleman felt that it was. Was it surprising that the landed interest was anxious to put forward its case when, different from personal property, it was not only subject at this moment to a great increase of duty, but an increase through the equalisation coming upon it at the same moment? He did not know whether this point had been previously taken, but it was one of the great difficulties of agriculture at the present moment. They had selected this moment not only for a large increase in the duties, not only for averages, not only for graduation, but as a justification for equalisation. This was enough to have frightened any interest. Personalty was no doubt hit very hard, but realty was hit as hard as personalty; but besides the increased burdens in this particular year, they applied this principle of equalisation which fell so very hard upon land. Under these circumstances, could anyone be surprised that hon. Members took up this question, and endeavoured to point out some of the difficulties? It ought to be one of equal treatment. He did not know that land had been equally treated all these years with regard to Income Tax, quite apart from the question of the gross rents that had been conceded by the right hon. Gentleman. He was not at all sure, but he believed it was the case, that realty, under Schedule A, had throughout paid more than its real pro- portion of income, and that it would not be right to abolish taxation under Schedule A altogether, and to make land pay on its net income, as traders paid on theirs. That was a perfectly legitimate point to raise, but the right hon. Gentleman thought it a waste of time if they discussed any Amendments in order to give any assistance to the landed interest in view of the undoubted hardship under which they laboured. Land and personalty were to be equally treated; was it not certain that almost on every estate in these later years that the proportion of income to outgoings was totally different to what it was in other cases? Hon. Gentleman opposite might say, "Don't let those outgoings continue," but that was the point they ought to realise and attempt to deal with in some way or other. They must not discourage these outgoings on the part of landlords, as they tended to the prosperity of country districts, to the employment of labour by the owners of land and by farmers, and he might go so far as to say would prevent that closing of country houses to which the right hon. Gentleman had alluded as an impossibility and with some amount of gibes, but which had actually been going on. The right hon. Gentleman said, "You have always had these proprietors." The right hon. Gentleman had used that argument before; it was his favourite argument, but it was not a question now whether country houses would be shut, but whether a greater number would not have to be shut up, and let the right hon. Gentleman see how it would stand. The owner of laud was at present in a very difficult position. His rents had fallen and at the same time he must continue his expenditure. All that was admitted. He must continue his expenditure because he must continue to repair his cottages, to keep up his farms, and all that constituted a difference which the right hon. Gentleman ought to take into consideration. Another point to consider was this: Land had been made—rightly or wrongly—through many years past to boar a number of charges as regarded other members of the family than the actual owner, and in order to keep up these payments it had been necessary to incur mortgages.


What has that to do with the question?


said, it had a great deal to do with it, as it left a margin extremely small with which to pay the enormous Death Duties. He regretted he could not make himself more clear, but it seemed to bring home this difficulty to the views of the right hon. Gentleman. He would take a concrete case. Take a man who had got, they would say, an estate of £100,000, giving £3,000 income. Upon that he had got charges for £50,000 which he had been obliged to raise at 4 per cent., so that out of his £3,000 £2,000 would go in charges; therefore the weight of interest was higher than the return the land produced, consequently the margin for taxation became smaller.


May I ask how many years' purchase the right hon. Gentleman takes the land at?


said, he did not think the right hon. Gentleman would find the land would produce more than the £3,000.




said, in that case there would be more difficulty. If they borrowed, they borrowed at a higher rate than the land could give; and if that was so, as rents fell, the margin became smaller and smaller. The fact was, that during the past 20 years the value of the income from land had been enormously reduced. He was sorry he was compelled to bring this home to the Chancellor of the Exchequer; but the plea which ho understood was raised from that side of the House was that the position of affairs in regard to land should be taken into consideration, and that if the policy of putting an equal duty upon realty and personalty were pursued care should be taken that land should not unduly suffer by other impositions. But the right hon. Gentleman had so framed his Bill that they could not raise the question without laying themselves open to be crushed by a charge of wasting time. It was not a waste of time to try to bring home to the right hon. Gentleman the real position of the question. For the right hon. Gentleman to speak as if by this Bill he was removing what was called a scandal was simply preposterous. He himself admitted that he was making a great change, and yet on that side they were not to be allowed to raise the question and place it before the Government and the country. They would, however, do their best to raise discussion upon the more important principles of the Bill, though he could assure the right hon. Gentleman that there was no desire to raise discussion unnecessarily. They had a genuine desire that the case should be fully stated and known; and if the right hon. Gentleman would treat such matters a little more calmly, and not attack them, more progress would be made. He could assure him that he would not gain anything by continuing that line of conduct, for he must acknowledge that the question was a most important one, and that those interested in it had a right to put their case before the House as they had done, and would continue to do on all occasions when the opportunity was fitting.

MR. BOUSFIELD (Hackney, N.)

said, that but for the speech of the Chancellor of the Exchequer he should have felt a good deal of difficulty in voting for this Amendment. He under stood that the earliest opportunity had been taken to bring a matter of extreme importance before the Committee. When endeavouring to equalise the burdens of real and personal property, they must look to the fact that agricultural and town property must be treated on a different footing if they were to produce equalisation. It was obvious to those who had heard the speeches in this Debate, and especially that of the Member for Sleaford (Mr. Chaplin), that that was the object of this Amendment. It was equally obvious that the Amendment itself was not aptly adapted to secure that result, but if the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer had acknowledged or even noticed the point brought forward in Debate—if he had admitted that there was something in the argument as to the difference between real and personal property, and that the insertion of the word "personal" would not quite effect what was desired—the Amendment would undoubtedly have been dropped; but instead of doing that, he called across the floor of the House that it was nothing but obstruction—


Will the hon. Member allow me to say what I meant was that when an Amendment, which an hon. Member admits is an Amendment which cannot be supported, is discussed for two hours, and no other Amendment can be moved in consequence—that I call obstruction.


said, that all he desired to advance was that the Amendment proposed to the Committee, besides including the cases specifically dealt with, would include others not mentioned. It was convenient that the earliest opportunity should be taken that could be presented in Debate to bring before the Committee various points, and no one could doubt that in moving this Amendment at this period, though perhaps the Amendment was not suitable to the point in view, that did present a distinct opportunity for bringing to the notice of the Government an important point If they were going to tax these estates equally they must provide for such cases as had been brought forward, but for his own part he did not think that all the views which had been put forward in the course of this Debate were in accordance with the Amendment. The Government had gone out of their way to misrepresent the arguments of the Opposition. He must remind the Leader of the House that to abuse the case of the adversary instead of answering his arguments was no argument at all.

MR. ROUND (Essex, N. E., Harwich)

said, he had no doubt the Chancellor of the Exchequer had seen the Report of the Royal Commission upon Depression. If he had not had his attention called to it already he (Mr. Round) would like to direct it to the condition of affairs in the constituency which he represented. The great bulk of the land in Essex was farmed by yeomen farmers and small landowners, and the depression under which they suffered was most severe—a depression which did not altogether arise from the fall in prices. What his constituents asked for was that there should be some classification of real property whereby agricultural land which was in a depressed condition should not be subjected to further duties. He, submitted that at this moment the Succession Duty did in many cases bear: very heavily upon land, and that it was impossible that the land in his county could bear the increased burden that the Chancellor of the Exchequer proposed to throw upon it.


said that, as representing an agricultural constituency, he must protest in the strongest manner against two assumptions which had been made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. In the first place, he objected to the statement which the right hon. Gentleman had made that the landowners objected to the taxation of realty. All that they did was to demand that it should be fairly taxed. He also protested against the right hon. Gentleman's statement that the complaint of the country gentlemen that they were obliged to give up their houses was a very old one. He might point out to the right hon. Gentleman that this was exactly what had been going on, and that if his proposals were adopted it would go on more than ever. There was more than one notable instance in which country gentlemen had had to forsake their houses. He altogether protested against the proposals of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, which he held to be unjust and oppressive in the extreme and offending against the first principle of sound finance, which was that taxation ought to be placed on that class and those interests best able to bear it. The burden in this case would fall upon an interest which was not only unable to bear additional taxation, but was totally incapable of sustaining that at present existing, and was, in fact, irretrievably ruined. How unjust and unfair this newly-proposed tax was had been conclusively and unanswerably shown in the speech of his hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk. The Government had shown the most sublime indifference to all the details involved in their scheme. It appeared to him that so long as they satisfied themselves and their supporters that the measure which they proposed would inflict injury upon some section of their political antagonists they did not care what might be the ruin brought about by their action. He would ask hon. Members to rend the evidence as to the injurious effects of the present Succession Duty which was given by Mr. Lipscombe, agent to the Savile estates in Yorkshire, before the Royal Commission on Agriculture, which, with the permission of the House, he would read. Mr. Lipscombe said— He had been agent for the Savile estates in Yorkshire for upwards of 40 years. Three deaths had occurred, during his agency, in the proprietorship, and the burden of the Succession Duty had very seriously militated against improvements being continued. The first result on each occasion had been the discharge of all labourers who could be dispensed with, and the postponement of drainage and buildings that had been asked for by tenants on the estate. Charitable subscriptions had also to be curtailed. In short, the labourers and the deserving poor had been the principal sufferers, and he regarded any increase of this burden on succession with the greatest apprehension. He (Mr. Knatchbull-Hugessen) would also remind them of the description applied to it by the late Lord St. Leonards as the "blight which had fallen upon the fair fields of England." That description was right then as it was right now. If these proposals of the Government were carried the Party opposite would never be able to pose again as the friend of the agricultural labourer. Whatever they might say of the matter, it was upon the agricultural labourers that the burden would ultimately fall. He sometimes thought that hon. Members opposite could not know what country life was like. If they did they must ask themselves, if the mansions and country houses of England were to be shut up, what was to become of the charities and of the labourers which were attached to the different estates. To leave things of that kind out of account showed that hon. Members were ignorant of the effect which their proposals would have in the country. Of course, this new burden would be felt by the towns as well as by the country, for the country labourers would be forced to go into the towns, and in that way the town labourers and the ratepayers generally would suffer. If his hon. Friend went to a Division upon his Amendment he should certainly give him his support.

MR. COHEN (Islington, E.)

said, he must comment on the way in which the Chancellor of the Exchequer laid it down in speech after speech as a cardinal principle of finance that taxation should be imposed on the class best able to bear it, although he had in his charge a Bill which flagrantly violated that very principle. They had been told over and over again that the main principle of the provisions now before the House was that personal and real property should be equally taxed. He was not there as a champion of the agricultural interest. That interest had its champions who were well able to defend it. What he wished to call the attention of the House and of the Chancellor of the Exchequer to was the fact that this Bill did not equalise personal and real property at all, and that it was impossible to equalise such property until the taxes on the transfer of the two classes of property were identical and uniform. There was a certain amount payable on the transfer of real property, but one could transfer Consols for practically nothing at all. No solution of the question would be found until, as he had said, the taxes on the transfer of the two classes of property were made equal.


said, that during his experience in the House, whenever an agricultural question came up for discussion, they were always told that the hon. Members interested in it were indulging in obstruction. When that taunt was thrown in their faces he considered that it was their duty to rise and make a protest. He did not know much about town property, but he did claim to know something about agricultural property, and he knew that this tax would affect it very injuriously, and that it would be impossible for the land to meet it. The tax was in the nature of an imposition on a great industry; for although it was said it would be thrown on the shoulders of the landowners, it would affect everybody interested in agriculture. The labourers and other servants about estates would in many cases suffer, because there must be a reduction of establishment in order that this tax might be paid. During the Debates on this Bill mention had been made of the possibility of the breaking up of large properties, and the reply had been that that was what a good many people wanted to see. He thought this was the last thing likely to happen where the landlords were resident. Not only would the agricultural labourer suffer from the proposals of the Government; the small village tradesmen who were usually employed about an agricultural estate—the builder, the carpenter, and others who were engaged upon the repair of estates and farms—these men, who at present found it hard to make both ends meet, were those who would suffer most by this tax. Landlords would cease to carry out improvements; there would be no money spent, and the livelihood of these poor men would be taken away from them. Instead of levying this additional tax on agriculture, he thought the Chancellor of the Exchequer should consider whether in cases of hardship there ought not to be some special exemptions of the agricultural interest.


I am quite willing to consider any Amendment which hon. Gentlemen opposite have to propose with reference to what I understand to be their object—namely, some alleviation of the Estate Duty with regard to agricultural land. But this is not the Amendment before the Committee. The Amendment is one directly proposing that real estate of every description should be struck out of the Estate Duty; and if it is intended to take a Division on such an Amendment as that, there ought to be no further delay upon it. I am ready to meet that issue. Is this Amendment a real one, which hon. Gentlemen opposite feel they ought to support and divide upon? It is a waste of the time of the Committee to propose Amendments which are sham Amendments, Amendments upon which no division is intended to be taken.


I think it must be felt by all those who have listened to the discussions on this and on the previous stage of the Bill that no more important subject has really come before the Committee than the incidence on agricultural land of the alteration in the Death Duties proposed by the Government. We had the opportunity of raising that question among others on the Second Reading, but the only occasion on which we shall be able to raise it as a whole in Committee is on Amendments such as that moved by my hon. Friend; and unless it can be suggested that it is not a subject which ought to engage the attention of the Committee, unless it can be suggested that the triple increase of the Death Duties on agricultural land is not a matter which ought to come before the Committee at all, I venture to say that the right hon. Gentleman is not in a position to complain of the course adopted by my hon. Friend. The right hon. Gentleman has expressed his intention to accept any reasonable Amendment that may be moved. Is not this a reasonable Amendment? [Sir W. HARCOURT: No.] I hope I am not doing the right hon. Gentleman injustice, but I thought that he had expressed some kind of sympathy with the particular ease of agricultural land as distinguished from town property. I may have misunderstood the right hon. Gentleman, but I certainly thought that he made that profession. But let it be noted that it is impossible to raise the question of the incidence of taxation on agricultural land except in the shape in which my hon. Friend has raised it. Agricultural land suffers under a system of taxation, according to which it is relieved, on the one hand, of Probate Duty, while, on the other hand, it has to bear the education, highway, poor, police, school, and other rates which have for their object Imperial purposes alone. I do not say that the two are nicely balanced or are the result of scientific finance; but the present system is an attempt to administer justice between different kinds of property so differently affected by the claims of the State. What have the Government done? The Government under their scheme have abolished the exemption from probate, and imposed graduated Estate Duties, and have introduced the principle of aggregation. All these duties press heavily on the occupiers, owners, and labourers connected with agricultural land, while no attempt is made to relieve that land of the share it has to bear of local taxation. I agree with the right hon. Gentleman that, in the precise form in which the Amendment has been moved and in which alone it could be moved so as to raise the general question, it may be inexpedient to take a Division, because that Division would suggest a view which is not held on this side of the House, that there is any kind of property which should receive special favour or exemptions, and we do not mean to vote in favour of anything which could be so unfairly interpreted. The Opposition do not desire now, and have never desired, that agricultural laud or any other form of property, to whomsoever it may belong, should be relieved of any fraction of its fair share of public burdens; but surely it is open to us to raise the general question of how public taxation, whether called Imperial or local, should be levied, and my hon. Friend has only done his duty by raising it. I therefore should not advise my hon. Friend to go to a Division. It may be called an "outside Division." Such a Division might be misinterpreted, at any rate by many outside the House, and the opinions that prompt many of those who hold responsible positions in the House, and who joined in the Division, might also be misconstrued. If there are any demagogues of that description in the House I do not see why we should be expected to play into their hands. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has professed himself to be the friend of the agricultural classes. The main principle involved in the present discussion should not, in my opinion, be decided on this Motion, and I trust that the right hon. Gentleman will agree with me and see his way to raise this point of such first-class importance to the agricultural interest on some other occasion as a special case before the House in order to lay before the country the injustice which will be done by this Bill.


desired to point out that he had moved this Amendment in perfectly good faith, and as being, in his opinion, the only way in which the discussion of the subject could be brought forward. It had been received with sympathy from all quarters of the House, and he was glad to gather, from what the Chancellor of the Exchequer had said, that he proposed that some abatement should be made, or, at any rate, that something should be done to relieve the burden of taxation that would otherwise be imposed on agricultural land. He regretted that the discussion of his Amendment had taken up so much of the time of the Committee, and he certainly should not trouble them to go to a Division. He asked leave, therefore, to withdraw his Amendment.

Question put, and negatived.


moved an Amendment limiting the property upon which the Death Duty should be levied to such property, whether real or personal, settled or not settled, as was "capable of being dealt with within the United Kingdom." He desired to point out that under the law as it now stood Probate Duty was not payable by the executor on personal property situate out of England, but that that would be altered if the present proposal became law. The reason that Probate Duty was very properly confined to property situate in England was because that property could only be dealt with by the executors after a grant had been obtained from the English Courts. Legacy and Succession Duty, however, were levied upon personal property abroad belonging to a testator who was domiciled in this country at the time of the death. A leading case had been decided on the question which arose on the construction of a Victorian Statute under which Death Duties became payable, and the point argued before the Privy Council here was whether property situate out of the Colony of Victoria could be made subject to the duty. Lord Hobhouse held that it could not, because the Legislature could not intend to levy a tax on the grant of an instrument in respect of property which that instrument did not affect. That, he submitted, was the principle which should apply here. This Bill, however, would impose a duty on property which could not be reached by a grant of administration, and yet, before the executor could get a grant of administration, he would have to pay a heavy duty to the Exchequer here on that very property. This was contrary to all the precedents which had governed the legislation of this country; and it was a proceeding which would press harshly on individuals, returned colonists and others, who had investments in the colonies. The proposal was to make them pay double Probate Duty or duty in the nature of Probate Duty—Probate Duty in the colonies as well as here. Suppose a person died domiciled here possessing £1,000 here and £10,000 in New Zealand, his children would have to pay £550 here and the New Zealand Probate Duty of 7 per cent., making in all £1,250. That was the effect of the right hon. Gentleman's proposal. Again, if a person dying domiciled here possessed £1,000 here and £20,000 in New Zealand and left it to a stranger in blood, under this Bill the stranger would have to pay 4 per cent. English Estate Duty, 10 per cent. English Legacy Duty, and 13 per cent. New Zealand Probate Duty, making in all 27 per cent., or about £5,500 out of the total £21,000. Before anything could be done by the executor in cases where property abroad was involved all kinds of inquiries would have to be made under the Bill all over the world involving indefinite delay; and the duty on the whole estate would have to be paid before the English assets could be touched. The costs of inquiries and valuations would make a considerable inroad upon the property, and to these would have to be added in many cases the costs of litigation, raising questions of domicile, one of the most difficult branches of English law. The necessity would be thrown upon executors in all cases in ascertaining the domicile and a large amount of litigation might have to be gone through before a grant of probate could be obtained. In the course of the Debate much had been said about following colonial precedents; but although the Australian colonies had recently re-modelled their Death Duties, not one had adopted a provision in the slightest degree resembling the proposal made in this Bill. In no case was Probate Duty charged upon property outside a colony. No doubt South Australia passed an Act last year, and made a duty payable to the colony in respect of property outside; but it was not in the nature of a Probate Duty; it was a charge assessed upon the amount of the interest of the successor, so that it was essentially in the nature of a Legacy or Succession Duty; and there was a provision that the duty paid on property out of the colony might be deducted from any other duty to which the property was liable in the colony; so that that made their assessment fair; and if there were such a provision embodied in this Bill there would be no objection to the proposal made in it. Apparently the right hon. Gentleman had seen a Memorial against the Bill from a body which was entitled to the respect of the House—the Council of the Royal Colonial Institute. Any Member of the House who had seen the document would say that it was a Memorial of great moderation and ability. They enumerated in detail some of the objections to this Estate Duty as to property situated in the colonies, and they concluded by summing up their objections in a manner which he thought was not open to objection from either side of the House. They said— Your Memorialists pray that Her Majesty's Government, on consideration of the many serious difficulties and objections which arise against the proposal to include for Estate Duty personal property situate out of the United Kingdom, and the grievous inconvenience and injustice which will thereby be caused to large numbers of Her Majesty's subjects, and the inducements which will arise to them in many cases to endeavour to evade compliance with what they may consider to be an unjust law, will so amend the provisions of the Finance Bill, 1894, as to exempt personal property not situate in the United Kingdom from liability to pay, or be included in the computation of the Estate Duty proposed to be created by such Bill. He asked for the consideration of the right hon. Gentleman to this Memorial and to the arguments embodied in it.

Amendment proposed, in page 1, line 19, after the word "property," to insert the words "capable of being dealt with within the United Kingdom."—{Mr. Butcher.)

Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."


The hon. and learned Member, with great clearness and ability, has raised what is unquestionably an important question—namely, how we are to proceed with reference to the taxation of foreign property. He has referred to the colonies, but I will draw the attention of the Committee to the fact that his Amendment deals with all property abroad. I will endeavour very briefly to state to the House what is the law in reference to the taxation of foreign property. The lion, and learned Member is much too good a lawyer to state, as a general proposition, that foreign property is not subject to taxation here. The law in reference to this matter makes a distinction between real property and personal property abroad—between mobilia and immobilia. The principle of the law with reference to real property is that such property is governed by the law of the site. You cannot, therefore, tax real property if it is situated abroad. I must apologise for referring gentlemen on this point to a Tory statesman—Lord Lyndhurst. The opposite is the fact with reference to personalty. The mobilia follow the person and domicile of the owner. All personal property, wherever situated, is supposed to be where the person is, and is consequently taxable. That, I imagine, is the origin of the name "personalty," which means property that follows the person. I can cite a case which will illustrate that point as much as any other. It was a case in which a testator was domiciled in England, and died possessed of considerable property in the American, English, French, and Russian funds. The dividends were payable in those respective countries only. That was a question of legacy. ["Hear, hear!" from the Opposition.] Well, I am dealing with the question of whether and how far foreign property is taxable. It is not free from taxes because it is foreign property. It is subject to the Legacy Duty, and upon that ground it is clear that the rule is that personal property follows the person. Wherever the domicile of the owner is, there the property is to be considered as situated. That is a universal proposition as regards personal property. It is said, and said truly, that hitherto, though subject to Legacy and Succession Duty, personal property has not been subject to Probate Duty. But what is the reason of that? The reason is a purely technical one respecting the character of the jurisdiction of the Probate Court. In the book from which I have taken the case just mentioned it is laid down that— Probate is not granted in respect of assets generally but in respect of such part of them as are at the testator's death within the jurisdiction of the spiritual Judge by whom it is granted. The origin of the distinction to which I have referred between Legacy Duty and Probate Duty is, therefore, to be found in the limited jurisdiction of the Probate Court. That is shown clearly enough, because there are cases where the assets abroad are subject to Probate Duty, because they are capable of being dealt with in this country. The exemption from Probate Duty is a technical exemption arising from the jurisdiction of the Probate Court and not at all from any principle in favour of the exemption of personalty from taxation in this country. Well, we are doing away with the Probate Duty as such, and are establishing, no doubt on the analogy of the Probate Duty, an Estate Duty, but not subject to the difficulties which have hitherto prevented probate being levied on foreign personalty, and it is perfectly just and fitting that both the Probate Duty and the Legacy Duty should be levied on such property. Otherwise a premium would be put upon investments abroad. In my opinion, this country has done quite enough in this direction to its disadvan- tage. Why in the world gentlemen opposite should be so desirous to cut down the Revenue by preventing foreign property being subject to taxation I cannot conceive. It really does seem to me as if the object were to make the revenue derivable from these taxes as small as possible. Why this proposal should be made for continuing an exemption which has for a long time been in the opinion of the Inland Revenue Department a most unjust and unfair exemption in respect of foreign property I cannot conceive. The hon. Member made an appeal to us on behalf of the Colonial Institute. Of course, the Colonial Institute is right if it can get colonial investments by persons domiciled in England exempted from taxation. It would, of course, largely raise the price of colonial securities if by putting their money into such securities people could escape a tax of this kind. But why should we make this distinction between Colonial and British securities? I have already referred, in answer to a question, to a document I have received from another body—the Imperial Federation Defence Committee. This body has circulated 10,000 of the pamphlets I hold in my hand. It is a highly respectable body, which is represented by many distinguished gentleman on the other side of the House. The pamphlet is headed, The Colonies and Maritime Defence, and in it they ask— What do the Colonies pay towards the defence of the Empire and towards that Navy upon which their security and their interests depend? Well, Sir, what I would ask is what would become of colonial securities if you did not, maintain a great Navy to protect them and their trade? The pamphlet goes on to ask what the self-governing colonies during the year 1891 spent on naval defence, and it proceeds as follows:— The self-governing colonies during the year 1891 spent upon sea-going forces the following sums:—North American Colonies, 5,000,000 people, nothing; Australasian Colonies,4,250,000 people, £85,000: South African Colonies, 2,000,000 people, nothing. The small sum spent by the seven Australasian Colonies is for ships of their own, for coast and harbour defence. These colonies have also undertaken to pay a sum not exceeding £126,000 per annum towards the maintenance of a certain number of ships of the British Navy on the Australian Station. These ships are not available for the general protection of commerce, as is the Navy provided by the United Kingdom. But allowing these sums to stand on the same footing as the United Kingdom expenditure, it appears that 38,000,000 people in the United Kingdom spend on the general protection of the Empire and its commerce £18,000,000 a year, while 11,000,000 people in these colonies spend £200,000 only. Comparing the revenue of these countries we find that the self-governing colonies have a revenue of £43,000,000 sterling, almost half that of the United Kingdom, which is £91,000,000; yet they contribute to the maintenance of the Navy, which protects them and their possessions, but a ninetieth part of its cost. Of every £1 spent on the Naval Defence of the Empire these colonies provide 2¾d. The contribution of the colonies per head is 4½d. against 9s. 6d. per head contributed by the United Kingdom. In short, the Navy employed and relied upon for the protection of the whole Empire is provided and maintained entirely at the cost of the people of the United Kingdom, though there are 11,000,000 people of the same race inhabiting some of the richest countries of the world, under the same Sovereign and enjoying the same privileges, who contribute practically nothing to that expenditure. This inequitable state of affairs is not primarily the fault of the colonies referred to. They have not been asked to contribute. Until they have been asked to do so in such a manner as to let them feel the full weight of their responsibility in replying, no reproach can justly be levelled at them in this respect. It is for the people of the United Kingdom to call upon their own Government to afford to their countrymen in the colonies the opportunity of taking their just share in the cost and in the administration of the finest Defensive Force in the world. This is an offer which no Englishman need object to make. I have frequently heard the right hon. Gentleman the Member for St. George's (Mr. Goschen) say he thought the Colonies ought to contribute more than they do to the great expenses which fall upon people who can very ill afford it in this country for the maintenance of that great Navy which sustains our Empire all over the world. At the end of the pamphlet the following opinion of the late Mr. W. B. Dalley, Chief Secretary of New South Wales, is quoted:— Britain's Fleet is the instrument of power and the symbol of her unity. British ships of war are the safeguard of colonial liberty, and the natural chain which holds the scattered communities together. The Hon. James Service, ex-Premier of Victoria, is also quoted as having said— It would be difficult to say what would be the position of Australia if war should break out; but if the Navy of Great Britain was kept at its proper strength, relatively to the Navies of other countries, the colonies would have nothing to fear. Those are sentiments which must commend themselves to everybody who has considered the subject. Here we are upon the point of adding an expenditure of millions to our Navy expressly for the purpose of maintaining the commerce of our dependencies all over the world, and yet the objection is taken to colonial investments by domiciled Englishmen sharing any portion of this burden. When we come to equalise taxation and propose that investments in the colonies by persons living here should be placed in the same position as investments in Great Britain, the hon. Gentleman says that that is an unfair proposition. I think it is not an unfair proposition at all. I have pointed out that this Amendment does not apply to the colonies alone, but applies to all investments abroad. It is, in my opinion, impolitic to place a premium upon investments out of this country, and we cannot accept the Amendment.

SIR R. WEBSTER (Isle of Wight)

said, that in listening to the speech of the Chancellor of the Exchequer it had seemed to him as if "Historicus" had come to life again. He remembered that when the interesting contributions of "Historicus" to historical law used to appear they were frequently followed by letters, generally bearing the names of the writers, pointing out that the views of "Historicus," whoever that learned person was, were not founded on the true principles of law. If the right hon. Gentleman ever attempted to bring together in a collected form the writings of "Historicus," he (Sir R. Webster) hoped he would add as an appendix the speeches of the Chancellor of the Exchequer on this Budget Bill. The historical student of the future who compared the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the other night with that just delivered would have some difficulty in reconciling the principles of law laid down on the one occasion with those laid down on the other. The Committee heard from the right hon. Gentleman the other night that it was not just to speak of this duty as a Probate Duty. But when on another occasion it was pointed out that there were circumstances inseparably bound up with the scheme which made it impossible for anyone, anxious to use accurate language, to speak of the duty as Probate Duty, or an analogue of Probate Duty, that right hon. Gentleman insisted that it was Probate Duty; that it was a tax on alienation, as somebody else on Benches opposite put it, that it was a toll taken by the State for permitting alienation. Did the right hon. Gentleman not remember that hitherto the only Probate Duty on property abroad had been on the property which was capable of being transferred and sold in the United Kingdom? If this property were to be included for the first time, what was to become of the right hon. Gentleman's distinction between A taxes and B taxes—A taxes being taxes levied because the estate of a testator passed to his successor; and B taxes being taxes chargeable in respect to the individual interest received from an estate—and under which of those two classes was property abroad to be included? He was not sure that under the Bill real property situate abroad was excluded from Probate Duty.


It is excluded; you cannot have read the Bill.


said, he was thankful to the right hon. Gentleman for his complimentary remark that he had not read the Bill. The opening words of the second section of the clause were wide enough to include all classes of property, and it could only be inferentially argued from the last words of the section that the exclusion of real property was intended.


It is stated that property situate abroad shall be included if liable to Succession or Legacy Duty. Is real property so liable? If not, it is impossible to make its exclusion more clear.


said, that the opinion he had expressed as to the vagueness of the clause was shared by authorities as competent as the Chancellor of the Exchequer; but he was glad to know now what the right hon. Gentleman's intentions were, and the Opposition would assist the right hon. Gentleman in making the clause clear on this point when they came to the second section. The justification which the right hon. Gentleman had put forward, based on the far-fetched argument of the defence of the colonies, had nothing at all to do with the subject. The question was whether it was right to include in Probate Duty property situate in foreign countries and the colonies—that was to say, to include property not affected by the instrument upon which the Probate Duty was calculated. The view expressed by Lord Hobhouse, the right hon. Gentleman would admit, was worthy of the gravest consideration; and it was that— The Legislature could not pretend to levy a tax on the ground of an instrument in respect of property which that instrument did not affect. Again, he would like to know, how were estates to be wound up if this property was to be included? The other evening he ventured to call attention to the enormous delay and expense that would be occasioned by the way the right hon. Gentleman had thought fit to include estates abroad; and not a single Member of the Government had made any attempt in reply to deal with the difficulty. Did the right hon. Gentleman appreciate what his proposals involved with reference to ascertaining the value of personal property situate abroad or in the colonies before the Estate Duty could be calculated and paid, and before a discharge could be given? This question affected not only very large estates, but those of £25,000 and £50,000, and indeed 50 per cent, of the estates subject to this duty. The right hon. Gentleman was introducing elements of uncertainty and delay the consequence of which would be most serious in the winding-up of estates. But what was to be said about the double taxation? What would be the effect upon the general community due to the fact that there were Probate Duties payable in the colonies, Probate Duties payable in some of the foreign countries, and Probate Duties payable at home? The Chancellor of the Exchequer seemed to think it was a matter of entire indifference if the colonies or foreign countries were irritated by his proposals. The right hon. Gentleman attempted to cast ridicule on the Petition of the Colonial Institute against the Government proposals. The right hon. Gentleman could not have forgotten what the Colonial Institute was; he must know that the Colonial Institute represented the leading members of our colonies. The Agents General of all our colonies over here took an active interest in it, and if the right hon. Gentleman had read the Manifesto signed on behalf of the members of the Council of the Institute, he must know that the protest therein contained was not based—as he had implied—upon any desire or wish to prevent the introduction of a system which for the first time would bring within the sphere and scope of taxation property which had been hitherto entirely exempt. The right hon. Gentleman's argument about contributions to the support of the Fleet had got nothing to do with the matter. It was not pretended that they could justify putting taxes on personal property in a foreign country, because the foreign country would not contribute to our Fleet. But the right hon. Gentleman knew perfectly well that there had been considerable contributions towards the maintence of the Fleet by the Australian colonies during the last few years.


I read all that.


said, the right hon. Gentleman had indicated in the clearest possible manner that the contributions were trumpery contributions; and had argued that there was some justification in imposing those taxes on the colonies, because the contributions of the colonies towards the Fleet were wholly insufficient.


What I maintained was that, apart altogether from the question of the Fleet, this was a proper tax to impose on properties in foreign countries and the colonies.


asked what, then, became of the argument of the right hon. Gentleman that the justification of Probate Duty was because the property charged was situated in the United Kingdom; and the other argument used by one hon. Member behind the Treasury Bench that the tax should be placed on the capital of the State, and not on the individual benefit of each legatee, because the State gave security and protection to the property? This was a case in which the colonies and foreign countries might justly complain, because property abroad was for the first time brought within the sphere of the Probate Duty when there was absolutely no reciprocity in the matter, for it had been shown by the hon. Member for York—in his extremely able speech—that the colonies did not levy Probate Duty on property outside the colonies, and had not made any provision that there should not be double taxation. He submitted that, except on the principle that they should put their hands in other people's pockets and take out as much money as they could, there was absolutely no justification for the alteration in the law which the right hon. Gentleman proposed.


said, his hon. and learned Friend had suggested that it was proposed to lay this new tax upon real property situated abroad. Such a thing, he supposed, never entered into the head of any of the framers of this measure. It would be contrary to all International comity and to all the principles of the Bill. There was not the slightest risk of any real property situated abroad being subjected to any of the taxes imposed by the Bill. Personal property abroad in some circumstances was to be subjected to those taxes. The object of the Amendment was to prevent that, unless it were such property as could be dealt with in the United Kingdom. That was to say, that no property situated abroad was to be subjected to any tax under the Bill except such property as had been for 40 years or more actually taxed under the Legacy and Succession Duties. What were the tests by which Legacy and Succession Duties were imposed? The first test upon which the Legacy and Succession Duty was assessed was where the property, being personalty situated abroad, belonged to a person domiciled in this country. The second was where the property, though situated abroad, was vested in a person subject to British jurisdiction. Suppose a person domiciled in this country had £100,000 in Consols, that would admittedly pay the duty. Suppose he had £100,000 in Inscribed Colonial Stock, that would also pay duty. But suppose he had £100,000, not in Inscribed Stock, but in personalty in the same colony, it was not to pay duty. Why not? It was the property of an Englishman dying in England, whose estate was divisible in England, which goes to persons living in England, and it was the merest technicality in the world to say that because it was situated in the colonies, because it was not Inscribed Stock, it should escape the taxation imposed by the Bill. He would take the case of property that at death rested in persons subject to British jurisdiction. There had been such a case in the Law Courts. It was a case in which French property that belonged to a foreigner was left for the purposes of convenience, or because the Courts of England were reliable, in the hands of English trustees to be administered under an English settlement. That property was held to be liable to Succession Duty because it was administered by virtue of an English settlement and English law. Would anyone say that it should not pay Estate Duty as well as Succession Duty? It had been suggested that the change in the law would unfairly affect the colonies, but he would point out that the bulk of the property divisible in the United Kingdom which at the present time paid Legacy Duty, and which was about to be subjected to the Estate Duty, was foreign — that was to say, about two-thirds were foreign and only about one-third colonial. With regard to the point raised as to the delay in getting probate, and the uncertainty as to the amount, that could be discussed on Clause 7, and he thought it would be foreign to the purposes of the Committee at present to discuss the matter. In that clause provision was made for getting probate without delay.

*MR. MATTHEWS (Birmiugham, E.)

said, he should like to supply a short answer to a question asked by the Solicitor General. His hon. and learned Friend said that if a man had in the colonies Stock that was transferable and saleable in this country he paid duty in respect to it; and then asked, if the same man had the same amount of money invested in chattels in the same colony, why should not duty be equally payable? He would tell his how. and learned Friend In the case of Stock transferable in this country, the production of the certificate for Estate Duty would at once entitle the executor to the possession and control of the Stock; but the production of the certificate for Estate Duty, in the case of colonial chattels, would do nothing of the sort, and the unhappy executor who paid the Estate Duty and produced the certificate to the colonies would not get the chattels until he paid Estate Duty abroad as well. The case of Succession Duty was totally different. There they were dealing with a testator domiciled in this country whose will was an English instrument, and when a legatee went to claim his legacy it was perfectly fair and natural to say that, as the State handed over the legacy, it should receive Legacy Duty. But in the other case they charged Estate Duty without rendering any service whatever.


said, the distinction raised by the right hon. Gentleman was with regard to machinery alone, and if his argument was good it could be used for the exemption of all settled property, for they had only to put property into settlement and it would not go through an executor or through the Probate Court. But this was a mere conveyancing point, and had nothing to do with the principles of taxation. It was as just to tax for probate as for legacy upon the same property, and he could not conceive why hon. Gentlemen opposite were so desirous of depriving the Exchequer of revenue not merely from colonial property, but from all foreign property.


said, he desired to put a question to the Chancellor of the Exchequer from a fiscal point of view apart from the legal point of view. He might frankly say that he approached this question with a perfectly open mind, as he had considerable leanings towards extracting as much revenue as could possibly be abstracted. But he wished to know what would be the fiscal results of the measure? At an earlier stage of the discussion he requested the right hon. Gentleman to obtain information with regard to the taxation of English property abroad by foreign Powers and similar information with regard to the colonies. He wished to know whether the proposal of the Bill was contrary to the practice of the colonies and of foreign Governments with regard to English investments which they would be able to tax, and therefore might be followed by retaliation? His recollection was that the colonies had it in their power to impose duties upon English property, and if the Governments of this country and the colonies were to increase their Death Duties in a competitive manner it might ultimately result in Englishmen being unable to hold property in the colonies and colonists being unable to hold property in England. It appeared to him that they were not going to tax foreigners, but were going to include in their sphere of taxation British property which was situated abroad. Therefore, the whole argument of the Chancellor of the Exchequer as to the contribution of the colonies towards the Fleet fell to the ground. The right hon. Gentleman said it would be illogical to tax £100,000 of colonial bonds subscribed in London and not to tax the bonds subscribed in the colonies. I admit that it would be illogical, but has the right hon. Gentleman estimated the amount of increase in the Revenue that would be lost if the Amendment were accepted? If it were not a large amount, for my part I should be inclined to adopt its principle. I think it would be a rather risky experiment to proceed as the right hon. Gentleman proposes in view of the action which would, in all probability, be taken by the colonies. I venture to put this consideration before the Government more in an interrogatory spirit than as a controversial point.


was understood to say that he was unable to give the right hon. Gentleman the figures he asked for at the present moment, but they would receive Estate Duty on foreign property which paid Legacy and Succession Duty. They would receive a very considerable sum, which would quite justify its collection. The colonists put taxes upon our commodities, and, therefore, they could not complain that we taxed our own property that happened to be situated in their country.


said, that the Chancellor of the Exchequer observed that the colonies could put Customs Duties on the products of the United Kingdom, but there was no analogy between that matter and the case they were considering, because he had always understood that Customs Duties were paid by the consumers. The argument of the Chancellor, therefore, was practically an abandonment of free trade. The Solicitor General argued that the securities it was now proposed to tax were already liable to Probate Duty. But there was a material difference, because at present Stocks and shares standing in two names could be transferred by the survivor as soon as the death of the deceased was proved. If we attempted to tax property abroad or in the colonies it would be a dangerous policy, because we were open to retaliation, and, as we held much more property abroad than foreigners or colonists held here, we should suffer severely. If Clause 8 were maintained and this Amendment were re- jected, insurance offices and banks would be precluded from dealing with any of their investments standing in the names of trustees for a long period, should any trustee who died be a holder of colonial securities. This would be a very serious matter and might lead to deplorable results.


said, that no one knew better than the right how. Gentleman who had just sat down that the points which he was raising had been the subject of an interview between the Government and the London bankers yesterday—for the right how. Gentleman was present—and that he (Sir W. Harcourt) had undertaken to amend Clause 8 to meet the views of the bankers.


said, he was not aware that specific assurances had been given. He thanked the right hon. Gentleman for the intimation that he had made and would not refer to the matter again. He sincerely hoped that the right hon. Gentleman would take into consideration the remarks of the right how. Gentleman the Member for St. George's Division.


said, it appeared to him that they were in an atmosphere of "private arrangement." They had before dinner discussed the Rules of the House under the shadow of an obscure arrangement come to between the Government and various sections of the House, and now it appeared for the first time in Debate—not directly in a speech, but in a sort of informal interruption across the Table on the part of the Chancellor of the Exchequer—that an arrangement had been entered into between the Government and the banking interests of London by which the machinery of a clause was to be altered. [Sir W. HARCOURT: No, no.] It was evident that Amendments were to be introduced into the Bill which had been the subject of agreement between the Government and the City bankers, and which might seriously affect the judgment of the House on the question. He thought the Committee had reason to complain of the action of the Government. His (Mr. Balfour's) learned Friend near him and other gentlemen on that (the Opposition) side of the House had made the point that under the clause as it stood there would be delay in realising or in dealing with money left in the colonies, which would enormously embarrass English business. That argument had never been touched on by the learned Solicitor General or by the Chancellor of the Exchequer who had spoken three times on the Amendment. It only came out incidentally in an interruption in a speech of the right hon. Member for the University of London, and the Committee heard for the first time that the Government proposed to deal with the difficulty at a later stage, though the nature of the Amendments were unknown.

*SIR W. HARCOURT (interrupting)

said, the facts were these: He had received communications from business men as to the difficulties that would arise on Clause 8 in the administration of the Bill. He took a course which anybody in his position would have taken—that is to say, he requested the Governor of the Bank of England to call the bankers together in order to consider what difficulties there were. The bankers had been called together, and he was certainly somewhat surprised to hear the objection insisted upon a few minutes ago by the right hon. Member for the University of London, because the right hon. Gentleman was present at the meeting yesterday. The reason Amendments had not been put down was because he had only yesterday ascertained the views of the business men who objected to the proposals. He had also at the suggestion of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bodmin taken means to see the representatives of the Insurance Companies, and now that he had taken the obvious course of removing any practical difficulties in the working of the measure he was reproached. The only reason why he had said nothing publicly about these negotiations was because the interview was too recent to admit of Amendments being put on the Paper. He was justified in expressing surprise at the remarks of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Loudon.


said, that no doubt he, with other bankers, had had the advantage of conferring with the Chairman of the Board of Inland Revenue and the draftsman of the Bill, and he understood that some Amendments would be considered; but he did not understand that the right hon. Gentleman had committed the Government to abandon the clause. He was very glad to hear what the right hon. Gentleman had said, and no doubt business men generally would be equally relieved to hear the declaration.


said, he did not know if it was in the recollection of the Committee that he was in the middle of a speech when interrupted by the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer. What he was venturing to lay before the House when interrupted was that if it were true—as no doubt it was true—that the right hon. Gentleman had consulted the bankers and business men of London it would have been only proper had he informed the Committee when discussing the clause and complaining of this particular difficulty that he had in contemplation some alterations of the Bill which would mitigate their objections. What final judgment the Committee ought to come to on the question he would not say, but it was evident that, before the Committee could come to a final decision upon it, they ought to have more information with regard to the practice and intentions of the colonies than they possessed at present. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would obtain that information for them. It was also clear that they must know what the changes were in Clause 8 which the Government intended to introduce, and not until they had that information could the Committee decide how to deal with this question. So far as he was able to judge, the particular plan adopted by the Government for dealing with the property of persons domiciled in England was not a plan well calculated to meet the needs of the Exchequer, and was certainly a plan which would inflict great hardship on the individual. No doubt that kind of property should not escape taxation. It was not a sound policy to differentiate taxation so as to encourage investments abroad, but the plan of the Government was not one of which—as at present advised—he could approve. He should not at present, however, think of voting against it until they had more information. He would ask what alteration the Government proposed to introduce into the Bill?


was understood to say that he did not feel that he had got quite to the bottom of this matter. He agreed that the arguments of the Solicitor General were substantially correct; but he asked why the Government were not going to include real property in the colonies in the Estate Duty? It was true that the law of real property must be the law of the locality, and if they were going to enforce any process which would lead to a process affecting the land it must be done according to the law of the country in which the property was situated. But that was a technical matter which did not at all affect the right to tax the estate of the deceased person because he had chosen to invest a portion of his estate in real property abroad. It prevented their trying to enforce a remedy against the property abroad, but it did not affect the title to levy the tax and get it if they could in respect of other property. Their argument, if it was a good one—and he thought it was a good one—extended as much to taxation of real property abroad as to personal property. There were persons in the House who had invested in large estates in the Colonies. Were those estates to be exempt? The defence of such exemption was as technical as that set up by the Member for Birmingham for the exemption from Estate Duty of a person domiciled abroad. They were debarred from enforcing against the thing itself except by foreign law, but they were not debarred from levying the tax and getting it out of the estate in any way that might be open to them. That was one consequence of the position taken up by his hon. and gallant Friend. But that was not all. There was another point. The proposal opened up the prospect of double taxation, and that ought to be avoided as between this country and the colonies. Just as the Government claimed to tax personal property of a colonist domiciled here, they ought to concede to the Colonial Government the power to tax the property situate in this country of the colonist domiciled in the Colonies. By recognising domicile as the true ground of taxation the mischief of double taxation would be avoided. These considerations were coherent with the main principles laid down by the Government, which he thought substantial and right. The true principle of taxation should be that they should tax the property of a British subject wherever it was situated.


(loud and continued cries of "Divide!" and counter cries of "Progress!"): I move to report Progress.


said, that he thought it was desirable that the discussion should be brought to a close.


said, he only wished to ask when the right how. Gentleman would put on the Paper the Amendments which he suggested for Clause 8?


I hope to do so to-morrow.

Question put, and negatived.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."—(Sir M. Hicks-Beach.)


It is no use going on in this way. I am extremely sorry that we should have spent the whole evening on two Amendments on which hon. Gentlemen opposite did not think it worth while to divide. We are apparently to look forward to a great deal of discussion, and what I cannot help calling very unnecessary talk, for which there was never really any ground. It is not in this House, however, that we can judge finally of the manner in which this Bill has been dealt with.


I cannot understand why the right hon. Gentleman, if he meant to concede our request, should have said it in so unnecessarily ungracious a fashion. His complaint is that we have not divided.


My complaint is that you have put forward Amendments for the purpose of not dividing.


That was not what was said, and if it had been said it would not have been true. What were these two Amendments? One dealt with the great question of the relations between realty and personalty, which lies at the very root of this Bill, and it was disposed of in two and a half hours. The other Amendment, the right hon. Gentleman admitted, was most important, and he occupied himself about half the time that was devoted to its discussion, and, in my opinion, it need hardly have been discussed at all if he had only made at the beginning of his speech the offer which he made at the end. Two Amendments of this magnitude having been disposed of to-night, and the right hon. Gentleman having been fortunate enough to convince us that it was not necessary to divide upon them, he might, I think, have assented with a better grace to the Motion to report Progress. A more unjustifiable attack than that made by the right how. Gentleman I never heard in my life. I hope he will not try to conduct the futures Debates on this Bill in the spirit which unfortunately animated the last words which he addressed to us.

Question put, and agreed to.

Committee report Progress.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Committee be resumed Tomorrow."


The discussion on Uganda is to have the first place to-morrow, and I would therefore ask whether the discussion of the Finance Bill will be resumed afterwards.


Yes, Sir. The consideration of the Bill will be resumed whenever the opportunity presents itself, looking at the way it is being obstructed. [Cries of "Oh!"] Well, I withdraw the expression.

Motion agreed to.