§ MR. C. J. ENGLEDOW (Kildare, N.)
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, whether he is aware that, under Section 96 of the Poor Relief Act (1 and 2 Vict., c. 56), all contracts, bonds, mortgages, etc., made or entered into in pursuance of the said Act, or if any orders of the Poor Law Commissioners made under the authority of the Act are exempted from stamp duties; and whereas Section 9 of the Dispensary Houses Act (42 and 43 Vict., c. 25) provides that no fees shall be payable in respect of the registration of deeds securing repayment of loans under such Act, and Section 14 of the same Act exempts all mortgages, bonds, contracts, agreements, etc., executed under the Act from all stamp duty whatever, and similar exemptions are contained in the Contagious Diseases (Animals) Act, 1878, no similar provision has been made either in the Public Health (Ireland) Act, 1878, or in any of the Labourers Acts, and the consequence is that the ratepayers are put to a very 1256 large expense in paying stamp duty on all bonds, agreements, deeds, conveyances, leases, land court orders, and even on mortgages securing repayment of the loans executed in connection with the said Acts; and, whether, in the Public Health Bills now before the House, or in some other manner, he will take steps to remedy this omission?
§ MR. HANBURY
The exemptions mentioned by the hon. Member are contained in the Acts to which he refers, and they have in former times been extended to Public Health Acts. But they were, no doubt purposely, omitted from the Public Health (England) Act, 1875, as well as from the Public Health (Ireland) Act, 1878, and to insert such exemptions in a Public Health Bill now would be a retrograde policy which the Government cannot adopt. I may point out to the hon. Member that the number of similar exemptions still surviving in Ireland is already very considerable; that the documents which would be affected by the proposed change would be extremely numerous; that to exempt them in Ireland and not in England would create troublesome and invidious anomalies in the incidence of the stamp duties; and that it is difficult to justify the assumption underlying the proposal, viz., that all municipal and local authorities should be exempted from any contribution to Imperial taxation.