HC Deb 28 February 1896 vol 37 cc1425-6

£7,000, Supplementary, Inland Revenue,—


said, that he wished to put questions to the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury with reference to the position of the Legacy or other indoor Offices for which he perceived a sum of £3,800 was asked. Was that sum to be applied to the purposes of the Inland Revenue Office?


said that the sum of £3,800 was to be appropriated to the requirements of the Legacy Offices in London, Edinburgh, and Dublin.


asked in what proportion they were to be so appropriated?


said that it was rather difficult to give the exact proportions in which the money would be appropriated among the three Legacy Offices.


said that of course it was only natural that there should be an increase in the amount required for the Legacy Offices in consequence of the additional work imposed upon the Department in consequence of the increase of the revenue caused by the new Estate Duty, but it appeared to him that this sum of £3,800 was asked for, not for the purposes of the Legacy Duty Office, but largely for the purposes of the Inland Revenue Department. The fact was that the Legacy Duty Office was entirely distinct from the Inland Revenue Department, and that it did its own work independently altogether of the Inland Revenue Department. The connection between the two offices was a most unfortunate one, and it ought to cease. The result of the connection was that the work of the Legacy Duty Office sometimes had to be done twice over. In his view that work would be far better done if the two offices were separated, especially if the Probate Duty Office were to be joined to the Legacy Duty Office, to which it properly belonged. Nothing but double expense, double work, and delay resulted from the present system. The work that had to be discharged in the Legacy Duty Office required a lifelong study on the part of the members of the Department. The men who had passed their lives in the Department possessed great ability, and they alone were competent to deal with the duties under the Finance Act. Under the present system, by which the Legacy Duty Department was joined with the Inland Revenue Department, they were mixing up experts with men who knew nothing about the subject of Legacy Duty. With regard to the statistics of the Legacy Duty Department, it was strange that they could not furnish them themselves instead of through that fifth wheel, the Inland Revenue Department. The fact was that the Legacy Duty Department had now become one of such great importance that it ought to be made an independent one. He strongly commended his suggestion to the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury, and to the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer.


wished to ask the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury how it was that while the amount of personalty a man left was always duly recorded in the newspapers, the amount of his real estate was never stated? He supposed that the amount of the personalty was obtained from the Government Department.


called the hon. Member to order. The hon. Member was going beyond the subject of Debate.

Vote agreed to.

Resolutions to be reported upon Monday next; Committee to sit again upon Monday next.