§ MR. G. H. MORRELL (Oxon, Woodstock)
I beg to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that recent instructions have operated to raise the assessment of the Land Tax above the assessment for the Poor Rate on small agricultural holdings; that four-acre plots of purely agricultural land at Minster-Lovell (Oxon) are assessed at £8 12s. 6d. for Poor Rate and £13 for Land Tax, and that the small freeholder who has paid 7s. 7d. for Land Tax for 15 years is now (1897), without any alteration of his holding required to pay 10s. 10d. for Land Tax; and whether he will cause inquiry to be made with a view to correction of what appears to be a hardship to a large number of small freeholders?
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
The increase of Land Tax on the property mentioned by the hon. Member is not due to any instruction from me or from the Inland Revenue. The assessment has been made by the Local Commissioners of Land Tax executing the duty imposed on them by the Land Tax Acts, and I have no power to interfere with them. I believe that it is probable that the plots of land in question include houses; and, if the tax on them has been raised, it must be because, in the opinion of the local Land Tax Commissioners, they have hitherto paid less than their due share of the quota of the parish, while other properties have been paying too much. The total quota of the parish cannot have been increased.