HC Deb 16 February 1899 vol 66 cc1091-2
MR. BOUSFIELD (Hackney, N.)

I beg to ask the Vice-President of the Committee of Council on Education whether complaints have been received by the Science and Art Department from Schools of Art or from Science and Art Classes connected with the Department to the effect that their efficiency is crippled and their existence imperilled by the competition of free classes providing advanced instruction in Science and Art, and established and maintained by the School Board for London, in contravention of Clause VI. of the Departments Directory; and whether he is aware of the statutory authority enabling school boards to charge upon the school fund any portion of the cost of instruction given to pupils who are not earning Parliamentary grants in accordance with the Minutes of the Education Department, but are registered in day or evening schools under the Department of Science and Art?


Yes, such representations have been received. The Committee of Council on Education have always been of opinion that the school fund cannot legally be applied to supply instruction which is not under the day school or evening school Code of the Education Department. This opinion of the Committee of Council was communicated to the London School Board in a letter from the Department of Science and Art of 20th January, 1888.

SIR SAMUEL MONTAGU (Tower Hamlets, Whitechapel)

I beg to ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that the quantity of bills of exchange drawn and payable abroad, sent here for negotiation, is greatly restricted in consequence of our stamp duty being twice as large as that imposed in France and Belgium; whether he is aware that in Germany no such stamp duty is imposed, and that in the United States the war tax on those bills is less than our stamp duty, and whether he proposes to reduce the tax on trade; whether it is by his instructions that this negotiation stamp is extended to such bills when deposited as security for loans and are not negotiated, but are returned to the foreign owners; and if he will inquire whether the effect of such a duty, if imposed, will further divert trade from this country?


It is true that the revenue from foreign bill stamps has for some years been diminishing, but this is believed to be due to the adoption of the system of remitting money by means of telegraphic advices and to other causes, rather than to the rate of duty charged. I have no very recent information as to the stamp duties charged in this matter in foreign countries, but I am informed that in 1894 the duties in Belgium, France and Germany were the same as here. I have given no instruction on the matter referred to in the third paragraph. The Board of Inland Revenue are advised that the handing over of a foreign bill of exchange as security for a loan from a person resident in the United Kingdom constitutes a negotiation within the meaning of section 35 (1) of the Stamp Act, 1891, and that consequently stamp duty is chargeable in respect of such bills. There has been no alteration of the law on this point.


Will the right honourable Gentleman make further inquiry in reference to the statement as to duties in France and Belgium, and also will he obtain the advice of the law officers of the Crown in reference to the extension mentioned in the third paragraph of his Question?


It is not my business to interfere with the administration of the Inland Revenue Department; if they are wrong their action may be tested in Court. As to the other question of the honourable Member, I do not see why the stamp duty should not be higher here than in France and Belgium.


Do I understand the right honourable Gentleman to say that the Department has been advised that the definition of negotiation under the Stamp Act was not the same as under the Bill of Exchange Act?


I have stated what the Department has been advised.