§ GENERAL RUSSELL (Cheltenham)
I beg to ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to his statement that the practice in the past had been to exclude from the exemption of estate duty, conferred under Section 8 (1), Finance Act, 1894, the property of non-commissioned officers above the rank of corporal, if he will state whether such exclusion is specified by any distinct law or legal enactment, or has become a practice in consequence of the decision of the Treasury; and whether it is within the power of the Executive to extend the act of clemency, which they had exercised in the case of the property of the Emperor of Russia, to the property of non-commissioned officers who have died in Her Majesty's service during the present war.
§ SIR M. HICKS BEACH
No record exists of the origin of the practice, but it has been prevailed since the beginning of the century. Section 8 (1) of the Finance Act, 1894, gave by its terms the force of law to this practice in respect of estate duty. I do not think that the Executive could properly take the course suggested in the second paragraph of the question. There are grave objections to initiating remissions of taxation in a fresh class of cases without the distinct authority of Parliament.