§ MR. BUTCHER (York)
To ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether, with reference to the tax of 10 per cent, on the annual net produce of gold mines in the Transvaal, imposed by the Proclamation of 5th June, 1902, the Government will reconsider the provision whereby, in estimating such net produce, an allowance or deduction 960 is to be made in respect of the exhaustion of the mines; whether the attention of the Government has been called to the difficulty of estimating the life of a gold mine, and to the fact that in most gold mining companies, profits can be, and are. distributed amongst the shareholders without making any provision for the exhaustion of the mines; and whether, assuming that the allowance in respect of the exhaustion of the mines is maintained, he will consider the advisability of such allowance being computed on a 5 per cent, basis, instead of a 3 per cent, basis, as provided by the Proclamation.
(Answered by Mr. Secretary Chamberlain.) I am aware that the Proclamation has been criticised on the ground stated, but I am not prepared to reconsider it until experience has shown how far it requires Amendment.