MR. GIBSON BOWLES (Lynn Regis)
To ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer can he state approximately the cost per cent, of collecting the net revenue derived in 1903–4 from Customs, Excise, Estate Duties, Stamps, Land Tax and House Duty, Property and Income-tax, Post Office, Telegraph Service, and Crown Lands respectively, including and distinguishing in each case such indirect costs of collection as are properly to be included in the cost of collection, such as a due share of the cost of the Coastguard and Preventive Service in the case of Customs Duties.
(Answered by Mr. Austen Chamberlain.) It is not possible to allocate between the separate heads of revenue under one department the cost per cent, of their collection, but only to give the cost per cent, for each department as a whole. The figures for the Charges of Collection in the case of Customs, Inland Revenue, and Post Office are given in the Annual Return, entitled "Taxes and Imports," the latest of which is H.C., No. 303, of 1903. The exact figures for 1903–4 are not yet available. Approximately, however, it may be stated that the percentage cost of collection for the services in question was as follows:—Customs— 2.62 per cent. on the gross amount of duties collected. Inland Revenue—2.24 per cent, on the gross amount of duties collected for 1902–3, the latest figures available. Post Office—percentage of total expenditure to total revenue 71.11 percent.; Telegraph Service—percentage of total expenditure to total revenue 122.89 per cent; together 81.21 percent; Crown Lands—7.5 per cent. It is not possible to ascertain or include such a charge as a due share of the cost of the Coastguard and Preventive Service in the case of Customs Duties," but it is considered in that case that such indirect costs are counterbalanced by the services rendered gratuitously by the Customs Department to other departments. For details as to Inland Revenue, Postal and Telegraph Collections, the hon. Member is referred to page 17 of the Report of the Commissioners of Inland Revenue for 1903 [Cd. 1717], and Appendices Q. and R. of the Postmaster-General's Report for 1903 [Cd. 1705].