§ MR. MORRELL (Oxfordshire, Woodstock)
To ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will state on what basis was the land tax fixed on agricultural land in 1798, and what amount it was calculated to bring in per acre to the revenue then; how much land tax has been redeemed since that time, in what sum has the National Debt or other Government stock been reduced thereby, and what does this redemption money 781 represent as paid per acre for the agricultural land redeemed; what amount does the land tax bring in now; and what does this represent per acre of unredeemed agricultural land.
(Answered by Mr. Austen Chamberlain.) For the year 1798 the sum of £2,037,627 was directed to be raised by a land tax to be charged upon (1) Personal estate; (2) Salaries of public officers, etc.,and (3) Houses, lands, and all other hereditaments. The total amount obtained from houses, lands, and other hereditaments for that year was £1,905,077. The amount of land tax payable by each parish or place for the year 1798 in respect of houses, lands, and other hereditaments therein, became fixed by the Act of that year as the amount to be paid by such parish or place annually in perpetuity in respect of the houses, lands, and other hereditaments therein (which were directed to be assessed by a pound rate), subject, however, to redemption. The total amount redeemed up to the 31st March, 1904, was £934,523; and resulting from such redemption the National Debt has been reduced by about £33,000,000. The amount unredeemed is £970,554; but, under the provisions of the Finance Acts of 1896 and 1898, about £230,000 thereof is remitted annually, so that the amount brought in by this tax is now about £740,000. It is not possible to give any details of the amounts charged or redeemed in respect of agricultural land alone, as the tax is not confined to agricultural land, but is charged upon all hereditaments, and contributed by each parish as a whole.