§ MR. SEARS (Cheltenham)
To ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that legacy and succession duty accounts, and the head office querie 271 relating to them, were formerly passed through local distributors of stamps, many of whom being collectors of Inland Revenue to whom the duty was paid; will he state why this arrangement was altered to one by which accounts may be sent direct to Somerset House through the post office, the queries from the head office sent direct to interested parties without passing through the hands of any Government official possessing local knowledge, and the duties arising from the accounts remitted direct to Somerset House; will he say whether this system is still in force; and has he considered the possibilities for evasion such a system presents.
(Answered by Mr. Asquith.) The present system has been in operation since 1878. I believe that the reasons for the change then made were economy and simplification of administration. The arrangement does not prevent the Board of Inland Revenue from obtaining full advantage of the local knowledge pos-83ssed by their officers in the districts, to whom reference is made when necessity arises.