§ MR. SEARS
I beg to ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer whether his attention has been drawn to the increase in the staff at the Estate Duty Office in Somerset House during the past six years; will, he explain why the staff, which numbered 194 in 1899–1900, when the revenue was £16,159,463, was increased each year until it reached 390 in the Estimates for 1906–7, the revenue for 1905–6 being only £14,880,616, and the average revenue for the six years £14,985,357; and will he explain why the staff has been more than doubled, notwithstanding that the work of the Department, as represented by revenue, has been diminished.
§ MR. ASQUITH
The staff of the Estate Duty Office has been increased to the extent indicated because the board of Inland Revenue satisfied the Treasury that such 413 increase was necessary if the work of the Department was to lie performed with thoroughness and promptitude. It may be observed (1) that the amount of revenue collected is by no moans an exact measure of the amount of work to be performed; the general tendency of the yield of the Estate Duties is certainly not downwards, although it is true that 1899–1900 was a record year; and (2) that, although the numbers have been increased by 100 per cent., the increase of cost is only a trifle over 50 per cent.