§ MR. LEA
I beg to ask the Prime Minister if he is aware that, in the case of the death duties, agricultural land is not taxed according to its value in the market at the time of death, but taxed on a special scale which consists in taking it at not more than twenty-five times the net rental and calling that the value; what the estimated loss to the national Exchequer in each year respectively since the Finance Act, 1894, has boon through this exceptional treatment of the landowners of this country; and can he hold out any hope that before this Government vacates office it will bring in a Bill to reform this method of assessment and arrange that agricultural land shall be assessed to the death duties at its full market value, as is done in the case of any other form of property.
§ MR. ASQUITH
By a proviso to Sub-section (5) of Section 7 of the Finance Act, 1694, a maximum is fixed, with reference to the value as assessed under Schedule A, beyond which the principal value of agricultural property cannot be assessed for purposes of estate duty. I have no data on which to base an estimate of the loss to the Exchequer which has resulted from this proviso, nor, so far as I am able to judge, has it been established that the selling value of such property exceeds the maximum fixed by the sub-section in a sufficient number of cases to cause loss of revenue to an appreciable amount.