§ SIR WILLIAM BULL
I beg to ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer if he has taken stops to ascertain whether the proportion of Estate Duty payable into the Local Taxation (England and Wales) Account under Section 19 of The Finance Act, 1904, has proved to be an adequate equivalent of the share of the Probate Duty formerly allocated to that account under Section 21 of The Local Government Act, 1888; and, if not, whether he would be prepared to make the necessary investigation, inasmuch as Exchequer contributions have already been paid to local authorities on the basis of this estimated equivalent for twelve years.
§ MR. ASQUITH
There is really no need for any investigation. Prior to 1894, what was paid to the Local Taxation (England and Wales) Account was four-fifths of the Probate Duty Grant, the Probate Duty Grant being one-half of the proceeds of the Probate Duties. As the Probate Duties were at the rate of 3 per cent. on personal property, when it exceeded £1,000 in value, and at lower rates on property of lesser value, the 327 Probate Duty Grant was slightly under 1½per cent. on the aggregate amount of such property. Under the Act of 1894, the contribution is fixed at an amount equal to 1½ per cent on the aggregate amount of such property, and therefore must have been slightly in excess of the contribution that would have been made on the ante 1894 basis. As a matter of fact, the contribution to the Local Taxation Account for England and Wales has, since 1894, averaged more than £100,000 per annum in excess of the average contribution for the five years 1889–1893, and, in addition, an average of £125,000 a year has, during the last seven years, been paid in relief of rates on Tithe Rent Charge under the Act of 1899.