HC Deb 10 August 1909 vol 9 cc329-76

(1) Undeveloped Land Duty shall not be charged in respect of any land where the site value of the land does not exceed fifty pounds per acre.

(2) In the case of agricultural land exceeding that value, Undeveloped Land Duty shall not be charged so far as the site value of the land is due to the value of the land for agricultural purposes.

(3) Undeveloped Land Duty shall not be charged on the site value of any parks, gardens, or open spaces which in the opinion of the Commissioners are open to the public as of right, or on the site value of any parks, gardens, or open spaces reasonable access to which is granted to the public, where in the opinion of the Commissioners that access is of benefit to the public as contributing to the amenity of the locality, or on the site value of any land which is used for the purpose of games or other recreation where the Commissioners are satisfied that the use of the land is for the benefit of the public or of the inhabitants of the locality, and that the land is so used under some agreement with the owner which, as originally made, could not be determined for a period of at least five years.

The opinion of the Commissioners as to matters arising under this sub-section shall be final and not subject to any appeal.

(4) Undeveloped Land Duty shall not be charged on any land not exceeding an acre in extent valued together with a dwelling-house for the purpose of Inhabited House Duty, and where land con- sists of or comprises gardens or pleasure grounds exceeding one acre but not exceeding two acres in extent, an allowance shall be given in respect of any Undeveloped Land Duty payable on the land of an amount of duty bearing the same proportion to the whole amount of duty payable as one acre bears to the whole extent of the gardens or pleasure grounds.

(5) Where agricultural land is at the time of the passing of this Act held under a tenancy originally created by a lease or agreement made or entered into before the thirtieth day of April, nineteen hundred and nine, the term of which exceeded one year but did not exceed twenty-one years, Undeveloped Land Duty shall not be charged on the land during the continuance of the tenancy under that lease or agreement.

Mr. HENRY CHAPLIN moved, in Section (1), after "Undeveloped Land Duty shall not be charged in respect of" to insert the words "agricultural land or."

In moving to exempt agricultural land from the duty imposed under this clause, in order to explain the position I must point out that under the clause agricultural land is placed in two categories, namely, land which is worth less than £50 an acre, and land which is worth more than £50 per acre; and in these two categories the land is dealt with in different ways. Where land is held to be worth less than £50 an acre it is exempted altogether. There is a great deal of land in the country, or, at all events, a considerable proportion of agricultural land, which is worth more than £50 an acre— sometimes a great deal more. The hon. Member for Louth (Sir R. Perks) told us last night that in his constituency, which is very well known to me, and in which indeed I still possess some land of my own, there is grazing land worth a great deal of money—absolutely and purely agricultural land—and yet under this Bill as it stands land of that character would he liable to taxation. But then it is pointed out in the clause that where land is worth more than £50 an acre it is to be treated in a somewhat different way. This is what the Bill provides: "In the case of agricultural land exceeding that value, Undeveloped Land Duty shall not be charged so far as the site value of the land is due to the value of the land for agricultural purposes." I do not think that that is at all a sufficient safeguard even for the kind of land that I have described, and for these reasons. The site value of the land is the site denuded of everything upon it which is of any value at all. Therefore, even under the terms of the Bill, the proposal might have most injurious effect upon agricultural land which is worth more than £50 an acre.

I come to what to my mind is a still more important objection to the position of agricultural land as it stands at present. The Attorney-General himself has this afternoon afforded us a reason why this Amendment is more than ever necessary. He criticised the speech of my hon. Friend, the Member for Blackpool (Mr. Ashley), with regard to his statements about market gardens. The hon. and learned Gentleman said that my hon. Friend had clearly and ably summed up all the most popular delusions with regard to the effect of this tax upon agricultural land. I thought that my hon. Friend put the case with regard to market gardens most effectively. At any rate, he elicited from the Attorney-General a most striking and entirely novel statement with regard to the exemption of agricultural land. He said, in effect, "Oh, with regard to market gardens, they are a totally different thing. They are not to be excluded under the provisions of the Bill or of any of the Amendments which we have suggested, because that is land which is not being put to its best economic use." That is an entirely new limitation upon the exemption of agricultural land from the effect of these new taxes. I have always understood that the great policy of the Liberal party for the last four or five years has been to replace upon the land people who have left it, and wherever it is possible to bring in new occupants. It that is still the object of the Liberal party, is it not rather a curious way of trying to bring people back to the land, to impose additional taxation upon those who are there at the present time? Take the case of a market gardener who is the owner of his land, in a district close to a large town, where much of the land, no doubt, possesses a building value. Do you mean to tell me that you are not doing everything in your power, not only to hinder the return of people to the land, but to drive away those who are there, by imposing upon them new, unexpected, and exceedingly heavy burdens? What is the excuse for this extraordinary proceeding on the part of a Party who for the last three or four years have been making "Back to the Land," their popular cry at every election, and pointing to what they have done, and to what they are going to do, with a view to replacing people on the land? A more extraordinary volte face I do not remember in the whole course of my political career. But what is the reason for it? I suppose that right hon. Gentlemen opposite are sincerely anxious that land for the purpose of housing the people in our great towns should be provided with greater facility than at present. It seems to me that the matter may be regarded in two different aspects. On the one hand it ought to be your object to do everything in your power to increase the number of occupants of agricultural land. Up till now that has been your policy. Or you may take it from the other point of view —that of the general health of the dwellers in towns. Why is it necessary to dispossess the people in occupation of all the numerous small holdings, allotments, market gardens, and nursery gardens which are in existence at the present time? I am informed that a great many of these people are owners of the land they occupy. If that be the case, according to what we have heard to-night, because this land is not being put to its best economic use, every one of these people will, under this Bill, be heavily fined. Would it not be better to try this expedient, which would answer as well, or a great deal better, than your old plan—even from your own point of viewf—or you want to house the people better—of allowing the market gardens to follow their natural course, and to continue just so long as the I people find it desirable that they should continue, and build your houses beyond them? I thought you had a great Bill in hand now—I think you have—for the creation of garden cities. After all, this would only be on the principle of garden cities, which are held now to be so exceedingly desirable. I have always thought, reading as I do, and hearing as I do, from day to day of the enormous congestion of people in the towns, the want of air and the want of space, that you should rather aim, even from a sanitary point of view, at keeping as many open spaces in the immediate neighbourhood of towns as you can, and even within the circle of the town itself. I do not believe that this ideal could not be carried out; that whilst leaving market gardens entirely to their own natural course, you abstain from any interference with them by your new legislation, treating them as you profess to treat agricultural land, and thereby carrying out and giving some effect to the policy which you have so loudly proclaimed for years now all over the country. I should have thought, both in the interests of the dwellers in the towns and in the interest of the policy which you have always held up to the country, that you might, while leaving this cultivation on the borders of towns alone, do something to give great facilities—if those facilities be needed—and so far as I recollect there are ample powers already—to deal with the question of housing beyond the borders of these market gardens. That, at least, is a subject which I think is well deserving of the attention and consideration of this House. I myself attach so much real importance to maintaining the people on the land, and increasing and giving them encouragement to go as well as to remain there, that I am determinedly opposed to any legislation whatever that is not directly going to secure that the prospects, welfare, and future of all these small owners and occupiers who at present in great numbers cultivate their land in the neighbourhood of nearly all great towns of the country is safeguarded. You must remember this, that if you are in earnest in desiring to promote what is called small cultivation, and really to find a large additional amount of employment for the people on the land, you cannot deal a more deadly blow at that policy than you are doing with this particular provision in this Bill, which is going to tax, not only market gardens, small holdings, allotments and nursery grounds, but also market gardens which are now in the immediate neighbourhood of the towns. It is quite a condition of success of small cultivation in this country that those concerned should be as close as may be to a great market. That is where they flourish. The whole principle of these allotments and small holdings is that they may be cultivated in the way I have been describing. All this you are going to endanger by the provisions of your Bill. What is the reason? Why cannot you leave it to them? It is perfectly certain that if the land attains anything like the value you speak of, in the natural course of things the people who own that land would not go on for ever cultivating it if they are losing a large annual revenue. In the course of a very few years that should happen the landlord himself will naturally put it on the market. Be that as it may. Whether I am right or wrong, for the reasons I have mentioned I move this Amendment. I should have hoped that the Government would have made agricultural exemption a reality instead of what it is at present, absolutely nothing but a sham.


The Amendment of the right hon. Gentleman is to exempt all land which is now agricultural from the operation of the tax, no matter how valuable that land may become for building purposes hereafter. The scheme of the Bill is to exempt all agricultural value. It does that in very explicit and, I think, in very sufficient terms. It exempts all agricultural values. What agricultural values are is clear from the definition of agriculture, which makes that term include not only all ordinary rural land with which we are familiar, devoted to purposes of farming, but also market gardens, nursery grounds, or allotments. So that the market garden case of the right hon. Gentleman is within the exemption. So far as they depend for their value upon market gardens it would be a very strange thing if on this side of the House there was any desire or tendency to interfere with agricultural pursuits As the right hon. Gentleman himself well knows, we have done all that in us lay as a Government to try and bring people, as the phrase goes, back to the land. In the Agricultural Holdings Act, in the Small Holdings Act, we have given good evidence of our intention and desire in that direction—in fact, I think we may claim to have shown a scrupulous and sensitive regard for the landed interest so far as that interest is agricultural. I am sure the right hon. Gentleman would admit, and indeed has admitted, that there are uses to which agricultural land may be put which are of greater importance than agriculture. The right hon. Gentleman has spoken in perfectly just terms of the needs of the community when he suggested the existence of enormous congestion and want of air and want of apace, and that means that there must be more land available for housing. When we were discussing the Small Holdings Act, I remember one of the proposals which met with approval, especially from hon. Gentlemen opposite, was a very useful clause which gave to the landlords the power of resumption of land given over to small holdings in case where a building value attached where the needs of the community to have that property were greater than the agricultural needs of the land. That was an admission that rural communities really are judged by the standard of urban communities. They change their character, and, although they become rural in form, they have become urban in value, and some of the interests of urban communities must be considered in regard to purely rural land. That really is our justification for resisting this Amendment, because if the Amendment were to have effect you might have agricultural land worth thousands of pounds—of course, I am taking an extreme case in order to show how far the Amendment goes—held back wilfully and wrongfully, though I believe it is not common, and yet, according to the right hon. Gentleman, that would not be a fit subject for this tax simply because the land happens at the time to be devoted to agriculture. What we have done is to exempt agricultural values and only to take in agricultural land with a building value, so that the needs of the community should receive every attention.


I think the arguments which the Attorney-General has used might have had some weight if this was the only tax which is being imposed upon land which acquired a building value. The Attorney-General appears to forget that the Committee has already passed an Increment Value Duty which imposes a very heavy burden upon land of this description. It would be perfectly easy if the Government were perfectly sincere in their desire to help small cultivators in the immediate neighbourhood of towns to do so. They could do it in this way at little or no sacrifice by accepting the Amendment of my hon. Friend, and at the same time putting the whole of the increment value into the pocket of the State. Why that course is not taken passes my comprehension. Here you have a market gardener or a small cultivator in the immediate vicinity of the town. What is going to be the effect of this particular tax upon him, first when he is the owner, and secondly when he is the tenant? If he is the owner he must either sell the land, and that involves, as the Attorney-General very well knows, where there has been a high-class cultivation of the market garden and high farming a very considerable capital expenditure upon the land which is valuable for that purpose. If that land is transferred from that use to building, the whole of that capital expenditure such as glass houses very heavy expenditure upon manuring, and extensive cultivation has to be sacrificed.

9.0. P.M.

Surely it is obvious that it is not in the interest of the community that that transfer should be forced at an earlier date than is necessary. What is going to be the effect on the small cultivator who is the owner of his garden? He must either pay taxes out of his profit, which is an unfair thing to ask him to do, or he must sell the land, and sacrifice the whole of the capital embarked upon it for the purposes of his trade. I quite understand the case where land is really necessary to the community, and we will accept the Attorney-General's test which he said is value only. He says when the community really require a piece of land for the purposes of the community that that necessity is reflected in the valuation of the land, and that when the value of the land becomes high that is the measure of the necessity of the community getting the land for building purposes—I say you may have an Increment Value Duty, and you will get it when the owner dies or sells his property. That will tempt the owner, and he will not go on cultivating land for the purposes of a market garden, and for the purpose of making a few pounds an acre when he can sell it for thousands of pounds. It is obvious that the Increment Value Duty in any case will be payable when the land comes into the market. Supposing the market gardener is a tenant, what is going to be his position? If Increment Value Duty only is payable, it is possible the owner may allow him to remain there at the same rent, and may allow him to go on cultivating the land; but if the State comes down upon the owner and says you must either sell this land or pay this sum upon it, what then will the owner do? He will say to the tenant, you must either pay me this Undeveloped Land Duty or I shall be obliged, greatly as I regret it, to give you notice to quit, and I must sell the land. Exactly the same thing has happened upon the Reversion Duty. It is obvious that the Reversion Duty will be paid by the lessee, and not by the lessor. You put this Undeveloped Land Duty upon land of this character, which is being used in the immediate neighbourhood of towns, and the effect is that it will fall upon the tenant, who will either be turned out of his land, or else it will be added to his rent. That is the natural economic result which must follow. Therefore, I say that this Amendment would obviate all that difficulty, because a land-owner could not put any part of the Increment Duty upon his tenants; it would fall upon the owner, and would be paid when the owner dies or parts with the land. This is a tax which will amount to a reduction of more than half of the net receipts of the land-owner. Is he likely to go on with that? If the Government desire to free agriculture in the true sense from the burden of this Undeveloped Land Duty, they are bound to accept this Amendment, because it is the only way in which agriculture can really be made free. To say that because you free the agricultural value only you are thereby freeing agriculture altogether, is clearly juggling with words. At the very moment any occupier or owner of agricultural land finds that his land is acquiring some small additional value above its agricultural value, you immediately put a halter round his neck. There is a large proportion of the land of this country in that position, which, as agricultural land, will be subject to this tax. We come to words later on in the Bill, in which it is definitely laid down that the Government do not consider agriculture as a trade or industry which has developed land at all. I am told that we have passed that already in the small hours of this morning. The Government are practically telling the agricultural industry that their land is the only land they consider is not developed, whatever industry or brains may be devoted to developing it to its highest use by intensive cultivation in the neighbourhood of towns. Agriculture is to be singled out and treated as undeveloped, for what purpose? Simply to levy a special tax upon the land. I do not think the agricultural industry will thank the Government for having treated their industry in this way by singling it out for the purposes of a special tax. To say that because you are simply exempting what you are pleased to call the agricul- tural value and ultimately going by some process which nobody has yet imagined co deduct agricultural value from site value is absurd. What relation is there between the two? It is all very well to defend these taxes by generalities and by references such as are made about the holding up of land. You are going to tax the men who have risen from agricultural labourers, who have raised themselves by their industry into the position of cultivators, at a small profit, of small pieces of land close to towns, who are some of the most deserving and hard-working men in the country. The practical effect of this Bill is that you are going to seriously prejudice these cultivators and interfere with their industry, and the only way you can avoid doing that and keep your Increment Value Duty and the principles as well as on which you advocate, is by accepting this Amendment. There will be plenty of experiments and plenty of opportunities of judging those principles when applied. You are making by this Bill an insensate attack on agriculture at one of its tenderest points, and I hope that all hon. Members who have any care at all for the pioneers of agricultural development in the immediate neighbourhood of towns will support this Amendment quite irrespective of party.


We hear a good deal from hon. Gentlemen opposite and the Government about their anxiety to bring the people back to the land, but directly a farmer gets land near a town, where he has a reasonable chance of making a good thing out of it, he is not to be allowed to do so, and agriculture is to be kept in the distant parts of the country, away from the towns, where there is less chance of making a profit. The only piece of land which is smiled upon by the Government is that which a man builds a wall around or builds something upon it. We were told in our early researches that Balbus made it his object to build a wall, and this Government seem to be trying to inculcate the same lesson, and anyone else who tries to do anything else beside build a wall is to be penalised. Take the case of a market gardener, and the case of a person who puts up a creamery near a town. A man who puts up a creamery is doing what he can to provide the town with milk and cream, and if he surrounds his land with a wall he is all right; but the man trying to supply vegetables who does not build a wall or a house or any other structure on his land is to be penalised or driven away. Both these people render greater service to a town than a great many other people who build walls, and I should like to know why one is to be penalised and the other is to be encouraged. It seems to me that this involves a very great injustice, and requires an explanation. I hope the Attorney-General will be able to devise some plan for giving both these cultivators an equal chance. The Government select one kind of development of land for their approval and the other for their condemnation. They treat one person as Cain, who makes an unsuitable sacrifice and has to be punished, and the other as Abel, who has to be encouraged. I cannot see how the distinction can fairly be drawn, and I do hope the Government will see some way to mitigate the injustice, even if it is only that particular case I have brought before the notice of the Committee.


As representing a purely agricultural constituency, if I thought this measure were going to produce any such difficulty as has been described, I should oppose it, but the small holders and market gardeners in my constituency are strongly in favour of these land clauses of the Bill, particularly this clause we are now discussing. It is the principal thing they advocate. Having given such a consideration as I am capable to the question whether the distinction drawn by the Government is based on a wise understanding of the matter or whether the right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite are right, I have come to the conclusion that my friends down in the country, the farmers and market gardeners who cultivate the land, are in the right. Section (2) of this clause entirely exempts all agricultural value from taxation, so that it is utterly contrary to the Bill to suggest that this clause is going to tax the market gardener or agriculturist who develops his land or goes in for intensive cultivation, even although that cultivation in some cases makes his land worth £500 per acre. The right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Pretyman) spoke as if they belonged to a race of pure philanthropists, who do not charge their tenants as much as they can get. My experience is rather the other way. As far as I can make out, they charge tenants as much as they can get, and any extra charge which comes upon the landlord he will have to pay himself, because the tenants now are charged all they can pay. The benefit under the Agricultural Rates Act is being transferred—in some cases it has been transferred—to the landlord.


Certainly not.


I say certainly so. They say put this Undeveloped Land Tax on and the landlord will immediately increase the rent. I think not. I think he will find his tenant will not pay; he is already paying as much as the land is worth. I wish to put another point, which greatly interests the agricultural districts. Sometimes there is great difficulty in getting house accommodation. I know a purely agricultural district where land happen3 to be worth £70 or £80 per acre for purely agricultural purposes, and men working upon that land, contract work, make as much as 5s. per day. They can afford to pay a rent which would give a moderate interest on the cost of building suitable houses. The local authority is anxious to build houses in order that the population may increase and that accommodation may be provided. They cannot get land, however, because the landowner wants to charge four times its value. If the land is really worth all that, surely the landlord can pay a little halfpenny tax upon its capital value. Perhaps it might be found when that halfpenny tax came to be levied that the land was not worth £300 an acre, but only £70, and when that came to be fully understood, as shown by the tax, the local authority might be able to buy the land at its true value, instead of having to give the fancy price put on it just because they want it for a few cottages for the labouring classes. We want to bring people back to the land, but how can we do that if there are not houses for them to live in? That is the difficulty. The effect of this little tax will be to make the land-owner say what is really the value of his land. The landowner has a great many privileges, but he has quite long enough the privilege of saying one day his land is worth £50 per acre and of saying the next it is worth £500 per acre. He ought to be made to say, "That is its price," and to stick to it. If land is worth £300 per acre let him pay the Undeveloped Land Duty on it; but, if it is only worth £30 per acre, then he will not have the Undeveloped Land Tax to pay, and if the local authority wants a little land in order that people can go upon the soil which is fruitful and only waiting for labour to go there, it will give them a chance to build houses in which the population of the future may be better housed than the population is at present.


The speech to which we have just listened shows very clearly that the Attorney-General did not make himself perfectly clear to everybody in the speech he made on the subject of market gardening. I take it what he wanted the House to understand was that, whatever amount of capital, brains, and work and manure was put into the cultivation of land so far as its value was agricultural, it was entirely exempt from the tax. Whatever the agricultural value imparted to that particular land by the operation of the market gardener might be, it is to be exempt by the Bill from this Undeveloped Land Duty; but, wherever the commercial value of the land for building purposes exceeds the agricultural market value, then it does not escape. If the hon. Member for Sleaford (Mr. Lupton) imagines that market gardens which have something more than an agricultural value attached to the land are to escape, he will wake one morning and find he has made a very great mistake, and that these small holdings and allotments are subject to the tax.


Of course, the market garden value is an agricultural value. The hon. Gentleman spoke as if to convey that the agricultural value was something less than the market garden value.


I quite understand the market garden value is purely agricultural. I say that where that agricultural value amounts to anything like £100 per acre, it entirely escapes the Undeveloped Land Duty; but, if that particular land has a building value of £200 per acre, then it is roped in and comes under this Undeveloped Land Tax. Let the hon. Member for Sleaford and his market-gardening friends make perfectly certain that their holdings do not possess a building value over and above the market-garden value.


The land in my Division possesses no building value except what the landowner chooses to put on it, because he can forbid all building unless he gets his blackmail.


That is not the point. It does not matter what the landlord says. There may very easily be a building value in those cases. I quite agree the right hon. Gentleman was right in saying this is a very wide Amendment. It would exempt all land used for agricultural pur- poses from this tax, and perhaps, to that extent, it is a little wider than my right hon. Friend quite intended. At the same time, it is extremely difficult to discriminate between certain lands used for agricultural purposes which might perhaps come under this tax and other land which clearly ought to be exempt. This is one thing certain which the Government is not entitled to say: they are not entitled to say that agricultural land is wholly exempt from this tax. They go about saying that on platforms where they also make other statements which cannot be contradicted at the time, but which are effectively contradicted afterwards. I am bound to say that this tax appears to be a very serious, heavy and unforunate burden to be placed on land of this kind. I have spoken of the peculiar position of urban areas in Scotland with regard to land used for agricultural purposes within their areas. There are 150,000 acres of land within the limits of the boundaries of various boroughs, of which only 50,000 acres are built upon. The remaining 100,000 acres, therefore, are used for agricultural purposes. That enormous proportion of land within the borough areas is rated at the ordinary rate which applies to all land, and on the top of that heavy rate you are now going to place this Land Tax, and you are thereby going to penalise the land very seriously. A very large amount of this land, which has no value for anything but agricultural purposes, although there are prospective chances of building value accruing, for many years to come cannot be used for other than agricultural purposes. In Glasgow alone there are 3,000 such acres. A year or two ago an attempt was made to bring in 15,000 more acres. It failed, but it may be repeated, and it may succeed in some future year. But let us take the case of the 3,000 acres. The development of Glasgow goes on at the rate of 50 or 60 acres per year, so that it will take at least 50 years before, at the present rate of progress, these 3,000 acres can possibly be developed. Therefore the great bulk of the land must for many years continue to be used for agricultural purposes. The people who cultivate it will be seriously handicapped by this heavy tax. I shall vote for the Amendment of my right hon. Friend, because I believe in doing all we possibly can to help the agricultural interest, which has suffered so severely in the past, and which is only just beginning to emerge from a long period of depression. The value of grain and roots has been steadily advancing of late. I hope they will maintain their present prices, and if that be so no doubt the agricultural interest will then be in a better position to bear additional burdens. But they have only just come through very hard times. The landlords of Scotland have been called upon to make great sacrifices in the interests of agriculture, and I must say I consider it extremely hard to penalise them in this way just at the moment they are beginning to see daylight after so long a period of depression.


I do not think there is any hon. Member on the opposite side of the House to whom we listen with more respect than the hon. Member who has just addressed the Committee. His voice on these questions always carries great weight, and, therefore, I was truly sorry to hear him state that this halfpenny tax on undeveloped land, so far as it falls on land used for agricultural purposes, will have to be borne by those who cultivate the land. In my opinion it must fall on those who own the land.


In the first instance, no doubt—but not afterwards.


Yes, I think it will fall on them afterwards as well. In so far as agriculture is concerned, it is impossible for a man who is at present farming the land to pay more taxation, and, therefore, this additional tax must fall on the landowner. I think we have already had a quotation from John Stuart Mill, in which he says that taxation on the land cannot rest upon anyone except the landlord. Remember this is a tax on economical rent, and all economists, from John Stuart Mill down to the hon. Member for Preston (Mr. Cox) agree that it cannot rest upon anyone except the landlord; consequently the market gardener, about whom hon. Members opposite are so much exercised in their minds, will never suffer; the burden will fall on the landlord of the property. The latter has two alternatives before him—he can either sell the land at the enlarged price which it would fetch for building purposes, or he can continue where he is and pay the tax. I do not think it is desirable that land badly required for housing purposes should be used purely for market garden purposes; and, therefore, even where the market gardener owns land of considerable building value. I think it would be better to induce him to part with that land for a big price, and to invest the money in other productive business. It certainly would be no disadvantage to the community as a whole. Of course, if this Amendment were carried as it appears on the Paper it would nullify the whole clause, because all land is used for agricultural purposes—["No! No!"]—with very few exceptions. Even valuable land in Westminster and Kensington is used for agricultural purposes; and if this Amendment is carried that land, which is the sort of land we want to develop as rapidly as possible, will escape taxation. I do not think it can be the intention of any Member of this House to nullify, as this Amendment would do, the whole effect of this clause.


I differ from the hon. Member who has just sat down in saying that this Amendment, if carried, would absolutely nullify the effect of this tax. I disagree also with his broad assertion that all undeveloped land is used for agricultural purposes. I would invite him to walk with me down the Strand, where I could point out to him valuable plots of land belonging to the London County Council at present lying idle. I might point out to him the Temple Gardens, which certainly are not used for agricultural purposes, and I might take him to the suburbs of London, where we could also find ample land undeveloped, which is not used for agricultural purposes. I want to deal with a technical point, which the hon. Member for Sleaford (Mr. Lupton) has brought forward, and it is this: Assuming that there is land, which for agricultural purposes is worth £100 an acre, and which is now being used as a market garden, but which has a building value of £70, under those circumstances I would submit to the Committee that that is land which is being used for its proper purpose. What is the effect of this Bill? It is, that when land is worth more than £50 an acre, and in this case its building value is £70 an acre, all the allowance that is to be made to the unfortunate owner is that he shall not be charged so far as the site value of the land is due to its value for agricultural purposes. Assuming it is grazing land, what is the site value of the land for agricultural purposes when you have taken all the turf off, and what is the use of it to a market gardener when you have taken up all the drains and taken down all the structures upon it?

Everybody knows that its site value for agricultural purposes is practically nothing at all under those circumstances, and all that this man would get in the way of allowance in this hypothetical case, where the land is worth £100 per acre for agricultural purposes and £70 for building, all he would get is an allowance, which the fairest-minded valuer could not put very high for land which has been denuded of all which has been put upon it for agricultural purposes, and that will be merely a nominal amount. If I am right in that point I ask for the hon. Member's vote in favour of this Amendment, because of that device, to use no other word, of drafting a Bill in this form. There is no answer to that, and it is not intended that there should be any answer, and I ask on that ground for the support of hon. Members. The hon. Member who has just sat down has quoted John Stuart Mill and has argued on the theoretical side,that if you put this halfpenny tax upon the market garden you will not put it on the market gardener but on the landlord. I will not cross swords with the hon. Member on a question of political economy, but I do know what the business effect would be. If you have a landlord, who has a market gardener in possession of a piece of his land, he does not mean to build upon it; but if you put an extra tax upon him for not building upon that land the effect of that will be that he will turn the market gardener out and sell it for building purposes. The market gardener will not thank those who put on the tax when he is turned out in the streets.


I mean to support this Amendment. If I thought that the view just expounded was the correct one I should say that it was simply a shuffle, but I do not take that view at all. I cannot believe that the Attorney-General or anybody else has put upon this clause the very extraordinary construction which my hon. and learned Friend has just suggested, because, presuming that there be in the vicinity of one of our country towns a piece of land which is used as a market garden, or for a purpose which may have an agricultural value—for pasture or for any other purpose—quite different from what it may possess as a market garden, or used in some special form of agricultural pursuit, the object is governed by the term "agricultural purpose." Presuming that land, as ordinary pasture land, may be valued at some £50 or £60 per acre, or used for the special purpose of a market garden, or for small fruit culture, it may be worth £100 an acre, as I understand this clause there will be no charge upon that land as purely agricultural land used for this purpose up to the point of £100 an acre. The whole of that, as I understand this Bill, would be exempted up to this point. Supposing that land has a value for building purposes owing to its vicinity to the market town, or for some other reason, supposing it has a value of a couple of hundred pounds. I understand the scheme of this Bill to be as I have stated.

I am not in favour of the principle of this clause at all. I voted in the last Division against the last clause, because I thought the principle adopted for getting the value of the unearned increment was a wrong principle, and therefore I voted against the clause, but I am going to vote with my right hon. Friend on this Amendment, and I differ entirely from my hon. Friend, who represents a neighbouring Division of my own county of Lincolnshire, and who tells us the small farmers are strongly in favour of this and the preceding clause. In the constituency of Lin colnshire, which I represent, there is a totally different sentiment, and I have seen not the smallest trace of any of the small holders being in favour of it. The only gentleman who holds strong views in favour of this clause, is a country clergy man who belongs, I believe, to the Fabian Society, and is a Socialist of a somewhat advanced character. At all events he is a follower of Henry George, and avowedly adopts this clause. [An HON. MEMBER: "Name."] His name is Hill, and he is a very excellent Gentleman, but he supports this clause, expressly because he says that some day or another this halfpenny will get into a sixpence or a shilling, and we shall resume possession of the land, by taxing the possession of land out of existence. That seems to me to be predatory, and I will have nothing whatever to do with it; but he is the only man whom I know of in my Division who is in favour of this clause, who may be said to be connected with land and he is indirectly connected with it, because he holds a glebe and receives tithes, which I see, under the schedule of this Bill, are exempted from the provisions of this beneficent Act. May I say, in passing, that my hon. Friend quotes John Stuart Mill, but I think, if he will read the contemporaneous works of a French political economist, Victor Bastien, he will find that he does not hold the views of John Stuart Mill with reference to the question of the charges upon property contained in the views expressed by my hon. Friend a few moments ago. I rather am disposed to think that any charge levied upon the land must ultimately fall, or, at all events, be largely borne by the consumer. The cost of manufacture must ultimately fall upon the consumer, and if that be true in the general industry of the country, I certainly hold the theory that it must ultimately fall upon the consumer, or be largely shared by the consumer in the great trade of agriculture.

But the reason why I shall support the Amendment is that I think it is desirable to make it absolutely clear that we do not intend to charge this tax upon agricultural land, and it will then remain for the Government or the Inland Revenue officers, or whoever undertakes the duty of enforcing the Act, to show that these lands are not agricultural lands, but building land, and come within the purview of the Act. In fact, you will put the onus of proof on the Government instead of leaving it on the backs of the small farmer, who at present is face to face with the most unpleasant dilemma on this particular point, because it will be almost impossible for the small farmer, who may own a few acres outside a town, to discover whether a particular piece of land has a value other than agricultural value. His land may be worth, say, £100 an acre, and he is face to face with the difficulty of determining whether any portion of that is of value other than agricultural, and therefore liable to this Undeveloped Land Duty. I think, therefore, that it is far better to say what we mean, and my right hon. Friend (Mr. Chaplin) endeavours to do so in this very clear Amendment, and, consequently, I shall vote for it.


The right hon. Baronet said the first thing we want in this Bill is a definition of site value. I quite agree with him, and think site value is the value of the land stripped of everything. The Prime Minister told us that agricultural land is not to be taxed under this Bill, so that I should almost think the Government would accept the Amendment; but the Solicitor-General told us that agricultural land was going to be taxed. It appears that the Government have not made up their minds upon this very important question. The Prime Minister also told us there was no difficulty at all in ascertaining the value of the land, and he brought forward the case of a railway company, as if a railway company had anything whatever to do with it. We know the land that the railway company wants, and we know that the railway company wants it. That is a plain definition. But the other land does not run in a straight line right through to another town. It may be anywhere, or all over the place, and it is impossible to tell whether people want it or not, except by putting it up for sale. Is that what the Government mean? Will they consider what expense that would be to landowners, great and small? It is one of the greatest absurdities of the Bill. The hon. Member (Mr. Simon) told us that the undeveloped value in land is just as good as having money in your pocket. You cannot put your land in your pocket, and you cannot tell how much money for it you would put in your pocket unless you put it up for sale. He told us another thing that made me think he did not know very much about agricultural land. He said you could sell your land at any time. You may possibly have a field which will do to be built upon, but if you sell it you upset the farm altogether, and that makes an enormous difference. For that reason alone you could not tell the value until you put the whole farm up for sale. To say that you can always sell your land at any time is perfectly absurd. The Secretary for War yesterday asked, "Is this a just tax?" and tried to overwhelm us by a considerable amount of semaphore action. Instead of telling us that he considered the tax just, he ended his speech by asking a question.

The right hon. Baronet (Sir R. Perks) told us that under this tax large numbers of rich people would be ruled out, and would not pay anything at all, and another hon. Member said the tax would be a large tax—1s. in the £ on the hypothetical income of small owners. Both these hon. Gentlemen are very strong supporters of the Government. This is a very unjust tax, even according to great supporters of the Government. It appears to be the ordinary Radical finance to tax the poor heavily and let the very rich off altogether. I think this tax will undoubtedly hit people very heavily in country towns and big villages all over the country, and in that way, in spite of what the Prime Minister said, it will injure agriculture very seriously. I know a case of land between a village and a railway station which 30 years ago was let as agricultural land for 45s. per acre. It is now let at about 28s. It probably will be available for letting as building land in 10 or 20 years, but until that time—and it certainly could not be all let at once—you are going to add a tax on the raw material of the food, drink, and clothing of the people of this country. The tax also is going to hit market gardeners and small holders, because as a rule they must live near the towns or big villages, where they sell their stuff at first hand without the intervention of the middleman. They will have to pay an extra tax on the land which they continue to cultivate, and these are the very people we on all sides want to encourage and get more of. You are going to handicap them more than they are handicapped already in their competition with the French, Dutch, and other foreigners, who even now have the great advantage of cheap sea carriage. You are really super-taxing these British food produce and inviting foreigners to use our market without paying a halfpenny.

We were told not long ago in a letter written by the Prime Minister that the great object of legislation in this country was to reduce the taxation on land. The right hon. Gentleman admitted that the British producer had to pay the tax on food grown in this country, but held that if an equal import duty was put on the foreigner that then the British consumer and not the foreign producer would have to pay. But we live in a queer world, and politicians are curious people. It seems to me that the Government are doing their best to discourage and ruin both small owners and small holders, whilst all over the country they are pretending to encourage them. We hear on platforms the cry, "Back to the land," but the Government are now proposing to put further taxation on the land. That is their idea, and I am afraid it will not do. I think there ought to be millions more of small holders and small owners. No nation has ever succeeded in preserving its position without an agricultural class, and what we are doing now is driving people into the slums of great cities. The Government are going to reduce the small holders by thousands. We on this side want to increase them by millions. Probably the market gardeners and the small people who keep pigs, cows, and chickens are going to have a shocking bad time of it, because the owners of their holdings will recoup themselves somehow or other for this extra tax. If the landowner is able to persuade somebody to build houses on his land the market gardeners will have to go further out, leaving his highly cultivated land in order to begin afresh on land which is not highly cultivated, and he will be farther from the market. These are the very people who cultivate their land best and get most out of it in the way of big crops. We all particularly want to encourage them, but under the Government plan they are going to do their best to wipe out a very large number of them. Therefore I have very great pleasure in voting for this Amendment.


A very important point has been raised a few moments ago by my hon. Friend the Member for Cambridge University. I do not complain that the Government have given us no answer to that question at present, but it is obviously essential that we should have a clear and authoritative statement from them, both as to the effect of the Bill and their intentions upon this point before we part with the present Amendment. We are discussing an Amendment to exempt by name agricultural land from the operation of this tax. The Government refuse to accept that Amendment, but at the same time have claimed that to a. very large extent agricultural land is exempted, and they have said that to that large extent it was their intention to exempt it. They did indeed go further and say that they meant to exempt agricultural land altogether. [An HON. MEMBER: "Agricultural value."] But that pretence has been abandoned, and it is now clearly admitted that a great deal of agricultural land, all the best agricultural land put to the highest purposes, land yielding the greatest return in produce and in wealth, will be subject to the tax. But the particular point to which I wish to draw the attention of the Government and on which I wish to obtain an answer from them is the effect of the introduction of site value at this place into the two sub-sections. It is germane to the Amendment moved by my right hon. Friend because if you accept his Amendment and exempt agricultural land altogether this question falls to the ground. We do not have to argue it further or pursue it further in relation to the section. But if you refuse to exempt agricultural land by name, then it becomes of the greatest importance, both in regard to Section (1) and in regard to Section (2). Section (1) says that this new tax shall not be charged in respect of any land where the site value of the land does not exceed £50 an acre. Hon. Members are very apt in their speeches to confuse site value with value, and not to realise the wide gulf which separates the two. For instance a little earlier they were talking of the ease with which valuations were made for the purpose of puchasing by railway companies from owners of land over which railways are going to pass.

10 P.M.

But that is not the valuation you have got to make under this Bill. That is the valuation of the land as it stands. Site value is quite a different thing. Site value is the land only. It does not exist. We have never seen it, and as it is very difficult in most cases to imagine it, in regard to agricultural land at any rate. Of course you get a site value existing in urban areas; but I am talking of agricultural land now, and I say that the site value is entirely different from the ordinary valuation to which we are accustomed, and to which the Government refer when they tell us that valuations under this Bill would be very easily disposed of. Here again I think the Government and many Members of this House have alluded to these proposals as if any land which was worth less than £50 an acre would be exempted. This is not so at all. It is only land the site value of which is less than £50 an acre. Accordingly there would be a great deal of land of which the site value is less than £50 an acre, but of which the value for agricultural purposes is more than ££50 an acre. That is the first instance. I may just allude, for the purpose of making the case clear, to Section (2), without arguing the merits of that section It says that in the case of agricultural land exceeding that value, Undeveloped Land Duty is not to be charged so far as the site value of the land is due to the value of the land for agricultural purposes. What is the site value of the land? Turn over to the clause which defines site value and you will find that site value is the value of the land divested of any buildings, such as are required for almost any agricultural purpose, or any other structures, including fixed or attached machinery on, in, or under the surface, and divested of all growing timber, fruit trees, fruit bushes, and other things growing thereon. What is the value of pasturage with the pasture swept away? What is the value of a cherry orchard with every tree torn up? What is the value of a market garden when every fruit bush and every single thing growing on it is stripped off and destroyed? We have all the drains torn up.


Not the drains.


Do not the drains come in amongst the things which are under the surface?


I thought you were referring to the drainage of the ground and the improvement of the ground.


I should have thought that agricultural drains, travelling under the surface of the ground, as they admittedly are, were structures under the ground. If the hon. Member says they are not included in the definition of structures, I shall be very glad to notice.


The right hon. Gentleman will see that the improvement, including the drains of normal agricultural land, as apart from the drainage of houses or buildings on it, is not included in Section (2) of Clause 14: the land divested of any buildings or any other structure, including fixed or attached machinery, on, in, or under the surface, which are appertaining to, or used in connection with any such building. I thought the point was clear, because we had it so fully on Clause 2, when talking of agricultural improvements.


If you take the case of my pasture, and you have a cowshed, with drains connected therewith, those drains must be imagined to be dug up, and the structure pulled down and stripped off the land before you get the site value. If, on the other hand, you have a market garden or a field, with only agricultural drains not connected with a structure, like a cowhouse or a pigsty, then those drams may be supposed to be left in the ground when calculating the site value. There may be a reason for that, there may be logic in it, but it adds to the complications of what the valuers will have to consider. But that is quite sufficient for my purpose. You take the case of a little bit of pasturage, with a shed for cows in the winter, and some drains to take away the manure, and there you have to divest the land of the shed, the pasture, and the drains. In the case of a market garden you have to divest the land of any tool-house or any structure of any kind which is upon it; you have to divest it of everything which is growing upon it, and then you get to the site value in that case. Then, as to the value of the supposed concession to agriculture under Section (1) and Section (2), unless the Government can answer that question, I think it is perfectly evident that either the language which they have used has entirely failed to convey their intentions or their view in this, as in so many instances, is wholly out of accord with the provisions which they have made in those sections. The hon. Gentleman who is representing the Government will not think me, I hope, rude or offensive if I say that I wish the Attorney-General had been here to answer the question, which is very largely one of legal interpretation. It was raised in the presence of the hon. and learned Gentleman, and we are quite content to wait for an answer until he comes back if the hon. Gentleman prefers to leave the matter in his hands. At any rate, you will see the great importance of this question, and, if our interpretation of the Bill is correct, how necessary it is that we should have a definite reply before we part with this Amendment.


I am anxious to support the Amendment of my right hon. Friend, mainly as one of the Members representing London, one of the greatest cities in the world. We have had for many years a growing movement in favour of keeping and increasing open spaces in London. I have opposed and shall oppose this special tax being thrown upon land, especially land in and around London, because I do not believe for one moment that you are going to accomplish what you affect to do, namely, the better housing or the cheaper housing of the people of London. It may not be known to the Committee that there are to-day vacant in London sufficient houses—


Order, order. There is not much agricultural land in that.


My point is that we do not want to tax land around London which, I maintain ought to be kept as agricultural land for the benefit of the people of London. The main object of the Government is undoubtedly one that will not be effected, namely, that they are going to get a supply and demand which they cannot now obtain because the landlords hold up the land. I want to keep the land around London as agricultural land, and if we introduce here the words of the Amendment they will have the effect of putting an extra inducement into the hands of those who happen to own land in the suburbs of London to keep that land as agricultural land. You are not going to get any serious addition to the revenue of the country by imposing this tax. You profess to be anxious to free agricultural land from this tax, therefore why should you not, as long as the land is used for agricultural purposes, allow that land to be free from the tax? You may say that you cannot get land for building. You can get all the land you want around London at a very reasonable price indeed. If you cannot get it you have the power to take it by arbitration. If land is wanted for local improvements or for housing schemes, or for anything else, the local authorities have power to acquire it. But to-day there are really more houses in London than are required. You could house another half-million of people without adding another house to London, and to maintain that you are going to put this tax on for the purpose of throwing more and cheaper land into the market is to fly straight in the face of the experience of other countries. I could quote the experience of New York. Hon. Members opposite seem to be shy about referring to New York. They go to Germany. Anything in Germany is good enough to support their contentions. But go to New York, where they have tried this system for some years. The hon. Member shakes his head, but he takes good care, at all events, not to invest his money in real property. The experience of New York is given by a past president of the Henry George League. He says that the effect of the system there has been to increase the overcrowding, so that the overcrowding in New York is worse than in any of the slums of London by 100 per cent.; that land and house rent is also much higher, infinitely higher, than in this country.


This tax has already been imposed by Clause 10, and all this about whether houses and land are dearer or not is a question which has been discussed already. The Amendment is that agricultural land is to be exempt.


It is as to the agricultural land around London which I am speaking, and which I wish to see kept as agricultural land.


To apply the argument to places like New York is going entirely beyond the point under discussion, and there is a limit to questions which may be raised by the hon. Member.


Surely the object of the tax, if we are to pay any attention at all to the Prime Minister, is to force land into the market.


That was on the question of imposing the tax, but we are now dealing with whether agricultural land should be exempted. We are not re-opening the question of the imposition of the tax.


My contention is that if the definition is altered, and we alter so many things from day to day, and if it is to be freed from this tax, as I hope it will be, and as the Amendment seeks to make it, then London and other great cities will benefit by allowing land, so long as it is used for agricultural purposes right up against the city. The county council and other big bodies are utilising a great many of their open spaces for agricultural purposes. I have no doubt hon. Members opposite treat the whole subject with great levity, but it is a very serious matter. It is not required for the purposes of the country, and the only reason it is required is to vent your spite on your political opponents.


The right hon. Gentleman put one or two specific questions to me, although he was kind enough to remark that, not being a lawyer, it might be difficult for me to give him full satisfaction. I think I know the Bill with some little knowledge, and I think I can give him an answer to a certain extent. As to the general question whether any land comes in under the definition, I do not think I need deal with that. If I may say so, there are rather more important questions than that. It is quite true we are trying to exempt, and we hope we have exempted, all purely Gentleman says that Sub-section (1), to and if it can be shown that we have not done so, and I speak with some authority, we are quite prepared to meet any such demonstration. The right hon. Gentlemen says that Sub-section (1), to which the Amendment is being moved, does not say that all land whose total value does not exceed £50 shall be exempted, but all land whose site value exceeds £50. He refers for a definition to Clause 14, which is very similar, with some exceptions made of growing things, to the definition of agricultural land which is laid down for the guidance of the Local Government Board under the Agricultural Bates Act. I should like to ask him a question when he professes to be speaking for agriculture, Would he prefer that we should put the total agricultural value instead of the site value? [HON. MEMBERS: "No, no."] Surely that would mean that agriculturists who are now getting an enormous exemption would not get that exemption. Whatever deductions you make under Clause 14 from the total value, means that you get something less as the site value, and, therefore, land with £100 or £150 as a total value would, under our definition, be exempted if the site value were less than £50. That was done deliberately, in order that the market gardener should not be penalised for his industry in developing his piece of land. All the trees that he plants, all the money he puts into the ground, all the development of his patch of ground, in the strict sense of the word, are exempted. However much he puts into the ground, he is exempted as long as the site value, when all that is taken away, does not exceed £50 an acre. We thought we were giving a very substantial boon to the agricultural interest under that sub-section. The second sub-section, I agree, is more complicated, and when we come; to it, there are Amendments on the Paper which we are prepared carefully to consider. Speaking entirely without prejudice, I can say that the intention of the Bill is that from the total value of the land in the neighbourhood of towns there shall be deducted the total agricultural value, before you get an entity upon which the tax is to be paid. We think that that is met in Sub-section (2), but if the terms are ambiguous, the Government are prepared to consider Amendments which will make the terms more clear.


I do not think the terms of the sub-section are in the least ambiguous; they are perfectly clear, but in the opposite sense to that in which the hon. Member has declared the intention of the Government. It is on the site value, as introduced in Sub-section (2), that this particular difficulty arises. If the hon. Gentleman cut out "site" from Sub-section (2), it might meet the case. Is he prepared to do that?


Would it not be more convenient that we should get to Sub-section (2), to which there are definite Amendments on the Paper?


By far the most convenient way would be to accept the Amendment of my right hon. Friend (Mr. Chaplin), and, once for all, protect agriculture against all it has to fear. That is the process we should prefer; but it would be some alleviation if the Government were prepared to say that they would abandon their proposal to take site value as the test in Sub-section (2). It would, however, still leave the Bill a measure penalising under certain conditions some of the best parts of the agricultural industry, parts which it is most desirable in everybody's interest to promote, and some of the people who by their energy, skill, and enterprise are most deserving of protection, rather than punishment, at the hands of the State.


The object of this Amendment has been made perfectly clear by the speech of the hon. Member for Holborn (Mr. Remnant). He has distinctly stated that if agricultural land is excepted, land worth half-a-million an acre might escape the tax. Land worth half-a-million sterling per acre as site value, if it were used solely for agricultural purposes, would escape the tax altogether. The hon. Member went on to say that there was a large amount of agricultural land near London which the landlords wished to remain as agricultural, in order that they might keep open spaces and provide pleasure grounds for the inhabitants. There may be such landlords. I think there are very few of them. The real object of these landlords can be, and only is, one—that by keeping this land in the form of agricultural land they escape the rates which they otherwise would have to pay. [Cries of "No, no."] Surely that is so? People do not keep agricultural land if they can sell it at a better price. This land will become more and more valuable. Then the hon. Member went on to say, "It is perfectly easy to acquire land held up in that manner, and that local authorities have the power to acquire it." He might be very well aware that a local authority often finds when it requires a small piece of land for housing purposes that the cost of arbitration involved is probably more than the land was worth. That is what happens in practice. This kind of land is always treated as agricultural land for the purposes of rating, but when it is a matter of buying a piece for housing purposes it is an entirely different matter. I do not want to detain the Committee further than to point out this one fact: that if the Government had used any other words than "£50"—any other words except "capital sum per acre"—it would be impossible under any conditions that I can see, or any words that I can see, to obviate the very difficulties which have been pointed out.


I understood the Under-Secretary for the Home Office to tell us just now that he was prepared to favourably consider some Amendments standing on the Paper to Section (2). I begun my observations in moving this Amendment by stating, when he was not in the House, that I intended to take a division, at all events on the first Amendment, and that I hoped to move the second Amendment afterwards. The Amendment to which I am referring is that relating to the exemption of market gardens, allotments, etc. Now if the hon. Gentleman can say that that is one Amendment which he is prepared to favourably consider, I could then take a division as early as I could get it, and I should be satisfied if he accepted the second Amendment afterwards.


I think the discussion on this Amendment has served a very useful purpose, because it will have pointed out very clearly that agricultural land is not exempt from this tax in the way in which right hon. Gentlemen belonging to the Government have gone about saying that it is. There is no doubt the impression has got abroad that anybody employing his land for agricultural purposes would be exempt from this tax. Such is obviously by no means the case. As a matter of fact, I should think nine-tenths of the land which is used for agriculture in the neighbourhood of towns will be subjected to this Undeveloped Land Tax. In the first place, I do not think that the distinction which is made in this part of the Bill is of the value to the land for agricultural and other purposes is one that can be upheld in practice. I do not see how the agricultural ingredient and the building value ingredient can be distinguished, especially in the neighbourhood of villages, and, therefore, I am afraid the allowance made as regards agricultural value will not in practice be much used. There is one industry which, in addition to the market gardens, will suffer very severely under this proposal, and that is the dairying industry. I received a letter from one of my Constituents to-day upon that subject. He says:— I venture to make a suggestion by which I think it might be possible to obtain exemption from the site value taxes of the land used for farming purposes, whether it has or not greater value for agricultural purposes. I submit a great deal of land round large towns is used for dairy farming purposes and that those dairy farmers which comply with the law are of great use to the urban community. I believe fresh milk cannot be imported into Great Britain and this fact puts dairy farming on a different footing to other sorts of farming, and possibly may induce the Government to be loath to do anything to damage this industry. That shows that people who have knowledge of this industry are afraid that this tax is going to do them a considerable amount of damage, and in that way to do damage, to the whole urban community in whose interest it is supposed to be imposed. It was said by some speaker on the Government Bench that the fact that there was a value in this land over and above the agricultural value proved the interest the community had in having this land developed. I entirely dispute that proposition; I do not think it proves anything of the kind. In fact, the disproof is obvious to anyone who looks at the outskirts of any of our large towns. The emptiness of rows and rows of newly-built houses proves that there was no necessity in such cases for the development by building of the land upon which these houses have been built, and that the land would have been of far more value to the community if it had been continued to be used for agricultural purposes instead of being handed over to the speculative builder. I think the Government should exempt agricultural land more fully than they have done hitherto. At all events, if they do not accept the Amendment moved tending in that direction they should cease to proclaim to the country that they have made such concessions to agricultural land.


I feel that the meaning of these two Sub-sections has been misunderstood by hon. Members who have spoken from the other side of the House. The first question that will be asked in regard to any piece of land in the country is this: Is the site value £50 or under? If the answer is in the affirmative that land, agricultural or otherwise, would be exempt from the tax. In the second place, if it be above £50, even then it will be exempt from this tax if the excess over £50 in the site value is due to the value of the land for agricultural purposes. I think that is an accurate way of putting it, and I submit very respectfully that that is the mean- ing of the Bill as it stands. Put in another way it means this: It is quite true that agricultural land is not exempt from this tax. I quite admit that, but agricultural value is exempt. In the case of a piece of land used for agricultural purposes it is true to say that it is not exempt, but it is equally true to say that as far as its agricultural value is concerned it is exempt. To pass this Amendment in its present form would be to absolutely destroy the tax for all practical purposes. I daresay that that is the object of the Amendment, but I will not discuss that now. The effect of accepting this Amendment would be to exclude all agricultural land and the building land of the future in this country, and under those circumstances I hope the Committee will negative this Amendment and proceed to discuss the still more important, matters which are dealt with in the clause.


I hope the Committee will now elect to come to a decision upon this Amendment. It is really a second-reading proposal, and, if carried, as has already been pointed out, it would negative this tax altogether. We could not agree to exempt agricultural land and agricultural value as well, because it is to agricultural land we look for the building of the future, and to exempt it altogether, no matter what building value were attached to it, would practically destroy this proposal. As we have given a very large slice of the time of this sitting to the discussion of this Amendment, I hope hon. Members will now be content, and allow us to proceed to a Division.


I understood the Under-Secretary for the Home Office to say that the Government were prepared to favourably consider some Amendment in connection with this question, including the Amendment standing in my name. I asked a question on this point, but I have not yet received an answer. I entirely and totally dispute the contention that if this Amendment were accepted it would exclude all agricultural land from the operation of this Bill. To suppose that agricultural land, which might be worth many thousand pounds an acre, would always continue to be treated as agricultural land, is absurd. As a matter of fact, if land assumed that extraordinary value, it would soon lose its agricultural character, and no owner would be so stupid as to continue to devote such land to agricultural purposes.


I have not spoken on the subject of agricultural land from the beginning, and I may tell the Committee that no less than 46½ hours of the time of the Committee have now been consumed in discussing this question of agricultural land, 44½ of which might have been saved if the Government had made their intention clear at the first. It is entirely because of the fog which surrounds this question of agricultural land that we have been wasting the whole of to-day. That fog arises from the difficulty of comprehension of the difference between total value, site value, capital value, and value for agricultural purposes. All those have to be compared together, and you have to understand how they are to be taken under these various sections before you can arrive at a conclusion at really what the Government mean. What I contend is that by this Amendment we have got a clear statement, and that is the exemption of agricultural land, whilst it is agricultural land, from this tax. Do the Government mean to do that or do they not? It is quite clear they do not. They are fencing with the subject, as they have been fencing with most of the other sub-

jects under the Bill. We have, at all events, got a clear issue now, and I hope we may go to a Division in order that we may test the bona fides of the Government.

Sir W. ROBSON rose in his place and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put."


I think the Committee is prepared to come to a Division.


What is the Government going to do where the agricultural value is greater than the building value? In the neighbourhood of Worthing, where there are market gardens demanding a big price, I have no doubt in a great many cases the value of the land for agricultural purposes, for market gardening purposes, will be greater than its value for building purposes.


I think that question must arise on the second section. It does not seem to me greatly relevant to this.

Question put, "That those words be there inserted."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 110; Noes, 210.

Division No. 414.] AYES. [10.45 p.m.
Acland-Hood, Rt. Hon. Sir Alex. F. Fell, Arthur Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield)
Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R. Fletcher, J. S. Oddy, John James
Anson, Sir William Reynell Foster, P. S. Parkes, Ebenezer
Arkwright, John Stanhope Gardner, Ernest Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)
Ashley, W. W. Gibbs, G. A. (Bristol, West) Peel, Hon. W. R. W.
Baldwin, Stanley Gooch, Henry Cubitt (Peckham) Perks, Sir Robert William
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Gordon, J. Pretyman, E. G.
Banner, John S. Harmood- Goulding, Edward Alfred Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel
Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.) Guinness, Hon. R. (Haggerston) Remnant, James Farquharson
Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks Guinness, Hon. W. E. (B. S. Edmunds) Renton, Leslie
Beauchamp, E. Hamilton, Marquess of Renwick, George
Beck, A. Cecil Harris, Frederick Leverton Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)
Beckett, Hon. Gervase Hay, Hon. Claude George Ronaldshay, Earl of
Bridgeman, W. Clive Helmsley, Viscount Ropner, Colonel Sir Robert
Burdett-Coutts, W. Harmon-Hodge, Sir Robert Rutherford, John (Lancashire)
Butcher, Samuel Henry Hill, Sir Clement Rutherford, Watson (Liverpool)
Carlile, E. Hildred Hills, J. W. Salter, Arthur Clavell
Castlereagh, Viscount Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield) Sheffield, Sir Berkeley George D.
Cave, George Hunt, Rowland Stanler, Beville
Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor) Joynson-Hicks, William Stanley, Hon. Arthur (Ormskirk)
Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.) Kennaway, Rt. Hon. Sir John H. Starkey, John R.
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Worc'r.) Kerry, Earl of Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staffordshire)
Channing, Sir Francis Allston Keswick, William Stone, Sir Benjamin
Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry King, Sir Henry Seymour (Hull) Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)
Clive, Percy Archer Lambton, Hon. Frederick William Talbot, Rt. Hon. J. G. (Oxford Univ.)
Clyde, J. Avon Lane-Fox, G. R. Tennant, Sir Sdward (Salisbury)
Coates, Major E. F. (Lewisham) Law, Andrew Bonar (Dulwich) Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Lanark)
Corbett, T. L. (Down, North) Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R. Walker, Col. W. H. (Lancashire)
Courthope, G. Loyd Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham) Walrond, Hon. Lionel
Cox, Harold Long, Rt. Hon. Walter (Dublin, S.) Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid.)
Dairymple, Viscount Lonsdale, John Brownlee White, Sir Luke (York, E.R.)
Davies, David (Montgomery Co.) Lowe, Sir Francis William Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)
Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott- Magnus, Sir Philip Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E.R.)
Doughty, Sir George Mildmay, Francis Bingham Younger, George
Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers- Moore, William
Du Cross, Arthur Morpeth, Viscount TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Viscount Valentia and Mr. H. W. Forster.
Faber, George Denison (York) Morrison-Bell, Captain
Faber, Captain W. V. (Hants, W.) Newdegate, F. A.
Abraham, William (Rhondda) Henderson, Arthur (Durham) Pointer, J.
Acland, Francis Dyke Henderson, J. McD. (Aberdeen, W.) Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)
Ainsworth, John Stirling Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon. S.) Priestley, Arthur (Grantham)
Balfour, Robert (Lanark) Herbert, T. Arnold (Wycombe) Rainy, A. Rolland
Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight) Higham, John Sharp Raphael, Herbert H.
Barker, Sir John Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H. Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (Gloucester)
Barnard, E. B. Hodge, John Richards, Thomas (W. Monmouth)
Barnes, G. N. Holland, Sir William Henry Richards, T. F. (Wolverhampton, W.)
Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.) Holt, Richard Durning Richardson, A.
Beale, W. P. Hope, John Deans (Fife, West) Ridsdale, E. A.
Bellairs, Carlyon Hope, W. H. B. (Somerset, N.) Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)
Benn, W. (Tower Hamlets, St. George) Hudson, Walter Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)
Berridge, T. H. D. Hyde, Clarendon G. Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)
Bowerman, C. W. Illingworth, Percy H. Robinson, S.
Brace, William Jardine, Sir J. Robson, Sir William Snowdon
Bramsdon, Sir T. A. Jenkins, J. Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)
Branch, James Johnson, John (Gateshead) Rogers, F. E. Newman
Brocklehurst, W. B. Johnson, W. (Nuneaton) Rose, Sir Charles Day
Bryce, J. Annan Jones, Leif (Appleby) Rowlands, J.
Burnyeat, W. J. D. Jones, William (Carnarvonshire) Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter
Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas Jowett, F. W. Russell, Rt. Hon. T. W.
Buxton, Rt. Hon. Sydney Charles Kekewich, Sir George Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)
Byles, William Pollard King, Alfred John (Knutsford) Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)
Causton, Rt. Hon. Richard Knight Laidlaw, Robert Schwann, C. Duncan (Hyde)
Cawley, Sir Frederick Lamb, Ernest H. (Rochester) Sears, J. E.
Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R. Lambert, George Seely, Colonel
Clough, William Lamont, Norman Shackleton, David James
Cobbold, Felix Thornley Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich) Shipman, Dr. John G.
Collins, Sir Wm. J. (St. Pancras, W.) Lever, W. H. (Cheshire, Wirral) Silcock, Thomas Ball
Cooper, G. J. Levy, Sir Maurice Simon, John Allsebrook
Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, Grinstead) Lewis, John Herbert Soames, Arthur Wellesley
Cornwall, Sir Edwin A. Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas Soares, Ernest J.
Cowan, W. H. Lupton, Arnold Stanger, H. Y.
Crooks, William Luttrell, Hugh Fownes Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N.W.)
Cross, Alexander Lyell, Charles Henry Stanley, Hon. A. Lyulph (Cheshire)
Davies, Ellis William (Eifion) Lynch, H. B Steadman, W. C.
Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.) Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester) Strachey, Sir Edward
Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.) Maclean, Donald Strauss, E. A. (Abingdon)
Duckworth, Sir James Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J. Summerbell, T.
Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness) Macpherson, J. T. Sutherland, J. E.
Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne) M'Callum, John M. Taylor, John W. (Durham)
Dunne, Major E. Martin (Walsall) M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.) Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)
Elibank, Master of M'Micking, Major G. Tennant, H. J (Berwickshire)
Erskine, David C Maddison, Frederick Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)
Evans, Sir S T. Markham, Arthur Basil Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)
Falconer, J. Marks, G. Croydon (Launceston) Thompson, J. W. H. (Somerset, E.)
Ferens, T. R. Massie, J. Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)
Ferguson, R. C. Munro Masterman, C. F. G. Verney, F. W.
Flennes, Hon. Eustace Menzies, Sir Walter Walsh, Stephen
Findlay, Alexander Micklem, Nathaniel Walters, John Tudor
Fuller, John Michael F. Molteno, Percy Alport Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)
Furness, Sir Christopher Mond, A. Wardle, George J.
Gibb, James (Harrow) Money, L. G. Chiozza Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.
Gill, A. H. Montagu, Hon. E. S. Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)
Gladstone, Rt. Hon. Herbert John Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall) Waterlow, D. S.
Glover, Thomas Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen) Wedgwood, Josiah C.
Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford Morrell, Philip White, J. Dundas (Dumbartonshire)
Greenwood, G. (Peterborough) Morton, Alpheus Cleophas Wilkie, Alexander
Griffith, Ellis J. Murray, Capt. Hon. A. C. (Kincard.) Williams, J. (Glamorgan)
Gulland, John W. Myer, Horatio Williams, W. Llewelyn (Carmarthen)
Hancock, J. G. Napier, T. B Wills, Arthur Walters
Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale) Newnes, F. (Notts, Bassetlaw) Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)
Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worcester) Norman, Sir Henry Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)
Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N. E.) O'Donnell, C. J. (Walworth) Wilson, J. W. (Worcestershire, N.)
Harwood, George O'Grady, J. Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)
Haslam, James (Derbyshire) Parker, James (Halifax) Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth) Partington, Oswald Wood, T. M'Kinnon
Haworth, Arthur A. Pearce, William (Limehouse) Yoxall, Sir James Henry
Hazel, Dr A. E. W. Pearson, W. H. M. (Suffolk, Eye)
Hedges, A. Paget Pickersgill, Edward Hare TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. Joseph Pease and Captain Norton.
Helme, Norval Watson Pirie, Duncan V.

Sir FRANCIS CHANNING moved, in Section (1), to leave out the word "fifty" ["where the site value of the land does not exceed fifty pounds per acre"], and to insert the words "one hundred."

There has been a long discussion on the exemption of agricultural land from the duty, in order to carry out the view of some Members of the Committee, that what we understood to be the absolute in- tention of the Government to exempt agricultural land should be made a reality and given effect to. That has been rejected by the Committee, and the Amendment which I move to substitute £100 for £50 will obviously go some way, at any rate, to meet the views of those who are interested in the exemption of agricultural land from this duty. So far as I can judge, the machinery for determining site value and detaching site value from total value is so complicated, and involves so many abstruse calculations, that it is hard to fully grasp what is the proportion of site value in agricultural land, of which we may know the actual market value—what the actual proportion of site value would be. The sort of land which I should wish to see exempted very fully from this tax is very highly cultivated land, very highly fertilised land—land on which for many years past, perhaps, there has been deliberately very high cultivation, and which has been gradually fed up and worked up, and the soil of which has increased the value of that agricultural unit immensely for agricultural purposes. I am somewhat in a fog as to the mysterious machinery of the land clauses, but my own interpretation is that in the case of that very rich land most of the real value of it will be included in the site value, and will not be in the various deductions which are made from the total value. It is my impression that the richer the land, the more highly cultivated, the more valuable it is for agricultural purposes, just in that proportion will the site value of the land be higher than that of other land.


The hon. Baronet appears to be advocating this Amendment on grounds which are already practically settled by the Committee. This is, of course, a different proposition from the last Amendment. It is to make £100 the minimum instead of £50. We cannot go over all this question of agricultural land again on this Amendment. It may be advocated on other lines, but I do not think it can be advocated on the lines which are being adopted by the hon. Baronet.


The point I wish to insist on is that in the case of the land we want to protect most that land will be probably of a higher site value than land which would be protected by the Bill as it is. That is just where we want the exemption most.


The intention of the Government is to deal with the very rich land which my hon. Friend has described under Section (2) of this clause. I agree that if the section did not exist there might be a considerable case made out for the raising of the limit of £50 an acre, but the Government thought it was far more satisfactory to proceed with it under the system outlined in Section (2), which exempts all agricultural land, than to make an arbitrary limit of £100, £200, or £300 an acre, applicable only to a special class of land—rich agricultural land. The limit of £50 applies not only to agricultural land but to all land, and the carrying of the Amendment would mean that not only agricultural but all land would be exempted from the Undeveloped Land Tax if its site value did not exceed £100 an acre. There may be Members in favour of such a proceeding, but that was not the argument which I am specially trying to meet. A site value of £50 an acre may mean a considerably greater total value. This particular exemption may mean land up to the value of £100 or £150 an acre total value being exempted. I have had the honour of replying to one or two similar Amendments before by which attempts have been made to introduce larger exemptions than those laid down by the Government. The object of the Government in presenting this limit was this: it was considered that it was not worth while in the interest of the revenue for the Government to pursue very small increments of site value. Less than £50 per acre would in any case be purely agricultural site value, and, if not, the return obtainable by the revenue would be very small indeed. If you raise the limit to £100 per acre you are cutting out a very substantial portion of the tax. We have been warned by a moderate Liberal the Member for Mid-Worcestershire (Mr. C. B. Harmsworth) that it is very important that we should not further reduce the amount the State and the local authorities will receive in revenue from this tax. I hope we are fully meeting the case put by my hon. Friend in the case of the land for which he claims exemption.


I do not rise to put the case for agricultural land, but for the revenue. I would point out to the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Masterman) that all the Revenue can possibly get from any increment of the land is 2s. 1d. In order to get that, he proposes to leave the procedure of Section (1), which will cost nothing, and undertake the expensive process which is demanded by Section (2). I would point out to the Government that, for the sake or getting 2s. 1d., they are adopting an operation which must cost a great deal more than that sum. On business grounds I would beg the Government to accept the Amendment, and thereby simplify the tax and reduce the cost of collection.


The Government will lose nothing by accepting the Amendment. There is very little land which will not have a site value of £100 per acre, and, therefore, the Amendment must have small effect on the revenue. At the same time, it does safeguard absolutely the pledge given that agricultural land of this sort will be exempted. I know of no sufficient reason for not accepting this Amendment. I think it must be obvious to the Government that there is no building land which is likely to contribute to this tax which has a site value of less than £100 an acre.


I rise to support the Amendment, not because I am an agriculturist, but because I want to exempt land up to a value of £100 an acre which is not agricultural land. I have made several short speeches in which I have referred repeatedly to the fact that there is a considerable amount of land in the country which is worth more than £50 an acre which is not building land and which is not developable land; and if the object of these clauses, as we have been told over and over again, is to place a tax upon building land in order to force it into the market, then I say that there is a large amount of the land to which I have referred which is worth a great deal more than £50 an acre. There is a large amount of what I may call amenity land, which contributes to the amenities of houses and so on, and which is worth more than £50 an acre, for which the owner would give more than £50 an acre. I would wish that the Under-Secretary for the Home Department (Mr. Masterman) had devoted some portion of his remarks to the point I am endeavouring to make now in reference to this considerable amount of land, which is not building land and not developable land, and which yet does not derive its value above £50 an acre exclusively from its agricultural use. I do not mean market gardens, of which we have heard so much, but purely amenity land, land which is not near a town, an urban district, a railway station, or a tram line, and which is not required for building or for the needs of the community, yet which is worth for its amenities more than £50 and frequently up to £100 an acre. I would suggest that if the Government is really straightforward in its desire only to tax developable building land it might very well accept the Amendment. With a great deal of experience of building land, I say that I do not know any building land to-day, any land which is required for building, which is not worth more than £100 an acre. I do not think that any right hon. Gentleman or hon. Gentleman on the Front Bench opposite could go to the neighbourhood of any town where there is considerable building throughout the whole of England and buy ten acres of building land for less than £100 an acre. Building land is worth more. Therefore, if they really mean only to try to tax building and developable land in order to force it into the market there is no reason whatever to put a tax on land of this amenity nature. Therefore, I support this Amendment.


This is a small point, but it is important in this sense that I think it is one of the Amendments which would carry the conviction that this tax was not to apply to agricultural value. I quite sympathise with the Under-Secretary to the Home Office (Mr. Masterman) in not allowing building values to be excluded from this tax; but the phraseology of the Bill is a little difficult to understand, and he himself has asked for suggestions which would make it clear that this tax does pot apply to agricultural value. So far as I can see, this Amendment of my hon. Friend does make it more clear that the tax would not apply to agricultural land. There is not much money in it. After all, £50 an acre, or £2 a year, is no great building value to lose, even at the worst, and I do not think it would weaken the effect of the tax very much if the Government made the, figure £100. I really do not know a more practical way of securing that agricultural value shall not be included than by adopting the Amendment which I support.

Question put, "That the word 'fifty' stand part of the Clause."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 190; Noes, 116.

Division No. 415.] AYES. [11.14 p.m.
Abraham, William (Rhondda) Hazel, Dr. A. E. W. Priestley, Arthur (Grantham)
Acland, Francis Dyke Hedges, A. Paget Raphael, Herbert H.
Ainsworth, John Stirling Helme, Nerval Watson Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (Gloucester)
Balfour, Robert (Lanark) Henderson, Arthur (Durham) Richards, T. F. (Wolverhampton, W.)
Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight) Herbert T. Arnold (Wycombe) Richards, Thomas (W. Monmouth)
Barker, Sir John Higham, John Sharp Richardson, A.
Barnard, E. B. Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H. Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)
Barnes, G. N. Hodge, John Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)
Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.) Holland, Sir William Henry Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)
Beale, W. P. Holt, Richard Durning Robinson, S.
Bellairs, Carlyon Hope, John Deans (Fife, West) Robson, Sir William Snowdon
Benn, W. (Tower Hamlets, S. Geo.) Hope, W. H. B. (Somerset, N.) Rogers, F. E. Newman
Berridge, T. H. D. Hudson, Walter Rose, Sir Charles Day
Bowerman, C. W. Hyde, Clarendon G. Rowlands, J.
Brace, William Illingworth, Percy H. Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter
Bramsdon, Sir T. A. Jardine, Sir J. Russell, Rt. Hon. T. W.
Branch, James Jenkins, J. Rutherford, V. H. (Brantford)
Bryce, J. Annan Johnson, John (Gateshead) Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)
Burns, Rt. Hon. John Johnson, W. (Nuneaton) Schwann, C. Duncan (Hyde)
Burnyeat, W. J. D, Jones, William (Carnarvonshire) Sears, J. E.
Buxton, Rt. Hon. Sydney Charles Jowett, F. W. Seely, Colonel
Byles, William Pollard Kekewich, Sir George Shackleton, David James
Carr-Gomm, H. W. Laidlaw, Robert Shipman, Dr. John G.
Causton, Rt. Hon. Richard Knight Lambert, George Silcock, Thomas Ball
Cawley, Sir Frederick Lament, Norman Simon, John Allsebrook
Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R. Levy, Sir Maurice Soames, Arthur Wellesley
Clough, William Lewis, John Herbert Soares, Ernest J.
Cobbold, Felix Thornley Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas Stanger, H. Y.
Collins, Sir Wm. J. (St. Pancras, W.) Lupton, Arnold Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N.W.)
Cooper, G. J. Luttrell, Hugh Fownes Stanley, Hon. A. Lyulph (Cheshire)
Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow) Lyell, Charles Henry Steadman, W. C.
Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinstead) Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester) Strachey, Sir Edward
Cornwall, Sir Edwin A. Maclean, Donald Summerbell, T.
Cowan, W. H. Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J. Sutherland, J. E.
Crooks, William Macpherson, J. T. Taylor, John W. (Durham)
Cross, Alexander M'Callum, John M. Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)
Davies, Ellis William (Eifion) McKenna, Rt. Hon, Reginald Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)
Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.) M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.) Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)
Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.) M'Micking, Major G. Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)
Duckworth, Sir James Maddison, Frederick Thompson, J. W. H. (Somerset, E.)
Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness) Markham, Arthur Basil Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)
Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne) Massie, J. Verney, F. W.
Dunne, Major E. Martin (Walsall) Masterman, C. F. G. Walsh, Stephen
Elibank, Master of Menzies, Sir Walter Walters, John Tudor
Evans, Sir S. T. Micklem, Nathaniel Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)
Ferens, T. R. Mond, A. Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.
Fiennes, Hon. Eustace Money, L. G. Chiozza Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)
Findlay, Alexander Montagu, Hon. E. S. Waterlow,D. S.
Fuller, John Michael F. Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall) Wedgwood, Josiah C.
Gibb, James (Harrow) Morrell, Philip White, J, Dundas (Dumbartonshire)
Gill, A. M. Morton, Alpheus Cleophas Wilkle, Alexander
Gladstone, Rt. Hon. Herbert John Murray, Capt. Hon. A. C. (Kincard.) Williams, J. (Glamorgan)
Glover, Thomas Myer, Horatio Williams, W. Llewelyn (Carmarthen)
Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford Napier, T. B. Wills, Arthur Walters
Greenwood, G. (Peterborough) Newnes, F. (Notts, Bassetlaw) Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)
Griffith, Ellis J. Norman, Sir Henry Wilson, J. W. (Worcestershire, N.)
Gulland, John W. O'Grady, J. Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)
Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B. O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.) Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
Hancock, J. G. Parker, James (Halifax) Wood, T. M'Kinnon
Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale) Partington, Oswald Yoxall, Sir James Henry
Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worcester) Pearson, W. H. M. (Suffolk, Eye)
Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N. E.) Pickersgill, Edward Hare
Haslam, James (Derbyshire) Pirie, Duncan V. TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Joseph Pease and Captain Norton.
Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth) Pointer, J.
Haworth, Arthur A. Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)
Acland-Hood, Rt. Hon. Sir Alex. F. Brocklehurst, W. B. Dairymple, Viscount
Anson, Sir William Reynell Burdett-Coutts, W. Davies, David (Montgomery Co.)
Arkwright, John Stanhope Butcher, Samuel Henry Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.
Ashley, W. W. Carlile, E. Hildred Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott-
Baldwin, Stanley Castlereagh, Viscount Doughty, Sir George
Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (City, Lond.) Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor) Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-
Banbuy, Sir Frederick George Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.) Du Cros, Arthur
Banner, John S. Harmood- Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Worc'r.) Faber, George Denison (York)
Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.) Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry Faber, Capt. W. V. (Hants, W.)
Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks Clive, Percy Archer Fell, Arthur
Beauchamp, E. Clyde, J. Avon Ferguson, R. C. Munro
Beck, A. Cecil Coates, Major E. F. (Lewisham) Fletcher, J. S.
Bridgeman. W. Clive Courthope, G. Loyd Forster, Henry William
Foster, P. S. Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham) Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)
Gardner, Ernest Long, Rt. Hon. Walter (Dublin, S.) Ronaldshay, Earl of
Gibbs, G. A. (Bristol, West) Lonsdale, John Brownlee Ropner, Colonel Sir Robert
Gooch, Henry Cubitt (Peckham) Lowe, Sir Francis William Rutherford, John (Lancashire)
Gordon, J. Lyttleton, Rt. Hon. Alfred Rutherford, Watson (Liverpool)
Goulding, Edward Alfred Magnus, Sir Philip Salter, Arthur Clavell
Guinness, Hon R. (Haggerston) Mark, G. Croydon (Launceston) Sheffield, Sir Berkeley George D.
Guinness, Hon. W. E. (B'y St. Edm'ds.) Mildmay, Francis Bingham Stanier, Beville
Hamilton, Marquess of Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen) Stanley, Hon. Arthur (Ormskirk)
Harris, Frederick Leverton Morpeth, Viscount Starkey, John R.
Hay, Hon. Claude George Morrison-Bell, Captain Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staffordshire)
Helmsley, Viscount Newdegate, F. A. Strauss, E. A. (Abingdon)
Henderson, J. McD. (Aberdeen, W.) Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield) Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)
Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert Oddy, John James Talbot, Rt. Hon. J. G. (Oxford Univ.)
Hill, Sir Clement O'Donnell, C. J. (Walworth) Tennant, Sir Edward (Salisbury)
Hills, J. W. Parker, Sir Gilbert (Gravesend) Valentia, Viscount
Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield) Parkes, Ebenezer Walker, Col. W. H. (Lancashire)
Hunt, Rowland Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington) Walrond, Hon. Lionel
Jones, Leif (Appleby) Peel, Hon. W. R. W. Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid.)
Joynson-Hicks, William Perks, Sir Robert William White, Sir Luke (York, E.R.)
Kennaway, Rt. Hon. Sir John H. Pretyman, E. G Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)
Kerry, Earl of Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E.R.)
Keswick, William Remnant, James Farquharson Younger, George
King, Sir Henry Seymour (Hull) Renton, Leslie
Lane-Fox, G. R. Renwick, George TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Sir F. Channing and Mr. Everett.
Law, Andrew Bonar (Dulwich) Ridsdale, E. A.
Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R. Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)

Sir W. ROBSON claimed to move: "That in respect of the words of the Clause to the word 'agricultural,' the Chair be empowered to select the Amendments to be proposed."

Question put, "That in respect of the words of the Clause to the word 'agricultural,' the Chair be empowered to select the Amendments to be proposed."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 201; Noes, 96.

Division No. 416.] AYES. [11.23 p.m.
Abraham, William (Rhondda) Duckworth, Sir James Jardine, Sir J.
Acland, Francis Dyke Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness) Johnson, John (Gateshead)
Ainsworth, John Stirling Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne) Johnson, W. (Nuneaton)
Balfour, Robert (Lanark) Dunne, Major E. Martin (Walsall) Jones, Leif (Appleby)
Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight) Elibank, Master of Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)
Barker, Sir John Evans, Sir S. T. Jowett, F. W.
Barnard, E. B. Everett, R. Lacey Kekewich, Sir George
Barnes, G. N. Ferens, T. R. Laidlaw, Robert
Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.) Ferguson, R. C. Munro Lambert, George
Beale, W. P. Fiennes, Hon. Eustace Lamont, Norman
Beauchamp, E. Findlay, Alexander Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich)
Beck, A. Cecil Fuller, John Michael F. Levy, Sir Maurice
Bellairs, Carlyon Gibb, James (Harrow) Lewis, John Herbert
Benn, W. (Tower Hamlets, St. Geo.) Gill, A. H. Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas
Berridge, T. H. D. Gladstone, Rt. Hon. Herbert John Lupton, Arnold
Brace, William Glover, Thomas Lyell, Charles Henry
Bramsdon, Sir T. A. Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)
Brocklehurst, W. B. Greenwood, G. (Peterborough) Maclean, Donald
Bryce, J. Annan Griffith, Ellis J. Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.
Burns, Rt. Hon. John Gulland, John W. Macpherson, J. T.
Burnyeat, W. J. D. Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B. McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald
Buxton, Rt. Hon. Sydney Charles Hancock, J. G. M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)
Byles, William Pollard Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale) M'Micking, Major G.
Bowerman, C. W. Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worcester) Maddison, Frederick
Carr-Gomm, H. W. Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N.E.) Markham, Arthur Basil
Causton, Rt. Hon. Richard Knight Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth) Marks, G. Croydon (Launceston)
Cawley, Sir Frederick Haworth, Arthur A. Massie, J.
Channing, Sir Francis Allston Hazel, Dr. A. E. Masterman, C. F. G.
Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R. Hedges, A. Paget Menzies, Sir Walter
Clough, William Helme, Norval Watson Micklem, Nathaniel
Collins, Sir Wm. J. (St. Pancras, W.) Henderson, Arthur (Durham) Mond, A.
Cooper, G. J. Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.) Money, L. G. Chiozza
Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow) Herbert, T. Arnold (Wycombe) Montagu, Hon. E. S.
Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinstead) Higham, John Sharp Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)
Cornwall, Sir Edwin A. Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H. Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)
Cowan, W. H. Hodge, John Morrell, Philip
Crooks, William Holland, Sir William Henry Morton, Alpheus Cleophas
Cross, Alexander Holt, Richard Darning Murray, Capt. Hon. A. C. (Kincard.)
Davies, David (Montgomery Co.) Hope, John Deans (Fife, West) Myer, Horatio
Davies, Ellis William (Eifion) Hope, W. Bateman (Somerset, N.) Napier, T. B.
Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.) Hudson, Walter Newnes, F. (Notts, Bassetlaw)
Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.) Hyde, Clarendon Norman, Sir Henry
Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P. Illingworth, Percy H. O'Donnell, C. J. (Walworth)
O'Grady, J. Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)
O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.) Russell, Rt. Hon. T. W. Thompson, J. W. H. (Somerset, E.)
Parker, James (Halifax) Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford) Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)
Partington, Oswald Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel) Verney, F. W.
Pearson, W. H. M. (Suffolk, Eye) Schwann, C. Duncan (Hyde) Walsh, Stephen
Pickersgill, Edward Hare Sears, J. E. Walters, John Tudor
Pirie, Duncan V. Seely, Colonel Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)
Pointer, J. Shackleton, David James Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.
Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.) Shipman, Dr. John G. Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)
Priestley, Arthur (Grantham) Silcock, Thomas Ball Waterlow, D S.
Raphael, Herbert H. Simon, John Allsebrook Wedgwood, Josiah C.
Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (Gloucester) Soames, Arthur Wellesley White, J. Dundas (Dumbartonshire)
Richards, Thomas (W. Monmouth) Soares, Ernest J. White, Sir Luke (York, E.R.)
Richards, T. F. (Wolverhampton, W.) Stanger, H. Y. Wilkie, Alexander
Richardson, A. Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N.W.) Williams, J. (Glamorgan)
Ridsdale, E. A. Stanley, Hon. A. Lyulph (Cheshire) Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarthen)
Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln) Steadman, W. C. Wills, Arthur Walters
Roberts, G. H. (Norwich) Strachey, Sir Edward Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)
Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs) Strauss, E. A. (Abingdon) Wilson, J. W. (Worcestershire, N.)
Robinson, S. Summerbell, T. Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)
Robson, Sir William Snowdon Sutherland, J. E. Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke) Taylor, John W. (Durham) Wood, T. M'Kinnon
Rogers, F. E. Newman Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)
Rose, Sir Charles Day Tennant, Sir Edward (Salisbury) TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Joseph Pease and Captain Norton.
Rowlands, J. Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)
Acland-Hood, Rt. Hon. Sir Alex. F. Gardner, Ernest Newdegate, F. A.
Anson, Sir William Reynell Gibbs, G. A. (Bristol, West) Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield)
Arkwright, John Stanhope Gooch, Henry Cubitt (Peckham) Oddy, John James
Ashley, W. W. Gordon, J. Parker, Sir Gilbert (Gravesend)
Baldwin, Stanley Goulding, Edward Alfred Parkes, Ebenezer
Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (City, Lond.) Guinness, Hon. R. (Haggerston) Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Guinness, Hon W. E. (B'y St. Edm'ds) Pretyman, E. G.
Banner, John S. Harmood- Hamilton, Marquess of Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel
Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.) Harris, Frederick Leverton Remnant, James Farquharson
Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks Hay, Hon. Claude George Renton, Leslie
Bridgeman, W. Clive Helmsley, Viscount Renwick, George
Burdett-Coutts, W. Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert T. Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)
Butcher, Samuel Henry Hill, Sir Clement Ronaldshay, Earl of
Carlile, E. Hildred Hills, J. W. Ropner, Colonel Sir Robert
Castlereagh, Viscount Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield) Rutherford, John (Lancashire)
Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor) Hunt, Rowland Rutherford, Watson (Liverpool)
Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.) Joynson-Hicks, William Salter, Arthur Clavell
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Worc'r.) Kennaway, Rt. Hon. Sir John H. Sheffield, Sir Berkeley George D.
Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry Kerry, Earl of Stanier, Bevilie
Clive, Percy Archer Keswick, William Stanley, Hon. Arthur (Ormskirk)
Clyde, J. Avon King, Sir Henry Seymour (Hull) Starkey, John R.
Coates, Major E. F. (Lewisham) Lane-Fox, G. R. Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staffordshire)
Courthope, G. Loyd Law, Andrew Bonar (Dulwich) Talbot, Rt. Hon. J. G. (Oxford Univ.)
Dairymple, Viscount Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R. Walker, Col. W. H. (Lancashire)
Dickson, Rt. Hon. Charles Scott- Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham) Walrond, Hon. Lionel
Doughty, Sir George Long, Rt. Hon. Walter (Dublin, S.) Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)
Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers- Lonsdale, John Browniee Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)
Du Cross, Arthur Philip Lowe, Sir Francis William Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
Faber, George Denison (York) Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E.R.)
Faber, Capt. W. V. (Hants, W.) Magnus, Sir Philip Younger, George
Fell, Arthur Mildmay, Francis Bingham
Forster, Henry William Morpeth, Viscount TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Viscount Valentia and Lord Edmund Talbot.
Foster, P. S. (Warwicks, S.W.) Morrison-Bell, Captain

By virtue of the decision of the Committee, I select the Amendment standing in the name of the hon. Member for North Paddington.


I beg to move to insert at the end of Sub-section 1 ["where the site value of the land does not exceed £50 per acre"] the following: "and in respect of land the site value of which exceeds £50 per acre, Undeveloped Land Duty shall be charged only upon such portion of the site value as exceeds £50 per acre."

The object of the Amendment, of course, is to graduate the tax over the £50 line. As the Bill stands its effect is that undeveloped land not worth more than £50 value per acre is not subject to the tax, and that land which exceeds £50 is subject to the tax in its entirety. By deducting £50 from all undeveloped land subject to the tax, one arrives at a slight gradation. If we take land valued at £60 per acre as the Bill stands it would pay 2s. 6d. If we take interest at 4 per cent, the hypothetical income of the £60 per acre is 48s., so that the 2s. 6d. is equal to an Income Tax of 1s. in the £. If we take £70, the hypothetical income is £2 16s., and again 1s. in the £ Income Tax. If my Amendment is accepted we arrive at a graduation that comes to this: On £60 per acre the equivalent Income Tax would be 2d. in the £; on £70 the tax would be 7d. in the £, so that one gets a graduation ranging from zero to the highest figure. This proposal is upon the same principle as the Income Tax is worked at present. We start with £160 a year: We do not make a man with £165 pay 9d. on the whole amount, while a man who has £160 pays nothing. What we do is we allow the man with £165 to deduct £160 first, and the result is that people with small moderate incomes have a real effective graduation. The principle in this Amendment is the same, and I venture to hope that the Government will accept it, because, while it does not secure a very decided graduation, it does at any rate prevent hardships and anomalies which would otherwise arise on an arbitrary line. In all cases where an arbitrary line is drawn, something ought to be done to shade the line. I beg to move.


I do not see that my hon. Friend's Amendment provided for any scheme of graduation whatever. You simply begin to tax on the whole value as soon as you have exempted £50 an acre, but you should always exempt the first £50 from taxation. I find the greatest difficulty in connecting my hon. Friend's mathematical calculation with that very simple proposal. There seems to me to be no reason why we should exempt land which is not devoted to agriculture which may possibly be vacant or unused land. There is no reason why we should exempt £50 an acre and tax the rest. It is only in regard to the agricultural value that we propose to make the exemption.

Question, "That those words be there inserted," put, and negatived.


There are no other Amendments I shall select before the point to which the decision of the Committee carries us.

Sir W. ROBSON moved, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to again sit."

Motion agreed to; Committee to sit again to-morrow (Wednesday).

Adjournment, — Resolved, That this House do now adjourn.—[Mr. Joseph Pease.]

Adjourned accordingly at Eighteen Minutes before Twelve o'clock