HC Deb 18 August 1909 vol 9 cc1489-501

In this Part of this Act the expression "land" does not include any incorporeal hereditament or tithe, or any rentcharge as defined by this Act:

The expression "rentcharge" includes tithe or tithe rentcharge, or other periodical payments or rendering in lieu of or in the nature of tithe, or any fee farm rent, rent seek, chief rent, rent of assize, or any other perpetual rent or annuity granted out of land:

The expression "rent" has the same meaning as in the Conveyancing and Law of Property Act, 1881, and does not include a rentcharge:

The expression "lease" includes an agreement for a lease, but does not include a term of years created solely for the purpose of securing money:

The term of a lease shall, where the lease contains a covenant to renew the lease, be deemed to be the period for which the lease may be renewed, and in the case of a lease for life or lives, shall be deemed to be a number of years equal to the mean expectation of life of the person for whose life the lease is granted, or in the case of a lease granted for lives, of the youngest of the persons for whose lives the lease is granted:

The expression "interest" in relation to land includes a reversion expectant on the determination of a lease, but does not include any other interest in expectancy or an incumbrance as defined by paragraph (vii) of Section two of the Conveyancing and Law of Property Act, 1881, or a lease for a term of years less than seven years:

The expression "owner" means the person entitled to the freehold of the land, except that where land is let on lease (not being a mining lease within the meaning of paragraph (xi) of Section two of the Conveyancing and Law of Property Act, 1881) for a term of which more than fifty years are unexpired, the lessee under the lease shall be deemed to be the owner instead of the person entitled to the freehold:

The expression "agriculture" includes the use of land as meadow or pasture land or woodland, or for market gardens, nursery grounds, or allotments, and the expression "agricultural land" shall be construed accordingly.

Mr. G. RENWICK (for Sir H. Kimber) moved in the first paragraph, after the word "Act" ["The expression 'land' does not include any incorporeal hereditament, or tithe, or any rentcharge as defined by this Act":] to insert the words "or any offices, flats, or chambers above the ground floor or basement of the building."

The object of this Amendment is to make it perfectly clear that the interest in the land does not include offices, flats, or chambers above the ground floor or basement of the building. The hon. Member for Wandsworth is anxious to make this perfectly clear, and I shall be pleased to hear from the Attorney-General that the expression "interest in land" does not include them.


The intention of the Government is that these separate tenements and flats shall not be deemed to be an interest in the land, but I think it would be better to settle the words rather more carefully. The words in the Amendment are not quite suitable. I hope the Committee will accept the assurance that the matter will be dealt with on Report, and perhaps the Amendment will now De withdrawn.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Sir E. CARSON moved in the first paragraph, after the word "Act" ["any rentcharge as defined by this Act"] to insert the words "or buildings or other structures on such land."

Considerable difficulty arose during the discussion of Clause 2 as to the circumstances under which land shall be deemed to be divested of structures and buildings, and with reference to certain Amendments the Government said they would reconsider the question as to how the matter should be treated, and see whether something clearer could not be put in on Report. I have put this Amendment down in order to suggest that the proper method of treating this divesting of the land of the buildings upon it would be upon the definition clause. The main purpose of these clauses is to tax land and not buildings, and it is with a view to that I have put this Amendment down.


I do not think the Definition Clause would be the proper place to deal with that matter, having regard to the use of the word "land" in other parts of the Bill.


The hon. and learned Gentleman has not taken into account the fact that the Government have undertaken to reconsider this question of the divesting of the land.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Amendment proposed in the second paragraph to omit the word "includes'["The expression 'rent-charge' includes tithe"], and to insert instead thereof the word "means."

Mr. WATSON RUTHERFORD moved to leave out from the same paragraph the word "perpetual" ["or any other perpetual rent "]. It is quite obvious there are a considerable number of rents and annuities which are not perpetual, but which come within the purview of this section.


I consider the Amendment quite unnecessary.


Under these circumstances, I withdraw.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE moved in the fourth paragraph, after the words, "The expression 'lease' includes an agreement for a lease," to insert the words "and underlease."


This is a mere drafting Amendment, as at present the Clause does not include underlease.


Has this been considered in relation to the previous provisions of the Bill, because it seems to me that apart from the question of valuation between the various parties, this may give rise to great difficulties as to how you are to value in the case of a lease and underlease?


It has been considered.

Amendment agreed to.

Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE moved, after the words in the same paragraph, "but does not include a term of years created solely for the purpose of securing money," to insert the words "until the term becomes vested in some person free from any equity of redemption."


This again is a drafting Amendment, and the paragraph will now read, "The expression 'lease' includes an agreement for a lease and underlease, but does not include a term of years created solely for the purpose of securing money, until the term becomes vested in some person free from the equity of redemption." In other words, where money is got by the creation of some long term of years, the mortgagee may foreclose and may become the owner.


This may be a matter of great importance, for the reason that very often in settlement, terms are created merely for raising and creating the money in settlement, and is it intended that if there is a term of that kind simply for securing money in settlement if it falls in it will be included? The words of the Attorney-General appear to cover it.


I think the right hon. and learned Gentleman will see that the clause does not include a term of years created solely for the purpose of securing money, but where the term of years is in the hands of the mortgagee, so that he comes within the words of the Amendment, it becomes vested in some person free from the equity of redemption. He may become the owner of the land for 500 years and then it is not for all the years that his term exists merely for the purpose of securing money. Where there is an equity of redemption it is merely for the purpose of securing money, but where the mortgagee has entered into possession of the land and becomes the owner for a term of years then it becomes a different matter.


It is impossible to argue a matter of this kind without having seen the Amendment, which is not on the Paper, and I am sure that considering the time we have spent upon it, and the time the Government have had for further consideration, it is a very slovenly way of doing business, that we should never have an opportunity of considering what the effect of these Amendments is. It not even has been given to us across the Table. I am bound to take What the hon. and learned Gentleman says, that it does not apply to a term created for the security of money, but supposing the term falls in?


As long as it is a term for securing money it comes within the words of the Bill as it now stands, but when once the security has been acted upon and the person entitled to enforce the term has done it, he becomes the owner of the land, and comes under the same tax.


Supposing the mortgagee forecloses and then the term falls in to the owner of the inheritance, on what amount would Reversion Duty be charged? Reversion Duty is charged on the value of the estate when the lease falls in less the consideration given for the lease. What in this case is the consideration given for the lease? I do not think that point can have been fully considered. I want also to support the protest against having these very important Amendments at half a minute's notice.


With regard to not giving notice of Amendments, I have frequently been the victim as well as the oppressor. We have without complaint had to receive a great many Amendments without notice. Those I have moved up to now have been purely drafting Amendments. I really cannot accept the suggestion of the hon. Member for Kingston (Mr. Cave) where the term is created in order to secure money. The term generally created for that purpose is 500 or 1,000 years. Now he says what is to happen if the term falls in? These terms will fall in at dates when we really need not trouble.

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

The Committee divided: Ayes, 192; Noes, 72.

Division No. 483.] AYES. [11.30 p.m.
Abraham, William (Rhondda) Burns, Rt. Hon. John Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)
Acland, Francis Dyke Buxton, Rt. Hon. Sydney Charles Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)
Adkins, W. Ryland D. Byles, William Pollard Elibank, Master of
Ainsworth, John Stirling Carr-Gomm, H. W. Essex, R. W.
Armitage, R. Causton, Rt. Hon. Richard Knight Esslemont, George Birnie
Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry Channing, Sir Francis Ailston Evans, Sir S. T.
Atherley-Jones, L. Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R. Everett, R. Lacey
Balfour, Robert (Lanark) Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S. Ferens, T. R.
Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight) Cleland, J. W. Ficnnes, Hon. Eustace
Barnard, E. B. Clough, William Fuller, John Michael F.
Barnes, G. N. Clynes, J. R. Gill, A. H.
Barran, Sir John Nicholson Cobbold, Felix Thornley Gladstone, Rt. Hon. Herbert John
Beauchamp, E. Collins, Stephen (Lambeth) Glendinning, R. G.
Beck, A. Cecil Cooper, G. J. Glover, Thomas
Benn, W. (Tower Hamlets, St. Geo.) Corbett, A. Cameron (Giasgow) Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford
Berridge, T. H. D. Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinstead) Gooch, George Peabody (Bath)
Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine Crooks, William Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)
Brace, William Crosfield, A. H. Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward
Bright, J. A. Curran, Peter Francis Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B.
Brooke, Stopford Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardigan) Hancock, J. G.
Brunner, Rt. Hon. Sir J. T. (Cheshire) Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.) Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale)
Bryce, J. Annan Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P. Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)
Buckmaster, Stanley O. Duckworth, Sir James Hardle, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)
Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale) M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.) Shipman, Dr. John G.
Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N.E.) M'Micking, Major G. Simon, John Allsebrook
Harwood, George Maddison, Frederick Stanley, Hon. A. Lyulph (Cheshire).
Haslam, James (Derbyshire) Mallet, Charles E. Stewart, Halley (Greenock)
Haworth, Arthur A. Markham, Arthur Basil Strachey, Sir Edward
Hazel, Dr. A. E. W. Marks, G. Croydon (Launceston) Strauss, E. A. (Abingdon)
Hazleton, Richard Mason, A. E. W. (Coventry) Summerbell, T.
Helme, Norval Watson Masterman, C. F. G. Taylor, John W. (Durham)
Henry, Charles S. Middlebrook, William Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)
Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon., S.) Montagu, Hon. E. S. Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)
Higham, John Sharp Morton, Alpheus Cleophas Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)
Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H. Murray, Capt. Hon. A. C. (Kincard.) Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)
Hodge, John Myer, Horatio Tomkinson, James
Holt, Richard Durning Napier, T. B. Toulmin, George
Hooper, A. G. Newnes, F. (Notts, Bassetlaw) Trevelyan, Charles Philips
Hope, W. H. B. (Somerset, N.) Nicholls, George Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander
Horniman, Emslie John Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncaster) Verney, F. W.
Howard, Hon. Geoffrey Norman, Sir Henry Villiers, Ernest Amherst
Hudson, Walter O'Grady, J. Vivian, Henry
Hyde, Clarendon G. O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.) Walsh, Stephen
Idris, T. H. W. Parker, James (Halifax) Walters, John Tudor
Jardine, Sir J. Partington, Oswald Wardle, George J.
Jenkins, J. Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek) Waring, Walter
Johnson, John (Gateshead) Pearce, William (Limehouse) Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.
Jones, William (Carnarvonshire) Pickersgill, Edward Hare Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)
Kekewich, Sir George Pointer, J. Watt, Henry A.
Laidlaw, Robert Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H. White, J. Dundas (Dumbartonshire))
Lambert, George Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.) Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)
Lamont, Norman Radford, G. H. Wiles, Thomas
Lehmann, R. C. Raphael, Herbert H. Wilkie, Alexander
Levy, Sir Maurice Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (Gloucester) Williams, J. (Glamorgan)
Lewis, John Herbert Roes, J. D. Williams, Sir Osmond (Merioneth)
Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David Richards, T. F. (Wolverhampton, W.) Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)
Lupton, Arnold Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln) Wilson, Henry J. (York, W.R.)
Luttrell, Hugh Fownes Rogers, F. E. Newman Wilson, J. W. (Worcestershire, N.)
Lynch, H. B. Rowlands, J. Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)
Macdonald J. R. (Leicester) Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
Mackarness, Frederic C. Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland) Winfrey, R.
Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J. Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)
Macpherson, J. T. Scarisbrick, Sir T. T. L. TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Joseph Pease and Captain Norton.
M'Callum, John M. Seely, Colonel
McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald Shackleton, David James
Acland-Hood, Rt. Hon. Sir Alex. F. Fletcher, J. S. Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)
Anson, Sir William Reynell Forster, Henry William Percy, Earl
Arkwright, John Stanhope Gardner, Ernest Pretyman, E. G.
Ashley, W. W. Gordon, J. Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel
Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (City, Lond.) Gretton, John Renton, Leslie
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Guinness, Hon. R. (Haggerston) Renwick, George
Banner, John S. Harmood- Hamilton, Marquess of Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)
Baring, Capt. Hon. G. (Winchester) Hill, Sir Clement Ronaldshay, Earl of
Bowles, G. Stewart Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield) Rutherford, Watson (Liverpool)
Bridgeman, W. Clive Hunt, Rowland Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)
Bull, Sir William James Joynson-Hicks, William Sheffield, Sir Berkeley George D,
Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H. Kerry, Earl of Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, E.)
Cave, George Keswick, William Smith, F. E. (Liverpool, Walton)
Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor) Lambton, Hon. Frederick William Stanier, Bevilie
Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.) Lane-Fox, G. R. Starkey, John R.
Clive, Percy Arthur Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R. Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staffordshire)
Clyde, J. Avon Long, Rt. Hon. Walter (Dublin, S.) Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)
Coates, Major E. F. (Lewisham) Lowe, Sir Francis William Walker, Col. W. H. (Lancashire)
Craig, Captain James (Down, E.) MacCaw, Wm. J. MacGeagh Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)
Craik, Sir Henry Magnus, Sir Philip Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)
Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott- Mason, James F. (Windsor)
Doughty, Sir George Morpeth, Viscount
Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers- Morrison-Bell, Captain TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Viscount Helmsley and Mr. J. W. Hills.
Du Cros, Arthur Parker, Sir Gilbert (Gravesend)
Faber, George Denison (York) Parkes, Ebenezer

Mr. F. W. LAMBTON moved in the fourth paragraph, after the word "money" ["for the purpose of securing money"] to insert the words "and does not include a yearly tenancy of land."

On the face of it, it looks as if a yearly tenancy could not be a lease, but I want to make sure that tenants of land for one year will not come in under the expression leases, because under the Agricultural; Holdings Act (1906), yearly tenancies practically become leases.


They are expressly excluded under each tax. In the Bill the Increment Tax is dealt with in Clause 1, which limits the term lease to seven years, which was afterwards made fourteen years. In the case of the Reversion Duty it is twenty-one years, and it is fourteen years in the case of undeveloped land. So these taxes cannot be charged in the case of yearly tenancies.


A single year lease becomes a perpetual lease under the Act of 1906.


The Act of 1906 does not by saying that turn a yearly tenancy into a perpetual lease.


If it is the intention of the Government that a yearly tenancy should be excluded it would be much better to accept this Amendment, which makes it clear.


We think it is quite clear.


If it is quite clear, I do not wish to press it.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Amendment made: To leave out the second word "be" ["deemed to be"] and to insert the word "include."—[Mr. Cave.]

Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE moved to leave out "paragraph (vii.) of Section two of the Conveyancing and Law Property Act, 1881, or," and to insert the words "this Act or any fixed charge as defined by this Act or any purely incorporeal hereditament (other than a profit a prendre not annexed to any other land) or any leasehold interest under."

Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."


Can the Chancellor of the Exchequer give any reason why this Amendment should not have been put on the Paper? On this side of the House a copy of every Amendment we have prepared has been furnished to the right hon. Gentleman, one to the Chairman, a third being retained in the hands of the Mover. I think a similar courtesy should be extended to us. These are very technical matters and require consideration.


I recognise that these are very difficult matters, but they are only drafting Amendments, most of them prepared in deference to the criticisms of hon. Gentlemen opposite. I regret that it was impossible to put this Amendment on the Paper, and that the hon. and gallant Gentleman was not supplied with a copy of it. It would have been better to put the Amendments on the Paper but we are working under very considerable pressure. I have accepted some of the Amendments of hon. Gentlemen opposite, though I have hardly had time to consider them. I have done my best to meet the position.


Would the right hon. Gentleman explain what this Amendment means?


The Amendment is wholly in favour I may say of the views put forward by hon. Gentlemen opposite. Frequent objection was taken during the course of Debate of the number of occasions upon which Increment Value Duty was to be collected. It was to be collected on the transfer of every interest in the land, and it was pointed out, and I must say I thought with some considerable force, that we were multiplying somewhat unduly the occasions upon which Increment Value Duty was to be collected, and that no particular loss would be incurred if we took larger amounts at less frequent intervals. We wish, therefore, to modify this clause in a very technical, but, I hope, not in an unintelligible manner. The expression "interest in relation to land" includes the determination of a lease, incumbrances, and other matters, and for the definition of incumbrances we borrowed from the Conveyancing Law on Property. Instead of going to the Conveyancing Act for our definition we propose to insert a definition of the word incumbrance which will come later on. When I say the proposed Amendment includes sporting rights, the importance of the words will be seen. They also include rights of common. It is not proposed to treat them as occasions of transfer for collection of duty, and it really means that detachable rights, like the rights of common or sporting rights, are not to be treated as occasions for collecting Increment Duty unless the holding to which they are attached is transferred. Of course, if you have got a sporting estate where the whole value is simply sporting rights, then you may value your sporting rights as if they were wholly detached, and charge increment on them, but if they are attached to the land then that is not an occasion on which you ascertain the amount.


I am bound to say perfectly honestly and frankly that I do not understand one word of what the Attorney-General has been talking about. Being well acquainted with the hon. and learned Gentleman, I know that when he understands anything, that is not his method of speaking; and if he were as candid with the Committee' as I am he would say that what he has read out is to him the merest gibberish. Really, we ought not to go on legislating in this way. In dealing with a serious Bill of this kind, affecting great interests, we have a right not merely to consider the effect of the Amendments, but also to see whether we should suggest Amendments to the Amendments. It is almost a scandal that brings the House into contempt that we should attempt to deal with these serious matters when hardly a single Member has any idea what they mean. It is a very poor excuse to say that the House was sitting all last night. I feel so strongly that we ought not to pass these matters without proper consideration that I beg to move "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."

Motion made and Question proposed, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."


This Amendment was put down at the request of the hon. Member for Aston Manor (Mr. Evelyn Cecil), who thought that sporting rights and sporting leases ought not to be made an occasion for taxation or any ground for ascertaining value. We agreed that that was reasonable. On the other hand, where there are sporting rights independently dealt with, which constitute the real value of an estate, they are on a different footing, and the Amendment is to deal with those—


A motion to Report Progress having been made, the hon. and learned Gentleman cannot now discuss the Amendment.


As the Attorney-General has said, these Amendments were really all promised to meet suggestions or criticisms on the other side of the House. I agree that if the right hon. Gentleman and those associated with him feel that they cannot accept the responsibility of accepting or criticising these Amendments without seeing them on the Paper, they are entitled to take that course. The only alternative I can suggest is that they should be accepted in this form. If they cannot see their way to accept that, because they are entitled to see the Amendments set down on the Paper, then I should like first of all to make the suggestion that the Amendments should be incorporated in the Clause at the present stage, reserving full opportunity for the Opposition, if they desire it at a later stage, for discussion.

12 P.M.


I quite accept the statement of the right hon. Gentleman, that the particular Amendment before us, probably some others—perhaps all the others for anything I know to the contrary —should be put on the Paper. I do not wish to be too strong on the matter, for the right hon. Gentleman has not really affected to make any excuse to the House. May I remind him that these promises were made weeks ago—on Clauses 1, 2, and 3 of the Bill. Why on earth the Amendments have not been put down on the Paper weeks ago I am utterly unable to understand. There is only one possible explanation which I can conceive is the real explanation—that the pressure of work upon the right, hon. Gentleman, upon the Attorney-General, upon the draughtsmen, and upon the officials of the Treasury has been so tremendous that they could not carry out their pledges, except in a very unsatisfactory and imperfect manner, in which they have done so. It is regrettable. Surely a severer commentary upon the manner in which this Bill has been conducted could not possibly be made. There can be no explanation of the procedure which the right hon. Gentleman himself admits, and now disarms opposition by offering absolutely no defence at all for. There could not be a fuller justification of the comments he has made from time to time as to the impossibility of getting this Committee, and those who serve this Committee outside the House, to do their work under conditions in which the work is attempted to be done. I do not wish to press the matter just now. The Question before the House is what we ought to do. I understand the. Government are disposed to postpone she Scottish Clause, and I should think that the best plan would be for them to defer at the same time the further consideration of this Clause. I do not wish to drive that suggestion to the extreme, but I think that would be the proper course. If the Government do not approve of that, and if they have any more manuscript Amendments, I think it would save time if they postponed them. I do not pretend in the speeches and the Motions I have made that my desire always was to help the Government. I make no such pretence, nor would I be believed if I did; but I honestly say to the Government now if they have other Amendments in manuscript dealing with technical matters it would be better they adjourned them with the Scottish Clauses.


I think the Opposition are entitled in the circumstances to make that request, and, indeed, to demand from the Government that their views should prevail under these conditions. If they feel they are not in a position to Criticise manuscript Amendments which are highly, technical I will consent to the Motion.

Question put, "That the Chairman do Report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."

Motion agreed to; Committee to sit again upon Tuesday, 31st August.

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

Adjourned accordingly at Three minutes after Twelve o'clock.