§ Order for consideration, as amended in Committee of the Whole House, read.
§ The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER (Mr. Lloyd-George)
I have a Motion on the Paper to recommit the Bill with a view to enabling the House to discuss a particular matter. I understand that there is a difficulty as to moving at this particular stage, and, therefore, with the leave of the House, I do not propose to move the Motion for recommittal at this stage; but if the Opposition find that they have not got an opportunity in the course 137 of the Debate on the Report stage to discuss the Tobacco Duties, I shall then propose to recommit later on, when we get through the Report stage. I find there is an insuperable difficulty in moving the Motion at this stage.
§ Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE
I may move formally, but I could not proceed with it, and I should ask leave to withdraw.
§ Mr. A. J. BALFOUR
On a point of Order. May I ask whether the formal moving of the Motion from the Chair that the Bill be recommitted would prevent that being moved at a later stage if the contingency contemplated by the Chancellor of the Exchequer were to arise, and whether there is any formal difficulty if the Motion is moved to-day in moving it again, say, next week?
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I do not think so. It is quite clear that if the Motion were withdrawn, the Motion could be renewed at a subsequent stage. If the Motion to recommit were negatived I think it could not be renewed in the middle of the Report stage, but that it might be renewed at the conclusion of the Report stage or at the beginning of the Third Reading.
§ Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE
That is my suggestion. I would suggest it is better it should not be put. I shall see that the Opposition are provided with an opportunity of debating the matter. They are entitled to ask of the Government such an opportunity should be taken for debating the matter. I should certainly proceed with it now, but I find the difficulty is insuperable. If the Opposition find opportunities are not satisfactorily given for Debate, then I shall move for the recommittal of the Bill.
§ Mr. BALFOUR
By leave of the House I may say that in the situation it seems to me that the course proposed is the least inconvenient. I understand if he were to move it to-day in accordance with the original suggestion he made, he might find he was unable to continue the business or discussion of the Report stage to-day should the discussion of the recommittal finish before the termination of the business. That would result in a waste of Parliamentary time at a moment when 138 nobody desires unnecessarily to prolong the work of Parliament. Therefore, so far as I may speak for my Friends, I should assent to the suggestion made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
§ Mr. WATSON RUTHERFORD
I have been listening to your ruling, and endeavouring to follow what fell from the Chancellor of the Exchequer and from the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition, and I find it rather difficult to apply the arguments to the position. I have no desire at all to prevent the House from proceeding later to-day with the Report stage of the Bill, and if my Motion would not have that effect then I would proceed to move it. I desire to consult the convenience of the House.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
The mere moving of the Motion will not prevent the Report stage coming on at a subsequent period to-day, but if the hon. Gentleman is fortunate enough to get the assent of the House to it, and if a discussion were to take place in Committee on Part I., we could not then enter on the Report stage on the same day.
§ Mr. WATSON RUTHERFORD
I shall move "That the Bill be recommitted in respect of Part I."
I am afraid if it were pressed I could hardly hope to have anything except the Motion agreed to, because there appears to be very little answer to it. We were in Committee on the land clauses, namely, Part I. of this Bill, for about three months, and we disposed of a very considerable amount of matter that was not in the original Bill. Now we find on meeting here to-day to proceed with the Report stage of the first part of the Bill that there are 139 new Amendments put down by the Government. Of course it may be at once admitted that by far the greater proportion of those 139 new Amendments are purely drafting Amendments, and another very large proportion of the 139 are matters which the Government promised to attend to when the Bill came up on Report stage. We have examined the Amendments very carefully, and we are bound to admit that almost in every case where the Government did make a promise they have in some shape or other done something towards trying to carry that promise out. But the total effect of the position is that we have 139 new Amendments now before us given notice of by the Government which were not in the Bill, either in its original state or when it left Committee. Some of these 139 matters are of extreme importance, the great majority, of course, of them are not. I should be out of order to discuss the merits of any of those, but I want to refer to two of the points as illustrations of my meaning and of the position. One is the position of mortgagees. The question of the mortgagee, existing and future, and his position in reference to land came before the Committee several times, and eventually on the undeveloped land part of the Bill, in reply to an Amendment of mine, a clause was drawn up by the Government draftsman and inserted as an agreed clause. I now find that that clause is to be radically altered by Government Amendments. In addition to that, the Government promised that we should have a comprehensive clause dealing with the position of the mortgagee as regards Increment Duty, Reversion Duty, Undeveloped Land Duty, and Mineral Bights Duty; but only with regard to one of those taxes has that pledge been carried out. The other illustration is that when the Bill was in Committee it was pointed out that in assessing site value allowance must be made for the land given up by the landowner for the purpose of roads. That was fought by the Government and refused by them on several occasions. They took no less than four Divisions against our Amendments on that point, but we find to our astonishment that they now propose to put into a clause entirely new words dealing with the important question of the dedication of land for roads. Seeing that in the development of land for building 23 or 29 per cent. of the land has to be given up for roads and passages, it is a most important element whether that land is to be taken into account in estimating the price for the purpose of site value or any other of the nine different kinds of value to which we have now to refer in the Bill.
Upon that and a number of other points the Amendments now before us constitute practically a new state of affairs which has not been considered in Committee or dealt with at all, and at what the Chancellor of the Exchequer calls the "sandpapering" stage we find ourselves faced with a box of absolutely rough-hewn timber. It is an impossible position in which we are placed. We acknowledge to the full the skill with which the Government have attempted to carry out a large number of the promises made by them in this marvellously complicated measure; but what we complain of is that there are upwards 140 of 20 Amendments of which the subject-matter has not been considered in Committee at all. Unless the Bill is recommitted all these important matters, which, under the forms of the House ought to be properly investigated in Committee, will not have been so investigated, and we shall have to deal with them at the last stage, when, so far as we are concerned, anything we do is final. Having had some considerable experience of the difficulty and intricacy of these land questions, I think the addition of so much unsifted new matter is a very impolitic proceeding, and one which the House should be loath to allow. Upon these general principles I beg to move that the Bill be recommitted in respect of Part I.
§ Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE
The hon. and learned Member has stated that there are 139 Amendments on Part I. That is only technically correct.
§ Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE
As a matter of fact, I should doubt whether there are really more than 20 or 30 Amendments. For instance, to make one Amendment it may be necessary to move the omission of "and" at one point, the insertion of "of" at another, and so on. You may-have to move out one set of words three or four times. For instance, the words "the fee simple of" have to be inserted half a dozen times, and the hon. Member counts that as six Amendments, when as a matter of fact it is only one. The Amendments are really within a very small compass. A good many are repetitions, and a large number are purely verbal. The hon. Member contends that these Amendments justify the recommittal of the Bill. As far as the vast majority are concerned, they are purely drafting Amendments, such as the insertion of the words "the fee simple of," made in deference to the criticisms of legal Members in Committee. Every Amendment of substance is the redemption of a definite pledge made by the Government during the Committee stage. The hon. Member says there are 20 Amendments containing absolutely new matter. I should like to know where they are. I am certain I could explain that they contain nothing of the kind. I cannot recall a single Amendment containing new matter introduced for the first time. The hon. Member referred particularly to the question of 141 mortgagees. He complained, in the first place, that the Government had conceded practically everything he asked for. Why he should complain of that I do not know. He also says that we divided four times against the proposal. We never divided against the substance of the Amendment. We objected to the form, and promised to introduce Amendments dealing with the matter. Again, on the question of roads, we divided against particular Amendments before the Committee because we could not accept them, and we have not accepted them now. I am very gratified to find that the hon. Member admits quite frankly that every pledge we gave we have made a real attempt to deal with.
§ Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE
I take full note of what he said. A note was taken of every pledge given by the Government; we went through them all, and I think it will be found that in the vast majority of cases we have put down Amendments to deal with the points. There may be one or two cases which we promised to consider where we thought, on examination, there was no substance; but there are very few of those. I think it will be found that we have made a real attempt to redeem every pledge given. I want the House to realise we are introducing no new matter. If the hon. and learned Gentleman can point out to me any case where we are introducing absolutely new matter, which is not drafting, then I agree that he, at any rate, will have taken the first step in making a case. The redemption of pledges—it may be an inadequate redemption—has been our object. I should like the House to realise that whereas there are nominally about 250 Amendments to the Bill, there are in reality only 40 or 50, the rest being component parts of the same Amendments.
§ Mr. GOULDING
I think the right hon. Gentleman will not gainsay me when I say that very far-reaching Amendments and alterations of the Bill were made during the Committee stage which have entirely altered the position of the Bill, so far as its finances are concerned. The whole revenue is materially altered. The right hon. Gentleman promised that he would make a statement on the revised estimate of the revenue to be derived from the several taxes. It does really seem to me, before we go into the Report stage, that it is only common-sense, if not essential, that we should have in our possession all 142 these material alterations and that we equally should know how far those changes made and accepted by the Government vary from the original estimate made by the right hon. Gentleman when he introduced the Budget. I intended to ask the right hon. Gentleman a question, and I think it would be a great convenience to the House if the right hon. Gentleman could see his way to make some statement in regard to the matter.
§ Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE
I certainly proposed to make a statement showing the present financial position according to the estimates up to the moment. I hope during the present week to make that statement. I have it prepared. But I should like to make an explanatory statement before I present the accompanying document and circulate it.
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
I think we all recognise on this side of the House—I make the acknowledgment publicly—that the Chancellor and his colleagues have made a real endeavour to carry out the various promises and undertakings which they made during the passage of the Bill through Committee by the Amendments which they have put down for consideration on the Report stage. But I am bound to say that I do not think they have quite fulfilled the expectations they aroused in respect to the particular matter alluded to by my hon. Friend the Member for Worcester (Mr. Goulding). The Chancellor will remember that in the course of debate on more than one occasion, I think, he promised us that we should have such a statement of the revised estimate before we began the consideration of the Report stage. Some of us have been looking very anxiously for that promised statement in order to see what is the position in which we now stand. I, for one, confess that there are many points in regard to the Finance Bill as it now exists in which I am in great doubt. It is all very well for the Chancellor to say that his Amendments are mere drafting. I venture to say that anyone who will take the trouble to try and follow the Bill which he originally introduced, and to say how much of that Bill now remains, what is the effect of the changes introduced in Committee, and what will be the effect of the other changes which the Government 143 propose to introduce during the Report stage, will find that he has taken on an occupation of the most difficult, complicated, and vexatious kind. It is one that almost requires a skilled interpreter of the law to follow out with any prospects of success. If that be true of the Amendments, it is quite true of the Finance Bill. Laymen in the House ought to be able to understand the Finance Bill. But there is not a man in this House, except it be the Chancellor, or those in confidential touch with him, who can say what is the estimated revenue which may be fairly expected from the provisions of the Bill as the Government have amended it, or propose to amend it.
The Budget statement of the right hon. Gentleman was made many months ago. But it is not time only that has passed over. The Bill has been affected by discussion. The Chancellor has found it impossible to maintain many of his original proposals. He has from time to time made concessions or alterations as to the financial effect of which we have but the most shadowy information, if any information has been vouchsafed at all. Again and again the Chancellor has refrained from giving any information, or has declined—quite politely, but firmly—saying that it was impossible for him to deal with each of these little details by itself. He must, of course, revise the whole of his Estimates in view of what has happened, but it would have been desirable if we could have had his statement in our hands before we were asked to enter upon the Report stage. In the course of debate the Chancellor gave a promise that these figures should be available before the Report stage. I do not want to exaggerate the importance of the matter, but it is of importance to the House that the Members should know, at the earliest possible opportunity, what the total effect of the right hon. Gentleman's changes will be. While it is also very desirable that when the Chancellor has made his statement that we should have the opportunity to discuss it—if necessary. What I had in my mind was that during the short recess a White Paper would have been circulated, and that we should then have come with the information and have taken an opportunity such as the present of asking for further explanations, or to make any criticisms we had without materially delaying the proceedings of the Committee. What I 144 say at the present time is that we may require to discuss the statement which the Chancellor of the Exchequer makes, or, at any rate, discuss it when we have seen it in print, and had time to take in its full effect. I hope the Government will recognise that this is not an unreasonable request, and will give us the opportunity if we ask for it. As regards the Amendments, I will not travel over the ground covered by my hon. Friend (Mr. Watson Rutherford). I wish to take another illustration, but before I do so let me say that I agree with the Chancellor of the Exchequer that you cannot measure the substances of the changes by merely counting the number of the Amendments. But that is an observation the force of which the Government sometimes forgets. I remember the Chancellor at an earlier stage of our proceedings saying there are so many hundreds of Amendments on the Paper, and how are we ever to make progress unless we take such and such a drastic step. The right hon. Gentleman did not then wait to see whether some of them were duplicate or whether they were drafting; he merely counted the number. Times are changed, and now it is the Chancellor of the Exchequer who has himself put the Amendments on the Paper, and he begs us not to be misled by their number, and observes that many of them are merely drafting, and that the introduction of a particular word in one place necessitates changes in half a dozen other places, and that in fact the 150 that apply to this particular part of the Bill might, as far as substance is concerned, be reduced to 20 or 30.
I have not gone into the exact number of the Amendments of substance, and I therefore neither pledge myself to this number nor do I dispute it; he probably has looked into them carefully, but when he goes on to say that these Amendments are all of them put down in order to meet objections raised from this side of the House, and are almost all of them in the nature of concessions to objections raised by us, I then begin to wonder whether the right hon. Gentleman has really gone over the White Paper which shows what the Bill will be if the Government Amendments are accepted. Has he even looked at his new Clause 25, which is the Definition Clause defining the values of land? We had previously in the old Definition Clause, which was Clause 14 and has now become Clause 25, the total value of the land and the site value of the land. We had site value at the time when the tax 145 became payable, and original site value, but we have something quite different now in the amended Clause. We have gross value and full value and full site value, two things never mentioned before. We have got total value, which is now something quite different from what it was when the Bill passed out of Committee; and last we have assessable site value—for what reason I do not know. Now that Clause, Which is the basis Clause of the whole of this part of the Bill, is profoundly altered by the Amendments which the Government have put down, and these Amendments are not concessions to us, and what their objects are I do not pretend to say.
§ Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE
There was a speech by the Leader of the Opposition on that very point, and if the right hon. Gentleman only looks it up he will see the passage. The Leader of the Opposition criticised the number of site values we had, and pointed out their number. We simply met the complaint by giving distinctive names to what were already in existence.
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
Could we have a more interesting comment on the way this Government attempt to legislate? They bring in a Bill into Committee which says there are to be two kinds of value—gross value and site value—and carry through the Committee on that assumption.—[An HON. MEMBER: "Total value and site value."]—Yes, I beg pardon, it is awfully difficult to follow through the windings of the Government. They bring in a Bill which deals with total value and site value, and when we say that these things are not plain they say we are wilfully complaining, we are making mountains out of molehills, and we are wasting the time of the House in attempting to clear the matter up, and having carried their Bill through Committee on the basis of total value and site value they then bring in on Report a series of new proposals, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer now says that under the head of total values we included a series of values which were quite different, and under the head of site values there are included a series of values which never would have occurred to the Government to specify but for the speech of the Leader of the Opposition.
After refusing to confess themselves converted by my right hon. Friend they bring down a series of new terminology in order to distinguish between entirely different things, which they previously lumped together under the same head. Never before 146 has this House seen such a confused, ill-considered, unworkable piece of legislation as that which the Government presented when the Finance Bill was brought before us. I daresay, when we find exactly what the Government now mean, why total value is now entirely different in meaning to what it was in the Committee stage of the Bill, and why other things were introduced, we may find that they are changes for the better, and not for the worse, but it is absurd for the Chancellor of the Exchequer to say that these are not changes of substance, or that they are merely concessions to points urged by the Opposition.
I do not care very much whether the Bill is recommitted or not. I suppose any of us, if we consulted our personal convenience after a Session which has now lasted into the middle of October, would be desirous of getting rid of this Bill as quickly as possible, but I am bound to say if the Government think they can turn out a workmanlike measure by amending this Bill as it now stands upon Report stage, I profoundly differ from them. I do not believe that anything short of the recommittal of the Bill would enable the Government, even with the goodwill of the whole House, to make this a watertight Bill or to make it legislation of the kind which ought to emanate from this House; above all when, in respect of such legislation, very high claims are made for the sole authority of this House to deal with it or to amend it. I make that observation for myself; I do not much care whether the Government recommit the Bill or not. If they recommit it, it may be made a rather less bad Bill and a more easily workable Bill than if we were to deal with these Amendments on Report. All I say is that to pretend that the changes which the Government are proposing to make are not changes of vast substance, and that they are not changes at any rate which make it extremely difficult to follow the intentions of the Government or the history of the Bill, is to ask the House to believe something which no Member who has taken the trouble to compare the Bill and the Amendments would for one moment accept.
§ 4.0 P.M.
§ Mr. JAMES HOPE
The Chancellor of the Exchequer stated that all the points have been met upon which assurances were given during the Committee stage. In one respect that statement is inaccurate. I do not blame the right hon. Gentleman 147 for it, because he was not in the House at the time. The point I allude to is an appeal under what was originally Clause 11, which is now Clause 17. The words appear at the bottom of page 14 of the new draft of the Bill. The matter was debated at some length, and I remember that there was a general concensus of opinion on both sides of the House that there should be some form of appeal. We were not quite agreed as to what form it should take, and the point
§ was not pressed because there was a general agreement upon it. That point the Government have not met. The only Amendment proposed by the Government on this point is a purely drafting one. I do not press my point further, but I am quite certain there was a distinct understanding in regard to this appeal, and it has not been met by the Government.
§ Question put, "That the Bill be recommitted in respect of Part I."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 80; Noes, 180.149
|Division No. 805.]||AYES.||[4.5 p.m.|
|Acland-Hood, Rt. Hon. Sir Alex. F.||Fletcher, J. S.||Pretyman, E. G.|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Forster, Henry William||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major||Gibbs, G. A. (Bristol, West)||Renton, Leslie|
|Ashley, W. W.||Gordon, J.||Renwick, George|
|Balcarres, Lord||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Guinness, Hon. W. E. (B. S. Edmunds)||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (City, Lond.)||Hamilton, Marquess of||Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Harrison Broadley, H. B.||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley George D.|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Heaton, John Henniker||Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East)|
|Bignold, Sir Arthur||Helmsley, Viscount||Stanier, Beville|
|Bowles, G. Stewart||Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert||Starkey, John R.|
|Bull, Sir William James||Hill, Sir Clement||Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staffordshire)|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Hills, J. W.||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Hunt, Rowland||Talbot, Rt. Hon. J. G. (Oxford Univ.)|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.)||Kimber, Sir Henry||Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Lanark)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Worc'r)||Lambton, Hon. Frederick William||Valentia, Viscount|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham)||Walrond, Hon. Lionel|
|Clark, George Smith||Long, Rt. Hon. Walter (Dublin, S.)||Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thomas H. A. E.||M' Arthur, Charles||Wilicughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Courthope, G. Loyd||Magnus, Sir Philip||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E.R.)|
|Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.)||Moore, William||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Morrison-Bell, Captain||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Newdegate, F. A.||Younger, George|
|Doughty, Sir George||Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield)|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Oddy, John James||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Watson Rutherford and Mr. G. D. Faber.|
|Faber, Captain W. V. (Hants, W.)||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)|
|Fell, Arthur||Percy, Earl|
|Abraham, W. (Cork, N.E.)||Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale)|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Cleland, J. W.||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)|
|Allen, Charles P. (Stroud)||Clough, William||Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worcester)|
|Ambrose, Robert||Cobbold, Felix Thornley||Hart-Davies, T.|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)|
|Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth)||Collins, Sir Wm. J. (St. Pancras, W.)||Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N.E.)|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Haslam, James (Derbyshire)|
|Barker, Sir John||Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinstead)||Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)|
|Barnard, E. B.||Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Haworth, Arthur A.|
|Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.)||Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Hazel, Dr. A. E. W.|
|Beale, W. P.||Cox, Harold||Hazleton, Richard|
|Beck, A. Cecil||Crosfield, A. H.||Hedges, A. Paget|
|Belloc, Hilaire Joseph Peter R.||Curran, Peter Francis||Henry, Charles S.|
|Bethell, T. R. (Essex, Maldon)||Dalziel, Sir James Henry||Herbert, T. Arnold (Wycombe)|
|Black, Arthur W.||Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.)||Higham, John Sharp|
|Boland, John||Dickinson, W. H. (St. Pancras, N.)||Hobart, Sir Robert|
|Bottomley, Horatio||Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.|
|Boulton, A. C. F.||Erskine, David C.||Hodge, John|
|Brace, William||Essex, R. W.||Holland, Sir William Henry|
|Branch, James||Esslemont, George Birnie||Holt, Richard Durning|
|Brigg, John||Evans. Sir S. T.||Hope, John Deans (Fife, West)|
|Bright, J. A.||Everett, R. Lacey||Hope, W. H. B. (Somerset, N.)|
|Brunner, J. F. L. (Lancs., Leigh)||Fenwick, Charles||Idris, T. H. W.|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Ferens, T. R.||Johnson, John (Gateshead)|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Fuller, John Michael F.||Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Ginnell, L.||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. Sydney Charles||Glendinning, R. G.||Keating, M.|
|Byles, William Pollard||Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Kekewich, Sir George|
|Cameron, Robert||Gooch, George Peabody (Bath)||King, Alfred John (Knutsford)|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)||Laidlaw, Robert|
|Cheetham, John Frederick||Gulland, John W.||Layland-Barratt, Sir Francis|
|Leese, Sir Joseph F. (Accrington)||Parker, James (Halifax)||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich)||Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Stanley, Hon. A. Lyulph (Cheshire)|
|Lever, W. H. (Cheshire, Wirral)||Philipps, Owen C. (Pembroke)||Steadman, W. C|
|Levy, Sir Maurice||Pickersgill, Edward Hare||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Lewis, John Herbert||Pollard, Dr.||Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)|
|Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Lynch, A. (Clare, W.)||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)||Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr)|
|Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)||Radford, G. H.||Thorne, William (West Ham)|
|M'Micking, Major G.||Raphael, Herbert H.||Tomkinson, James|
|Marnham, F. J.||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Massie, J.||Rees, J. D.||Villiers, Ernest Amherst|
|Masterman, C. F. G.||Rendall, Athelstan||Walters, John Tudor|
|Menzies, Sir Walter||Richards, Thomas (W. Monmouth)||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)|
|Molteno, Percy Alport||Richards, T. F. (Wolverhampton, W.)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Montagu, Hon. E. S.||Richardson, A.||Watt, Henry A.|
|Mooney, J. J.||Ridsdale, E. A.||Weir, James Galloway|
|Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)||White, J. Dundas (Dumbartonshire)|
|Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)||White, Sir Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Morse, L. L.||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)||Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)|
|Myer, Horatio||Robson, Sir William Snowdon||Wiles, Thomas|
|Napier, T. B.||Roch, Waiter F. (Pembroke)||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Nolan, Joseph||Rogers, F. E. Newman||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|Norman, Sir Henry||Rose, Sir Charles Day||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W.R.)|
|O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Russell, Rt. Hon. T. W.||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|O'Donnell, C. J. (Walworth)||Sears, J. E.||Wood, T. M' Kinnon|
|O'Grady, J.||Seely, Colonel|
|O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)||Sherwell, Arthur James||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. Joseph Pease and Captain Norton.|
|O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.)||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
§ Bill, as amended, considered.
§ Provision for Case of Ecclesiastical Persons.
§ (1) Where any land or interest in land in respect of which Increment Value Duty on the occasion of any transfer on sale or Reversion Duty is charged is part of the endowment of, or belongs to, a see, deanery, canonry, or benefice, and the archbishop, bishop, dean, canon, or incumbent (as the case may be) is the person who is liable to pay any sum on account of either of these duties, it shall be lawful for the archbishop, bishop, dean, canon, or incumbent (as the case may be) to borrow and for Queen Anne's Bounty, if they shall think fit, upon his request, to lend upon the security of the possessions of the see, deanery, canonry, or benefice, for a term not exceeding twenty years, any amount paid by him, or which he may then be liable to pay in respect of either of these duties, and the amount of any expenditure which he may have reasonably incurred in connection with the valuation, or any part of such respective amounts; and where the Ecclesiastical Commissioners or Queen Anne's Bounty hold any funds for such see, deanery, canonry, or benefice it shall be lawful for them, if they shall think fit, to pay thereout all or any part of such amounts as aforesaid.
§ (2) The term "benefice" in this Section shall have the same meaning as in the Ecclesiastical Dilapidations Act, 1871. A security made under the provisions of this 150 Section shall be in such form as Queen Anne's Bounty may approve, and Queen Anne's Bounty shall, as regards the recovery of the sums due upon the said security, have the same remedies against the dean, canon, or incumbent, and their respective successors, and against the property comprised in the security, as if the advance had been made for repairing or rebuilding under the provisions of the Acts contained in the Second Schedule to the Ecclesiastical Dilapidations Act, 1871, and the Acts referring to or amending the same, and the provisions of the said Acts with respect to the registration of mortgages and to the proportioning of payments in the case of death or avoidance, and to stamps and fees of offices, and to the priority of sequestrations, shall apply to securities made under the authority of this Section as if the said provisions had, mutatis mutandis, been repeated herein. This proposal is to enable the Church to make domestic arrangements itself for the purpose of preventing the incidence of this tax falling upon the income of persons who are very little fit to bear such a sudden and a heavy charge. This Amendment has been drawn by a skilled adviser of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners in the best interests of the Church itself, and I believe it to be absolutely necessary. The House understands that the incumbents of these various ecclesiastical dignitaries are in the position of tenants for life, who have no remainder man or trustee in whom is invested the inheritance which could be charged to 151 meet these expenses out of capital. In Clause 39 of the revised Bill there is a provision enabling tenants for life to charge this kind of sudden charges arising where there is an increment upon a sale by deed upon the land or interest in land under the Settled Land Act of 1882. I think, however, the Attorney-General will scan the Settled Land Act of 1882 in vain to bring in the case of the incumbent of an ecclesiastical benefice of any ecclesiastical dignity which is only held for life subject to very serious liabilities for dilapidations and charges for upkeep. Some such clause as this must be inserted in this Bill, otherwise a great hardship will be inflicted. For these reasons I hope the Government will give my proposal favourable consideration.
§ Question proposed: "That the Clause be read a second time."
§ Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE
I think this Amendment must have been drafted before the adviser of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners saw the Amendments put down by the Government, which place these charges in the same position as other charges. Therefore, the right hon. Gentleman will find that his proposal is quite unnecessary. If a clergyman had to pay the Corporation Duty once every 15 years I can quite understand he might be placed in a difficulty, and it might be necessary to go through the process suggested, but now he is only charged where he sells or leases. Where he sells, the money will come under the proceeds, and when he leases the money will still come out of the proceeds. For these reasons the Amendment of the right hon. Gentleman is quite unnecessary. But for the Amendments which the Government have put down there might have been some doubt on this point.
§ Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE
It is the old Clause 25 and new Clause 37, and it includes any corporation sole. Therefore, all these ecclesiastical gentlemen enumerated by the right hon. Gentleman in his new Clause would be safeguarded by the insertion of those words. I quite agree that if they were charged the duty every 15 years there might be very good reason for inserting a provision of this kind, but now it is quite unnecessary.
§ Mr. E. G. PRETYMAN
I do not quite understand how it will cover the case of a lease. Where the land is actually sold, the purchase money would be available out of which to pay the tax, but where a building lease is granted in respect of glebe land, and where payment for that is an annual payment over a term of 99 years, there would be a considerable capital sum to pay, and there would be no available sum out of which it could be paid. The same would apply to the capital increment on minerals before the minerals are worked. In both cases Increment Value Duty will be payable by a corporation sole, and by a clergyman, or by an incumbent of any benefice, and there will be no capital fund from which the duty can be paid. It, therefore, does seem to me that the Clause moved is desirable.
§ Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE
I think the hon. and gallant Gentleman will find that case is provided for. We inserted an Amendment in order to deal with that special case, so that when a lease is granted, although the increment is capitalised upon the basis of the rent, still the amount is calculated by instalments. The hon. Member for Brighton raised that very point, and we met him by providing that the lessors in those cases should be in a position to pay by instalments. That is exactly what would happen with regard to the incumbent. He would not pay at the time of the granting of the lease. The provision inserted providing for collection by instalments in the case of a lease would cover the case of an incumbent. By putting the incumbent in the position of an ordinary corporation, his case is amply safeguarded in all these matters. The same thing would apply in the case of mineral rights. There he would pay by instalments. The proviso, which I think amply safeguards the incumbent, is to be found in Clause 4, Sub-section (5), and it reads as follows:—
"Regulations may be made by the Commissioners with respect to the mode in which any instrument is to be presented to them in order to be dealt with under this Section, and for the payment of any Increment Value Duty by instalments in the case of any lease or transfer on sale where the consideration is in the form of a periodical payment."
§ Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE
That would be a very unusual case. I should doubt very 153 much whether there will be any oases of that kind. They would be so exceptional that they are hardly worth dealing with.
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
I think if my hon. Friend (Mr. Watson Rutherford) wanted any justification for the Motion just rejected it would be afforded by this discussion. This is a discussion of a point which ought to have been dealt with in Committee.
§ Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE
The right hon. Gentleman is quite wrong. It is now raised for the very first time, and I might complain that it was not raised in Committee. I think it was the duty of those who speak on behalf of the gentleman whose interests are involved to have raised it in Committee. I do not complain of it, but it is not for the right hon. Gentleman to complain of the Government.
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
I will put it that our recollections differ. I do not think it is pure imagination on my part when I say that I heard the position of the incumbent in respect of his glebe land raised in Committee. My hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool (Mr. Watson Rutherford) confirms my recollection. He says it was raised once or twice.
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
That is the point. Have you dealt with it? You have dealt with a portion, but not with the rest. It was pointed out by interjection that you had not dealt with the case of the Reversion Duty. The Clause, if amended in accordance with the Government's intentions, will not touch the question of the Reversion Duty at all.
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
My right hon. Friend beside me (Mr. Stuart-Wortley), who has more acquaintance with this matter than either I or the Chancellor of the Exchequer can have, tells me that the cases are very numerous. I did have one case brought before me by a correspondent, whose name I have forgotten, during the Committee stage, and my right hon. Friend gives me a case close to Birmingham—the case of Sutton Coldfield. There must be numberless 154 cases already existing where a portion of glebe land has been let on a building lease, and, if the Government's contention is correct that the steady development of building land must go on, those cases will multiply. As this steady increment goes on, and as more land comes to be built upon, the number of such cases will increase. How is an incumbent in that case to meet the liability the Government is putting on him? He has some addition to his annual revenue, but he is required to make a sudden capital payment. He cannot do it in some cases, and in cases in which he can do it it is a gross injustice to ask it of him, because you are asking him to pay for a benefit of which only a small portion will come to him. I accept for the purpose of this argument that a man should pay a tax of this kind on the benefit he receives, but the case of the incumbent is exceptional in the way in which the Government treats it, because they are going to ask of him what may be a greater payment than the whole benefit he receives. Their intention is that he should only pay a percentage on that benefit, but the effect may be to make him pay more, because he has under the Reversion Duty to pay a capital sum, whilst he himself receives no capital mm, and may not live long enough or continue incumbent long enough to recoup himself the money he has paid. You intend to take away from him only a percentage, but you may be taking away more than the whole. If there are only six cases of that kind, or even if there is only one case, surely every rule of justice and equity makes it necessary that the Government should meet it, and if, as I believe, the cases will be numerous, then, though it does not strengthen the moral claim for relief which would be attached to any individual placed in that position, it does strengthen the practical need of dealing with the matter. I admit the extreme difficulty of the Government, if they have not considered the matter before, finding words on the emergency to exactly cover the case, but that is a thing we must ask them to do if they will not take the Clause put down, which, whilst perhaps drawn unnecessarily wide, would prevent a gross hardship which no man can defend for a moment, which is not less gross if there are only a few people who will be affected, and which is really absolutely contradictory to the whole purpose of the Bill and the whole arguments by which it is supported.
§ Sir W. ROBSON
I think the point raised with regard to a corporation sole during the Debate in Committee was a simple point, and, so far as it was raised, I think it has been fully met. I do not think the point raised by the right hon. Gentleman was explicitly put forward in Committee, though it might have been involved in some of the arguments used. The point raised by the proposed new Clause is one which, I think, was not suggested It is that a corporation sole called upon to pay Increment Value Duty should be allowed to borrow the money. I do not think that point was raised at all in Committee, but, at all events, we tried to secure that a clergyman in possession of glebe land should not be put in a worse position than other ministers of religion who derive their income from other sources. We had for that purpose to consider whether he was a corporation sole. At first some doubt was expressed as to whether a clergyman is a corporate body. He is certainly a corporation sole, and I think he must be treated as a corporate body. Therefore we have exempted clergymen from the payment of a capital sum. With regard to Reversion Duty we say it shall only be charged in respect of land held by the governing body and occupied or used by that body for a particular purpose. But what about the clergyman who has granted a building lease, and is called upon to pay Reversion Duty at the termination of the lease? It may be a capital sum, and one conceivably in excess of the benefit he may derive from it. It is that which causes the present difficulty. But may I say it is news to me that an ordinary corporation sole grants building leases. It is nearly always done through the Ecclesiastical Commissioners.
§ Sir W. ROBSON
Yes, it may be with their consent, but my own impression is that the grant of a building lease by a clergyman is very rare; indeed, it is an unknown thing; it is nearly always done through the instrumentality of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. Supposing, however, that the somewhat rare case should arise of a clergyman granting a building lease on his glebe I cannot help thinking there would be no difficulty in paying the reversion. Take the case of a building lease, at the shortest period of 60 years. Originally the land was a mere field, but it returns to the clergyman with 156 a house upon it, and, consequently, it represents a very considerable increase of revenue. Then there is the provision for the payment of the duty by instalments, and that certainly would constitute a very material mitigation of any difficulty that might attach to paying the duty.
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
That is the whole point. Does that particular provision apply to the payment of a reversion?
§ Sir W. ROBSON
I do not think it does, so that the interruption of the right hon. Gentleman is justified. The real answer of the Government to the Clause is that really it deals with a case which is negligible. There is no occasion for making special provision for such cases. Of course, it might have been taken into fuller consideration if we had had earlier notice of this. But the right hon. Gentleman, in explaining his new Clause, did not give any definite or concrete cases in which this particular mischief is likely to arise, and he said he had such very short time to make inquiry for them. Neither have we any knowledge of such cases, but should any exist, I do not think there would be any difficulty whatever, in any part of the United Kingdom, in dealing with them. Under these circumstances it does not seem to me to be necessary to introduce this Clause, with the probability of very considerable Debate on nearly every word of it. If such cases should arise, they can be easily dealt with by subsequent legislation. After all, we are here dealing with a duty which will run a very long time before it becomes actually due. Nobody has suggested the case of a clergyman in possession of glebe land which was made subject, 60 years ago, to a building covenant which is going to fall in within the next year or two. As I have said, these cases are rare. We want concrete instances, and, so far, none have been provided. The Reversion Duty is a duty of not very frequent occurrence. It only comes into force at the end of a building lease, and if it should appear in the next year or two that there are many such cases, they can, I think, easily be dealt with, long before the payment may become due. There does not, therefore, seem to be any necessity for accepting this Clause.
§ Mr. WATSON RUTHERFORD
I cannot of my own knowledge give any cases such as have been asked for by the hon. and learned Attorney-General, but I have in my mind one case which would certainly 157 come within the mischief contemplated by this Clause. It is the case of an incumbent who has got, as part of his glebe, land under which there is a considerable bed of coal. That coal is leased, and new leases are given of it from time to time. I take it that these minerals would become subject to Capital Increment Duty. Of course, the difficulty that arises in this case is this: the incumbent is simply entitled, so long as he remains incumbent, to the income, but assuming the events of the last two or three years could be projected into the next seven or eight years—for what has happened within the last two or three years may again happen—such a case as this might arise. The Increment Value Duty would become payable in respect of the new lease of minerals granted by the incumbent, and that Increment Duty would represent a considerable capital sum. It is quite true that the consideration for that lease would be payable by periodical instalments, namely, royalties and rents arising from the lease. Therefore it would come within the advantage of Section 4, Sub-section (5), which says that the Commissioners may make arrangements in that case to receive that particular Increment Duty by instalments. I have read very carefully indeed the Clause which gives power to the Commissioners to receive this duty by instalments. I do not find that case which we are now discussing is provided for at all. That is a criticism which applies to the whole of that Clause. The case we had to work out would be this: The incumbent has £250 or £300 to pay as Increment Value Duty on the renewal of an improved mining lease underneath his glebe. That increment has arisen in consequence of those minerals never having been worked before, and a comparatively small value, or no value at all, having been put on them in the year 1909. When, according to this Bill, they have to be valued, the result is that the increment is based on the capitalised amount of the whole consideration of the lease. That is a very serious item. The incumbent is suddenly called upon to pay 20 per cent. of the whole of that increment. But he simply enjoys a life interest in the property, yet he is called upon to pay 20 per cent. of what is practically almost its total value. It is quite true, as the Attorney-General pointed out, that under Section 4, Sub-section (5), the Commissioners have power to receive that duty by instalments. But suppose the incumbent should die before all the instalments are paid! Who is going to pay the 158 remainder? Must the new incumbent pay duty in respect of something which arose before he entered upon the incumbency. I take it there is no provision in the Bill to cover a case of that kind.
The whole of Sub-section (5) is left, if I may respectfully say so, in the greatest possible confusion and difficulty, not only with regard to the case now before the House but with regard to cases generally that may happen under it. This is really a very serious matter. When we are imposing new taxes on land, taxes that have never been heard of before, and when we apply them to the ordinary landlord we have in mind the position of that landlord, whether he be tenant for life, or the holder of the fee simple, or the leaseholder, we have his position before our eyes, and up to the present we have done our best to deal with difficulties that may arise but which were not foreseen by the Government when they drafted the original Bill. But here is a new difficulty. It is the case of unfortunate clergymen of the Church of England. These men all over the country-derive their income—almost the whole of their income—from glebe lands. If the Government are going to deal equitably with them they must be protected against being dropped upon at some moment to pay out of their slender means a capital sum for Increment Value Duty. We all know that clergymen of the Church of England, and indeed ministers of other religious bodies, are not in a position to pay out capital sums. They cannot find a lump sum to pay these duties or anything else. The Legislature has acknowledged that, because the House of Commons has passed Act of Parliament after Act of Parliament to help the incumbent to drain his glebe, and to provide him with money, the repayment of which is stretched over a long period and is made a charge on the land, in order that he may carry out necessary improvements and put upon the land the requisite buildings. That is the difficulty which my right hon. Friend had in view in bringing forward this Clause. It is, at all events, an attempt to meet the difficulty. The answer, I might almost say the excuses, which the Government have given are totally inadequate to meet the point. It is not an answer for the Government to say that we ought to have found out about these cases beforehand—that ecclesiastical gentlemen who have followed the intricacies of this Bill in all its different stages should have come forward with appropriate clauses to protect their own 159 interests. I say it is the duty of the Government to do that. It is their duty, when they are imposing new taxes, to impose them under conditions calculated to meet difficulties that may arise all over the country, and to meet them in a reasonable way. To suggest that, because some people have been endeavouring to look after the interests of the Church of England at some earlier stages of the Bill, they should therefore come forward now with proposals having for their object the mitigation of injustices inflicted upon the Church by the Government is an absurd proposition. I think the least the Government could do is to accept a clause which has been put before it which would, at all events, on the face of it, meet the difficulty. I cannot say that I quite agree with the whole Clause, because it is a very difficult and exceedingly complicated matter, but it does, I believe, meet the difficulty to a certain extent, and, in my opinion, the answer that the Government has given to the case which has been put forward is entirely inadequate.
Mr. G. D. FABER
It is perfectly evident, in my humble opinion, that this matter cannot be left where it is. The Government have evidently not foreseen the case which my right hon. Friend put forward in the new Clause, though the Budget has been under discussion for six months. The Chancellor of the Exchequer thought the simplest way was to pooh-pooh the Clause and try to establish the case that it was not required. How did he try to establish that this new Clause was not required? First of all, he groped about in Clause 3 to find a provision which would meet the case, but discovering that there was no provision in Clause 3 ultimately he discovered, or somebody for him, Sub-section (5) of Clause 4, and that became his sheet anchor, and to that he hung like grim death. But when you look at it, it does not meet the case at all, because it provides that regulations may be made by the Commissioners in respect to the mode in which any instrument may be presented to them under this Section, and for the payment of any Increment Value Duty by instalments. Therefore the first objection that I venture to take is that there is no necessity for the Commissioners to do anything of the kind, they can do it or not, according to their own sweet will and pleasure, and there is nothing obligatory upon them at all. But supposing it were obligatory upon them, 160 as has already been pointed out, that Sub-section only deals with Increment Value Duty, and does not deal at all with the cases of reversions on leases. Therefore the Chancellor of the Exchequer did not meet the case, or at any rate he did not exhaust the arguments which showed that the provision is necessary which is made by the new Clause.
What did the Attorney-General do? He took refuge in the language of the lawyer and said, "It is only a little one"—de minimis non curat lex. That may be good argument for a lawyer, but is it good argument in this House? In this House I always imagined in my sublime innocence that an Act of Parliament tried to do justice, and that in the forging of an Act of Parliament it was essential that no patent injustice should be allowed to go unprovided for. Here there is a patent injustice; you admit it, you acknowledge it; and therefore it cannot be seriously argued by the Government or put forward as an answer that it is only a little one, and that it is negligible. Above all that, I deny it is a little matter or that it is negligible, because my right hon. Friend below me tells me, and he has already told the House, that there are many cases of benefices where building leases have been granted and reversions will arise. Not sixty years bence—building leases have already been granted long ago, and may be falling in almost at once. Therefore we cannot put off the evil day, because these cases may be arising forthwith in Clapham, in St. Martin-in-the-Fields, at Sutton Cold-field, and elsewhere. There may be a score of them, and the matter cannot be left where it is. It is not for me to say "aye" or "no" whether my right hon. Friend has put his new Clause in a proper shape or in a shape which should be accepted by the Government; but I do say without any real fear of contradiction that the Government have got to provide some way out of the difficulty. They cannot let this matter go on, because there is a patent inadequacy and want of equity on the face of the Bill.
§ Mr. BALFOUR
I am sure the Government must feel that on this point they will have to make a concession, and I hold that view because they have not attempted to defend their Bill as it stands. They have told us that we ought to have brought this matter up on the Committee stage, and, of course, if they think we did not spend a sufficient time on the Committee stage, it is not for us to differ from that opinion. But it is the first time that 161 I have heard it expressed from the other side of the House. They have also told us that if there is anything wrong in the Bill subsequent legislation can put it right; it might have done hardship here and hardship there, and if that is true then the Government proposed to bring forward another Bill in which this evil which they cannot remedy now can be finally remedied. That is not the spirit, I venture to say, in which they should approach the very important Amendment of my right hon. Friend. Nor do I really think that it is an attitude which they mean to maintain. They have acknowledged that in the case of a person being a minister of religion having this kind of property while he is in a particular place and carrying on particular duties, that it is a case which requires special treatment, but they have only admitted it per incuriam with regard to one of their answers. But if you admit it with regard to one your whole case has gone, and you admit it in regard to all. I do not think the Government can pretend that they have any answer with regard to the cases put forward from this side of the House. They have only said the cases are few, but they have not said and cannot say that when these cases occur they are not ones of extreme hardship.
It is not a case of a man paying a little more than he ought to pay, but it is a case of ruining him, and I ask the Government whether they do not think that the whole of this legislation will be brought into greater discredit than it is likely to be if such cases occur? Take beneficed persons enjoying, as many of them do, very small and inadequate incomes on which they are bringing up their families and giving them an education and, it may be, making great sacrifices in order to give them a perfect education, and perhaps a university education. Suddenly the Government or the Inland Revenue come down upon one of these incumbents and say, "Although you do not get any benefit whatever—not a shilling of benefit—from the sudden change which has taken place in the value of minerals under your land, you have got to pay a lump sum to the Government at once." The man says, "I have no money to pay with. I have a small annual income which lasts as long as I am incumbent of this parish. I have no permanent interest, my family has no permanent interest in the value of the glebe; I have no resources of my own from which I can pay this sudden demand in regard to which the tax is levied." He will further say, "I under- 162 stand because the owner of the minerals gets a windfall, although I get no windfall, you want me to pay a lump sum, which I cannot give you on account of a windfall which I do not get." He has the choice of abandoning the education of his children, taking his son away from the university perhaps, or refusing to pay and becoming a passive resister.
I venture to think that the Government scheme of taxation is rather likely to increase the number of passive resistors by a hardship of this kind, which is quite indefensible, which the Government will not be able to say has not been pointed out to them, and which they were perfectly conscious of while they were carrying the Bill through, which they do not attempt to defend, and which they do not attempt to deal with. That does seem to me to be an impossible position for a responsible Government to take up, and I am confident that the Chancellor of the Exchequer in his heart feels that it is so. I do not blame him, having regard to the complexities of this Bill, for having failed to consider these matters. The Land Clauses as they originally stood were enough to destroy the equanimity and the sanity of those who had to consider them, and really they are much more complicated now; and that the authors themselves should be puzzled by the complications of their offspring is not a matter upon which I am inclined to express surprise or condemnation upon the Government; but now when the grievance is admitted, and has been brought to the attention of the Government, I do ask them in the interest of the credit of this House to sec that this great hardship is redressed. They do not deny the hardship, and where it falls they do not deny the magnitude of it, but they deny the extent of it, and under these circumstances I do appeal to the Chancellor of the Exchequer to do his best to remedy what he must feel is a very serious gap in the legislative proposals which he has laid before us in regard to these Land Taxes.
§ Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE
Both the Attorney-General and myself have exhausted our right to speak, and any observations which I make must be by the permission of the Houses; but I feel bound to answer the direct appeal which the right hon. Gentleman has made to me. The right hon. Gentleman was not present during the earlier part of the Debate, and I do not think, if I may say so, that he had given him a strictly impartial account of 163 what transpired. I will not say it was inaccurate. It was accurate as far as it went, but there are some very important matters omitted. First of all, this Amendment is founded on the basis of increment. That was the first proposal I got up to answer, and I pointed out that as far as increment was concerned the corporation is taxed, the incumbent is completely exempt. The only tax is in the case of sale or in the case of leases, and I pointed out in the case of sales he would have cash in hand, and he pays 20 per cent. out of that. In the case of a lease I pointed out that there was a proviso in the Bill—I could not remember in which clause it was—a special provision in the Bill for the case of a lease. The hon. and gallant Gentleman then interposed, and said, "What about the case of the minerals?" and I dealt with the minerals, and I think that also is covered by a provision with regard to a payment by instalments. Then, at the last moment, somebody said, "What about reversions?" I asked what, I think, was a very pertinent question: "Can any one supply me with a case?" I think it is rather late, I must say, to submit a case to the Government, and, in spite of what the right hon. Gentleman has said, I still say that it is a case which ought to have been submitted to the Committee in the first instance, because, after all, we are dealing with powerful bodies like the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, who have at their command a large array of legal talent. They have, no doubt, subjected this Bill to the closest scrutiny, and clauses of this kind might very well have been submitted in the course of the Committee stage. I cannot pretend, nor can any Government pretend, to be omniscient, and you cannot see every case of hardship which may arise in any Bill even with the assistance which is forthcoming from an able staff of permanent officials. You cannot see cases of this kind which were put on the Paper only this morning. The only case that remains to be dealt with is the case of the reversioner, and, as to him, the right hon. Gentleman may have got cases where the incumbent has let land for building purposes, and where the lease will probably fall in in the course of only a few years. If there are cases of that kind, I do not know of them. Although I have made some inquiries, I have not had much time to investigate, but still I am told 164 that there are no cases of that kind. But supposing there are, what happens? I agree that if an incumbent has to pay 10 per cent. on the total value it might be a hard case. He would only enjoy the profit for a year. He might die. He would have to pay 10 per cent., which would come out of his estate. But is that really what would happen? If you get building property of that kind falling in, what does he do? He knows he has to pay his 10 per cent., and he instantly applies to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners for power to sell or to lease. Does anyone imagine that the Ecclesiastical Commissioners would refuse sanction to an incumbent placed in this position to sell a sufficient portion of the property to meet the case, or to lease the property again, or to get a premium which would enable him to pay the reversion. The right hon. Gentleman seems to think that is absurd. I should have thought it was a very proper business arrangement.
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
What I expressed was my astonishment at the right hon. Gentleman recommending to the incumbents of the country generally that they should exact fines in regard to leases.
§ Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE
All I suggested was that he should pay the duty imposed upon him by the State, and I say it might be a very proper way of doing it to sell part of the property to begin with. There are two methods by which he can do it at the present moment. One undoubtedly is the method of exacting a premium to pay the duty. That is a very different case from the case which I mentioned. That is the case of £50,000. That is not exacting a sum of money in order to pay the duty to the State. But these are the two methods by which they could at the present moment, if they fell in next year, raise a sufficient sum of money without its falling upon the incumbent. Where is the hardship on the incumbent? It would be a hard case if it did fall on him, but there are methods by which it could be dealt with, and it is admitted that the Clause would require very careful consideration, and that it would probably not fit in. The case is covered by the law as it stands, and I still say there is no hardship to be met.
§ Mr. STUART-WORTLEY
Perhaps the House will allow me to get rid of one or two very grave misconceptions. In the first place, it is undoubtedly the fact that this case has occurred and will occur again. There are old urban glebes in many places, 165 examples of which I may cite in such old cases as St. Martin-in-the-Fields and the Rectory of Clapham. There is the case of the Mineral Duty, which is completely untouched. The new Clause 4, Sub-section (5), only applies to the case where the consideration money is itself to be paid in the form of instalments. It is quite, true that the new lease might be granted subject to a premium, or parts of the property might be sold for the purpose of paying the duty, but the right hon. Gentleman has omitted to notice that under the Ecclesiastical Leasing Acts any purchase money for that part of the glebe will at once vest in the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, and cannot be liberated by them without a statutory provision, and here I am asking for a statutory provision. I cannot understand why the right hon. Gentleman objects to an arrangement which is purely domestic to the Church, which does not touch or endanger his revenue in the smallest degree.
§ Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE
Does the right hon. Gentleman suggest that in a case of that kind the Ecclesiastical Commissioners
§ could not pay the Stamp Duty to the State?
§ Mr. STUART-WORTLEY
That is not what the right hon. Gentleman suggested. He suggested that part of the property should be sold for the purpose of paying the duty on another part of the same property. That money could not be liberated without something being put into this Bill to enable it to be done. We propose that it should be done by the simple process of borrowing within the resources of the living or the dignity itself, and I cannot see why he does not consent to the insertion of a clause which is prepared by those who know far better than anyone at present how it ought to be prepared, which does not endanger and does not touch the revenue in the slightest degree, and is only an arrangement purely domestic to the Church itself, and, I believe, absolutely necessary.
§ Question put, "That the Clause be read a second time."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 74; Noes, 196.167
|Division No. 806.]||AYES.||[5.0 p.m.|
|Acland-Hood, Rt. Hon. Sir Alex. F.||Faber, George Denison (York)||Pretyman, E. G.|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Fell, Arthur||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major||Fletcher, J. S.||Renton, Leslie|
|Ashley, W. W.||Foster, P. S.||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Balcarres, Lord||Gardner, Ernest||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Gibbs, G. A. (Bristol, W.)||Rutherford, Watson (Liverpool)|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (City, Lond.)||Gordon, J.||Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Guinness, Hon. W, E. (B. S. Edmunds)||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley George D.|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Harris, Frederick Leverton||Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East)|
|Bertram, Julius||Heaton, John Henniker||Stanier, Beville|
|Bignold, Sir Arthur||Helmsley, Viscount||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|Bowles, G. Stewart||Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Bull, Sir William James||Hill, Sir Clement||Talbot, Rt. Hon. J. G. (Oxford Univ.)|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Thomson, W. Mitchell-(Lanark)|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Hunt, Rowland||Walker, Col. W. H. (Lancashire)|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Kimber, Sir Henry||Walrond, Hon. Lionel|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.)||Lambton, Hon. Frederick William||Whitbread, S. Howard|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Worc'r)||Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham)||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Long, Rt. Hon. Walter (Dublin, S.)||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E.R.)|
|Courthope, G. Loyd||M' Arthur, Charles||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.)||Magnus, Sir Philip||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Moore, William||Younger, George|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Morrison-Bell, Captain|
|Doughty, Sir George||Newdegate, F. A.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. H. W. Forster and Mr. Pike Pease.|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield)|
|Duncan, Robert (Lanark, Govan)||Parker, Sir Gilbert (Gravesend)|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Branch, James||Cheetham, John Frederick|
|Allen, Charles P. (Stroud)||Bright, J. A.||Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.|
|Ambrose, Robert||Brodle, H. C.||Cleland, J. W.|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||Brooke, Stopford||Clough, William|
|Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth)||Brunner, J. F. L. (Lancs., Leigh)||Cobbold, Felix Thornley|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Brunner, Rt. Hon. Sir J. T. (Cheshire)||Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Bryce, J. Annan||Collins, Sir Wm. J. (St. Pancras, W.)|
|Barnard, E. B.||Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)|
|Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.)||Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinstead)|
|Beale, W. P.||Buxton, Rt. Hon. Sydney Charles||Cotton, Sir H. J. S.|
|Beck, A. Cecil||Byles, William Pollard||Crosfield, A. H.|
|Bethell, T. R. (Essex, Maldon)||Cameron, Robert||Crossley, William J.|
|Black, Arthur W.||Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Curran, Peter Francis|
|Boulton, A. C. F.||Causton, Rt. Hon. Richard Knight||Dalziel, Sir James Henry|
|Brace, William||Cawley, Sir Frederick||Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.)|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Layland-Barratt, Sir Francis||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)|
|Duckworth, Sir James||Leese, Sir Joseph F. (Accrington)||Robinson, S.|
|Erskine, David C.||Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich)||Robson, Sir William Snowdon|
|Essex, R. W.||Lever, W. H. (Cheshire, Wirral)||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Esslemont, George Birnie||Levy, Sir Maurice||Rogers, F. E. Newman|
|Evans, Sir S. T.||Lewis, John Herbert||Rose, Sir Charles Day|
|Everett, R. Lacey||Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David||Russell, Rt. Hon. T. W.|
|Fenwick, Charles||Luttrell, Hugh Fownes||Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)|
|Ferens, T. R.||Lynch, A. (Clare, W.)||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter||Lynch, H. B.||Sears, J. E.|
|Fuller, John Michael F.||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Seely, Colonel|
|Gibb, James (Harrow)||Macpherson, J. T.||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Ginnell, L.||McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Glendinning, R. G.||M' Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)||Sloan, Thomas Henry|
|Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||M'Micking, Major G.||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Gooch, George Peabody (Bath)||Marnham, F. J.||Soares, Ernest J.|
|Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)||Massie, J.||Stanley, Hon. A. Lyulph (Cheshire)|
|Gulland, John W.||Masterman, C. F. G.||Steadman, W. C.|
|Marcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale)||Menzies, Sir Walter||Stewart, Halley (Greenock)|
|Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Molteno, Percy Alport||Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Sunderland)|
|Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worcester)||Montagu, Hon. E. S.||Summerbell, T.|
|Hart-Davies, T.||Mooney, J. J.||Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth)|
|Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N.E.)||Morse, L. L.||Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)|
|Haslam, James (Derbyshire)||Myer, Horatio||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Nolan, Joseph||Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr)|
|Haworth, Arthur A.||Nussey, Sir Willans||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Hazel, Dr. A. E. W.||Nuttall, Harry||Thorne, William (West Ham)|
|Hazleton, Richard||O' Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Tomkinson, James|
|Hedges, A. Paget||O' Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Helme, Norval Watson||O' Donnell, C. J. (Walworth)||Villiers, Ernest Amherst|
|Henderson, J. McDd. (Aberdeen, W.)||O' Grady, J.||Waldron, Laurence Ambrose|
|Henry, Charles S.||Parker, James (Halifax)||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon., S.)||Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Herbert, T. Arnold (Wycombe)||Philipps, Col. Ivor (Southampton)||Watt, Henry A.|
|Higham, John Sharp||Philipps, Owen C. (Pembroke)||Weir, James Galloway|
|Hobart, Sir Robert||Pickersgill, Edward Hare||White, J. Dundas (Dumbartonshire)|
|Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.||Pollard, Dr. G. H.||White, Sir Luke (York, E.R.)|
|Hodge, John||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)||Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)|
|Holland, Sir William Henry||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)||Wiles, Thomas|
|Holt, Richard Durning||Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Hope, John Deans (Fife, West)||Radford, G. H.||Williams, Sir Osmond (Merioneth)|
|Hope, W. H. B. (Somerset, N.)||Raphael, Herbert H.||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|Idris, T. H. W.||Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (Gloucester)||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W.R.)|
|Johnson, John (Gateshead)||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)||Rees, J. D.||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Rendall, Atheistan||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Keating, Matthew||Richards, Thomas (W. Monmouth)|
|Kekewich, Sir George||Richards, T. F. (Wolverhampton, W.)|
|King, Alfred John (Knutsford)||Richardson, A.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. Joseph Pease and Captain Norton.|
|Laidlaw, Robert||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)|
|Lamb, Edmund G. (Leominster)||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)|