§ Increment Value Duty shall not be charged in respect of agricultural land while that land has no higher value than its value for agricultural purposes only.
§ Mr. E. G. PRETYMAN
moved to leave out the words, "while that land has no higher value than its value for agricultural purposes only."
This Clause is one which has been already debated at some considerable length in Committee, and it raises the very 290 important point of the exemption of agricultural land. The object of the Clause, as stated by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, is that no duty shall be charged on agricultural land at all. If my Amendment were accepted, and if all the words of the Clause after the word "land" were eliminated, there would be no doubt whatever that that object would be attained. The effect of the words, as they stand in the Bill, is very doubtful. I have an Amendment lower down on the Paper to make clear what their meaning is. I hope the Chancellor of the Exchequer will carefully give his attention to this point. Even if the words are made to mean what he desires them to mean, I should just like to make this point perfectly clear; it is very difficult to see what they will imply. Is this the meaning: that where land is agricultural land worth say £30 per acre, and that somebody would be willing to give £35 per acre to build cottages upon it, or a house, then that it is liable to Increment Value Duty? May I assume that is the interpretation? I am sure the Chancellor of the Exchequer will contradict me if I am wrong, because I do not wish to waste time by arguing on a false basis. I am assuming that is the meaning, and that where land has a certain agricultural value the moment it attains a value higher than that agricultural value, however little higher, as in the case I have given from £30 to £35, that then it becomes liable for Increment Value Duty.
There are many hon. Members interested in agriculture, and this is one of the most critical points in the whole Bill in regard to agriculture. In regard to Undeveloped Land Duty, all agricultural land, and all land which has a value of less than £50 per acre, is exempt, but that does not apply to Increment Value Duty, from which there is no such exemption. Land which is worth £10 for agricultural purposes and for which anybody would give £15 for any other purpose, is liable to Increment Value Duty, and therefore the whole of the agricultural land in the country is liable to Increment Value Duty the moment anybody would give anything for it for any purpose other than agriculture. That covers an immense area, because it is obvious to anybody who thinks for one moment that there is an immense proportion of the agricultural land of the country which somebody would give something a little higher than its agricultural value for some other purpose. Therefore the possibility opened up by the 291 form of the whole taxes in regard to agricultural land is most serious.
I come to another point, and this also is most serious. The datum level from which this tax is to start is the value of the land on 30th April, 1909. See the consequences of that. A man has a piece of unimproved land, of which the site value is, say, £10 an acre. He sets to work upon it, plants a part of it, puts up farm buildings and cottages, cultivates it highly and turns it into a valuable farm worth £30 an acre. Then, at some subsequent date, through no action of his own, somebody is willing to give £35 or £40 for the farm for some purpose other than agriculture. It may be a factory, a horse-slaughtering place, a lunatic asylum; it does not matter what it is; it may be any purpose other than agriculture; but the moment the land acquires a value other than agricultural of, say, £35 an acre, Increment Value Duty becomes payable. This is a particularly hard case on death. Increment Value Duty is payable on the whole difference between the original value of £10 and the £35 or £40, and the owner gets no allowance whatever for his expenditure in raising the value from £10 to £30. I do not believe that many Members really appreciate the meaning of this proposal as it stands. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has told us over and over again that he desires to exempt agricultural land. A more absolute proof of the difficulties of carrying out this Bill could not be found than the attempts which have been going on for five or six months to exempt agricultural land, all of which have miserably failed. The facts I have stated clearly show that agricultural land is to be heavily burdened. ["No."] Who will spend large sums in improving agricultural land if he is liable to lose the benefit of it by the land being immediately taken for some other purpose, and to be charged Increment Value Duty on the difference in value? This proposal has to be read with other Acts of Parliament. Under the Small Holdings Act the county council has power, with the sanction of the Board of Agriculture, without any appeal to the ordinary courts of law, to take land for small holdings. A man may lose his land and the improvements upon it, and if it can be proved that the land, although it is going to be used for an agricultural purpose, has a higher value for some other purpose, he will have to pay Increment Value Duty upon it. The position in which an agricultural owner is put 292 by these different Acts of Parliament, and particularly by this measure, is one which will clearly prevent him from developing his land to the best advantage. It must be the wish of every Member interested in agriculture that there should be the same exemption from Increment Value Duty as there is from Undeveloped Land Duty. If there is a £50 limit against Undeveloped Land Duty, there should also be a £50 limit against Increment Value Duty. There is also a provision that Undeveloped Land Duty shall be charged only on that part of the value which exceeds the agricultural value. A similar provision ought to be made with regard to Increment Value Duty. The only simple way of clearing agricultural land from the duty is to accept my Amendment. If the Government will not do that, I think they are bound, if they intend to fulfil their pledges, to exempt agricultural land, to undertake, first, to insert a £50 limit against Increment Value Duty, and, secondly, that no part of the value which is agricultural shall be charged Increment Value Duty. That is to say, that the datum level from which the Increment Value Duty is to start, instead of being the chance datum level of 30th April, 1909, shall be the datum level of the agricultural value of the land when Increment Value Duty is first charged. If these two things are done the Government will have gone some way towards fulfilling their pledge; but if they do not do this, or, better still, accept my Amendment, it will be vain to say on the platform that agricultural land has been exempted from Increment Value Duty.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL (Sir W. Robson)
As I have not heard the whole of the speech of the hon. and gallant Member, I hope he will pardon me if I do not deal with some points to which he may have referred before I came in. The Clause proposes to give a very substantial exemption in favour of agricultural land. It exempts certainly all agricultural value while the land is properly described as agricultural land. But when the land passes from the category of agricultural into the quite well-defined category of building land, then Increment Value Duty attaches. It attaches in respect of its building value. When once the land has passed into the category of building land it is valued as such, and as a whole. There may be conceivable exceptions from the proposition that I am about to lay down, namely, that building value is in excess of agricultural value. People will not build 293 on land as long as its value without building is greater than it would be if the land were devoted to building; therefore, as soon as the land begins to have a building value over and above its agricultural value, it really passes out of the category of agricultural land. While the land is purely agricultural, it is not subject to Increment Value Duty at all. That is what the hon. and gallant Gentleman describes as a hopeless failure to confer any benefit whatever on the agriculture owner. I confess that language like that is difficult to deal with. The Clause may be subject to further criticisms which the hon. and gallant Gentleman has not made; but as it stands, it is accepted almost universally by Members representing agricultural constituencies and agricultural interests. I do not say that it satisfies those Members who object to the Increment Value Duty altogether. What is the demand put forward by this Amendment? The hon. and gallant Gentleman intimated that he has in mind something short of the extreme request made in his Amendment, but I can deal only with the Amendment. He asks that if land is now used as agricultural land, no matter how great the value that may hereafter attach to it by reason of its demand for building purposes, the increment is not to be taxed. That is the abolition of the Increment Value Duty altogether, because naturally land, until it reaches the value necessary for building purposes, is agricultural only, and normally used for agricultural purposes. That normal use, according to the hon. and gallant Gentleman, is to protect it from taxation when the land is wanted no longer for its normal use, but for some other permanent interest of the community. That is not a reasonable demand. It is not a demand put forward in the fair interests of agriculture. It is a demand which aims at the root of the tax, and the Bill, and one which, therefore, the Government cannot accept.
§ Viscount HELMSLEY
The hon. and learned Gentleman has not even got within the fringe of the point raised by the hon. and gallant Gentleman who has moved the Amendment. I do not think that my hon. and gallant Friend ever even claimed for a moment that these proposals of the Government were inadequate, or had hopelessly failed to give any relief at all to agricultural land. That was not the claim. What the claim was was that the Government do not carry out what they said, that all agricultural land was to be 294 exempted from Increment Value Duty. I take it there are two points arising on this Clause. One is as to whether the Clause actively carries out what the Government expressed to be their intention, and the other is as to whether, as a matter of fact, in charging Increment Value Duty on some of this land they will not be really charging it on a value which is due to its agricultural and not to its building value. Take the case of land which might be worth £10 an acre when the original site value was fixed, and which might subsequently by high farming and intensive cultivation be improved so as to be worth perhaps £30 an acre, while for building purposes it might be worth £35 an acre. In charging Increment Value Duty on this land, however, they would charge it, not upon the difference between the existing agricultural value and the building value, but upon the difference between the unimproved value of the land as agricultural land and its building value, and to that extent they would be charging it on the improvements which the owner of the land had himself put into the soil. That is a point of very considerable importance and substance which the Attorney-General has not appreciated in his reply. At all events, he has made no endeavour whatever to answer it.
§ Mr. J. W. HILLS
I think the objection goes even further than has been stated. I wish the House would turn to the Clause. The only land exempted is land that has no higher value than its value for agriculture. Take a concrete case. Assume that land is worth £50 an acre for agriculture and £1 for sporting rights. It has a higher value than its value for agricultural purposes. Land all over the Kingdom has some value for something outside agriculture, however small it may be. As soon as that value is proved every acre of land in the country is taken outside this Clause. Now, I do not believe that is the intention of the Government. I entirely agree that under the Clause you are bound to collect a tax on building land. All I want to make clear is that the Government ought not to tax land that is intended to be excluded merely by reason of the wording of the Clause. May I call attention to the Amendment standing in my name? If that were adopted the only land you would tax would be land which possessed a higher value than its value for agriculture. And I believe that really is the intention of the Government. I do certainly say that that is what we understood on this side of the 295 House, and I am pretty certain I am right in my construction of this Clause. I am perfectly certain that anyone looking at this Clause would say that as soon as land has got the smallest value in excess of agricultural value then it comes outside this Clause and is not entitled to be exempted. I think the point wants further reconsideration, and I press it upon the attention of the Government.
§ Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE
The hon. and learned Gentleman who has just sat down has raised a point that I thought would have been the real point which the Opposition would have raised on this Clause. We cannot accept his words, but we will suggest words to meet his point of view. There is no difference at all in substance between us. The point was raised in Debate by one of the hon. Members for Edinburgh, who pointed out what he conceived to be a defect in the drafting of this Clause. I do not quite take that view. At the same time, if there is any doubt in the matter, and it appears that the Clause is open to misinterpretation, it is obviously desirable that it should be made perfectly clear, and we are perfectly willing to accept any words to that effect. I do not think the words of the hon. and learned Gentleman will do, but words have been considered, and we are perfectly willing to suggest an alternative.
§ Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE
At the end. I think they are in the form of a proviso. We have had a great deal of discussion, and we have had negotiations with two learned Gentlemen, the Member for Glasgow and the Member for Edinburgh. The point raised by the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Chelmsford (Mr. Pretyman) is a matter of a totally different character. We cannot possibly accept his Amendment. All building land starts its operations as agricultural land. You might have land worth £1,000 an acre for building purposes used for agricultural purposes for the time being, and it would escape. We cannot really accept the Amendment. I do not think its purport is what is really desired by Members who represent agricultural constituencies. What they are really afraid of is that the criticism of the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Durham may have some substance in it, and that land used for agricultural purposes may have value 296 for sporting or other similar purposes over and above agricultural value—for all agricultural land has a certain sporting value, if it is only a shilling an acre. Then the hon. and learned Gentleman says that if it has any value for sporting purposes it has a value higher than for agricultural purposes. It is not the intention of the Government to exclude land of that kind, otherwise you might exclude nine-tenths of the agricultural land of the country, possibly more. Therefore, the idea is this——
§ ROYAL ASSENT:—Message to attend the Lords Commissioners.
§ The House went, and, having returned,
§ Mr. SPEAKER reported the Royal Assent to—
- 1. Judicature (Rule Committee) Act, 1909.
- 2. Marine Insurance (Gambling Policies) Act, 1909.
- 3. Local Education Authorities (Medical Treatment) Act, 1909.
- 4. Board of Trade Act, 1909.
- 5. Board of Agriculture and Fisheries Act, 1909.
- 6. Assistant Postmaster-General. Act, 1909.
- 7. Metropolitan Ambulances Act, 1909.
- 8. Workmen's Compensation (Anglo-French Convention) Act, 1909.
- 9. Colonial Naval Defence Act, 1909.
- 10. Naval Establishments in British Possessions Act, 1909.
- 11. Telegraph (Arbitration) Act, 1909.
- 12. Irish Handloom Weavers Act, 1909.
- 13. Trade Boards Act, 1909.
- 14. Irvine Harbour Order Confirmation Act, 1909.
- 15. Whittington Charity Scheme Confirmation Act, 1909.
- 16. Bridgend Hope English Baptist Chapel Scheme Confirmation Act, 1909.
- 17. Marshall's Charity Scheme Confirmation Act, 1909.
- 18. Lichfield and Longdon Congregational Chapels Scheme Confirmation Act, 1909.
- 19. Dewsbury and Batley Congregational Chapels Scheme Confirmation Act, 1909.
- 20. Wortley Congregational Chapel Scheme Confirmation Act, 1909.
- 21. Hamilton Burgh Order Confirmation Act, 1909.
- 22. Provisional Order (Marriages) Confirmation (No. 2) Act, 1909.
- 23. Local Government Board's Provisional Orders Confirmation (No. 9) Act, 1909.
- 24. Lune Fisheries Provisional Order Confirmation Act, 1909.
- 25. Kilkenny, Castlecomer, and Athy Railway Act, 1909.
- 26. Bury Corporation Act, 1909.
- 27. Edgware and Hampstead Railway Act, 1909.
§ Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE (continuing his speech)
I was dealing with the point raised by the hon. Member for Durham, which is identical with the point raised by the hon. and learned Member for Edinburgh. I agree that if there is any ambiguity the Clause ought to be made perfectly clear. In my judgment, however, it is clear enough. Most of the land in England would have a certain value, and if there is any value outside the agricultural value the land will be deprived of the benefit of this exemption. That is the intention of the Government, and we are perfectly prepared to introduce words to make that clear, and if the hon. and gallant Member will withdraw his Amendment now the Attorney-General will move his words at once.
§ Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE
I was dealing only with that one point. I understand now that the hon. and gallant Member means to press his Amendment, therefore I shall proceed to deal with it, making it quite clear that we shall be prepared to meet the hon. Member for Durham either by the acceptance of his Amendment or by an Amendment of our own, which will answer the same purpose. The Amendment moved by the hon. and gallant Member would simply mean that we might as well not proceed with the Land Clauses at all, because all the building land of the country, or most of it, at the present moment is land being used for agricultural purposes. It may be worth £2,000 or £3,000 an acre, but so long as it is used for 298 agricultural purposes under this Amendment you would never get from it any Land Duty or Increment Duty. That is not the intention of Parliament. I know it is perfectly right from the point of view of the hon. and gallant Member, and that is his way of destroying the whole of the Land Taxes.
§ Mr. PRETYMAN
May I say that I offered to withdraw my Amendment if the right hon. Gentleman would undertake to treat the Increment Value Duty as he has done the Undeveloped Land Duty?
§ Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE
That is not the point raised by this Amendment. I do not think the right hon. Gentleman quite realises what his Amendment means. If you omit the word he proposes the Clause will read: "Increment Value Duty shall not be charged in respect of agricultural land." That means as long as it is used for agricultural purposes you cannot charge Increment Duty with respect to practically the whole of the land of the country. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] That at any rate is the Amendment which the hon. and gallant Member has placed on the Paper. He now suggests that we should narrow it by the addition of some words of which he has given us no notice, and which he will find it exceedingly difficult to draft. As a matter of fact, I think we have really met the point raised in Clause 25. The case which was given by the Noble Lord was that of land of the value of £10 per acre. That must be really waste land. I do not know that you can even call it agricultural land in the ordinary sense of the term. Let us assume they drain it, and it becomes worth about £30 per acre. It is improved not merely for agricultural, but also for building purposes.
§ 4.0 P.M.
§ Viscount HELMSLEY
I think the right hon. Gentleman has rather missed the point. The point was that by improved cultivation the soil would be so improved that the value of the land would be increased. It might not be a question of drainage at all. The land may be increased in value by the erection of farm buildings and by superior cultivation. Those buildings would be of no value at all for building purposes.
§ Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE
That is not altogether accurate. Surely land of that kind is much more valuable on which to build a villa with a garden than if it had not been improved. I should not have thought there was the slightest doubt 299 about that. If the improved value is not attributable to the expenditure of the owner, then there is absolutely no reason why credit should be given for it. The owner gets full credit to the extent to which the land is improved for other purposes, and drainage works would be a case in point. That is the sort of case which the Noble Lord would find more applicable to the particular criticism which he has directed against this Clause. He will find that in a case of that kind the land by draining will be converted, first, into agricultural land, and then also into building land; and credit will be given for all that increment attributable to the expenditure, and a deduction will be made for it. I think, therefore, the Government have met the point in so far as it is possible to meet it by this means. The hon. and gallant Gentleman (Mr. Pretyman) asked why we do not start at £50. That, of course, would be perfectly unfair. Take land worth £59 per acre for agricultural purposes. The owner sells it for building purposes at £79 per acre, and pays Increment Value Duty on £20 per acre. Then take land worth only £10 per acre, and sold for £55 per acre. The owner would only pay Increment Value Duty on £5. Surely that is an inequality and an injustice. The man who has got poorer land pays less than the man who has more valuable land. That would be the case if the Amendment were adopted. There is really no reason for that at all and the only suggestion the hon. and gallant Gentleman has made is one that would produce inequality and injustice. The Amendment we have down on the Paper is certainly the fairest. We have excluded all agricultural land in the ordinary accepted sense of the term. Supposing agricultural and building land was put up to auction. The auctioneer would say about this class of land, "Here is valuable agricultural land," and about that class of land, "Here is valuable building land, which is subject to this tax." The valuable agricultural land would all be excepted. That is all we propose to do, and that is all we are doing.
§ Sir FRANCIS CHANNING
It is perfectly true that the excision of these words would exclude from the Increment Value Duty a great deal of land which the House agrees should be subject to it, but, so far as I understand his numerous speeches on this question, my right hon. Friend has again and again pledged us that the Increment Value Duty should not 300 fall upon agricultural improvements or upon agricultural values. I am left in the dark as to what words may be ultimately suggested by the Attorney-General, but I think that what has been stated by the hon. and gallant Gentleman (Mr. Pretyman), and the illustrations which he and the Noble Lord (Viscount Helmsley) have given, are absolutely unanswerable. I am well acquainted with land in Essex, and I know land in both Essex and Suffolk which has been sold for £4 or £5 an acre within the last 20 years. The right hon. Gentleman gave us a positive pledge in the earlier stages of this discussion that there should be a recognition of the new value of such land, and that it would be amply protected. I do not think as the Clause stands there is any protection given at all. Perhaps I have misunderstood my right hon. Friend, but the recovery value is of enormous importance, and I have no doubt that the £20 increase to which the hon. and gallant Member referred would be due perhaps both to the actual improvements of the tenant or occupier and to the improvement generally in the conditions of agriculture. We had on Clause 2 a definite understanding that good husbandry, works of a permanent character, or personal expenditure of that kind, should be excluded absolutely from the tax. I think that ought to be borne in mind. We had an illustration given from the other side of land which has risen in value from £10 to £35. You might in the original value of £10 have no building value whatsoever, and of the subsequent value of £35, £20 would be due to the recovery value and the owners' or tenants' improvements and £5 to the fact that there might be a greater demand for that land for other purposes. I do not think it is fair, because there is a greater demand by £5 per acre for that land for other purposes that we should have Increment Value Duty charged upon the whole rise of £25. That is an absolute plain injustice, and the Clause ought to be amended so as to preclude any injustice of that kind. The simplest way of arriving at a satisfactory conclusion would be the adoption in the Clause, Sub-section (2) of the principle of Section 17 as it now stands. If that could be introduced into the Clause, and the Increment Value Duty fall only upon the difference between the original building value and the subsequent building value, 301 excluding strictly and entirely agricultural improvements, I think we shall be doing what is wise and proper.
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
We are not often assisted in these Debates from the Back Benches opposite, but the speech of the hon. Baronet has, I think, materially contributed to the assistance of the Committee. I confess, listening very carefully to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, that I really could not make up my mind whether for once his natural acumen had deserted him and he was really unable to understand the material point at issue, or whether, on the contrary, he understood it so well that he thought the best thing he could do was to pass it by on the other side. He dressed up a bogey which he presented as the object of my hon. and gallant Friend and others who have spoken, and which he had no difficulty in demolishing at once. He suggested that the effect and object of their proposal would be to exempt all land which happened to be in use for agriculture, whether it was proper agricultural land or not, although it might have a building value and was urgently required for building purposes, and even although it might have a monopoly value for building purposes, perhaps a hundred times or many hundred times greater than its value if used for agriculture. An Opposition trying to amend a Government Bill is under great difficulty. We have not the opportunity of consulting the skilled draftsman of the Government. We have put our Amendment in the best form of words we can to meet what we think represents, I cannot say the common opinion of the House, but a widespread opinion, not only on this side of the House, but, as shown by the speech of the hon. Baronet (Sir Francis Channing), on both sides of the House. We put down an Amendment to raise the question, and surely it is not too much to ask, if we make good our point, that the Government should make use of the skill of their draftsman to find words which will do what is shown to be fair. I think I may possibly, before I sit down, go so far as to suggest words myself. I shall do so as an honest effort to arrive at a solution, I beg the Government not to reject them with ridicule. We do not want, as the Chancellor of the Exchequer suggested, to exempt all land in present use for agriculture whatever building value it may have. I, for one, am opposed to the Increment Tax. I opposed the Resolutions, 302 and I opposed the tax as strongly as I could in Committee, but this is not the stage to repeat that portion of the fight. Accepting the general decision that there is to be an Increment Value Duty, what we have to do is to consider under what terms it ought to be levied and what exemptions ought to be made, and, whilst we are not now desirous of excluding all the land used for agriculture, we are seeking to exclude the agricultural value of all land. I think that is the distinction drawn by the hon. Member for East Northamptonshire. If you do not do that you will see what happens the moment that land which is being used bonâ fide for agriculture has any building value in excess of its then actual agricultural value. It becomes liable to Increment Duty—Increment Duty not merely on the excess value which is due to its building possibilities, but also on any agricultural value which has been added to the land by the recovery of agriculture since the original valuation in 1909. To express the thing in another way, if I may take the words of my hon. and gallant Friend (Mr. Pretyman) beside me, what we want to do is to alter the date, to start in this case of agricultural land not with the value which it happens to have in 1909, but with its agricultural value at the time you assess it for taxation, and to tax it for increment on the difference between its agricultural value at that moment and its then building value, and not on the difference between its agricultural value at the beginning of 1909 and its building value. If you do not do that, you tax agricultural values, and you tax them very seriously. You inflict a great injury on the agricultural interest. See what happens! Take the illustration which has already been given of a piece of land of the value of £10, which goes up in value to £30, thanks to agricultural recovery or improvements, and then has an additional value of from £1 to £5 for building purposes. In 1909 the value of the land for agricultural purposes was £10. By improvements in cultivation, and by the recovery of agricultural values, it has become worth £30 for agricultural purposes within a period of ten years. But in that time it has also acquired a building increment value of £5. Its agricultural increment is £20, and its building increment £5, but you are going to tax it on the £20 in addition to the £5. You are not merely taxing the excess building value over the agricultural value, you are taxing the whole accrued agricultural 303 increased value which has taken place in those ten years. It may be very doubtful, with a very slight building value over the agricultural value, if it would be of any advantage at all to the community for the land to be built upon. It may be true of any particular plot that it may have this additional value put upon it for the use of half an acre or even an acre of the land. An offer may be made for a particular plot on these terms, but it would be quite impossible to treat the farm or estate, as a whole, in that way. You make it almost impossible to keep the land as agricultural land if you charge increment value on it—if you charge on the added agricultural value as well as on the building value.
I think you inflict in so doing a very great hardship, which it is not intended to inflict upon agriculture, without any corresponding advantage, even from your own point of view, because the kind of case that we are putting is not the kind hon. Members have in mind when they talk of land being held up which is urgently needed for building purposes. That kind of land has a building value out of all proportion to its agricultural value at any moment, and if the land were really so needed for building purposes as to have that kind of monopoly value, then you have a very heavy tax, even if you consent to exclude the agricultural value altogether and start from the top instead of from the bottom agricultural value. I will mention one case in illustration of the hardship which we think you will inflict, unless you are careful to introduce some modification. Take the case of districts where colonies of small holders are successfully established. There is one in my own Constituency—Catshill. There is another at Evesham, and there are a number in Lincolnshire. That kind of cultivation brings added agricultural value to the land. That is one of the reasons why, I suppose, we all wish to encourage such cultivation as much as possible. It has another effect. It involves additional labour being employed on the land. It tends to bring population to the district, and gradually the agricultural development gives a building value to the land—not to the whole of the land but to particular plots which happen to have a frontage. Go to one of these districts and take land where, before the colony of small holders was established, no man would have erected a cottage or little house, because there was no demand for it. People come forward 304 and offer to buy the land at a little more than its present agricultural value. They do not offer to buy the whole of the land, but they ask for particular plots here and there in order to put up cottages, the demand for which has arisen solely through the agricultural development that has taken place in the district, in consequence of the more intensive cultivation. Do the Government really intend that small smallholders—some of whom are purchasing owners under previous legislation—should be subject to Increment Tax on the value of their land if a man comes along and says, "You give me a quarter of an acre or a building plot on your frontage and I will pay you for it £1, £2, or even £5 per acre more than its agricultural value at the time the offer is made"? Is the holder or purchasing owner to be taxed not on the difference between the building value so offered and the agricultural value at the moment, but on the difference between the building value so offered and what was the agricultural value on 30th April, 1909? If you do mean that, you are going to tax a great many people whom you have hitherto tried to lull into a sense of security by persuading them that no tax will fall upon them. If you challenge me to say why, if there is to be a tax of this kind, this man should be exempt from it and others should have to pay it, I do not quite know but that I should be rather hard put to it to find a logical reason for it. But you have always assured these people that they should not be taxed, and I think I have proved that you are going to tax them unless you do what has been urged by my hon. Friend behind me (Mr. Hills) and supported by the hon. Baronet the Member for East Northamptonshire, and take your tax not on the whole value of the land the moment it has a building value in excess of its agricultural value, but on the difference between its building value and its agricultural value at the time you assess your duty.
I have said I will venture to suggest some words with this object. I have not had much opportunity of discussing them with my hon. Friends around me. We are always ready to admit that merely to leave the Clause as it is amended, while protecting those whom we wish to protect, would carry that protection a great deal further than at this stage we can expect to do. I suggest that these words shall be left out, but that the other part of the Clause should be slightly amended, and 305 that the Clause should be made to read—"the Increment Value shall not be charged in respect of the agricultural value of land." I believe that exactly meets the point we have raised, and certainly, as far as I can see, it would meet the objections which the Government have taken to the Amendment of my hon. and gallant Friend. I have no pride of authorship in the words. I throw them out for what they are worth, for the consideration of the Government and of the House. What I do urge strongly is that you should meet this case. You have already endeavoured to meet some cases of hardship, but you have left countless other hardships behind. Here is one in point which will arise under your Bill. If you cannot accept such words as those suggested by my hon. and gallant Friend and myself, then you ought to put forward others. You are not justified in confining your reply to the simple statement that these words will not do.
§ Mr. JAMES TOMKINSON
There appears to be a general desire on both sides of the House to arrive at some agreement as to the form of words to be adopted. The point at issue has been very lucidly put by the right hon. Gentleman opposite. It appears to me to be this. You have a piece of land worth £10 per acre, and by the recovery of agriculture its value goes up to £30. It also has a small additional value for building purposes. Under these circumstances I should hope that the £20 added to the value of the land by individual exertions, by good husbandry, and by the expenditure of capital or brains, might be reckoned in the value before the Increment Tax is charged. That, I think, would be fair, and it would be carrying out the ideas of my hon. Friend the Member for East Northamptonshire. (Sir F. Channing). Let us go a little further and take another illustration. Take the case of agricultural land worth £1 per acre, and situated half a mile or a mile from a town. That town grows, and the value of that land, solely by reason of the growth of the town and the proximity of buildings, becomes even greater for agricultural purposes. It can be turned into orchards, or market gardens, or nursery gardens, and it is worth £5 or £6 an acre, and the capital value of it has immensely increased, not to £30, but to £100, and the question is what is to be the point at which the Increment Duty is to be charged? I do not go so far as to say that land which has in- 306 creased in value from £20 to £100 or £150 an acre by the town coming out should be the datum line on which the value is to be taken, and that increment should be charged on £100 or £150; but what I should like is that increased agricultural value given to the land, not by the growth of the town or other circumstances, but from the individual effort of the good farmer or occupier, so far as it can be, should be exempt.
§ Mr. R. L. EVERETT
I think we shall carry out what we all desire and what is fair if we add a few words to Clause 7 at the end. This Clause says, "Increment Value Duty shall not be charged in respect of agricultural land while that land has no higher value than its value for agricultural purposes only," and then we should go further and say, "If such land becomes chargeable then the agricultural value shall be exempt." It seems to me that if those words were accepted we should have a reasonable solution of the difficulty.
§ Mr. HENRY CHAPLIN
What we are desirous of is that the Government should accept the view of the two right hon. Gentlemen on my left, which has been supported by hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the House. What my right hon. Friends said just now was this: They do not want to exclude all agricultural land, they want to exclude the agricultural value of all land, and I really do not know what can be said against that. As far as I am concerned I am perfectly frank on the subject, and I do not know that the right hon. Gentleman goes further than that. What I have always desired to see is agricultural land excluded altogether so long as it is used for agricultural purposes at all, but then the answer that we get to that is, "Oh, if that is so, then you allow land which possesses a great building value to escape altogether." In the first place I do not believe that ever would happen. I cannot conceive why people in their own interest should be so exceedingly foolish as to continue to cultivate as agricultural land and make a very small profit indeed from it, even under the best of circumstances, land from which according to that objection they might be able to derive an enormous value at any time they please. I remember perfectly well on the second reading of this Bill, which is now, I believe, five or six months ago, pointing out to the Chancellor of the Exchequer that when he 307 imposed an Increment Duty on land he was really doing something which was wholly and totally incompatible with one of the professed objects of Radical policy which they have held out before the country for years, and that is to restore, as far as possible, a large population to the land and to do everything within their power to increase, encourage and promote small holdings in this country of every possible description. The Chancellor of the Exchequer ought to have known at that time that it is in the neighbourhood of towns and where there is a possibility of land acquiring a building value at some time or another—it is under those conditions, or where there are exceptional facilities for rural transport, that holdings of that character can only be expected really to flourish to the degree that hon. Gentlemen in all portions of this House desire to see.
The right hon. Gentleman took no notice whatever of the observations I made at that time, nor do I think he has ever attempted to answer even what I should call the charge which I bring against him and his Radical Friends on that side of the House, that while for years they have been professing to hold up to the country as one of their very greatest ideals of policy that they are most desirous in every way, and by every method, to increase, encourage, and promote the great growth of small holdings in this country, by their Bill they still aim, notwithstanding all their concessions, what I regard as a great blow at that particular kind of agricultural renaissance. It is not denied, and it never has been denied, that the holders of small holdings or market gardens, or any holdings of that description in the neighbourhood of a town, do possess a possible building value which you are going to tax even while the land is still being used as agricultural land. I do not know, I am sure, how hon. and right hon. Gentlemen reconcile to themselves these two very different kinds of policy. All I can say is, for my part, I wish to see myself—speaking for myself only—I wish to see land of that character and description so long as it is being genuinely used for agricultural purposes exempted from the new Land Taxes which you are imposing upon it, and when you tell me that if such a policy as that is accepted all the land in the country must be excluded, and that building land of the greatest possible value will get off from taxation which it ought to pay, on the 308 plea that it is being used as agricultural land, I must say that is an idea which seems to me to be absolutely absurd for the reasons I gave at the commencement of my observations. I cannot imagine anybody in the world being fool enough to make such a sacrifice.
§ The UNDER-SECRETARY for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. C. F. G. Masterman)
The right hon. Gentleman demands the courtesy of a reply, and I should like to point out that of the hon. and right hon. Gentlemen who have spoken opposite he is the only one who really made a speech strictly relevant to the Amendment. He does want what the right hon. Gentleman the ex-Chancellor of the Exchequer says he does not want, he wishes all the high-valued land in the neighbourhood of towns to escape from increment taxation altogether. That I thought had been rejected several times in Committee, and I thought that this Amendment—I myself having been present at several of these agricultural debates—was the result of a general agreement. At any rate, it was offered first by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, after a long agricultural debate, and accepted with some acclamation. It was explained afterwards, when it came up as a new clause and when he explained what he really intended to do with it, especially on the point to which the right hon. Gentleman opposite alluded, the whole House gave a kind of triumphant cheer, and went home exceedingly contented with itself and the Amendment.
§ Mr. MASTERMAN
In any case it is evident, as the right hon. Gentleman himself said, that the Amendment is only offered as raising a debate. I suppose it will hardly be pressed to a Division; no one imagines it can be accepted, and I would suggest that it would be expedient in that case that the general Debate should be accepted, and we should go on to another question, namely, the exception or proviso which my hon. and learned Friend is going to propose. I must honestly confess I am not convinced by the argument of the right hon. Gentleman. Take, for example, the case of Catshill, which is an historic centre which I have visited, as well as others, and which is doing work which we all wish to encourage. Here is land which has increased in value owing to the operation of the small holdings policy under the Act of 309 1892, under which the small holders themselves own and occupy their land, and therefore are exempt from the Increment Tax under Clause 8.
§ Mr. MASTERMAN
I think the right hon. Gentleman will agree that a great part of it is owned and occupied by the small holders. If it is not, they do not pay; the owner pays. But they have attracted a small holdings industry and they have attracted a demand for houses, and the demand for houses is on the neighbouring land. That is a demand which is not in the least degree due to the owners of the neighbouring land, who parted with their land with great reluctance in order that Catshill might be established. They suddenly find in their neighbourhood a building value for their land for which they are not responsible, and the right hon. Gentleman suggests that we should not charge this unearned increment on that land when they sell it for that purpose.
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
No, no. If I made that proposal that would strike at the whole principle of the Unearned Increment Tax, and therefore at this stage I carefully refrained from making that suggestion. What I supported, and what the hon. Member for Woodbridge (Mr. Everett) also supported, was not that you should not charge Increment Duty on building value but you should not charge it on agricultural value, and that the datum line from which you started should be the top level of agricultural value.
§ Mr. MASTERMAN
Surely in the case I have mentioned the agricultural value has vanished altogether in the building land. The land is wanted to build a cottage, but it is valued in 1909 at a certain site value apart from agricultural value. The owner now sells it for a cottage to be built, and the whole increase has been an increase from the site value in 1909. The agricultural value is the alternative in the case of the building value, and the agricultural value is gone when he sold his land under those conditions for building purposes. The land is valued now at £30 an acre. There may be a recovery which may make the value for agricultural purposes £80, but he is selling it for £100 an acre for cottages to be built, and in consequence the whole value which he receives is building value which has gone up from the first site valuation in 1909. That seems to me to be the answer to that and any similar 310 case. The right hon. Gentleman announced in his speech, in the instance that he took, that the building increment on the land he had in mind was the difference between the original £10 and the £35. That is what we are taking 20 per cent. of. If, however, the land goes up through recovery or through improved agriculture we do not touch it unless it comes into the category of building land, and there is a measurable building value greater than any agricultural increment. It is from that building value that we deduct one-fifth.
§ Mr. G. L. COURTHOPE
I think the hon. Gentleman has entirely forgotten the whole case which the Government has made on which they based this tax. It is that increment is due, not to the cultivation of the owner or occupier, but to the action of the community, and he is going to wipe all that out. What we are asking him to do is to differentiate between increment which is due to the action of the owner or occupier and the increment which is due to the action of the community, as hon. Members opposite like to put it. Let them by all means charge him the duty on so much as is due to the action of the community, but let them find words to exempt so much of the increment as is due to the improved cultivation by the owner or farmer or to the natural recovery in the value of the land. It is perfectly absurd to say that the building increment starts from the datum line of the almost prairie value of 1909. I rather gathered from the interjection of the Attorney-General during the speech of my right hon. Friend that he was very sympathetic to the case he was endeavouring to make. Now the hon. Gentleman has struck a discordant note, and if the Government persist in the attitude which the hon. Gentleman has just taken up it will undoubtedly discourage owners of land from developing it for agricultural purposes. I know the Government do not intend to take that line. I am sure the Attorney-General is much more sympathetic to this proposal than his colleague.
§ Mr. COURTHOPE
I assumed a difference of opinion because the speech which the hon. Gentleman has just delivered was quite out of accord with the interjection of the Attorney-General during the speech of my hon. Friend below me.
§ Sir W. ROBSON
The only signs of assent that I made while the right hon. 311 Gentleman was speaking were not in relation at all to the merits of the Amendment, but rather to the convenience of raising other proposals upon this Amendment to which they are not strictly germane.
§ Mr. COURTHOPE
That is not the sense in which we understood it. At all events, I press once more that the Government should introduce some words, quite apart from the words which the Chancellor of the Exchequer said will be introduced to make the Clause clear, to meet the case of the agricultural owner who develops his land by improved methods of cultivation. It is not right and fair that the Increment Duty should be charged on increment due to his efforts or to the recovery of land, as well as to the increment due to the action of the community. A point was made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer that drainage operations and improved methods of cultivation, which improves the value for agricultural purposes, also increased the building value. That very often is not the case at all. In some cases quite the opposite is true. There are many beautiful parts of the country where building value does, or may at some future time, exist, but which would be entirely destroyed if improved methods of cultivation brought that land under the plough. I do not think we must allow an argument like that to pass unchallenged. I hope the Government will reconsider this point and bring in some words, because I am certain that equity and justice demand it.
§ Sir LUKE WHITE
I hope the Government will make it clear that they do not intend under this Bill to charge Increment Duty on the recovery value of agricultural land. I should like to put to the Attorney-General a concrete case. Take a farm to-day worth £50 an acre. In the course of a few years, by intensive cultivation and by methods of farming which up to the present have not been adopted, that land may have increased in value, and may be worth £80 an acre, and that is its utmost value for agricultural purposes. Assuming that it is sold to-day at £50 an acre, it is then sold at £80 an acre. We will assume that it is still let at a sum which is the economic rent for agricultural purposes alone. Being declared to be still agricultural land, there will be no Increment Duty. I am assuming that in a few years' time it becomes building land and is worth £100 an acre. Will the Government say that in that case, 312 when the land is sold at £100 an acre, they are going to charge the new owner Increment Duty over and above the £50 an acre or over and above the £80 an acre? If the purchaser has purchased at £80 an acre and the Attorney-General acknowledged that, it being agricultural land, there would be no Increment Duty, is this subsequent purchaser at £100 to have to pay Increment Duty as between £50 and £100? According to the Bill I cannot understand how that can be done. The purchaser at £80 an acre on his deed of conveyance would get a stamp which denoted that that land would be free from Increment Duty at £80 an acre, being agricultural land. How can the Government say, a year after that the owner, purchasing at £100 an acre, should have to pay the difference between £50 and £100? I do not think it is a right step to take as regards agricultural land, and I appeal to the Government that they should say once for all whether they intend to tax land only over and above its value for agricultural purposes or whether they intend to tax agricultural land, which they would be doing in the case I have mentioned. I hope the Attorney-General will make it clear, because at present one does not know what the Amendment is which the Attorney-General is going to propose, but I hope we shall have these words before us before we go to a Division in order that we may see what is in the mind of the Government.
§ Mr. LAURENCE HARDY
I do not think the Government can allow us to remain in a position of doubt. It is quite clear that the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Masterman) distinctly stated that when there became a building value it swept away all the agricultural value which had accrued since the datum line of 1909. That is contrary, it seems to me, to explicit statements made both inside and outside the House. I think it was the Prime Minister himself who distinctly told us that recovery value and value due to improvement should be franked and that agricultural land should have that advantage of getting an enhanced value and that that value should attach to it and should therefore attach to the exemption which it obtains. The President of the Board of Agriculture has again and again, outside the House, stated distinctly that every value which accrues to agricultural land, as agricultural, is protected under the concessions which have been given by the Government. Now we are left in this position, that the last speaker on behalf of the Government says 313 the moment the building value is advanced that sweeps away all those accrued values which were distinctly promised to us by responsible Members of the Government. We must ask that some statement should be made in order that we may be informed that the matter, which is being quite as much pressed from the other side of the House as from this, shall not be left in a state of indecision, and that we shall not proceed to a Division without knowing exactly where we are.
§ Mr. N. W. HELME
In the words as printed in Clause 7 the House had a thorough assurance that no Increment Duty would be charged upon land so long as its value was derived from agriculture. In the North of England agricultural land is of much greater value than £10, £20, or £30 an acre. Being in Swaledale some days ago, I found some land seven miles from any considerable town had been sold at £100 an acre. Therefore, we understand the words to mean here that the value for agricultural purposes will be free from Increment Value Duty. Assuming the land which the hon. Gentleman quoted at the beginning of the Debate was only worth £10 to-day, and became worth £30 from the recovery in values and the improvement for agricultural purposes, and supposing that land is sold. If the purchaser of to-day made a contract for the purchase of that agricultural estate at £30 an acre the Government would settle with the vendor the question as to whether there was any Increment Duty to be paid on that transfer. If it was agricultural land, according to the words of this Clause, it is impossible for any claim to be substantiated that Increment Duty should be paid. Supposing the owner comes into possession of that estate on the basis of £30 an acre, which is paid as purchase money, and it remains as agricultural land for a number of years, but ultimately a portion of that land is building land, then, of course, Increment Duty will be paid. We want to know now whether that Increment Duty will be charged on the difference over and above the £30. Supposing this remains agricultural land for a generation or two, and ultimately it passes through three or four owners' hands. We want the Government to put into definite form the statement which the House accepted in good faith in the words of Clause 7. My opinion is that no court of law could possibly support the Increment Duty on any other value, taking these words, than the value for agricultural purposes. 314 I hope the Government will make the point which is now before the House clear.
§ 5.0 P.M.
§ Mr. D. S. WATERLOW
It seems to me that the issue is narrowed down to a small point. So far as I can gather from previous speakers, everybody will be satisfied with an Amendment to the effect of that proposed. Really what we want is that agricultural value shall be value on which no claim is made to arise in respect of increment for other purposes. What we want is that no agricultural value which may have accrued between 1909, and, say, 1912 through the industry of the person cultivating the land shall be considered in arriving at increment value. I think if some words like these could be inserted they would meet the point: "The agricultural value shall be its value at the date of any claim which may be made for increment value arising from other purposes." I think these words would meet the wishes which have been expressed as to exempting agricultural land from increment value.
§ Mr. P. S. FOSTER
We have heard just now from an hon. Member an instance of land which has an agricultural value of £50, and which, owing to recovery, had gone up to £80. That land is sold, and it is exempted from Increment Duty because the improved value is in respect of recovery only. Supposing that a neighbouring plot has not been sold at that particular time, but is sold a few years afterwards at £100? There is a building value in respect of that land which has brought it up from £80 to £100. Are you going to take the increment value on the second lot as between £50 and £100 as purely building value when you know that the part formerly sold has had an increment for agricultural purposes arising from purely natural causes?
§ Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE
That is the point which I dealt with in the Debate with respect to the datum line, and the hon. Member opposite (Mr. P. S. Foster) has really not asked a new question at all. As long as the land is purely agricultural land there is no duty charged at all, but the moment it passes from the category of agricultural land into the category of building land it is treated like any other increment, and the Increment Duty will be charged upon it.
§ Mr. JULIUS BERTRAM
I wish to know what the Chancellor of the Exchequer means by the datum line. I understand 315 that it is with respect to the datum line that the hon. Member for Chelmsford (Mr. Pretyman) has been pressing for a definition all through the discussion. When the right hon. Gentleman was not in the House the Under-Secretary for the Home Department (Mr. Masterman) certainly gave us to understand that on any one of these examples which have been given to the House Increment Duty would be charged in respect of the sum which represents the difference between the valuation this year and the price at which the land changes hands for building purposes, and it is against that proposal, because of its unfairness, that every speech this afternoon has been directed. I think it is most unreasonable that the Government should leave us without an answer to this question. The hon. Member for South-West Warwick (Mr. P. S. Foster) repeated the question because no answer had been forthcoming. The Chancellor of the Exchequer gave no answer to the question. He spoke of the datum line, but that is an unknown line. It is perfectly clear that hon. Members on both sides of the House do not know what it means. I shall certainly vote against the Government in this and other Divisions—[An HON. MEMBER: "Not for the first time."] No, it is not the first time, but it is for the same reason. It is because time after time I have sat here and heard cogent and powerful arguments and illustrations addressed to the Government to which they have given no answer.
§ Mr. JAMES PARKER
I understand that the opponents of the tax do not object to these concessions in so far as they are intended to relieve the agricultural industry from any burdens which might be imposed by the tax. Now it is suggested that not only should agriculture be relieved from the burdens that might be imposed by the tax, but that with respect to the increased values accruing to land it is to be possible for the landowners to take them up to any amount, and that the amount on which the tax is to be laid is some fancy value which may have been created in the interval, and which is called agricultural value. I will give an illustration of what I mean. A sells a piece of land to B at £10 an acre in 1909. In 1912 it has a value of £25 an acre. Ostensibly the land is sold by A to B for agricultural purposes, but, when he buys the land, B knows that it is coming into the building market. In 316 1915 the land is sold for £30 an acre. Is the increment value to be charged on £5, which represents the difference between £25 and £30, though it is a transaction where it is quite obvious to any person that £30 an acre was not agricultural value at all? I submit that there is only one way in which you can effectually gauge these values, and that is by taking the agricultural value in a given year and working from it. I think the concessions which the Government have already given are quite sufficient in so far as they relieve agriculture.
Mr. LYULPH STANLEY
I cannot agree with my hon. Friend the Member for the Hitchin Division (Mr. Bertram) that the datum line is uncertain. It is clear that it starts with the valuation. I do not propose to enter at present into the question how the valuation is to be made.
I will give an illustration. Take the case of property worth £50 an acre which at the time of the valuation has not got a building value. It is an improving agricultural property, and the value goes up from £50 to £70. At the end of five years it is beginning to have a building value. Its building value may be only £60 an acre, whereas the agricultural value is £70 an acre. Clearly no duty will be payable on that increment. Time goes on, and the building value catches up the agricultural value, both being £70. Still no Increment Duty will be payable. As soon as the building value goes even a shilling beyond the agricultural value, you pay Increment Duty not on the difference between the agricultural value and the building value, but on the difference between the datum line value and the building value. It seems to me that that is not acting perfectly fairly to all interests. The hon. Member for Lancaster (Mr. Helme) instanced a case where there may have been intermediate sales. The original owner may have sold the land at £50 to purchaser A, and purchaser A may have sold to B at £70, and though the land at that price may have a building value, no Increment Duty has to be paid. Purchaser B escapes, but purchaser C, who buys at, say, £71, has to pay not merely Increment Duty on the difference between £70 and £71, but on the difference between £50 and £71. I cannot justify that. I cannot vote for the Amendment now before the House, but I think we ought to have some form of Amendment which will deal with such a case as that which has been instanced. I do not 317 wish to defend all agricultural land from paying Increment Duty, but I do say that a man who has increased the value of his property for agricultural purposes should not be taxed because that land may have a value for other purposes. There are, so to say, two alternative values at the time of a sale—one for agricultural purposes and the other for building purposes. There should be something done
§ to give protection to the landowner whose property has increased in value for agricultural purposes. While I cannot support this Amendment, if another should be moved dealing with that matter I shall feel myself obliged to support it.
§ Question put, "That the words, 'while that land has no higher value,' stand part of the Bill."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 195; Noes, 76.319
|Division No. 813.]||AYES.||[5.15 p.m.|
|Abraham, W. (Cork, N. E.)||Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Gooch, George Peabody (Bath)||Pearce, William (Limehouse)|
|Agnew, George William||Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)||Philipps, Owen C. (Pembroke)|
|Alden, Percy||Greenwood, Hamar (York)||Pollard, Dr. G. H.|
|Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch)||Gulland, John W.||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)|
|Allen, Charles P. (Stroud)||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale)||Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)|
|Ambrose, Robert||Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worcester)||Radford, G. H.|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||Hart-Davies, T.||Raphael, Herbert H.|
|Astbury, John Meir||Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (Gloucester)|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N. E.)||Rees, J. D.|
|Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth)||Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Rendall, Athelstan|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Haworth, Arthur A.||Richards, Thomas (W. Monmouth)|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Hazel, Dr. A. E. W.||Richards, T. F. (Wolverhampton, W.)|
|Barker, Sir John||Hazleton, Richard||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)|
|Barlow, Sir John E. (Somerset)||Hedges, A. Paget||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)|
|Barnard, E. B.||Helme, Norval Watson||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)|
|Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.)||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Robinson, S.|
|Beale, W. P.||Henderson, J. McD. (Aberdeen, W.)||Robson, Sir William Snowdon|
|Beauchamp, E.||Henry, Charles S.||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Benn, W. (Tower Hamlets, St. Geo.)||Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon. S.)||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Bethell, Sir J. H. (Essex, Romford)||Herbert, T. Arnold (Wycombe)||Rose, Sir Charles Day|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Higham, John Sharp||Rowlands, J.|
|Brace, William||Hobart, Sir Robert||Russell, Rt. Hon. T. W.|
|Branch, James||Hodge, John||Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)|
|Brooke, Stopford||Holland, Sir William Henry||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Brunner, J. F. L. (Lancs., Leigh)||Holt, Richard Durning||Schwann, Sir C. E. (Manchester)|
|Brunner, Rt. Hon. Sir J. T. (Cheshire)||Hope, John Deans (Fife, West)||Sears, J. E.|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Idris, T. H. W.||Seely, Colonel|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Jardine, Sir J.||Shaw, Sir Charles E. (Stafford)|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Johnson, John (Gateshead)||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. Sydney Charles||Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)||Silcock, Thomas Ball|
|Bytes, William Pollard||Jones, Leif (Appleby)||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Cameron, Robert||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Soares, Ernest J.|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Kearley, Rt. Hon. Sir Hudson||Stanley, Hon. A. Lyulph (Cheshire)|
|Causton, Rt. Hon. Richard Knight||Kekewich, Sir George||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick||King, Alfred John (Knutsford)||Strauss, E. A. (Abingdon)|
|Cheetham, John Frederick||Layland-Barratt, Sir Francis||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Leese, Sir Joseph F. (Accrington)||Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)|
|Clough, William||Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich)||Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)|
|Cobbold, Felix Thornley||Lewis, John Herbert||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinstead)||Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David||Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr)|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Thomasson, Franklin|
|Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Luttrell, Hugh Fownes||Tomkinson, James|
|Craig. Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Lynch, A. (Clare, W.)||Toulmin, George|
|Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardigan)||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Mackarness, Frederic C.||Verney, F. W.|
|Dickinson, W. H. (St. Pancras, N.)||Maclean, Donald||Villiers, Ernest Amherst|
|Dobson, Thomas W.||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Waldron, Laurence Ambrose|
|Duckworth Sir James||Macoherson, J. T.||Walker, H. De R. (Leicester)|
|Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.)||Walsh, Stephen|
|Elibank, Master of||M'Callum, John M.||Walters, John Tudor|
|Essex, R. W.||M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Esslemont, George Birnie||Marnham, F. J.||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Evans, Sir S. T.||Massie, J.||White, J. Dundas (Dumbartonshire)|
|Everett, R. Lacey||Masterman, C. F. G.||Whitehead, Rowland|
|Falconer, J||Menzies, Sir Walter||Wiles, Thomas|
|Fenwick, Charles||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|Ferens, T. R.||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Williams, Sir Osmond (Merioneth)|
|Fiennes, Hon. Eustace||Murray, James (Aberdeen, E.)||Williamson, Sir A.|
|Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter||Myer, Horatio||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|Fullerton, Hugh||Napier, T. B.||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestershire, M.)|
|Gibb, James (Harrow)||Nussey, Sir Willans||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Ginnell, L.||Nuttall, Harry||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Gladstone, Rt. Hon. Herbert John||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Glendinning, R. G.||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Joseph Pease and Captain Norton.|
|Glover, Thomas||O'Donnell, C. J. (Walworth)|
|Acland-Hood, Rt. Hon. Sir Alex. F.||Fletcher, J. S.||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Foster, P. S.||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major||Gardner, Ernest||Pretyman, E. G.|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Gibbs, G. A. (Bristol, West)||Randles, Sir John Scurrah|
|Balcarres, Lord||Gooch, Henry Cubitt (Peckham)||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Gordon, J.||Renwick, George|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Baring, Capt. Hon. G. (Winchester)||Gretton, John||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Guinness, Hon. W. E. (B. S. Edmunds)||Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert|
|Bertram, Julius||Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashford)||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Bignold, Sir Arthur||Harris, Frederick Leverton||Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, E.)|
|Euroett, Coutts, W.||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. H. M.||Hills, J. W.||Stanier, Beville|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Starkey, John R.|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Hunt, Rowland||Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staffordshire)|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Kerry, Earl of||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.)||Kimber, Sir Henry||Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Lanark)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Worc'r)||King, Sir Henry Seymour (Hull)||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Lambton, Hon. Frederick William||Walker, Col. W. H. (Lancashire)|
|Clark, George Smith||Lee, Arthur H. (Hants, Fareham)||Walrond, Hon. Lionel|
|Courthope, G. Loyd||Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham)||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Davies, David (Montgomery Co.)||MacCaw, William J. MacGeagh||Younger, George|
|Doughty, Sir George||M'Arthur, Charles|
|Faber, George Denison (York)||Moore, William||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Viscount Valentia and Mr. H. W. Forster.|
|Faber, Capt. W. V. (Hants, W.)||Morrison-Bell, Captain|
§ Mr. PRETYMAN
moved, after the word "value" ["no higher value"], to insert the words "for any other purpose."
§ I understand that there is an alternative proposal before the House, and I only move this Amendment formally in order that we may understand clearly what is the intention of the Government.
§ Sir W. ROBSON
The words that I was about to suggest come at the end of the Clause. They are: "Provided that any value of the land for sporting purposes or other purposes dependent upon its use as agricultural land shall be treated as value for agricultural purposes only, except where the value for any such purpose exceeds the agricultural value of the land." That exactly meets the point that was raised. The hon. and learned Gentleman says that were the Clause strictly enforced it would mean that wherever you get a value higher than the value for agricultural purposes alone the man loses the benefit of the exemption. Now, said the hon. and learned Gentleman, a value for sporting purposes or some similar purpose not present in our minds may hereafter be discovered, which was not foreseen by my draftsman of the Bill, and this may enable the Inland Revenue to say, "Your land has now a higher value than its value for agricultural purposes, and, therefore, it is not to be exempt." The proviso prevents that. I am not going to suggest that this proviso meets what some of my hon. Friends regard as a difficulty, namely, that of making a deduction from building value under the name of agricultural value, 320 because that is really what they have been asking. The right hon. Gentleman suggested that the Clause should read that Increment Value Duty should not be charged with respect of the agricultural value of land. That would still leave the ambiguity which gives rise to so much trouble, because we contend that we are not charging Increment Value Duty in respect of agricultural land. We contend, in fact, that we satisfy those words. But this is how the ambiguity arises. You have agricultural land value, say, on 30th April, 1909, at £30 an acre. You then have a value due to better husbandry, or it may be a value due to the general recovery of agricultural values throughout the country. So long as the land remains agricultural those additional agricultural values are not taxed. But there comes a moment when the building value exceeds the agricultural value, then the moment that that arises I treat the land as having passed into a different category. That is the principle of the Bill. The moment that the land passes into the category of building value, then it goes outside the exemption that we have provided for agricultural value, and it is treated as building value alone. Hon. Members will understand that I am endeavouring to state this perfectly clearly. It is not the interest of anybody that there should be any ambiguity or misconception. Some difficulties have arisen owing to the use of agricultural land in more than one sense. When land passes into being building land, then we proceed to treat it as building land. That is how the Clause 321 would stand if the proviso is carried. But we have safeguarded ourselves and safeguarded agriculturists against any increase of value due to causes which are really quasi-agricultural, operating to take the land out of the scope of the exemption. That is as far as we think we ought to want to go. We ought not to be called upon to give any deduction from building value—that is really what is sought—because agricultural value runs parallel. But once the land comes to be building land, then it is subject to the tax.
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
I think that the learned Attorney-General has absolutely clearly stated the position. Certainly none of my hon. Friends have pretended to have any doubt as to the effect of the Bill. It was an hon. Gentleman sitting on that side of the House who for the first time became aware of what the intention of the Government was, who was horrified to find it so, and begged to be reassured that he was mistaken, and that the Government did not intend anything so grave. My hon. Friend moved his Amendment formally in order to learn what the Attorney-General proposed with a view to meeting the difficulty. I think if my hon. Friend would withdraw his Amendment that the Attorney-General could then move his, and we could discuss the Attorney-General's proposal, and how it carries out the Government's intention. Then I understand that the hon. Member for a Division of Suffolk has handed in an Amendment of which he gave notice which would certainly satisfy me. I would accept it in place of the words I had suggested. When we come to his Amendment we might resume the discussion on which the Attorney-General has just touched. I think it would be rather inconvenient if we now renewed on the Motion of my hon. and gallant Friend the discussion on the Attorney-General's proposal. I think it would be better if my hon. and gallant Friend withdrew his Amendment and the Attorney-General moved his Amendment. We could discuss that, and we could reserve the other question until the hon. Member for Suffolk moves his Amendment.
§ Mr. PRETYMAN
I think it would be more convenient to this side of the House if the rather complicated Amendment of the Attorney-General had been put into our hands before. We on the Front Opposition Bench always supply copies of our Amendments, and, in the case of that which has been submitted by the Attorney-General, it is rather difficult to appreciate 322 the exact bearing of the words he proposes. Of course, I hope they will fulfil the purpose which I have in view, but, if they do not, and I have withdrawn my Amendment, we should be in a rather difficult position. I hope the Amendment of the hon. and learned Gentleman will fulfil my purpose. My Amendment on the Paper is for the insertion of the words "for any other purpose," which I think would really carry out what the Attorney-General has in view very much more shortly. It would have been very much more easy for us if we had been supplied with a copy of the hon. and learned Gentleman's Amendment before, but, assuming that it will carry out my intention, I ask leave to withdraw my Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Sir W. ROBSON
I now beg to move the words which I have previously read to the Committee. I acknowledge the inconvenience of which the hon. and gallant Gentleman has spoken, but there was so much conversation and discussion upon the precise terms of the Amendment that it was settled rather late. I had better read the words again—"Provided that any value of the land for sporting purposes or other purposes dependent upon its use as agricultural land shall be treated as value for agricultural purposes only, except where the value for any such purpose exceeds the agricultural value of the land." I have already stated what is intended by the Amendment. It has been pointed out by the hon. and learned Member for Edinburgh that on the Clause as it now stands any slight addition to the value of agricultural land for sporting purposes would come within the words of the Clause, and would give it a higher value than the value for agricultural purposes only, and it would cease to have exemption. To meet that, the Amendment provides that any value like sporting purposes shall be treated as agricultural value, and therefore will come within the exemption. The hon. and gallant Gentleman proposes a rather different Amendment; he wishes to insert the words, "for any other purpose." That would make the Clause read, "Increment Value Duty shall not be charged in respect of agricultural land while that land has no higher value for any other purpose than its value for agricultural purposes only." I think the proviso we have chosen is more precise. It is not intended among "other purposes" to exclude building value. When this 323 Clause was first decided in Committee everybody agreed that when the land began to have a building value it should then be taxed. The objection to the Clause was confined entirely to the case of land having additional sporting value. We have, therefore, limited the words of our Amendment to the criticism which was levied against the Clause. We could scarely accept the words "for any other purpose," because they would include building purposes, and they might give rise to difficulty in construing the law. We have confined our Amendment to the objection made to the Clause. We think it sufficient to meet that objection, and that it is better than the adoption of words which might give rise to difficulty.
§ Lord ROBERT CECIL
I should like to know the exact meaning of the words "dependent upon its use as agricultural land." I do not quite follow how that would work out. The land has value which depends upon its use as agricultural land. Take the case of sporting rights. The value of sporting rights is not dependent upon the use of the land as agricultural land; on the contrary, you may have very valuable sporting rights on land which is not agricultural land at all, but which is only of a purely waste character. Surely the proper words to use are "consistent with," and not "dependent upon." The Amendment would then read—"Provided that any value of the land for sporting purposes or other purposes consistent with its use as agricultural land."
§ Sir W. ROBSON
Of course these two phrases have been very carefully considered, and we have chosen the words "dependent upon" rather than the words "consistent with." The latter words might possibly be construed as covering building value, because you may have land which may lie for some time before it comes into building, but which yet for some time may have a prospective building value. For some time building land is "consistent with" the temporary use of the land as agricultural land. I think the words "dependent upon" are more definite. It is difficult to choose between words of that character, but I think "dependent upon" is a phrase better adapted to our purpose than the words "consistent with." Undoubtedly sporting rights are dependent upon the use of land as agricultural land.
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
It may be that the words "consistent with" are 324 too wide, but that does not prove that the words "dependent upon" are the right words; I frankly confess I am not prepared to suggest others. I do not think the Attorney-General, however, answered the specific question of my Noble Friend as to the inconvenience of the use of the words "dependent upon." If you use those words, then sporting rights must be "dependent upon" agricultural use of the land only, but if the land ceases to be cultivated the sporting rights will cease to have a value. Under the words of the Amendment they must depend on the continuation of the cultivation of the land. What you mean I think is that the sporting rights would cease if the land were developed, and that in that case they are dependent on the continuation of the land in its undeveloped condition. But you cannot surely say that sporting rights in every case are dependent upon the continuation of the agricultural use of the land. Is it not true that if you let land go to waste in a great many cases the sporting rights become more valuable, because the head of game would be greater? My point is that if you use the words "dependent upon," it means dependent upon the use of the land as agricultural land, and that the sporting rights would cease if the land ceased to be used for agricultural purposes. What I think you mean is to include values which would be sacrificed if the land were developed. These are two different things, and I do not think that the answer given by the Attorney-General will cover the case mentioned by my Noble Friend. It will be open to anyone to argue that the sporting rights will not be in the least affected if the land ceased to be cultivated; on the contrary, if it were not for the farm crops, and the work on the land, there would be a much bigger head of game, and the sporting rights would have a higher value. Therefore it cannot be said that these sporting rights are dependent on the agricultural use of the land.
§ Mr. W. H. DICKINSON
It is rather unfortunate that we have not had an opportunity on this side of the House of seeing the words proposed by the Attorney-General. They seem to go a great deal further than anything that was in the minds of those who have taken part in this discussion. I understand that the land which is used for sporting purposes is to be dealt with as agricultural land. [An HON. MEMBER: "No."] It is very difficult for us to understand what the words do 325 actually mean. I take it that sporting purposes are independent of other purposes, and that land used for sporting purposes is to be deemed for the purposes of the Clause as agricultural land. Land which is going to be used for a race-course is land used for sporting purposes, and it would undoubtedly acquire very great value from the very fact of its being used as a race-course. Would that land used for such a purpose come within the exemption? The words, as they were read, distinctly leave sporting purposes as dependent on the agricultural use of the land—"provided that any value of the land for sporting purposes or other purpose is dependent upon its use as agricultural land shall be treated as value for agricultural purposes." Therefore, sporting purposes, as I read these words, stand alone. I would ask whether land used for a race-course, or land used for coursing, or land used for pigeon shooting, or, to go further, which is still more important, land which is used for the purposes of a grouse moor—a purpose perfectly consistent with an agricultural use for feeding sheep is an agricultural purpose—are going to be brought into this exemption? If they are I think the Government are going a great deal further than is agreeable to many of us.
§ Mr. PRETYMAN
May I suggest that the point might be met by turning the words round and exempting purposes for which the land is no longer suitable when it becomes the subject of increment value?
§ Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE
I do not think that would at all meet the case, for the simple reason that in that case no Increment Value Duty would arise until the land had ceased to be used for agricultural purposes. That, surely, is not the intention in any case. The moment the land becomes building land in the ordinary sense of the word, then I agree Increment Duty arises. That is why we use the words "dependent upon." The words "consistent with" might mean that the land would only become subject to Increment Duty if it became absolutely subject to building operations. That is why we adopted the words "dependent upon" for this purpose.
The case mentioned by my hon. Friend—that of the deer forest—would be a case of excess of value for purposes other than agricultural, and it would certainly be subject to increment value. We do not want, merely owing to the fact that there is a sporting element, to exclude agricultural 326 land from the benefit of this Clause, but if the value for sporting purposes exceeds its agricultural value, and if, as in the case mentioned by the Noble Lord, it becomes a mere wilderness and is used purely for sporting purposes, that is not agricultural land.
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
That is not the case we want. What I want to suggest is the case we want to protect is the case of bonâ fide agricultural land so used and cultivated, and that it will not be charged, because it has a sporting value if that sporting value is dependent on its use as agricultural land. If the land were allowed to go to waste the sporting rights would still remain, but we do not want it to go to waste. We want to protect it while it is bonâ fide being used, and you will not do it by this Amendment.
§ Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE
Sporting purposes are specifically mentioned. The hon. and learned Gentleman suggested just now there were other purposes, but he could not mention any. I think he suggested the amenity. A man might say, "It is a very desirable situation, and I rather like the farm." If a man pays a little more because he likes the situation that is not agricultural value. The man pays more for that particular farm because it has a farm-house, and he wants it for agricultural purposes. That is really the sort of case we want to protect.
§ Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE
We do not object at all to the insertion of that, but it is rather to cover the two or three other cases. My hon. Friend (Mr. Dickinson) may rest assured a case of purely sporting rights will not be protected. The ordinary case of a deer forest or a grouse moor will not be protected. We really considered that point. All we want to do is to protect purely agricultural land. I think we have done so. We have gone out of our way with the view of doing so without admitting Amendments which would absolutely destroy the whole of the tax.
Question, "That the words 'Provided that any value of the land for sporting purposes or for other purposes dependent upon its use as agricultural land shall be treated as value for agricultural purposes only except where the value for any such purpose exceeds the agricultural value of the land' be there added," put, and agreed to.
Mr. LYULPH STANLEY
moved at the end of the Clause to insert the words "Provided that the duty shall in no case be charged on any sum in excess of the difference between the agricultural value at the time the duty becomes payable, and the total value of the land."
I trust that on reconsideration the Chancellor of the Exchequer will see that there is a certain unfairness or hardship in charging a man what is after all on his own improvements, because although we may say that the land is building land, yet such land does not suddenly alter its character. The land is the same, the only difference is that at a certain moment it is held to have passed its agricultural value, and as soon as that has taken place Increment Duty becomes payable. The man will say, "I made this land more valuable by my energy and enterprise," and the only addition which has been created by communal action is, in the case we have taken of the £10, from £30 to £35, so that the only communal value is £5 over and above the £30 which the man himself created. It is perfectly true that the building value is £35 and the original value is £10, and possibly even if the land were allowed to go back to the £10 value the building value would still be £35. It might be an advantage to the builder to allow the land to go back to its original undeveloped state, and it might be an economy to him that it had never been developed agriculturally, yet there would be this £30 value which he has created, and he will say it is rather hard because of the slight added value over and above the agricultural value that he should be charged on a value the greater part of which he has created.
§ Mr. EVERETT
I have pleasure in seconding the Amendment. Its object is to carry out the promise made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and I think also by the Prime Minister, that the recovery value of agricultural land was not to be taxed. It appears to me that that was an excellent promise. I was present when we agreed on this Clause, but I confess the point did not occur to me then that it does not protect the recovery value of agricultural land, which, I think, the owners of agricultural land are fairly and honestly entitled to. The Chancellor of the Exchequer recognised that agricultural land was somewhat near the bottom of the ladder and that recovery was possible, and said that he had no desire to lay taxation on that recovery value. I 328 ask him to be good enough to do to his agricultural friends the justice that I feel confident he will do, and to accept these words, so that when agricultural land becomes building land only that part of its value shall be charged with the tax which is outside the recovery value as agricultural land. That appears to me to be perfectly equitable and fair.
These new taxes are becoming probably a part of the taxation machinery permanently, and it is eminently desirable that each one of them should be made as fair as it possibly can be. This Increment Tax, no doubt, has aspects which make it very attractive to the general public, and there are many cases where large values come to the land without any contribution to them by the effort of the owner. That is no reason at all why you should charge Increment Duty upon improved agricultural value due to the industry and intelligence of the cultivator, or due to the general improvement in the times. There is every prospect of a rise in prices, and as prices rise the normal value of agricultural land will rise with them. The owner of that land is surely entitled to claim that recovery value, and that he shall not be deprived of it. I do hope that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who has shown such goodwill towards the agricultural class, and whose mind is so fair in its general composition, will accept this Amendment, and will make this part of the Clause protect recovery value.
§ 6.0 P.M.
§ Sir W. ROBSON
I am afraid in dealing with this question I may lay myself open to the charge of repetition, but really this question has given rise to so much misapprehension that I think a little repetition may be pardoned. It will give an opportunity to those who have not followed the structure of the Bill the opportunity to think over it again. These matters do involve a certain degree of perplexity. [An HON. MEMBER: "Hear, hear."] I have yet to see the legislation that does not, and I do not know that I should like to see the legislation that does not. My hon. Friend wishes to protect the recovery value, we say that the recovery value is abundantly and amply protected. So long as the land is agricultural no increment is charged on recovery value, and no increment is charged on good husbandry while the land is agricultural, but now the land begins to be wanted by the community for another purpose, and the idea of these taxes is not merely that they are a fair and proper source of revenue, but also that they tend 329 to safeguard the public against the undue holding up of the land. This agricultural land comes to have a building value in excess of its agricultural value. My hon. Friend who moved the Amendment spoke by way of illustration of a case in which agricultural land got a building value £5 in excess of its value for agricultural purposes. "Now," said he, "that extra £5 is the only value for which communal effort is responsible." That really shows a misconception of the nature of building value. Building value and agricultural value run for some distance parallel with each other. Your land for agricultural purposes is worth, say, £30 or £40. Nobody wants it for building, though for every plot some price would be given. Then comes an agricultural increment of £30 or £40, and there the agricultural increment stops. But the town is growing; perhaps it is the growth of the town that has given to the land its additional agricultural value for accommodation purposes. Then the demand for building begins to exceed the demand for accommodation purposes. But the value of the land for building is not the extra £5 above the agricultural value. If the agricultural value has risen to £50, and there is an excess of £5 for building value, the building value is £55; in other words, the land has passed into a different category, and has become building land instead of agricultural land.
Do not let us be misled by these illustrations, which appear to indicate that building value runs in such small sums as £5. The amounts are generally much larger, so that the fanciful cases of hardship will probably have no existence whatever. The moment the land comes into a different category we treat it as building land, and not as agricultural land, and, of course, we charge Increment Value Duty upon the datum line of 30th April, 1909. An hon. Friend of mine who spoke just now thought it very discourteous and, indeed, outrageous, on the part of the Government that we did not tell him what the datum line of value was. It scarcely occurred to any Member of the Government to tell a lawyer, who has been attending these Debates with such care and attention, and, indeed, has voted against the Government several times, that the datum line above which Increment Value Duty is to attach is fixed as the value on 30th April, 1909. I thought everybody knew that. I certainly thought it was well known to those who had voted against the 330 Government; but as I find that they have not paid that attention to the Bill which would have enabled them to ascertain that elementary fact, I cannot help hoping that on reconsideration of the Bill they will vote with the Government instead of against it. Anyhow, it is a perfectly well-known and elementary fact in connection with the Bill that we charge Increment Value Duty on building value as from 30th April, 1909. My hon. Friend the Member for the Woodbridge Division says that that is charging on recovery value. It is not; it is charging on building value, and nothing but building value. It is quite true that the agricultural value is superseded; it is ignored the moment the land comes into a new category.
That is the explanation of the scheme of the Bill, and I cannot understand how those who accepted this Clause can possibly have misunderstood it. It may be complicated to those who listened to the Debate without following the text or the general scheme of the Bill; but it is perfectly clear to those Members on our side of the House who heard the Government Clause read, to whom it was submitted, by whom it was considered, and by whom also it was cordially accepted. I cannot believe that any Members representing agricultural divisions who made this agreement with the Government can now say that they did not understand the elementary factors of the situation with which they were dealing. It would be a reflection, not, I am sure, upon their good faith, but upon their intelligence, which I should be the last man in the world to make. The Amendment immediately before us ignores all the considerations to which I have just referred. It wishes to take not the datum line of 30th April, 1909, but an unfixed, capricious datum line of what may be the agricultural value at the time the building value comes under assessment. That is a quite impracticable proposal. It would really mean that, instead of putting Increment Value Duty on the whole of the building value, we should be making a deduction from the building value in respect of the agricultural value which was merged in the building value.
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
The Attorney-General, in some criticisms addressed to an hon. Member on his own side of the House, observed that that hon. Member has been such a constant attendant on and listener to our Debates that he had been obliged frequently to 331 vote against the Government. I cannot help regretting that a larger proportion of the majority in this House have not been in the same constant attendance.
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
I think that what the hon. and learned Gentleman said was that the hon. Member had been so constant in attendance on the Debates that he had often been obliged to vote against the Government. However, if the Attorney-General disclaims the statement, I will only say that if more hon. Members had followed these Debates I think more would have voted against the proposals of the Government. The reason why the Government maintain their big majority is that Members, having accepted the general principle, do not trouble to come here to watch over its application, and, therefore, they do not become aware of the inconsistencies and injustices of the Government's scheme, or even of what that scheme is. They are thus naturally able to rise at this late stage, and express themselves as wholly taken by surprise by what, as the Attorney-General says, everybody who has followed the course of the Debates has known all along was the intention of the Government. But I must qualify that statement to this extent. In regard to this particular matter the Government from a certain point in the Committee stage announced their intention of putting down a clause which would absolutely protect agricultural value, and when thereafter any Amendment raised that question, we were always told that that would be covered by the Clause which the Government had promised.
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
Then we were always referred to this Clause. It is perfectly clear that it does not protect all agricultural value. What it does is to protect agricultural value as long as the land has no other value; but that protection ceases the moment the land acquires any greater value. There is that amount of excuse for Members who did not at first see what the effect of this Clause would be. I am not suggesting anything in the nature of breach of faith, but while the Government have perhaps verbally kept their promise, they have not given the full protection which sanguine 332 Members anticipated they intended to-give. Let the House re-examine the Clause as stated by the Government. There is no excuse any longer for any Member not knowing what he is doing when he votes against this Amendment. The Government say that agricultural land may go on increasing in value, either by what is called agricultural recovery or by the exertions of the proprietor or cultivator, or by the growth of population, but, as long as it has no greater value for other purposes than its value for agricultural purposes, they will not tax that increased value. The moment, however, it has a greater value for other purposes they will impose Increment Value Duty, not on the difference between its value for agricultural purposes then and its greater value for other purposes, but on the difference between its value for other purposes and its agricultural value on 30th April last. Various illustrations have been given of the hardship involved in this proposal, but I think the clearest and most striking was that contributed by the hon. Member for the Buckrose Division (Sir Luke White). It often happens that the clearest way of bringing out an injustice is to suppose a sale and transfer of the property at the period under review, but the injustice is just the same if the property remains in the same hands. The hon. Member took agricultural land which on 30th April last was worth £50 an acre. That is the datum level from which increment is to be calculated whenever Increment Value Duty becomes due. As long as that land is purely agricultural, no Increment Value Duty is due. The land in the course of years rises to £80 in value for agricultural purposes. That is an increment of £30, but as it is for agricultural purposes no Increment Value Duty is payable. The owner sells the property and receives £80 an acre for it as an agricultural property. A few years pass; the agricultural value is still £80, but there has arisen a building value of £100. Under their scheme the Government are entitled to tax that land for increment, but on what are they going to tax it? The added value given to the land by the growth of the community is £20, the difference between £80 and £100; but what the Government are going to tax is not £20, but £50, the difference between the datum level of 30th April, 1909, and the high value it has then reached. The purchaser has paid £80 for the land as agricultural land. You are going to tax him not merely on the additional £20 333 building value, but on the £30 agricultural value for which he has paid. Is there any justice in that, or is it possibly consistent with the statement that you are protecting agricultural values? The proposal is equally unjust if the land remains in the same hands. Put aside the recovery value. Take the case of land like Evesham, land worth, I suppose, originally something like 30s. or £2 an acre. It is developed as a market gardens the ground covered with fruit trees, fruit bushes, it is very highly cultivated, and gathers there by degrees a very considerable population. By reason of their coming together, and so producing a much greater bulk they get lower railway rates and better facilities for a good market. Therefore, they gain an indirect advantage. That land rises in value agriculturally. You do not charge so long as it has no other value, but the moment it has any value in excess of agriculture you are going to charge, not merely on the excess building value, but on all the added agricultural value! And that although a great portion of the agricultural value would be necessarily destroyed in developing the land for building. Take the case put by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Cheshire (Mr. A. L. Stanley) who spoke of land covered with orchards and fruit bushes, and of a high agricultural value in the neighbourhood of towns. What happens when you develop it? The first thing you have to do is to cut away all those trees. The builder will have to pay the value of those trees, or he will not get the agriculturist to sell, for it would not be worth his while to sell. He has to pay all that value which he has then to destroy. Then you are going to tax him. Is not that an absurd thing to do? Is it not a grossly unjust thing? Is there a single Member sitting on the opposite benches when he has professed to describe this tax to his constituents who has had the courage or the frankness to tell them that this is what the Government proposal is? They do not know it. That is their only defence. Not a single Member, I venture to say, can, in pointing this out to his constituents, defend the tax. The only justification given at this stage of our proceedings from the Government side of the House for their not having defended it is that they themselves do not know the tax. Well, you know it now! What are you going to do? Support that injustice, or help us to do away with it?
§ Mr. E. J. SOARES
I am one of those who at any rate thinks that he understood 334 this Clause when it first appeared on the Paper, and I am under the impression that I understand it now. In my humble opinion the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in adhering to this Clause, has fully and amply kept the promises he made with regard to the exclusion of the value of agricultural land. What is the position? Remember that the Chancellor of the Exchequer never said for one moment that he would exclude the value of building land. What he promised to do was to exclude the value of agricultural land. Let us take an example. First of all you have agricultural land worth £20 an acre. By continuous good farming it rises to £30 an acre. Then it is sold. No increment value is payable at all, because that is owing to continuous good farming. Owing to the gradual recovery of agricultural prices the land rises from £30 to £50. Here again no Increment Duty is payable at all, because there is no tax on agricultural value. But then you have another state of things altogether. Later on this land changes from the category of agricultural land and becomes building land. When it comes to building land, to what is its value owing? In no way to the inherent quality of the soil or to what has been done to it, for it does not matter what kind of soil it is? The value of that land is then owing not to what the man has done who has farmed it, but to the community. It is owing to the people who are working around that land and who want it to build upon. Then that land is sold as building land. If the Chancellor of the Exchequer had thought fit to do so, he could have said, "I am going to put Increment Duty upon the whole of that building land." He does not do so. He goes even further than anticipated. He gives the purchaser a boon. He says, "You may take from that building value the agricultural value up to a datum line." That is in the nature of a boon. Therefore there can be no doubt whatever in my mind that at any rate agricultural value in every shape and in every form is excluded from this increment.
§ Mr. HAROLD COX
I am very reluctant to interfere in this family dispute between the Members of the Government and their agricultural supporters, because personally I cannot quite see the equity of the main proposal. I cannot myself see why agricultural value should be taken as sacred and other values made liable to special taxation. I thought we were told yesterday that land was so different from other 335 forms of property that it was justifiable to take the landlord's property away slice by slice, on the Chinese principle. Now to-day we learn that the possession of that property is to be counted as sacred, as are the funds and other investments. It does seem to me rather a peculiar case. Surely if the Government adhere to their view in this matter a very distinct injustice, as I read the Bill, may arise. I am sorry that the Attorney-General is not here at present, because I was interested to hear him say yesterday that this was a perfectly simple and ideal tax, while to-day he acknowledges that it is so complex that he is not surprised that hon. Gentlemen on the opposite side of the House do not fully understand it. Suppose you have two men side by side owning agricultural land. One cultivates the land well, and the other badly. The value of the one man's land rises for agricultural purposes. The value of the other man's land remains stationary, say at £20 an acre. The one rises to £50 an acre, but for building purposes they both have the same value. As I read the Bill the one man is not allowed to deduct from the site value for building purposes any expenditure upon the land for agricultural purposes, consequently the expenditure on good farming that the good cultivator has made on his land for agricultural purposes would be liable to taxation under this Increment Tax. I submit that with all deference, because I frankly confess I am one of the many people who cannot understand this complex tax.
§ Sir GEORGE DOUGHTY
I am bound to say that the land taxation under this Bill is at the present time in a collossal muddle. There are certainly gentlemen opposite, like the hon. Member for Barn-staple (Mr. Soares), who tell us that they are satisfied that the Chancellor of the Exchequer has fulfilled his promise to exclude agricultural land. I have come to the conclusion that agricultural land, at least for five miles around a town, will be taxed under this Bill notwithstanding the Amendment which the right hon. Gentleman has agreed to accept. During the discussion several attempts have been made to remove out of the minds of some here the impression that has been made by the alterations. I want to put a case to the Chancellor of the Exchequer. There are multitudes of such cases all over England. Suppose a village, four or five miles from a thriving town, has at present a large 336 agricultural population, growing the ordinary kind of food that is grown by ordinary agriculturists. The value of that land is about £30 an acre. Suppose—as is the case where growing towns are—that the market garden owner and the small holder begin to grow other kinds of food for a particular district near which this village is situated, and so the land grows in value from £30 an acre to £60 an acre. Shortly after that, say, one or two persons come to the conclusion that as this village is comparatively near the town where their business is, that they would like to live there. They go and buy one or two sites of land to put up houses. They pay £100 an acre for it. These first two cases are clearly cases of agricultural value. But a third case, I suppose, would be a case of building value? Is it to be assumed that because certain sites of land in that village have made a building value of £100 an acre, that the assessable value under your valuation will bring all that land in that village—especially that adjoining the main roads—into the category of building land? That is the point. Will that be the period when it will be supposed that this land will pass from agricultural land to building land? I understand that is the case, because the Under-Secretary for the Home Department, in a reply, clearly indicated that that would be the case—that it would be considered building value and not agricultural value if such sites were bought. Very well then. It seems that when that land came to be bought for the purposes of building there will be the extra value created, or supposed to be created, which will bring all that agricultural land into the category of building land. If it is brought into the category of building land you are going to tax the person who cultivates it, or owns agricultural land. Therefore I submit that whatever Amendments have been accepted up till now, the Government are going by this Bill as it stands to tax increment values in the towns, and to make agriculturists pay a tax which at the present time they are not paying.
We heard a moment or two ago from the right hon. Gentleman the Attorney-General that there was an arrangement with the agricultural Members on that side of the House with regard to these Land Taxes. I suppose that is the first time the House has learnt of it. It is most interesting to learn that there has been any such arrangement as that when nearly every agricultural Member on that side of 337 the House allows that, for the first time, it has dawned upon him that agricultural land in some form or other is going to be taxed! I should like to ask the hon. Baronet the Member for Northampton if he was a party to that agreement?
§ Sir GEORGE DOUGHTY
I should like also to ask the hon. Member for the Buck-rose Division if he knows anything of the arrangement whereby the Liberal Members representing agricultural districts have been bound down by a certain agreement made with the Government in regard to these particular taxes, especially as they now do not seem to understand them? I hope that they will have the courage to support the Amendment of the hon. Gentleman behind me. I think he has stated his case very fairly. Although I do not believe that even the Amendment will remove the possibility of agricultural land under certain considerations being taxed, yet at the same time it will go some way in that direction. Especially it will remove the anomaly that if land sold at £50 an acre grows to £80 or to a £100, it is to be taxed on the £50 instead of on the £80 or a £100, as it should be. Be that as it may, I hope hon. Gentlemen opposite will have the courage of their convictions on this occasion, and vote for the Amendment, which will go in some direction to relieve agricultural land from the possibility of this tax.
§ Mr. AUSTIN TAYLOR
There is one point which occurs to me in connection with this matter which I wish to put to my right hon. Friend, not in any factious spirit, but from the point of view of expediency. The object of this Bill is to promote building in towns. Will the course which my right hon. Friend is taking not rather tend to militate against that object? Let me take a concrete illustration which was given by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Worcester. I assume that he means that the agricultural land valued at £50 an acre remains in the same hands throughout? Supposing that recovery took place from £50 to £80: As long as that land is sold for agricultural purposes only, no Increment Duty will be paid, but the moment it is sold for building purposes Increment Duty will become due and one-fifth of the difference between £50 and £80 will be paid either by the buyer or the seller, according to arrangements, if the land is 338 sold for building purposes, whereas as long as it is sold for agricultural purposes no Increment Duty will be paid. [HON. MEMBERS: "No, no."] I think it is so. So long as the land is sold for agricultural purposes no Increment Duty is due, but if it is sold for the price, say, of £80, Increment Duty becomes due.
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
It is not a question of the land being sold. It may be sold or used for agricultural purposes, but if it is capable of development for building purposes, it has a value for building purposes greater than its agricultural value, Increment Duty will become due.
§ Mr. A. TAYLOR
Surely so long as it is used for agricultural purposes no Increment Duty will become due? [HON. MEMBERS: Yes, it will.]
§ Lord ROBERT CECIL
I think that the last speech shows how things stand. The hon. Member for Toxteth (Mr. Austin Taylor) is one of the most valuable Members of the House, but his speech shows he has wholly failed to understand the purport and effect of this Clause. I must say I think the Government have some reason to complain of their supporters; they are only just beginning to understand their Bill. I agree it is a complex Bill, but we have had it before us now for some months, and the principle of the Bill ought to be comprehensible to hon. Members opposite. The only reason they do not understand it is because they have persistently declined to try to understand it, having, I suspect, a kind of lurking feeling that if they did understand it they would find it really impossible to support it. The hon. Member who has just sat down thinks that the question of whether land is exempt or not entirely depends on the purpose for which that is used or sold. Is depends upon neither one nor the other. The whole question is this: Do the Commissioners of Inland Revenue in their valuation think that the value of the land is due to its capabilities for building purposes or to its capabilities for agricultural purposes? That is the whole question, no matter what it is used for or sold for. I understand the Government to say that they desire to exempt agriculture from the burden of this tax. I agree with the hon. Member for Preston (Mr. Harold Cox). I have never been able to understand the reason on which this theory of the Government is based. Why do the Government desire to exempt agriculture. I think if we could get at the 339 reason of it we could understand why the hon. Member for Toxteth fell into the mistake he did, and we could point out also that the Government, in point of fact, are not relieving agriculture.
I heard a good deal said about the recovery value and the distinction between communal value and recovery. I cannot understand what people mean by saying it is quite right to tax communal value and quite wrong to tax recovery value. I do not, I confess, comprehend very readily what recovery value means, but, if I understand it at all, it means that owing to a world demand or a local demand for agriculture, the value of agricultural produce goes up. It has nothing to do with the owner at all, yet that is to be exempt because it is called recovery value, but if it comes about that a number of people come and live in the neighbourhood or that somebody opens a golf course that is not to be exempt because it is communal value. I do not see the slightest difference between the two, and therefore I do not myself think that the Government can possibly justify the exemption of agricultural land on some obscure theory of recovery value. The hon. Member for Barnstaple (Mr. Soares) seemed to think that it had something to do with the inherent qualities of the soil. I do understand income derived from the inherent qualities of the soil, but it does not seem to me to be any reason for making a distinction between that form of increment and others. The only reason you can give exemption for agricultural land, it seems to me, is that it is already heavily burdened, and that the industry requires assistance from the State. If that is the case I say it is not open to argument this Clause does not exempt agricultural land. It is quite plain land may go on being used as agricultural land and occupied only for the purposes and employed only for the purposes of agriculture and may yet be subject to these duties. It is not a question of whether it is used for agriculture or not.
The Government have adopted a different principle in dealing with increment and in dealing with undeveloped land. I do not in the least know why. In undeveloped land they accept the principle of the Amendment we are now discussing, but in dealing with Increment Duty I do not believe they know why they have refused to accept it. If hon. Members will but consider the numerous cases which have been cited to the House it is quite plain that agricultural land will have to 340 bear the burden of this tax. Take the £35 case. There is no doubt whatever that in the case of agricultural land which has an agricultural value of £30 and a building value of £35, but which goes, on being used for agricultural purposes only that the burden falls upon that land, and therefore the burden falls upon the industry of agriculture. The Chancellor of the Exchequer shakes his head, but the only difference is that instead of being taxed on the difference, in proportioning your tax to the improvement of the land qua agricultural land, you tax it more heavily, because you take into consideration the building value of the land as well. Therefore, it seems plain beyond all possibility of argument that this Clause does not free agriculture, and I do not understand why the Government claim it does.
§ Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE
This is practically the second discussion we have had this afternoon upon this identical point, because the Debate upon the Amendment of the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Chelmsford (Mr. Pretyman) specifically raised this very point, and, therefore, I think I am entitled to appeal to the House to come to a decision as soon as possible. But I think the House will expect the Government to say something in reply to the speeches which have been delivered. What is the position in regard to agricultural land? First of all let us have the narrative of what happened. The Government first introduced into their Bill an arrangement slightly complicated, but which in their judgment would have had the effect of protecting agricultural land from taxation in the shape of increment for what was really recovery of prices owing to the very depressed condition of agriculture. That meant, converting it into figures, that agricultural land will be allowed a margin of 40 per cent. for recovery before you ever charged increment. That was regarded as a very sufficient safeguard for the agricultural land of the country. Hon. Members opposite and hon. Members representing agricultural districts in Ireland and hon. Members representing agricultural constituencies on the Government side were not satisfied with that. My first proposal was one which was to effect pure recovery. But we were told that hon. Members infinitely preferred words that would exempt purely agricultural land altogether. These were the two methods of dealing with the matter. There is something to be said to what has fallen from the Noble Lord, and 341 there are some things which he said with which I agree. But the House was anxious in all parts of it to exempt agricultural land, and the Government were very anxious to carry out that idea. These are the two methods. One was recovery and the second was that purely agricultural land should be exempted altogether. In order to do that you had to find some means of dividing the land of the country into building land and agricultural land; that is, land that is purely agricultural land whose value was purely agricultural, depending either on the inherent qualities of the soil or upon the agricultural improvements effected. The other class was the class of land whose value depended not upon its agricultural qualities, whether inherent or improved, but upon the fact that it was near some aggregation of people.
We used the word "communal," but the meaning really was that it was near a town or some important industrial centre. One hon. Gentleman suggested that all land within a mile of an urban district should be free. We have gone further than that. All land within a hundred yards of the town, if its value is purely agricultural, is exempt. We have gone beyond all the alternative suggestions raised by the hon. Members on the other side. But it does not matter what you lay down, you will always find something which is just across the border that will give the appearance of a hard case. An agreement was arrived at, and I read the words out in the course of the discussion. Hon. Members from Ireland who are interested in the matter as representing agricultural communities got up and said they were satisfied. Hon. Members upon this side of the House accepted the agreement. I do not say that right hon. Gentlemen opposite thought it satisfactory. Of course they were fighting the whole of the Increment Duty, and they naturally supported anything that would cut down the Increment Duty. But certainly Members from Ireland and hon. Members on this side expressed satisfaction at the words that were read out on behalf of the Government. Well, now, supposing we accepted the suggestion put forward by an hon. Friend of mine, that instead of excluding purely agricultural land we provided that land within a mile of an urban district should be excluded. You might have had land just outside purely agricultural not really as valuable as the land on the other side of the line, and not even as valuable for building pur- 342 poses. You may get much more valuable building land within three miles of a town than within a mile. Supposing we had accepted that Amendment. We should always have had hard cases just on the border line. It does not matter what principle you lay down either in regard to this or any other tax; you are bound to have hard cases. During the last 19 years I have never heard a Budget introduced in which hard cases did not arise with regard to the Income Tax, and the moment you accept an Amendment you find other hard cases just across the border line. It is impossible in laying down these rules to cover every conceivable case where there is a shade of difference. I think the first view taken by my hon. Friends of these words was the best, and I am afraid they have been deluded by this discussion. We have had two or three long Debates upon this subject, and now, after four or five months, my hon. Friends have discovered this great hardship. I really think they must come to the conclusion that their first impressions were right, which, after four or five months' reflection, they were perfectly satisfied with, and just in an impulsive moment, after listening to the passionate oratory of the hon. and gallant Member for Chelmsford, they have been deluded into the belief that they are suffering from a hardship. But they are really not. All purely agricultural land in this country is exempted from all these taxes. The hon. Member for Preston asks why should this be so, and the Noble Lord opposite asks the same question. That is not the point, because it has been done practically with the assent of the whole House. I agree that there is a good deal to be said from the point of view of the Noble Lord and the hon. Member for Preston. Agricultural land is exempted. I am aware that agriculture is not represented merely on one side of the House, as I have discovered in the course of this Debate. I agree with what has been said. This is a Parliamentary arrangement, and it is also a Parliamentary situation. We have decided to exempt purely agricultural land, but the moment it passes from the category of agricultural land to building land it ceases to enjoy the privileges of agricultural land. You may be able to find cases with just a shade of difference where there may be an appearance of hardship, but those shades of difference very rarely are substantiated by the actual facts of the situation. When land passes from agricultural to building land it is not a matter of 343 £5 or £10, but you run into hundreds of pounds. I am sure my hon. Friends who slept in peace for the last six months not merely upon the vague assurances of the Government, but on a reflection of the actual words on the Paper, will find that there is no cause for anxiety as regards agricultural land.
§ Mr. ROWLAND HUNT
The right hon. Gentleman has just said that all agricultural land is excluded from all these taxes. That cannot be so, because there must be land used as agricultural land near towns which is taxed on which the people who grow food for this country are taxed. It is perfectly absurd to say that agricultural
§ land is not taxed. There is another very serious thing which apparently the Chancellor of the Exchequer has not seen, and that is that people living near towns will not cultivate their lands highly because they know when it is supposed to be building land it will be taken from them, and the money they have spent will be lost. They will be taxed because they have spent their money on improving the land. Therefore it is absurd for the Chancellor of the Exchequer to say that under his Bill agricultural land is not taxed.
§ Question put, "That those words be there added."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 102; Noes 218.345
|Division No. 814.]||AYES.||[6.55 p.m.|
|Acland-Hood, Rt. Hon. Sir Alex. F.||Fletcher, J. S.||Peel, Hon. W. R. W.|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Forster, Henry William||Percy, Earl|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major||Foster, P. S.||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Balcarres, Lord||Freeman-Thomas, Freeman||Pretyman, E. G.|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Gardner, Ernest||Randles, Sir John Scurrah|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Gibbs, G. A. (Bristol, West)||Ratcliff, Major R. F.|
|Baring, Capt. Hon. G. (Winchester)||Gooch, Henry Cubitt (Peckham)||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Beauchamp, E.||Gordon, J.||Renwick, George|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Gretton, John||Ridsdale, E. A.|
|Bellairs, Carlyon||Haddock, George B.||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Bertram, Julius||Hamilton, Marquess of||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Bignold, Sir Arthur||Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashford)||Rutherford, Watson (Liverpool)|
|Bowles, G. Stewart||Harris, Frederick Leverton||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Bull, Sir William James||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Hay, Hon. Claude George||Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East)|
|Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. H. M.||Heaton, John Henniker||Smith, F. E. (Liverpool, Walton)|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Hills, J. W.||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H.||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Hunt, Rowland||Stanier, Beville|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick||Kerry, Earl of||Stanley, Hon. Arthur (Ormskirk)|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Keswick, William||Starkey, John R.|
|Cecil, Lord John P. Joicey-||Kimber, Sir Henry||Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staffordshire)|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.)||King, Sir Henry Seymour (Hull)||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Worc'r.)||Lambton, Hon. Frederick William||Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Lanark)|
|Channing, Sir Francis Aliston||Lee, Arthur H. (Hants, Fareham)||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham)||Valentia, Viscount|
|Clark, George Smith||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Walker, Col. W. H. (Lancashire)|
|Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.)||Lowe, Sir Francis William||Walrond, Hon. Lionel|
|Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||MacCaw, William J. MacGeagh||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Craik, Sir Henry||M'Arthur, Charles||White, Sir Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Davies, David (Montgomery Co.)||Moore, William||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Doughty, Sir George||Morpeth, Viscount||Younger, George|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Morrison-Bell, Captain|
|Faber, George Denison (York)||Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Lyulph Stanley and Mr. Everett.|
|Fell, Arthur||Oddy, John James|
|Abraham, W. (Cork, N. E.)||Benn, Sir J. Williams (Devonport)||Byles, William Pollard|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Benn, W. (Tower Hamlets, St. Geo.)||Cameron, Robert|
|Alden, Percy||Bennett, E. N.||Carr-Gomm, H. W.|
|Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch)||Bethell, Sir J. H. (Essex, Romford)||Causton, Rt. Hon. Richard Knight|
|Allen, Charles P. (Stroud)||Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Cheetham, John Frederick|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||Black, Arthur W.||Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.|
|Astbury, John Meir||Bowerman, C. W.||Cleland, J. W.|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Brace, William||Clough, William|
|Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth)||Branch, James||Cobbold, Feilx Thornley|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Brigg, John||Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Brooke, Stopford||Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinstead)|
|Barker, Sir John||Brunner, J. F. L. (Lancs., Leigh)||Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.|
|Barlow, Sir John E. (Somerset)||Brunner, Rt. Hon. Sir J. T. (Cheshire)||Cotton, Sir H. J. S.|
|Barnard, E. B.||Pryce, J. Annan||Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)|
|Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.)||Buckmaster, Stanley O.||Dalziel, Sir James Henry|
|Beale, W. P.||Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Davies, M. Vaughan-(Cardigan)|
|Bell, Richard||Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)|
|Belloc, Hilaire Joseph Peter R.||Buxton, Rt. Hon. Sydney Charles||Dickinson, W. H. (St. Pancras, N.)|
|Dobson, Thomas W.||King, Alfred John (Knutsford)||Robson, Sir William Snowdon|
|Duckworth, Sir James||Laidlaw, Robert||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)||Lamb, Edmund G. (Leominster)||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||Lamb, Ernest H. (Rochester)||Rose, Sir Charles Day|
|Elibank, Master of||Layland-Barratt, Sir Francis||Russell, Rt. Hon. T. W.|
|Essex, R. W.||Leese, Sir Joseph F. (Accrington)||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Evans, Sir S. T.||Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich)||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)|
|Falconer, J.||Lewis, John Herbert||Schwann, C. Duncan (Hyde)|
|Fenwick, Charles||Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David||Schwann, Sir C. E. (Manchester)|
|Ferens, T. R.||Lupton, Arnold||Sears, J. E.|
|Fiennes, Hon. Eustace||Luttrell, Hugh Fownes||Seely, Colonel|
|Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Shackleton, David James|
|Fullerton, Hugh||Mackarness, Frederic C.||Shaw, Sir Charles E. (Stafford).|
|Gibb, James (Harrow)||Maclean, Donald||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Gladstone, Rt. Hon. Herbert John||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Glendinning, R. G.||Macpherson, J. T.||Silcock, Thomas Ball|
|Glover, Thomas||MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.)||Simon, John Allsebrook|
|Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||M'Callum, John M.||Soares, Ernest J.|
|Gooch, George Peabody (Bath)||McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Steadman, W. C.|
|Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)||M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)||Stewart-Smith, D. (Kendal)|
|Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill||Massie, J.||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Gulland John W.||Masterman, C. F. G.||Strauss, E. A. (Abingdon)|
|Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale)||Menzies, Sir Walter||Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth)|
|Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Micklem, Nathaniel||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worcester)||Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)||Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)|
|Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire)||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)||Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)|
|Hart-Davies, T.||Morse, L. L.||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr)|
|Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N. E.)||Murray, James (Aberdeen, E.)||Thomasson, Franklin|
|Haslam, James (Derbyshire)||Myer, Horatio||Thorne, William (West Ham)|
|Haworth, Arthur A.||Napier, T. B.||Tomkinson, James|
|Hazel, Dr. A. E. W.||Nolan, Joseph||Toulmin, George|
|Hazleton, Richard||Nussey, Sir Willans||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Hedges, A. Paget||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Verney, F. W.|
|Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||O'Donnell, C. J. (Walworth)||Villiers, Ernest Amherst|
|Henderson, J. McD. (Aberdeen, W.)||O'Grady, J.||Walker, H. D. R. (Leicester)|
|Henry, Charles S.||O'Malley, William||Walsh, Stephen|
|Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon. S.)||Parker, James (Halifax)||Walters, John Tudor|
|Herbert, T. Arnold (Wycombe)||Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Higham, John Sharp||Philipps, Col. Ivor (Southampton)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Hobart, Sir Robert||Philipps, Owen C. (Pembroke)||Watt, Henry A.|
|Hodge, John||Pollard, Dr. G. H.||White, Sir George (Norfolk)|
|Holland, Sir William Henry||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)||White, J. Dundas (Dumbartonshire)|
|Holt, Richard Durning||Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)||Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)|
|Horniman, Emslie John||Radford, G. H.||Wiles, Thomas|
|Hyde, Clarendon||Raphael, Herbert H.||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|Idris, T. H. W.||Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (Gloucester)||Williams, Sir Osmond (Merioneth)|
|Isaacs, Rufus Daniel||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)||Williamson, Sir A.|
|Jardine, Sir J.||Rendall, Athelstan||Wills, Arthur Walters|
|Jenkins, J.||Richards, Thomas (W. Monmouth)||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)|
|Johnson, John (Gateshead)||Richards, T. F. (Wolverhampton, W.)||Wilson, J. W. Worcestershire, N.)|
|Jones, Leif (Appleby)||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)|
|Kearley, Rt. Hon. Sir Hudson||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. Joseph Pease and Captain Norton.|
|Keating, M.||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)|
|Kekewich, Sir George||Robinson, S.|
Question, "That those words be there inserted in the Bill," put, and agreed to.