§ (1) The Commissioners shall, as soon as may be after the passing of this Act, cause a valuation to be made of all land in the United Kingdom, showing separately the total value and the site value respectively of the land and distinguishing that portion of the site value which is due to the value of the land for agricultural purposes. Each piece of land which is under separate occupation, and, if the owner so requires, any part of any land which is under separate occupation, shall be separately valued, and the value shall be estimated as on the thirtieth day of April nineteen hundred and nine.
§ (2) Any owner of land and any person receiving rent in respect of any land shall, on being required by notice from the Commissioners, furnish to the Commissioners a return containing such particulars as the Commissioners may require as to the rent received by him, and any other information which the Commissioners may require, and which it is in his power to give, 744 and if any owner of land or person receiving any rent in respect of the land is required by the Commissioners to make a return under this Section, and fails to make such a return within the time, not being less than thirty days, specified in the notice requiring a return, he shall be liable to a penalty under Section fifty-five of the Income Tax Act, 1842, and that Section shall apply accordingly, but the penalty shall only be recoverable in the High Court.
§ (3) Any owner of land may, if he thinks fit, furnish to the Commissioners his estimate of the total value or site value or both of the land, and the Commissioners, in making their valuation, shall consider any estimate so furnished.
§ Amendment made: In Sub section (1) to leave out the words "distinguishing that portion of the site value which is due to," and to insert instead thereof the words "in the case of agricultural land."
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL (Sir W. Robson) moved, in Sub-section (1), after the word "purposes ["the value of the land for agricultural purposes"] to insert the words "where that value is different from the site value."
§ Sir W. ROBSON
The Amendment will slightly limit the scope of the valuation. As the Clause stands there must in every case be a specific and special distinction of the agricultural value. We are substituting words which are rather better, and which will prevent complication. We say that the agricultural value shall be shown where it is different from the site value. If you have a piece of agricultural land there is no site value apart from its agricultural value, and you do not want to distinguish the value for agricultural purposes because the value will be the same for all purposes; but where you begin to have a building value over and above the site value it is necessary to distinguish the agricultural value. That is the only case where you need the distinction. The words, therefore, have a slightly limiting effect upon the valuation.
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
It is difficult to follow these Amendments, but, if I rightly understand it, there is one case which the Government have not considered, and which is not covered by the words proposed. As the Clause originally stood, the agricultural value of all land 745 had to be separately indicated. I agree it would seem rather absurd to set out the agricultural value on 30th September, 1909, of Berkeley-square, and the Government have averted that by the change they have introduced; but, if land reverts from building to purely agricultural land, with what have you then to compare it? You have no agricultural value of 1909. It is not likely that Berkeley-square will ever revert to agricultural land, but it is quite possible that land which is now reserved for mineral purposes or land which is at present of building value, may, in certain districts, owing to changes in the character of the trade carried on in the locality, or owing to the failure of trade or to unexpected difficulties about development being discovered later, may revert to a purely agricultural value. You have your original site value, but the agricultural value is different from the normal site value, and, having no original agricultural value with which to compare, that land would lose all the benefit of the agricultural exemptions. If I am wrong in that, then my contention falls to the ground; but, if I am right, it would be a blot on your Bill.
§ Sir W. ROBSON
We have an universal valuation on 30th April, 1909, and that valuation, of course, will comprise agricultural land. Some of the agricultural land will also have a building value. It is only in such cases that we want its value for agricultural purposes. In cases like that where there is a different site value for the agricultural value we say the two values must be distinguished. In the case of ordinary agricultural value there is no account taken of site value.
§ Mr. PRETYMAN
Is the agricultural value to be the site value? Agricultural value is ordinarily understood to include buildings, etc., and for site value the land is to be divested of these.
§ Sir W. ROBSON
The agricultural value is the value of the land. You get your value in April, 1909. But, suppose the agricultural value relapses—we have to consider this for the purposes of increment. Whether it goes up or down, we take the simple value on 30th April, 1909. Whatever happens after, that is the basis on which we take the increment. If the agricultural value is below, the deduction is made; if it is a site value, you have already got the value for agricultural purposes.
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
I am not quite certain that I have made myself 746 quite clear to the Attorney-General. This is really like one of the Chinese puzzles—boxes within boxes—with the difficulty of fitting the pieces one within the other. The right hon. Gentleman says that where you have agricultural land, this provides for the agricultural value on the 30th April, 1909. But he claims more, as I understand it is provided that where the land now has a building value the agricultural value shall also be set down if it is different from the site value. But there is no definition in the Bill of agricultural land.
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
I do not think that that meets the ease. If the Attorney-General will carry his mind back to the discussions in Committee he will remember that for a long time the Government argued on the point what is agricultural land, and they objected on the ground that a man might sow mustard and cress on a vacant building site in Piccadilly and claim that that was agricultural land. But now, owing to the changes which the Government have introduced, a definition is needed, otherwise, as the Bill reads, it must mean that land has no higher value for any other purpose than it has for agriculture. That is the only possible interpretation as the Bill now stands, and if that is so then you may have land not now developed which has a higher value—building or mining—at this moment, and which will not come under the exemption, as there will be no agricultural value. On the other hand, it may never be developed. The time may come when it is seen there can be no development. The population will be moving away from instead of extending towards it. The town in the vicinity instead of growing may fall back. Instead of more houses being required, existing houses may become empty, and then the land will lose all value except as agricultural land. It will then have no statutory value.
§ Lord ROBERT CECIL
Personally I am fairly puzzled by the Clause. I cannot find that the agricultural value of the land is anywhere defined or indicated. The only thing defined in Clause 25 is the value of land—the total value, the site value and the assessable value. The value of agricultural land is not defined. But it must be something different from site value, otherwise the Amendment will not read at all. There is no indication how a distinction is to be drawn between the value of 747 land for agricultural purposes and its site value. I confess I am exceedingly puzzled how the Section is to be construed.
§ Mr. YOUNGER
It appears to me that the only definition of the value of land for agricultural purposes is to bring it down to prairie value. If you take away the whole equipment you naturally reduce it to prairie value. Therefore no definition is required.
§ Amendment made.
§ The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER (Mr. Lloyd-George) moved, in Clause 26, Sub-section (2), to leave out the words "and any other information which the Commissioners may require," and to insert instead thereof the words "as to the title, area, character, and use of the land, and the consideration given on any previous sale or lease of the land and any other matters which may properly be required for the purpose of the valuation of the land" ["which it is in his power to give."] When this Clause was under consideration in Committee the Leader of the Opposition pointed out that the words were much too wide, as they would entitle the Commissioners to demand information which was quite unnecessary for the purposes of valuation. The words now moved, I believe, were suggested at the time, but the right hon. Gentleman thought it better to deal with the matter on the Report stage. I think it will be found that they cover all that is essential to enable the Commissioners to value the land.
§ Mr. PRETYMAN
I understood the Chancellor of the Exchequer just now, in the course of his few explanatory sentences, to say that title was unnecessary, and that is one of the things which we hold to be unnecessary, and which ought not to be required. We find, however, that it is one of the first words of his proposal. I may have misunderstood him, but I thought he said that there were many things that it was unnecessary to ask for, and, amongst other things, title. Why is title necessary? Surely it is a very large order to put a subject to the expense of proving his title in every case, and clearly these words may be interpreted that he has to prove his title.
§ Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE
No, that is not the case if the hon. Gentleman will look at the last words of the Amendment. It is only such information as to title which 748 is wanted as "may properly be required for the purpose of the valuation of the land."
§ Mr. PRETYMAN
I do not think the Clause bears that interpretation. It says, "and any other matters which may properly be required for the purpose of the valuation of the land." The owner is to give any information which the Commissioners may require as to the rent received by him, and as to the title, area, character, and use of the land, and the consideration given on any previous sale or lease, and any other matters which may properly be required for the purpose of the valuation of the land. That last part is clearly additional.
§ Mr. PRETYMAN
In any case, I think that should be made clear, but even so I do not quite see why title is required. It is a very onerous thing, and nothing is so expensive as proving title. Then, again, although, of course, it is necessary that information as to the "area, character, and use of the land" should be given, is it necessary that it should be furnished as to the "consideration given on any previous sale or lease of the land"?
§ Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE
Perhaps I may interrupt. Really what we mean by "title" is that the Commissioners must know who the owner is. That is the title required, and it is inconceivable that the Commissioners should ask for an abstract of title. That is not the idea at all. It is to get the information as to title which is necessary for the registration of the property. They really must know who the owner is of the estate.
§ Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE
That is all we want really. We certainly do not want title, and I shall be quite satisfied with the word "ownership."
§ Mr. PRETYMAN
Then I will say no-more about that, but will come to the words, "the consideration given on any previous sale or lease of the land." Those words cover a very wide area and may go back to infinity. They cover ownerships of all kinds and descriptions and it may be a very onerous and difficult demand to comply with. Why not say the consideration on any sale or lease or letting "within twenty years." That surely would be quite sufficient. There are no lettings extending beyond 20 years, and the 749 indefinite period of this is alarming to a degree to owners of land, because they may have to give particulars of any sale or lease of land through infinity and going back an indefinite period.
§ Mr. PRETYMAN
It is not for me to indicate the drafting, but I strongly suggest, and I think the right hon. Gentleman agrees, that an indefinite term of this kind as regards any antecedent lease or any sale is unreasonable.
§ Mr. WATSON RUTHERFORD
I read over this Amendment with great care, and I asked some friends of mine who understood these matters in regard to it, and they said they thought "title" was a mistake for "tenure." The Commissioners, they said, would want to know the tenure whether it was leasehold, or freehold, or copyhold. The question of title has nothing to do with the value, and if a man has a poor title it has nothing to do with the value of the property if he has a possessory title. It is the word "tenure" which is wanted here instead of the word "title." As to what has been given for any property in the past it does strike me that that is a very improper question for the Commissioners to ask. Why should a man whose property is being valued by Commissioners under this Act, and against his will, be obliged to furnish particulars as to the exact consideration for which he has either sold or bought or leased any portion of his land? It might convey most misleading information to the valuers. As I understand it the object of the Government is to arrive at a valuation on 30th April, 1909, and this is one of the most important parts of the Bill. We are dealing with a Clause which is to give the Commissioners an inquisitorial right to go to every owner of property in this Kingdom and demand from him these particulars. It is quite true and no doubt the right hon. Gentleman will point out that the particulars are restricted to such as are in the power of the land-owner to give, but that is an exceedingly wide phrase. If this Bill passes in this shape the Commissioners might very properly say, "Although you do not know precisely yourself what the piece of property was bought for 27 or 28 years ago, it is your duty, at your own expense to find that out, and to give us particulars of the exact description of that piece of property which was so transferred and the conditions under which it was so transferred."
750 I do not think we can pay too much attention to the exact wording of this Clause both with regard to this particular Amendment which is before the House, and also the whole Clause, because this is the first Clause in this Bill under which the Commissioners are going to set to work and make a valuation of the whole country, and they are going to have the power to ask the land-owners for these particulars. I do therefore think we are entitled to go very narrowly and very carefully into the powers of these Commissioners and see the way in which they may treat land-owners. Of course, there is the usual penalty to fall on the landlord under the Section, and I may point out that it is not merely the owner himself who is liable under this Clause for failure to give these particulars but any person in receipt of the rents.
In the case of quite three-quarters of the property of this country the rents are not being received by the land-owners themselves at all but by others, many of whom simply receive them and know nothing about the tenure or the title or any of the other matters referred to here. What sort of powers can these Commissioners have, and how far are we going to allow them to exercise them? It seems to me that a number of these items ought to be struck out, but at all events it ought to be made quite clear that the person who is simply in receipt of the rents, and is probably simply getting a commission on the rents for receiving them and paying them into a bank, ought not individually to be put to a lot of expense and trouble about matters that he knows nothing about, and cannot know anything about without making a lot of inquiries and probably spending a lot of time and money. All these words require the greatest possible care. I think the words about "the consideration given on any previous sale or lease of the land" ought to be struck out, and I am not sure that the Government ought not themselves to be willing to put in some words at the end to say that no mere agent, or person of that sort, shall be caused any expense, or be put to any penalty, for not supplying the information which he could not obtain without expense.
§ Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE
I have had opportunity of refreshing my memory, and I find that the words "title, area, character, and use of the land" were suggested by the Leader of the Opposition, and I still think they are the right words, because 751 "title" would include not merely ownership, but tenure, and I should want both those words if we omitted the word "title." The criticism of the hon. Member shows how much better the word "title" is. We do not want the absolute title, but particulars as to the ownership and the tenure of the property whether copyhold or otherwise. Title will cover both. However, if the Opposition prefer those two words I do not mind at all. I shall move the omission of the word "title" and the insertion of "ownership tenure." With regard to the consideration, that is information which it is really quite essential that they should have with a view to valuation, and as to going back 20 years for the purpose of the Reversion Tax that does not give us the information we require. We might require to go back 90 or 100 years.
§ Mr. JULIUS BERTRAM
I cannot agree that the words now suggested render the Clause more innocuous than it was. It seems to me perfectly unreasonable that the Government valuers should be afforded facilities which are not afforded to valuers in the ordinary transactions which occur every day. The most constant occasions, when valuations are required and the employment of valuers becomes necessary, are mortgages or valuations of property at death. There never is an occasion when the valuer of the property who is not the owner's valuer has information as to what the cosh value of the property has been in times gone by. The right hon. Gentleman himself, in introducing the Budget, said what, he was going to get was the value on 30th April, 1909. Time and again they have told us that nothing is easier than to make this valuation, and that anyone can do it. Then later they say they must have a valuer, and now he is to be a valuer who, presumably, is so incompetent that he has to be given all sorts of information which no recognised valuer in any part of the Kingdom at present requires when he is put to the work of making a valuation. I quite agree that the elimination of the word "title" and the substitution of "ownership and tenure" does, to a certain extent, protect the owner, but when it comes to a question of saying that he has to give information as to what the property has cost on the last or or any other transaction, that is an improper question to put. You are asking him to disclose to your valuer at the outset the very facts and evidence on 752 which the taxpayer will rely if he is to make an appeal. It renders entirely valueless the proviso that where a man can show that within twenty years he paid a higher price for the land than the valuer puts upon it he can have that higher value placed upon it.
If you are giving all this precise, particular information to the Government valuer there can be no reason for it except that you are not going to have a personal survey at all. You will be giving such information that any office-boy in Somerset House can work the value by saying so many years' purchase for something in Category A and so many years' purchase for something in Category B, and so on. The whole value, I should have thought, of this survey and valuation would be that it was made by independent, competent people who viewed the site and had the same information and facilities as are given to valuers in transactions all over the country at present. I cannot understand why the Government in this Bill have found it necessary to go further than the late Sir William Harcourt went in 1894. There, for the purpose of Estate Duty, the Department was given power, if it was dissatisfied with the value put upon landed property by the executors, to appoint their own valuer. In those cases, where they did appoint their own valuer, provision is distinctly made that no cost shall fall upon the land-owner by reason of that valuation. An enormous cost will be placed upon land-owners, not only in the initial stages of this valuation but every five years, by reason of this Amendment of the Chancellor of the Exchequer's. Take the ordinary case of a largish estate, where a man has been buying land, in order to found a family estate or something of that kind, piecemeal for many years. I know of one estate where the giving of this information would entail very large costs and a very prolonged and minute investigation—an investigation of such a kind that providing a mere abstract of title for the whole estate would be no more expensive and no more troublesome, because it would mean that every single deed of purchase by which the owner of the estate acquired the property would have to be looked up, the plans would have to be copied, the price paid would have to be supplied, and an immense amount of labour and expense would be incurred by the land-owner, and it seems to me wholly unreasonable, if there is any value whatever in the Government concession, that they would bear the cost of valuation, that 753 these labours should be thrown upon the land-owners. It must cost them so large a sum of money that the Government promise to pay the expense of valuation becomes entirely worthless.
§ Amendment made in the proposed Amendment to omit the word "title," and to insert instead thereof the words "ownership, tenure."—[Mr. Lloyd-George.]
§ Amendment proposed, to leave out the words "and the consideration given on any previous sales or lease of the land."—[Mr. Bertram.]
Mr. G. D. FABER (York)
I beg to second the Amendment. I agree that this is an attempt on the part of the Government to take away with one hand what they have given with another. After many weeks' discussion on the Finance Bill at last the Government were driven into this position, that instead of the whole cost of valuation of all the land of the country being put upon the owners the State would take that burden upon its back. The owners see clearly that even so there will be a very considerable material cost remaining to be borne by the land-owners. Now this latest Amendment seems to show clearly that the Government are trying to make the cost which will fall upon the State as small as possible, and the cost which must fall upon the owners as large as possible. I agree that the words now proposed to be put in seem to intimate that it will not be a valuation on the spot, at least in many cases. If this exhaustive information is to be supplied by the owner or his agent on the spot, and then forwarded to the Head Office in London, where the value will be derived as far as possible without anyone ever going down to view at all, I think the procedure is mean. Let the Government be generous in their Amendments. Having said the valuation should be a State valuation let it be so, but do not go whittling away the concession you have made, and by a side wind, at this stage, impose more and more cost upon the land-owner, leaving the public to imagine all the time that the State is going to bear the cost. I cannot imagine any other reason for these words at all. The words in the Bill, "and any other information which the Commissioners may require," are wide, but when you put in these specific words "ownership, tenure, area, character, and use of the land, and the consideration given on any previous sale or lease of the land, and any other matters which may 754 properly be required," it seems to me that you are playing on the whole octave—you are running your hand up all the strings—for the information which can be required for any purpose.
§ Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE
The hon. Member for York (Mr. G. D. Faber) said that this was an attempt on the part of the Government to take away with one hand what they had given with the other. At any rate, so far as these words go, they are a limitation of the words in the Bill as it left Committee. They may be very inadequate, and insufficient to meet the views of the hon. Member. The hon. Member does not deny that they are a limitation of the words in the Bill. If they are not, I am quite willing not to move the Amendment. I do not suppose that the hon. Member would get very much support if he appealed to me to withdraw the Amendment. Why should landlords get this limitation? The hon. Member is aware that it is proposed that there should be a great State valuation of land, and, that being so, it is surely desirable that you should ensure accuracy. It is also important that you should simplify the task of the Commissioners if you can simplify their task. After all, it is an expense which will be borne by the whole community. The hon. Member for the Hitchin Division (Mr. Bertram), who moved the Amendment, admitted that on an appeal this information might not only be desirable, but absolutely necessary.
§ Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE
I know what the hon. Member said. It might be useful in the interest of the subject himself to get the information. If it is information that could be got on appeal, why on earth should you not get it before any appeal is rendered necessary? I should think that it would save expense to all parties to get the information before any appeal is necessary. Why not get it without going to the expense of an appeal? Why should there be double expense incurred when by putting this information in the return the whole thing can be saved? The hon. Member seems to regard this as an attempt of both parties to dodge each other. His view is that the State is extorting more than it ought to take, and that the subject on the other hand is trying to dodge the State of what he ought to pay. If that is his view he is perfectly right in supporting Amendments of this kind. Now I know the view he takes of this matter, and 755 I am not at all surprised that he should move the Amendment.
Let me take another matter. The hon. Member seems to think that it is really a gigantic task to discover what consideration has been paid. The hon. Member talks about what can be done by the office boy. Well, the office boy should be able to work it out for himself. If on the face of the deed, it is stated that the consideration paid was the sum of £5,000, the office boy could go through the documents and work it out for himself. Why there should be any difficulty in finding out the valuation it is impossible for me to discover. It is information which the valuers should get, and I should think that it is very easy to get it now.
§ Mr. BERTRAM
Does the right hon. Gentleman suggest that the valuers on the other side will get their opponent figures?
§ Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE
The hon. Member has an extraordinary idea of the attitude of citizens towards the State. He seems to think that the citizens regard the State as some hostile monster. After all, we are all citizens of the same common country. In the case of Income Tax the citizen is bound to produce his books if the Commissioners want him to do so for the purpose of getting information with regard to his business. Why should a land-owner not be required to give information as to what he has paid? A man engaged in a profession may be asked what he has made by that profession for the purpose of Income Tax assessment, and in like manner a man in business may be asked to state what profits he made last year. But when you are asking "How much money did you pay for that piece of land," it is gross oppression. This is an attempt to get a great State valuation with a view to accurate, fair, and equitable taxation.
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
I think the Chancellor of the Exchequer has forgotten his earlier legal experience. No on who has had experience as a solicitor
§ in tracing title, and so forth, would say that it is an easy matter to get such information as land-owners are to be asked to give. The right hon. Gentleman went on to speak of Income Tax, and he made statements, if I may be allowed to say so, which are not quite accurate. The Commissioners have no power to call upon a man to produce his books. I know what the Chancellor of the Exchequer had in his mind, but if you state the case accurately, I do not know that it helps the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The power which the Commissioners have is to raise a man's assessment, and to call upon him to prove that he is over-assessed. They do from time to time make use of that power, and that being so, they no doubt force a man to bring forward his books. It is by presenting his books that the man can prove that the assessment made by the Commissioners is wrong. In this way they do get at his books, but they have no power to call upon him to produce them. The method by which the Commissioners can compel a person to produce his books is regarded widely by the taxpayers as being grossly oppressive, and certainly if the Government are going to do the same kind of thing under this tax, that is not the way to reassure anxious taxpayers. I think the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in the words he is now proposing, is asking more information than he reasonably requires. I do not agree with my hon. Friend who says that the words which the right hon. Gentleman proposes to insert are even more dangerous than the words in the Bill. I think the words in the Bill are so wide that the Commissioners could have whatever information they liked. Therefore I agree that the words of the right hon. Gentleman's Amendment are limiting words, and though I do not think they are sufficient, I shall certainly, if a Division is taken, vote for the omission of the words in the Bill.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the proposed Amendment."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 139; Noes, 53.757
|Division No. 837.]||AYES.||[4.27 p.m.|
|Abraham, W. (Cork, N. E.)||Benn, W. (Tower Hamlets, St. Geo.)||Buxton, Rt. Hon. Sydney Charles|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Bethell, Sir J. H. (Essex, Romford)||Byles, William Pollard|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Bethell, T. R. (Essex, Maldon)||Cameron, Robert|
|Alden, Percy||Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Carr-Gomm, H. W.|
|Allen, Charles P. (Stroud)||Black, Arthur W.||Clough, William|
|Ambrose, Robert||Boulton, A. C. F.||Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Branch, James||Collins, Sir Win. J. (St. Pancras, W.)|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||Brunner, J. F. L. (Lancs., Leigh)||Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinstead)|
|Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth)||Brunner, Rt. Hon. Sir J. T. (Cheshire)||Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Bryce, J. Annan||Cotton, Sir H. J. S.|
|Barker, Sir John||Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Courthope, G. Loyd|
|Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Layland-Barratt, Sir Francis||Rose, Sir Charles Day|
|Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardigan)||Leese, Sir Joseph F. (Accrington)||Russell, Rt. Hon. T. W.|
|Dickinson, W. H. (St. Pancras, N.)||Lewis, John Herbert||Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Erskine, David C.||Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Scanlan, Thomas|
|Evans, Sir S. T.||Lupton, Arnold||Schwann, Sir C. E. (Manchester)|
|Everett, R. Lacey||Lynch, A. (Clare, W.)||Scott, A. H. (Ashton-under-Lyne)|
|Falconer, J.||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Shackleton, David James|
|Fuller, John Michael F.||Maclean, Donald||Snowden, P.|
|Ginnell, L.||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Gladstone, Rt. Hon. Herbert John||M'Callum, John M.||Stanger, H. Y.|
|Glendinning, R. G.||McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Stanley, Hon. A. Lyulph (Cheshire)|
|Glover, Thomas||Marnham, F. J.||Steadman, W. C.|
|Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Massie, J.||Stewart, Halley (Greenock)|
|Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)||Masterman, C. F. G.||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Guiland, John W.||Menzies, Sir Walter||Sutherland, J. E.|
|Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale)||Molteno, Percy Alport||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Montagu, Hon. E. S.||Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)|
|Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worcester)||Mooney, J. J.||Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)|
|Hedges, A. Paget||Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)||Thorne, William (West Ham)|
|Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Murray, Capt. Hon. A. C. (Kincard.)||Verney, F. W.|
|Herbert, T. Arnold (Wycombe)||Napier, T. B.||Vivian, Henry|
|Higham, John Sharp||Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncaster)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Hobart, Sir Robert||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Weir, James (Galloway)|
|Hodge, John||Parker, James (Halifax)||White, J. Dundas (Dumbartonshire)|
|Holland, Sir William Henry||Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)|
|Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Pearson, W. H. M. (Suffolk, Eye)||Williams, Sir Osmond (Merioneth)|
|Hudson. Walter||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.||Wills, Arthur Walters|
|Idris, T. H. W.||Radford, G. H.||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Illingworth, Percy H.||Raphael, Herbert H.||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)||Rees, J. D.||Wood, T. M'Kinnon|
|Jones, Leif (Appleby)||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Jewett, F. W.||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)|
|Keating, M.||Robson, Sir William Snowdon||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Joseph Pease and Captain Norton.|
|Lambert, George||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Lamont, Norman||Rogers, F. E. Newman|
|Acland-Hood, Rt. Hon. Sir Alex. F.||Guinness, Hon. W. E. (B. S. Edm'ds.)||Renton, Leslie|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major||Hamilton, Marquess of||Ridsdale, E. A.|
|Balcarres, Lord||Heaton, John Henniker||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (City, Lond.)||Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Rutherford, John (Lancashire)|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)||Hunt, Rowland||Rutherford, Watson (Liverpool)|
|Bellairs, Carlyon||Kerry, Earl of||Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert|
|Bignold, Sir Arthur||Kimber, Sir Henry||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Lee, Arthur H. (Hants, Farcham)||Talbot, Rt. Hon. J. G. (Oxford Univ.)|
|Cave, George||Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R.||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Tuke, Sir John Batty|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.)||M'Arthur, Charles||Walker, Col. W. H. (Lancashire)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Worc'r.)||Magnus, Sir Philip||Walrond, Hon. Lionel|
|Channing, Sir Francis Allston||Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield)||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thomas H. A. E.||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.)||Percy, Earl||Younger, George|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Pretyman, E. G.|
|Fell, Arthur||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. Bertram and Mr. G. D. Faber.|
|Forster, Henry William||Remnant, James Farquharson|
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN moved, in the proposed Amendment, after the word "land" ["and use of the land"], to insert the words "so far as required for the purpose of ascertaining any of the thirteen kinds of value mentioned in this Act."
§ The Chancellor of the Exchequer reads the qualifying words at the end of his Amendment as referring to the whole of the words which he proposes to insert. I cannot see that they do. It appears to me that by the Amendment as it stands the Commissioners have absolute discretion to ask for any information they like as to "title, area, character, and use of the 758 land, and the considerations given on any previous sale or lease," and it is only if they wanted to go beyond that and asked for other information that the limiting words might be required. In order to meet that case and to limit the previous words I propose to insert this Amendment. It is well that the House and the country should understand what is the nature of the valuation on which the Government are embarking. I am not certain that I have got the figure quite right, and, of course, I shall be quite willing to have it amended if the Government point out to me that I have omitted some of the values. But a cursory perusal has led me to find 759 that there are at least 13. There are the gross value, the total value, the full site value, the total site value, the assessable value, and the site value, and there are also original site value, increment value, agricultural value, rental value, capital value, and building value. Besides that, there are a site value which is equivalent to capital value and an annual value which is equivalent to capital value. But, at any rate, there are 13 clearly marked different values, and every one of them is something different in the price which would be given for the property if it came into the market for sale. That is a complication of machinery which the Government have found it necessary to introduce for the purposes of this Bill, and I think it would be just as well that it should be clearly stated on the face of the Bill itself.
§ Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE
I thought that the right hon. Gentleman really wanted to introduce an Amendment in order to make perfectly clear what I think is already clear in the last words of my Amendment. Instead of that he introduced a sentence from a very polemical speech, and attempted to convert that into an Amendment. There are many ways of drafting, but I think that about the very worst is to choose a sentence from these speeches and to try to put that into an Act of Parliament. I cannot imagine anything more inconsistent with the responsibilities of a Government than to accept an Amendment moved either in that spirit or drafted in that form. If the right hon. Gentleman really wanted to make it perfectly clear that the last sentence dominates the whole of my Amendment I should be perfectly willing to accept any Amendment doing so, but I could not accept an Amendment of that kind which is not intended to be accepted. I say that it is quite clear as it stands, but if he really desires to insert anything which he thinks would add to its clearness I am perfectly willing to accept anything which would have that effect. It is perfectly absurd to say that there are 13 valuations. It has nothing whatever to do with this Clause, and I do not accept his interpretation. Does the right hon. Gentleman really want to make my Amendment clear, or did he simply rise to make a speech on it?
I am not sure that I understand the point of the right hon. Gentleman's rejection of my right hon Friend's Amendment. He says that my 760 right hon. Friend's Amendment is the introduction of a polemical sentence from a polemical speech into an Act of Parliament. I thought that the whole of this Bill was an attempt to turn polemical speeches into an Act of Parliament. I thought it was embodying the crystallised rhetoric of these speeches from the first sentence in the first Clause to the very last words in the last Schedule. I venture to say that my right hon. Friend's Amendment is perfectly clear. The Government have no reply to make to the statement that in order to carry out these proposals they had to invent a number of valuations which absolutely staggers the ordinary brain, and it is in order to ascertain these various valuations that you are going to have a State valuation. Why not mention it? Why not say that? Why not say that your State valuation is for the purpose of ascertaining the 13 kinds of valuations, and that no information except for the purpose of ascertaining these 13 valuations is to be asked for? There are 13 which must be known before you can levy the tax, and we agree that you must have the information about these 13 valuations, but we do not see why you should have any more. That should satisfy you. The Chancellor of the Exchequer dislikes the Amendment because it puts on the face of the Bill some of the criticisms which we have ventured to pass, and be does not like to have a commentary on his measure introduced into a clause. If the Government absolutely refuse to take the Amendment, so as to express what is required in plain, unmistakable form, because, as my right hon. Friend suggests to me, they think that 13 is an unlucky number, then they need not put in any figure. Let them leave out the figure and everything in the nature of a polemical speech, and simply have "so far as is required for the purposes of ascertaining any of the valuations mentioned in this Act." That is innocuous to the last degree, and does not embody the criticism of even the mildest critic.
§ Sir W. ROBSON
Perhaps it is unnecessary for me to raise any serious argument about what is essentially a joke. I cannot take seriously the attempt to introduce an estimate of the number of valuations which are said to be in the Bill and put it upon the Clause itself. I would respectfully remind the House that although these words which are the subject-matter of discussion necessarily qualify every part of what is to be done, the Commissioners are only entitled to make a valuation for 761 the purposes of the Act, and therefore they have no authority to demand any information whatever that is not clearly required for the purpose for which they are appointed; and the function they are directed to exercise they can only exercise by obtaining such particulars as are required for the purpose of ascertaining the value. The reason why the words are inserted in the Amendment is to modify the wide generality of the words "other matters." They are entitled to ask in regard to tenure and so on for the purposes of valuation, but for no other purpose. They would be entitled to ask in regard to any matter which may be properly required for the purposes of valuation.
§ Mr. WATSON RUTHERFORD
It is extraordinary that the hon. and learned Gentleman should attempt to describe this very serious matter of valuation as a joke, I can assure him that it is not so. I do not know whether he has personally come into contact with many land-owners in the country, but I can assure him that there is not a land-owner who regards valuation as a joke at all. I hope that, if the Amendment be pressed, the number 13 will be omitted, because there are certainly two or three more valuations which have not been mentioned. In the first instance, there is the communal value, and there is the recovery value, for both of which the Chancellor of the Exchequer was responsible the other night, which are not referred to in the Bill at all, but which have been argued upon at great length from the Government Bench. I think it is desirable to limit the power of the Commissioners; anything that can be done in that direction ought to be done. The Commissioners have no right to ask the owner of property when they are valuing it about the character of the soil. Why cannot they go, if they are valuers, and look at the character of the soil for themselves? Almost all these values which are referred to in this way are in the same category, and there could not possibly be anything more objectionable than the whole Amendment as it is now before the House, with, perhaps, the exception of the Bill as it originally stood. I join my right hon. Friend in pressing upon the attention of the Government, at all events, the necessity of cutting down the rights and powers of the Commissioners to ascertainment of the particulars which are directly necessary for the purpose of this Bill, and not for any purpose outside it. It is stated by the hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney-General 762 that such things as the character and use of the land and details of that kind are strictly within the purposes of valuation. I contend that they are not, and that the best possible analogy that we could bring before our minds at the present moment is that of a railway company taking land of a private owner. In such a case there are two, three or four valuers on each side, and what have these valuers got before them? Has the owner to furnish material to the railway company such as that which is required by this Bill? It would be perfectly ridiculous to make any such suggestion. The valuers on each side go to look at the place for themselves, and, if they do not, they are liable to be entirely knocked to pieces on cross-examination. They have given them the dimensions of the property, and whether it is freehold or on a long lease. When they have got that information everything else has to be obtained on the spot. We look upon the whole of this Clause, and particularly the words of this Amendment, as being exceedingly objectionable, exceedingly inquisitorial, and they are very strongly objected to by the owners of property in this country.
§ Mr. PRETYMAN
I would suggest that the words might be qualified by substituting in the Amendment for the word. "which," after "matters," the words "so-far as." The word "which" clearly refers only to "matters." If you put in "so far as" they would cover the preceding words. At any rate, I ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer to take these words into consideration, for he said that if the Amendment were not clear he was prepared to make it clear by inserting words that would govern the whole of the preceding paragraph.
§ Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE
I have said so more than once, but the Leaders of the Opposition have chosen rather an elaborate and poor joke, if I may say so, and apparently they prefer to have that joke. I am advised that the words suggested by the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Pretyman) are not necessary, and I do not see what difference they will make at all.
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
If the right hon. Gentleman will not take the Amendment in the form suggested by my right hon. Friend, we must go to a Division on the subject.
§ Question put, "That those words be inserted in the proposed Amendment."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 56; Noes, 164.763
|Division No. 838.]||AYES.||[4.55 p.m.|
|Acland-Hood, Rt. Hon. Sir Alex. F.||Gooch, Henry Cubitt (Peckham)||Renton, leslie|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major||Guinness, Hon. W. E. (B. S. Edm'ds.)||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Balcarres, Lord||Haddock, George B.||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (City, Lond.)||Hamilton, Marquess of||Rutherford, John (Lancashire)|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert||Rutherford, Watson (Liverpool)|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)||Hill, Sir Clement||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Bellairs, Carlyon||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert|
|Bertram, Julius||Hunt, Rowland||Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staffordshire)|
|Bignold, Sir Arthur||Kerry, Earl of||Talbot, Rt. Hon. J. G. (Oxford Univ.)|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Kimber, Sir Henry||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Cave, George||Lee, Arthur H. (Hants, Fareham)||Tuke, Sir John Batty|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R.||Walker, Col. W. H. (Lancashire)|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.)||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Walrond, Hon. Lionel|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Worc'r.)||Magnus, Sir Philip||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thomas H. A. E.||Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield)||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.)||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)||Younger, George|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Percy, Earl|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Pretyman, E. G.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Viscount Valentia and Lord E. Talbot.|
|Faber, George Denison (York)||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
|Abraham, W. (Cork, N. E.)||Glendinning, R. G.||Pearce, William (Limehouse)|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Glover, Thomas||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|
|Agnew, George William||Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)||Radford, G. H.|
|Alden, Percy||Gulland, John W.||Rainy, A. Rolland|
|Allen, Charles P. (Stroud)||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis (Rossendale)||Raphael, Herbert H.|
|Ambrose, Robert||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Rees, J. D.|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worcester)||Ridsdale, E. A.|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||Hazel, Dr. A. E. W.||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth)||Hedges, A. Paget||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Robson, Sir William Snowdon|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Henderson, J. McD. (Aberdeen, W.)||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Barker, Sir John||Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon. S.)||Rogers, F. E. Newman|
|Barnard, E. B.||Herbert, T. Arnold (Wycombe)||Rose, Sir Charles Day|
|Barnes, G. N.||Higham, John Sharp||Russell, Rt. Hon. T. W.|
|Beauchamp, E.||Hobart, Sir Robert||Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)|
|Bell, Richard||Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Benn, W. (Tower Hamlets, St. Geo.)||Hodge, John||Scanlan, Thomas|
|Berridge, T. H. D.||Holland, Sir William Henry||Schwann, C. Duncan (Hyde)|
|Bethell, Sir J. H. (Essex, Romford)||Howard, John Geoffrey||Schwann, Sir C. E. (Manchester)|
|Bethell, T. R. (Essex, Maldon)||Hudson, Walter||Scott, A. H. (Ashton-under-Lyne)|
|Black, Arthur W.||Idris, T. H. W.||Sears, J. E.|
|Boulton, A. C. F.||Illingworth, Percy H.||Seely, Colonel|
|Branch, James||Johnson, John (Gateshead)||Shackleton, David James|
|Brunner, J. F. L. (Lancs., Leigh)||Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Brunner, Rt. Hon. Sir J. T. (Cheshire)||Jones, Leif (Appleby)||Snowden, P.|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Jowett, F. W.||Stanger, H. Y.|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Keating, M||Stanley, Hon. A. Lyulph (Cheshire)|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. Sydney Charles||Lambert, George||Steadman, W. C.|
|Byles, William Pollard||Lamont, Norman||Stewart, Halley (Greenock)|
|Cameron, Robert||Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, W.)||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Layland-Barratt, Sir Francis||Summerbell, T.|
|Channing, Sir Francis Allston||Leese, Sir Joseph F. (Accrington)||Sutherland, J. E.|
|Cheetham, John Frederick||Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich)||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Clough, William||Lewis, John Herbert||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David||Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)|
|Collins, Sir Wm. J. (St. Pancras, W.)||Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)|
|Compton-Rickett, Sir J.||Lupton, Arnold||Thorne, William (West Ham)|
|Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinstead)||Lynch, A. (Clare, W.)||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Verney, F. W.|
|Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Maclean, Donald||Vivian, Henry|
|Cowan, W. H.||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Crosfield, A. H.||M'Callum, John M.||Weir, James Galloway|
|Davies, Ellis William (Elfion)||McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||White, J. Dundas (Dumbartonshire)|
|Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardigan)||M'Micking, Major G.||Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)|
|Dickinson, W. H. (St. Pancras, N.)||Marnham, F. J.||Williams, Sir Osmond (Merioneth)|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Massie, J.||Wills, Arthur Walters|
|Erskine, David C.||Masterman, C. F. G.||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W.R.)|
|Essex, R. W.||Menzies, Sir Walter||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Evans, Sir S. T.||Molteno, Percy Alport||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Everett, R. Lacey||Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)||Wood, T. M'Kinnon|
|Falconer, J.||Napier, T. B.||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Ferens, T. R.||Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncaster)|
|Fuller, John Michael F.||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. Joseph Pease and Captain Norton.|
|Ginnell, L.||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)|
|Gladstone, Rt. Hon. Herbert John||Parker, James (Halifax)|
§ Question, "That the words 'as to the ownership, area, character, and use of the land, and the consideration given on any previous sale or lease of the land and any other matters which may properly be required for the purpose of the valuation of the land,' be inserted in the Bill," put, and agreed to.
§ Sir W. ROBSON moved, in Sub-section (2), to leave out the words, "under Section 55 of the Income Tax Act, 1842, and that Section shall apply accordingly, but the penalty shall only," and to insert thereof the words "not exceeding fifty pounds to."
§ Mr. WATSON RUTHERFORD
We are obliged to the hon. and learned Gentleman for even now accepting this suggestion. We did our best in Committee to get this put in every place in which penalties are provided.
§ Mr. JAMES HOPE
May I suggest this maximum penalty should be extended to the licensing Clauses, because there there are certain minimum penalties which are very unusual?
§ Amendment made.