HC Deb 21 September 1909 vol 11 cc363-81

The stamp duties chargeable under the heading "Conveyance or Transfer on Sale of any Property" in the First Schedule to the Stamp Act, 1891 (in this Part of this Act referred to as the principal Act) shall be double those specified in that Schedule: Provided that this Section shall not apply to the conveyance or transfer of any stock or marketable security as defined by Section one hundred and twenty-two of that Act.

Mr. JOHN O'CONNOR moved, after the word "shall" ["shall be double those specified in that Schedule"] to insert the words, "Except in the case of land which has previously passed under the operation of any of the Land Purchase (Ireland) Acts."

In moving this Amendment, I would direct the attention of the Committee to the Clause as it stands. It reads as follows: "The Stamp Duties chargeable under the heading 'Conveyance or Transfer on Sale of any Property' in the First Schedule to the Stamp Act, 1891 (in this part of this Act referred to as the principal Act) shall be double those specified in that Schedule." That affects the whole of the land of Ireland. I have heard from time to time objections taken to legislation by reference, and here we are referred to the Act of 1891. That being so, I am compelled to draw the attention of the Committee to what the Act of 1891 says. Section 54 of that Act says: "For the purpose of this Act the expression 'Conveyance upon Sale' includes every instrument and every decree or order of any court or of any Commissioners whereby any property or any estate or interest in any property upon the sale thereof is transferred to or vested in the purchaser." It will be well known to the Committee that the Estate Commissioners of Ireland are transferring the property of the landlords of Ireland to those who have been and some of whom still are the tenants of the said landlords. Therefore, all the operations conducted under those Commissioners and under the Land Estate Commissioners before they were constituted came under the scope and bearing of this Clause. That being so, it behoves us to examine very carefully what the effect of this Clause will be upon those who come under its operation. I am again compelled to refer to one of the Sections of the Act, Section 56, Sub-section (2). It says: "Where the consideration or any part of the consideration for a conveyance on sale consists of money payable periodically for a definite period exceeding 20 years or in perpetuity." It will be known to the Committee that the periodical payments in respect of the redemption of Irish land extends to a period of 68½ years, so that is over the 20 years specified.

"Or for any indefinite period not terminable with life the conveyance is to be charged in respect of that consideration with ad valorem duty on the total amount which will, or may, according to the terms of sale, be payable during the period of 20 years next after the day of the date of the instrument."

If property purchased by a tenant farmer in Ireland should afterwards become the subject of transfer, the duty to be charged will be not upon its immediate value, but upon futurity. It may be the right hon. Gentleman will fulfil the promise he made on May 18th, when he made a very harsh speech, the tone and temper of which the hon. Member for East Mayo (Mr. John Dillon), the hon. and learned Member for Waterford (Mr. John Redmond), and hon. Gentlemen above the Gangway alike condemned. He said the case of the tenants and the case of the purchasers, which was then presented equally by the hon. Members below and hon. Members above the Gangway, would be judged upon its merits. I hold the right hon. Gentleman to those words, and I shall be very curious to know how he has considered the matter from that day to this. I shall be very curious to know what his judgment upon the merits of the case is going to be to-night. If he is prepared to say he will exempt the property of tenant purchasers in Ireland up to a certain amount, I shall be curious to know what that amount is. If the limit is to be a small amount, then, of course, it would cover a great many cases of the tenant purchasers in Ireland. Let us suppose he exempts all under £500. That would cover a great number of cases of tenant purchasers in Ireland, but there would still remain a large margin of tenant purchasers who would come under the lash of this Section of the Bill. Let me take, for example, the case of a tenant purchaser whose annual payments arc.£25, and who has bought his farm for 22 years' purchase. That would amount to £530, and would come over the amount of the concession. If he sold his interest—let us call it a freehold interest—at the present time he would on the present rate pay £2 10s. If it is to be doubled, according to the proposal now before the Committee, he would have to pay £5. That would be a hardship. The man with £500 would be exempt and the man with £530 would have to pay double. That would not even be the worst, because it has been said on the best authority that a man would not only have to pay double upon the amount I have stated, but he would also have to pay at the same rate on the redemption value, namely, the amount of money that had been advanced to him by the Land Commissioners in order to purchase his holding. He would have to pay annually not only the £25 to which I have referred, but on the amount of the purchase money advanced by the Commissioners.

How does that work out in a case submitted by an hon. Member on this side, the case of £50 rental? Twenty years' purchase would amount to £1,000, so that the man would have to pay under the Act of 1891 the amount due to the State through the Estate Commissioners; that is to say, he would have to pay upon the £1,000 as well as upon the amount of money that he had sold his land for. So that he would have to pay not only double but four times over. There is no analogous case whatever on this side. The Chancellor of the Exchequer said on the 18th May that a tenant purchaser in Ireland would be placed by this Bill in exactly the same position as the tenant purchaser or a man passing an interest on this side. That is not so, and it has been stated by those who are authorities on this subject that there is no analogy whatever between a purchaser in Ireland and a man who buys an interest in land on this side. Therefore, I submit that if this Clause is applied to Ireland under the provisions of the Act of 1891 that it will work gross injustice towards the tenant purchasers in Ireland, and will be inequitable and unjust as to its incidence to all those who have bought under the Estates Commissioners, and who may in future desire to transfer their property under varying circumstances. There will be proved, therefore, to have been a wide difference between those who have purchased under the Estates Commissioners and those who have had fair rents fixed under the Land Commissioners in Ireland, because those who have had fair rents fixed will have only one tax to pay, whereas in the case of a man who has bought and wishes to transfer his interest, he will have to pay the tax plus another tax. That is the difference between the two cases, and if this Clause is applied to the purchasing tenants in Ireland it must inevitably work out inequitably and unjustly to those who have bought.


That question was exhaustively discussed on the Resolution. I am the last person to deny that Ireland has great grievances which ought to be redressed, but in this respect Ireland is much better off than the United Kingdom. One reason is that in the transfer of land under the Land Purchase Acts, conducted by means of State credit, there is no Stamp Duty at all, whereas in this country, if a tenant farmer wishes to acquire his holding, he does not get the benefit of State credit, he has to borrow the money at 4, 4½ or 5 per cent. and to pay the Stamp Duty. In Ireland he gets his money at 2¾ per cent. to 3 per cent., he gets the deed without any stamp, and I believe there are other arrangements with regard to fees which enable him to dispense with some legal expenses which in this country he would necessarily have to incur. The only grievance complained of by the hon. and learned Gentleman is not that the operation of land purchase is hampered by the duty, but that when the tenant has acquired the holding and wants to sell it, it is subject to this duty. I do not think that is much of a grievance when it is compared with what a freeholder in this country would be subject to.

The hon. and learned Gentleman's second point has nothing to do with the Budget. It is the law at the present moment. There is the same law exactly in Ireland as in this country. My hon. and learned Friend did not quote the part of my speech in which I said there was a case for consideration with regard to the small tenants, but that is a case not merely for Ireland, but also for the United Kingdom. There are Amendments on the Paper in the names of the hon. Member for Burnley (Mr. Maddison), the hon. Member for Dudley (Mr. Hooper), and one or two others, which are intended to limit the operation of the new tax to transactions over certain figures. I am prepared to consider these suggestions favourably, and they must be considered not only in relation to Ireland, but the whole of the United Kingdom. I agree that if small transactions were exempted, it would undoubtedly mean that four-fifths of the land transactions in Ireland would not be subject to the operation of the tax. The same remark would apply probably to small holdings and workmen's dwelling-houses in this country. I do not want to anticipate the discussion on that point, but on the general argument which has been put before the Committee now I have to say that I cannot accept the Amendment. [An HON. MEMBER: "What amount will be excepted?"] I ought to make it perfectly clear that the Government will accept a limitation. I am rather disposed to accept the proposal of my hon. Friend the Member for Burnley, which excepts from the double duty transactions "in cases where the amount or value of the consideration for the sale doss not exceed five hundred pounds." But we must have special provisions to protect the Revenue against that limit being so worked as to be a means of evading duty. On the Report stage it will be open to me to move an Amendment as to the limit, and at the same time to introduce words to protect the Revenue.


It appears to me that the first part of the speech of the Chancellor of the Exchequer answered the last part. In the latter part he admitted that in the case of small tenancies in Ireland the duty worked unjustly, and he said he was willing to consider the question favourably before the Report stage. I did not understand whether the Chancellor of the Exchequer confined his observations to the question of the double tax, but I would like to say that our chief objection to the proposal in the Finance Bill is not confined to the double tax. Before the Finance Bill was introduced at all there was a real grievance in Ireland on this question of Stamp Duties. That grievance has simply been aggravated by the increase of the Duties proposed in the Budget. The Chancellor of the Exchequer admits that in the case of small tenancies there is a real hardship. I would like to point out that while considering the case of the small tenancies he must really give his attention to the unfair and inequitable character of the legislation which for the purpose of the Stamp Duties brings in redemption values. On a former occasion the right hon. Gentleman admitted that there was a grievance in the case of Ireland on account of the different treatment of that country as compared with England. Although he repeated that to-night there were some parts of his speech which were not entirely satisfactory on that point. No doubt the law in this matter is the same in both countries, but while in Great Britain you have at most about 2,000, you have in Ireland 200,000 purchasing tenants. You were taxing them unjustly before, and now you propose to double the Tax.

I would like to give the Committee an instance of how the tax operates at present. An ordinary farm is sold for £400. Under the present law there is a Stamp Duty of 10s. per cent. or £2. The tenant, on the other hand, who happens to have purchased his land, and who is subject to a £40 annuity, and to whom the Land Commission have advanced a sum of £1,000 upon which he is paying the annuity, if he comes to transfer his land, although his outgoings and the expenditure are exactly the same as those of the ordinary tenant who has not purchased, has nevertheless got to pay not only the 10s. per cent. upon the £400 of the purchase-money, but he has also got to pay 10s. per cent. upon the £1,000 which has been advanced by the Irish Land Commission. In other words, he has to pay a sum of £7, and under this Bill he will have to pay a sum of £14. How can anyone defend that in principle? How can anyone say that a tax of £14 on the one hand, and £4 on the other hand is either just or fair, and upon what principle of law, leaving Statutes aside—for I know that Statutes can be quoted in aid of the proposals of the Chancellor of the Exchequer—can that be defended? Why should the tenant who has that additional burden upon him when he purchases the land have to pay more because there is an additional burden upon him? I think that this is entirely unfair and ought never to have been proposed. We cannot speak of the concession which the Chancellor of the Exchequer has made until we have seen it, but I would like to impress on him the necessity of doing something in respect of bringing into the purchase the consideration of the redemption value of the annuity. It affects all the purchasing tenants in Ireland, and a tax like that imposed upon Ireland where you have so many purchasing tenants as regards its incidence differentiates unfairly towards Ireland. We have unquestionably a strong case on that point, and we think that the Chancellor of the Exchequer ought not to leave it to the draughtsmen or the permanent officials of the Treasury in whom we have not complete confidence, but ought to look into it himself, and he will then see that we have a very strong case, and a case the injustice of which is doubled by this Bill.


I confess I was considerably disappointed at the announcement which the Chancellor of the Exchequer just made. The right hon. Gentleman belongs to the same profession as myself, and his own experience should have brought this grievance of Ireland before him more vividly than it would be brought before other persons who are not so experienced. I am also disappointed that a gentleman who I know has a sincere sympathy with my country should not have seen on an examination of this question that the present state of the law is itself an intolerable grievance, and that that grievance is enormously aggravated by the proposal made under the Bill. Our grievance is this: In a very short time we hope that the whole of the land of Ireland will be held by tenant purchasers. At the present time I suppose that fully half the land of Ireland is held by tenant purchasers, and when our hopes are realised, and the whole land of Ireland is held by tenant purchasers, the position will be this: that the Stamp Duty on the transfer of land in Ireland will be something like four times the Stamp Duty paid in England on the transfer of land. The right hon. Gentleman shakes his head. I can assure him it is so. The matter is not open to doubt; it is one of figures. When the operation of land purchase shall have vested the land of Ireland in the tenant purchaser, I assert that the transfer of land in Ireland can only take place on payment of four times the Stamp Duty paid in England. What is the reason of that? It is because the Land Commission advance may be taken to be generally in the ratio of three times the purchase-money for which the tenant purchaser buys the land. In other words, for the consideration which he is getting—and it is exactly the same consideration which the English tenant gets—the Irish tenant purchaser will pay four times as much as the English tenant pays upon. The right hon. Gentleman has suggested that there is a special grievance in the case of smaller tenants in Ireland, and the grievance which he is prepared to consider and to meet is the grievance of the small tenants. When this matter was being discussed on the Budget Resolutions the Attorney-General for Ireland put what he thought was the reductio ad absurdum in reference to the case of large tenants:— The large tenant in Ireland." he said, "can borrow, and sometimes does borrow, £6,000 from the Strife, and is that man to be exempt from the new Stamp Duties? Why this alleged grievance? But that is the very man who ought to be exempted. Take the facts. A tenant in Ireland buys his farm for £6,000. He buys it no doubt with the advantage of State purchase money, but his interest in his farm is worth no more the day after he buys it than the day before he bought it. The £6,000 is all due; consequently what he has to sell is not worth one penny more. If he buys it under the Land Purchase Acts he pays the old Stamp Duty, and if he sells it the day after the purchase he will pay in Stamp Duty £60 more. Take the case of a man who buys his farm for £6,000—it is not worth any more the day after he bought it from his landlord than the day before he bought it. The freehold was worth to buy £6,000, and consequently what he has to sell is not worth one penny more than the day after he bought it than it was the day before he bought it. His farm was worth £1,000 before he bought under the Land Purchase Acts, and he sells it for £1,000. The Stamp Duty at the present rate would be £2 10s., and the Stamp Duty the day after he bought would be £32 10s. What is the justification for that, and is not that the case which requires some redress, and not the case which the right hon. Gentleman has put in which only a very small duty is due?

We have been told that the Irish tenant has received great benefits from the Legislature. Perhaps he has, but does the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer suppose that the remission of the Stamp Duty on these land purchase transactions was done for the benefit of the tenant? It was done for the benefit of the landlord. It was the landlord who always paid these Stamp Duties in the case of land purchase transactions, and that was so invariably. I have acted for, I may say, hundreds and thousands of tenants before and after the Act of 1903, and the tenant was never asked to pay the Stamp Duty on the vesting order. The Stamp Duties and all the expenses connected with the sale were paid by the landlord. That was part of the bargain the tenants en masse made. They would not have bought on any other terms. You may say they are very fortunate to buy their farms without legal expenses. Those are the only terms on which land purchase could be worked. They bought dear enough at the best. They paid the full value of their lands, and I am sure the right hon. Gentleman does not want them to pay any more. They would have been paying more if they were asked to pay a single penny either of increased amount to the landlord or of Stamp Duty. It was a great State transaction carried out for the benefit of the country as a whole, and under the Act of 1903 that was the reason of the remission of the Stamp Duties as a concession to the landlords, who otherwise would have been compelled to pay those Stamp Duties out of the purchase money.

Let us put aside this notion that the remission of the Stamp Duty on land purchase transactions was a benefit to the tenant. It was an indirect benefit in this way, that anything which forwarded land transactions benefited the tenant in that way, but in no other aspect was the remission of the Stamp Duty either intended to be or was an actual benefit to the tenant. That being so, the remission had nothing to do with what we are now considering. This Bill has no relation to land purchase, the Stamp Duties have no relation to land purchase, and we are simply discussing what Stamp Duty shall the Irish tenant pay when he sells his farm. The question is, Is he to pay four times more than what the English tenant farmer pays when he sells his farm? That is the simple issue that is raised in a more aggravated form in the large transactions than in the small transactions. Take the case which the Attorney-General mentioned of the £6,000 man. It is not made a penny more valuable by the fact that he has bought at £6,000. The £6,000 is due. When he sells his farm he does not get a penny more for it, and in case he happened to get any more he would pay Stamp Duty on the increased purchase money, and consequently would be under no compliment to the State. The question is, not whether he is to pay the Stamp Duty on the full consideration money, but whether he is to pay an amount which is really four times the sum which he puts in his pocket.

We are told that is English law. Of course it is English law. Is it the law in England that all the land in this country will shortly be vested in tenant purchasers? There is no such thing. Consequently, although the law is the same, it will operate in a wholly different way in the two countries. The right hon. Gentleman says truly that there are in England a number of cases connected with building societies where there are instalment mortgages. We, on these benches, would be quite prepared to see instalment mortgages in England getting the same benefit that we ask for Ireland. I submit that those are the lines on which any concession should proceed, and not on any distinction between large and small transactions. The concession with the £500 limit will mean very little in Ireland. The whole of the £500 will be represented by the money advanced by the Land Commission. The gross amount on which you pay Stamp Duty is the purchase money and the Land Commission advance, which is three or four times the purchase money. Therefore, if the concession is limited to £500 cases, it will really be limited to cases where the tenant is getting only £100 or £150, whereas in England it will cover the cases where the man is getting £500. I appeal to the right hon. Gentleman to consider the matter from the point of view which is really peculiar to it, namely, the nature of this instalment mortgage. The Land Commission mortgage differs from every other kind of mortgage in that you cannot pay it off even at the amount you originally borrowed. It is converted into a kind of stock, and you must find the price at which the stock is redeemable at the day, which may be more or less than the actual amount outstanding. The concession limited to £500 transactions is really no concession to Ireland at all. It is the cases involving £30 or £60 Stamp Duty which will extract money from Ireland. This concession will not mean more than a few thousands, whereas the gross amount of Stamp Duties exacted from Ireland as a whole, which do not exist in England, would run to as much as perhaps £50,000 per annum, if large and small transactions are lumped together.

I called attention to this matter in the year 1906. In 1904 the then Attorney-General for Ireland, Lord Atkinson, laid down the law from these benches that the practice which had previously prevailed of charging Stamp Duty on the amount of unredeemed advances was not legal. His words are extant in "Hansard." His words certainly conveyed to Irish Members generally that the only reason why he did not in the Act of 1903 introduce an Amendment was because he did not consider it necessary. All those who have the carrying out of these transactions in Ireland know that the law is perfectly plain, and cannot be questioned. You must on every sale add to the purchase money the amount of every charge or payment due connected with the land which is to be sold. The right hon. Gentleman made no attempt, either on the discussion on the Resolution or to-night, to show that we have not in Ireland a real grievance in this respect. It is no answer to say that the law is the same in the two countries if it works differently—as it does. In Ireland this is a tax which will ultimately fall on every acre of agricultural land. In England it does not fall upon a single acre. There is, I grant, the case of the building society; but let the right hon. Gentleman, if he wants to deal equal justice between the two countries, provide for both cases, and see that in neither case the instalment mortgage shall be taken into consideration when the Stamp Duty is being imposed.


Why should the Chancellor of the Exchequer give in to Irishmen? Irish Members have voted in every Division with him, but I always understood the way to get a concession from the Government was to show your teeth. I remain of the opinion that if the Irish Members had consistently opposed this Budget at every stage there would have been no question whatever but that this Amendment would now be conceded. I want to examine the dynamics of this question—to see where we stand. The Irish Members, by a long process of over 25 years, have succeeded in convincing the various British Governments which have appeared in this land, that the old system of tenure in Ireland led to bloodshed, imprisonment, disaster, and emigration, and that it was not convenient for England to have the old tenure. Accordingly a series of statutes have been passed whereby, at the end of 60 years, the Irish people will become possessors of their own soil. In the meantime comes the British Government and says, "Oh, we will discount that great advantage for Ireland. True it is that the ordinary difference between one man and another is this: You pay £10 rent, and you only pay £9 annuity to the State. But because you have got an advantage of £1—for that is about the general rule—in your annuity the State will exact from you in taxes wherever you sell your land four

1 A.M.

times the Stamp Duty previously claimed." In other words, what the Irish tenants have got for fighting is this: That they have substituted for the landlords the State which exacts from them, not merely as a landlord, but as a Tax Commissioner. I quite agree that these taxes will not come up every year in the ordinary sense. But at the end of 50 years the State, that is England, will have recovered from Ireland every sixpence which the landlord would have recovered in the meantime as rent. The difference is this: The landlord occasionally kept up State at home; he occasionally lived in the country, he occasionally kept up a pack of hounds, and, perhaps, he occasionally engaged in some little industrial concern. But, as regards the money England is exacting from us, it is spent at Devon port, or Plymouth, or Southampton, or the Isle of Wight, or on those places in Whitehall—those huge five million buildings you put up in every street in London. You would not sweep a crossing in Dublin if you could avoid it. The net result of the entire transaction will be that the Irish people as a whole will not have gained one single shilling, if yon take the transaction over 50 or 60 years. I do not know whether this Amendment has been put clown with the assent of the Chairman of the Irish party or whether it is a sporadic Amendment. All I say is this: The Chancellor is not ill-advised; he knows that whenever he is in trouble he will have the support of the general body of those who are giving sporadic opposition. We had an opportunity of defeating this Budget; we could easily have defeated it. But we did not defeat it, and the result is that the Chancellor refuses this Amendment.

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

The Committee divided: Ayes, 65; Noes, 143.

Division No. 699.] AYES. [1.5 a.m.
Acland-Hood, Rt. Hon. Sir Alex. F. Cullinan, J. Healy, T. M. (Louth, North)
Arkwright, John Stanhope Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers Helmsley, Viscount
Baldwin, Stanley Duffy, William J. Hills, J. W.
Banner, John S. Harmood- Fell, Arthur Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)
Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks Forster, Henry William Hunt, Rowland
Beckett, Hon. Gervase Foster, Philip S. (Warwick, S.W.) Keating, Matthew
Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. H. M. Glover, Thomas Kerry, Earl of
Carlile, E. Hildred Gordon, J. Lane-Fox, G. R.
Castlereagh, Viscount Gretton, John Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R.
Cave, George Hamilton, Marquess of Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham)
Clyde, James Avon Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashford) Lonsdale, John Brownlee
Coates, Major E. F. (Lewisham) Harris, Frederick Leverton Lundon, Thomas
Courthope, G. Loyd Hay, Hon. Claude George MacNeill, John Gordon Swift
Craig, Captain James (Down, E.) Healy, Maurice (Cork) MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S)
Muldoon, John Renwick, George Walker, Col. W. H. (Lancashire)
Nicholson, Win. G. (Petersfield) Rutherford, John (Lancashire) Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)
Nolan, Joseph Salter, Arthur Clavell White, Patrick (Meath, North)
O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.) Seddon, J. Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)
O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool) Stanler, Beville Younger, George
Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington) Starkey, John R.
Power, Patrick Joseph Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staffordshire) TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr. Patrick O'Brien and Mr. Hazleton.
Ratcliff, Major R. F. Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Lanark)
Reddy, M. Valentia, Viscount
Acland, Francis Dyke Gooch, George Peabody (Bath) Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)
Adkins, W. Ryland D. Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward Pickersgill, Edward Hare
Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R. Gulland, John W. Pirie, Duncan V.
Agnew, George William Hancock, John George Pollard, Dr.
Ainsworth, John Stirling Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale) Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.
Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch) Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose) Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)
Allen, Charles P. (Stroud) Hardy, George A. (Suffolk) Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (Gloucester)
Balfour, Robert (Lanark) Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worc'r.) Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire) Rendall, Athelstan
Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight) Harwood, George Richards, T. F. (Wolverhampton)
Barnard, E. B. Haworth, Arthur A. Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)
Barran, Sir John N. (Hawick Burghs) Hedges, A. Paget Robinson, S.
Bennett, E. N. Heime, Norval Watson Robson, Sir William Snowdon
Bowerman, C. W. Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon., S.) Rogers, F. E. Newman
Bridgeman, W. Clive Higham, John Sharp Rose, Sir Charles Day
Brunner, J. F. L. (Lancs., Leigh) Hill, Sir Clement Rowlands, J.
Bull, Sir William James Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H. Russell, Rt. Hon. T. W.
Burns, Rt. Hon. John Hooper, A. G. Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)
Byles, William Pollard Johnson, John (Gateshead) Scarisbrick, Sir T. T. L.
Causton, Rt. Hon. Richard Knight Jones, William (Carnarvonshire) Seely, Colonel
Channing, Sir Francis Aliston Jowett, F. W. Shaw, Sir Charles Edward
Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R. Joynson-Hicks, William Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N.W.)
Clive, Percy Archer King, Alfred John (Knutsford) Stanley, Hon. A. Lyulph (Chesh.)
Clough, William King, Sir Henry Seymour (Hull) Strachey, Sir Edward
Clynes, J. R. Lamont, Norman Summerbell, T.
Cobbold, Felix Thornley Lehmann, R. C. Taylor, John W. (Durham)
Collins, Sir Wm. J. (St. Pancras, W.) Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich) Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)
Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow) Levy, Sir Maurice Thomasson, Franklin
Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinstead) Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)
Cornwall, Sir Edwin A. Lupton, Arnold Tomkinson, James
Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth) Lynch, H. B. (Yorks, W.R., Ripon) Toulmin, George
Dalziel, Sir James Henry Mackarness, Frederic C. Trevelyan, Charles Philips
Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.) Macpherson, J. T. Walsh, Stephen
Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.) MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.) Walters, John Tudor
Dickinson, W. H. (St. Pancras, N.) M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.) Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)
Dobson, Thomas W. Maddison, Frederick Waring, Walter
Duckworth, Sir James Mallet, Charles E. Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.
Duncan, J. H. (York, Otley) Markham, Arthur Basil Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)
Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne) Marnham, F. J. Watt, Henry A.
Dunne, Major E. Martin (Walsall) Massie, J. White, J. Dundas (Dumbartonshire)
Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor) Middlebrook, William Wiles, Thomas
Elibank, Master of Mond, A. Wilkie, Alexander
Essex, R. W. Montagu, Hon. E. S. Williams, J. (Glamorgan)
Evans, Sir Samuel T. Murray, Capt. Hon. A. C. (Kincard.) Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)
Everett, R. Lacey Myer, Horatio Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)
Falconer, James Nicholls, George Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
Ferguson, R. C. Munro Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncaster) Wood, T. M'Kinnon
Fiennes, Hon. Eustace Nuttall, Harry Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-
Fullerton, Hugh O'Donnell, C. J. (Walworth)
Gibson, James Puckering Parker, James (Halifax) TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. Joseph Pease and Captain Norton.
Gladstone, Rt. Hon. Herbert John Partington, Oswald

I beg to move, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."

Considering that we were here at three o'clock yesterday morning, it is hardly fair to ask us to continue sitting now after one o'clock. We are dealing with questions of very great moment—not such as we have been previously dealing with, concerning men with £5,000 a year, but, as we have heard from speeches below the Gangway, we are dealing with questions referring to many of the poorest people in this country, and in Ireland especially. I think it is absolutely necessary, when we are dealing with such questions affecting the welfare of a large number of people, that we should have clear intellects and not, as I saw a few moments ago, several hon. Gentlemen and right hon. Gentlemen asleep on the benches. Depend upon it, when we see that state of affairs it is time we went home. Therefore, I move that you report Progress and ask leave to sit again.


I hope the hon. Member will not press this Motion. I was under the impression that it was understood that we were to go up to the end of the Conveyancing Stamps. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] I may be wrong. Certainly that was the impression conveyed to me. Evidently the hon. Member was not under that impression. But I think we ought to get to the end of these Conveyancing Stamps, and deal with the other Clauses on stamps to-morrow. I think it is now understood by all Members of the House that we ought to get that. It means that the sooner we dispose of them the sooner we will be able to disperse. I am not going to dispense blame. That is not my business at present; it is not the point now. I think it is in the interest of the whole House, of every Member, that we should get through these proposals as soon as possible. The hon. Member seems to imagine that these proposals involve the interests of very poor people. I do not think he can possibly say that, after the indication I gave that the Government were prepared to make a concession on that point—a concession that goes beyond most of the notices of Motion put down by hon. Members sitting on that side of the House. I do trust, therefore, we shall not proceed with the Motion.


I really think the Motion is a reasonable one. It certainly had been indicated that the right hon. Gentleman desired to obtain these legal Clauses on the Stamp Duties to-night, and so far as we on this side of the House are concerned, we agreed that the right hon. Gentleman should get these Clauses provided time is available for reasonable discussion of important points. So far as I am aware, no question of any arrangement has gone any further than that, and to that extent we are perfectly prepared to go. But it has been obvious that very important points and difficulties have arisen which we have been unable to avoid. We are now in this position, that it is a quarter past one. There are hon. Members below the Gangway who have still important Amendments to move on this Clause and there are other very important Amendments on the Paper. The Question is a new one. It is a new part of the Bill, and really I think we are bound to admit that, although the right hon. Gentleman has put his plea from the point of view of the general convenience of hon. Members of this House—and I admit that is a very strong plea—there is a stronger one, and that is our duty to do this work in a proper manner We cannot do that work at this hour of the morning, in a succession of late sittings, as it ought to be done.

Really we must again point out that it is no answer to a Motion of this description to say that there is still so much work to do. Surely there must be some consideration of time available when the Government are considering what are the proposals they intend to make in the House of Commons in one Session. The real cause of all this trouble is that we are asked by the Government to do in one Session what really would be the work of several Sessions. That is really the whole point. Surely I am only appealing to what every Member of the Committee will realise is the fact. Supposing this proposal relating to stamps stood by itself, would it not, taken by itself, have involved a very long and most important discussion, and would it not have been considered as a question involving the most important matter of the Session? But simply because these proposals are sandwiched in among other proposals of even greater importance they are therefore to be passed by and to be taken not in regard to their actual importance, but to their relative importance to other proposals. That surely is not a way to conduct the business of the country. It will be no solace to people who will suffer by these proposals that they are told they were passed over in order to enable us to discuss something of greater importance. There is no disposition on this side of the House to prolong discussion; there is no desire to be obstructive. I will give the right hon. Gentleman the assurance that there will be no desire to waste time. It is not reasonable to ask us to take four more very contentious clauses, involving very important matter, beginning at twenty minutes past one in the morning. I think the right hon. Gentleman would be well advised to allow us to go home now and to content himself with the only assurance which can be given, that there will be no desire on this side of the House to unduly prolong discussion.


In reply to what the hon. and gallant Member has said, I do not really think that a general and vague assurance of that kind is of the slightest use. It is not an operative one. I am not complaining at all of what has happened to-night, nor do I complain of the hon. and gallant Member or his colleagues on the Front Bench; but he must know that a mere assurance of the kind he has given is not the slightest use, as it does not take effect. I should be glad, however, if he, speaking on behalf of the Opposition, would give some indication of what he conceives to be a reasonable time for the discussion of the Clauses which I think we ought to get to-night. There are in them really only two or three points. It is not like the Land Tax or even the Super-tax, which bristle with a number of points; we are simply doubling the duty. That may be either good or bad, but that is really all that it is. It is not as though we were setting up a new machinery. In such a case there might be twenty or thirty new points requiring discussion. All that is involved is one proposition which has already been discussed at great length. We are introducing no new principle. I therefore suggest to the hon. and gallant Member that we should proceed now, or that there should be some proposal made in a more concrete form.


I am anxious to meet the right hon. Gentleman. There were some informal negotiations between us this evening. I told the right hon. Gentleman at the time that I should be agreeable not to let him go to bed too early, and he replied that he would be agreeable not to allow me to go to bed too early. I think we can come to terms. I understand that he wishes to get these particular Clauses by a reasonable hour to-morrow afternoon. There are certain points to which we attach importance. As there are 57 Questions on the Order Paper, we shall probably begin the discussion on the Finance Bill at about half-past three or a quarter to four o'clock. If we finished the discussion of these particular Clauses by seven o'clock, and then proceeded with the Resolutions respecting mineral rights, I think that would be a fair basis for agreement. I am quite prepared to make that offer to the Chancellor of the Exchequer—I do not commit myself to half-past six or seven. That will give us three hours to debate the Clauses. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will see his way to meet us on that basis.


I desire to point out exactly with what we are dealing. The Chief Secretary has told us that we are dealing with £180,000,000 to begin with as regards the landlord interest in Ireland. It may be presumed that there will be another £180,000,000 of transactions for Great Britain, so that we are dealing altogether in these Clauses with some £360,000,000 on which Stamp Duties will be payable. In addition to that, it is proposed to double for the first time the duty on transactions between father and son, and mother and daughter. Such propositions ought to be carefully examined. As regards much of the Debate on the Bill, I have very little to grumble at. I look at the matter from the point of view of my own country, and I must say that from some of the concessions Ireland will not get one groat of benefit. You gave away half a million of money yesterday with the airiest of airs, and as far as Ireland is concerned we have nothing to gain from that concession; it does not benefit us one hair's breadth. We are now on a wholly different proposal, one in which I take considerable interest. I would be very loath indeed to contravene what was said on behalf of the general body of the Opposition, but personally I have no objection to sit up late at any time. My object is that the people of Ireland should know what is going on—


"The section you speak for."


They will be remembered when the hon. Member is forgotten. The present proposals are of keen and considerable interest to Ireland, and I hope that fair and adequate time will be allowed for their discussion.


I quite recognise that the hon. Baronet has met me in a reasonable spirit. I wish he could let me have these Clauses before seven o'clock, for I should like to point out to the Opposition that we have a series of Resolutions to get through. There is only one novel principle—that with reference to mineral rights. The others are Resolu-lutions dealing with matters already in the Finance Bill. We must get the whole of these Resolutions tomorrow. We should get not merely the conclusion of the discussion on the Stamp Duties, but the beginning of that on these Resolutions before seven o'clock, so that we may not be very late to-morrow night. Those Members who are interested in the Mineral Rights Duties would like to discuss them at an early hour. We cannot come to them quite at once, because there are some formal Resolutions that must be taken first. On that understanding, I am disposed to accept the Motion to report Progress.

Motion agreed to.

Committee report Progress; to sit again to-morrow (Wednesday).

Whereupon Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER, in pursuance of the Order of the House of 20th August, adjourned the House without Question put.

Adjourned at Twenty-eight minutes before Two o'clock a.m. (Wednesday, 22nd September).