§ Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE moved the following Clause:—
§ For the purpose of the provisions of this Act as to minerals—
§ The expression "proprietor" means the person for the time being beneficially entitled to any freehold estate in possession in the minerals, including a mortgagor in possession, and a person entitled to the possession of land comprised in a lease for any long term of years to which Section sixty-five of the Conveyancing and Law of Property Act, 1881, applies;1342
§ The expression "rent" includes yearly or other rent, toll, duty, royalty, or other reservation by the acre, the ton, or otherwise, and includes any fine, premium, or forfeit, and any payment, consideration, or benefit in the nature of a fine, premium, or foregift;
§ Where any rent is paid or rendered otherwise than in money or money's worth, the amount of the rent shall be taken to be such sum as the Commissioners consider to be the value thereof;
§ The expression "mining lease" means a mining lease as defined by paragraph (xi.) of Section two of the Conveyancing and Law of Property Act, 1881, or 1343 an agreement for such lease, or any tenancy for mining purposes, and the expressions "lessor" and "lessee" shall be construed accordingly;
§ The expression "working lessee" means as respects the right to work minerals the lessee who is actually working the minerals, or would have the right actually to work the minerals if the minerals were worked, and as respects mineral wayleaves the lessee who is in actual enjoyment of the wayleave, and the expression "immediate lessor" shall be construed accordingly;
§ The expression "working year" means the year ending the thirtieth day of September, or such other day as may in any case be approved by the Commissioners; and the expression "last working year" means the working year completed immediately before the first day of January in any financial year for which the duty is paid;
§ The expression "mineral wayleave" means any wayleave, airleave, or waterleave granted to or enjoyed by a working lessee for the purpose of access to or the conveyance of the minerals or the ventilation or drainage of his mine or otherwise in connection with the working of the minerals.
§ Where any minerals are at any time being worked by means of any colliery, mine, quarry, or open working, all the minerals which belong to the same proprietor, if the minerals are being worked by the proprietor, or which the lessee has power to work if the minerals are being worked by a lessee, and which would, in the ordinary course of events, be worked by the same colliery, mine, quarry, or open working, shall be deemed to be minerals which are being worked at that date;
§ Minerals shall be deemed to be comprised in a mining lease if the right to work the minerals is the subject of a mining lease, or if the minerals are being worked under the terms of such a lease, although the lease has expired.
§ Clause read a second time.
§ Mr. WATSON RUTHERFORD moved, after the word "applies" at the end of the first paragraph, to insert the words "but does not include a mortgagee."
§ This Amendment is of very considerable importance in connection with the definition of the expression proprietor for the 1344 purpose of making a person pay duty under this Bill. The proprietor is the individual who is responsible, and then we come to the definition of the word proprietor—that is, all persons in respect of any estate who is to be obliged to pay this tax. We are told that it means "the person for the time being beneficially entitled to any freehold estate, including a mortgagor in possession and a person entitled to the possession of land comprised and leased for any long term of years to which Section 65 of the Conveyancing and Law of Property Act of 1881 applies." Now, each of the individuals mentioned there would undoubtedly very properly come under the designation of being a proprietor, and it will be seen that the mortgagor in possession is referred to, and, therefore, a state of affairs where there is a mortgage is clearly contemplated. Where the mortgagor is still in possession of his property, which has not been taken possession of by the mortgagee, it is made clear by the Clause that the mortgagor is the person liable to the tax. I want to make it clear that the mortgagee is not the person liable to pay this tax, and I do that for several important reasons.
§ An immense amount of money has been advanced on mortgage of real estate in this country, and a very large proportion of that money has been advanced by trustees. The real estate market, therefore, has had the advantage, especially in the last 15 or 16 years, of enormous sums of trust money being made available. It would be a very great pity to unhinge the minds of the mortgagees of this country or to cause them to feel disquieted in regard to the position of being mortgagees or any doubt about the security. If the mortgagee is not contemplated as the person to be made responsible under this Clause—and I do not believe the Government intend to make him responsible, except in the case of his having foreclosed and becoming the owner—then I think it would be wise on the part of the Government, and it certainly would be wise in the interest of the real estate market in the country and the enormous sums of money which is invested, to make it clear that since the mortgagee, as mortgagee, is not to be liable to the incidence of the tax in regard to minerals. On behalf of mortgagees I made a special appeal to the Government in the case of the Increment and other Land Taxes, and the Government met me very fairly, and inserted a Clause with 1345 regard to that tax, which practically amounted to this: That unless a mortgagee had taken possession or foreclosed he was not to be responsible; and then as regards the property in his own hands there was a whole sub-section inserted in another place making it clear that as regards property of which he had taken possession or foreclosed that he was not to be liable to the tax until he first paid off the principal and interest to the parties.
§ I think that was a very reasonable concession, which in all the circles in England which have so much to do with investing this money was received with very great satisfaction, and I appeal to the Government to do the same thing with regard to the Mineral Tax for mortgagees. I do not know whether the simple way provided in my Amendment is absolutely the right way to do it. What I suggest to the Attorney-General is this: that he should consider this point with the object of placing the mortgagee in as good a position as the mortgagee on surface property, having regard to what he has already done, and if he will consider that point with a view of having protection given on the Report stage I would not, under these circumstances, press this particular form of words. I appeal to the Government to take the same view of that matter in regard to this particular tax as they took in regard to the other taxes.
§ Sir W. ROBSON
I think the object of the hon. Gentleman and those of the Government are practically the same. Of course, a mortgagee not in possession would not be included in this Clause, but the hon. Member has raised a further point, namely, that if he is included under this Clause he should be at least in the same position as a mortgagee on the surface. I think that is a very fair matter for consideration. I am not sure whether the clause can be inserted which was inserted in regard to the other tax, as I am not sure whether the position of the mortgagee generally would apply or not to minerals. It is a matter that the Government will be very glad to consider.
§ Mr. WATSON RUTHERFORD
I am satisfied with the explanation given by the Attorney-General, and I ask leave to withdraw my Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Mr. MARKHAM moved, in the second paragraph, after the word "foregift" ["or benefit in the nature of a fine, premium, or foregift"], to insert the words "and any 1346 payment or consideration in respect to surface lands damaged by the workings of a lessee where the payment or consideration in respect to such damage exceeds the market value of such surface lands."
§ I move this Amendment to meet cases which are very common in many parts of the country where the lessor, after having received the full value of the minerals, commences to extract money from the workers of the coal out of all proportion to the damage done to the surface lands. As is well known, you cannot take coal out of the earth without lowering the surface, and under the system prevailing extensively in this country it is impossible to extract minerals without letting down the surface. I have known cases where a landlord has put a peg in the earth and made a survey, and if the surface has dropped a few inches he has caused a claim to be made against the tenant because he says his landscape has been damaged by the surface being dropped. Where no physical damage has been occasioned by the working of the mine, any payment in respect of the mere lowering of the surface can only be made in the form of an extortionate rent. There are many cases where land worth from £20 to £30 an acre under mining leases has had to make a payment of not less than £80 per acre for all damage done to the land in course of mining by the working of the coal. That is very little short of extortion, in fact, highway robbery is a more appropriate term. Where a mining lessor, after having been paid the full value of his coal, wants to extract money, keeping the land, and charging to the extent of three, four, five, and sometimes six times the damage done—and I have known a case where the charge was nearly ten times the value of the land—it is simply a form of monstrous highway robbery, which the State ought to tax. As far as I can see under the Clause as it is drawn the Government will get nothing on these transactions.
§ 9.0 P.M.
§ May I give an illustration which happened in the case of the Staveley Coal Mine Company. At the time my father was managing director the landlord said to him, "I want some money, will you advance it?" My father said, "Yes, and I will take the right to work the minerals from all your seams of coal." The company could not work the minerals at first, but at the expiration of their lease 30 or 40 years after the company were in a position to work the coal. They had paid in royalties an immense sum to oblige the landlord, but the landlord then came, and 1347 said, "If you let down the surface of these lands we shall claim that this £30,000 or £40,000 has been illegally paid, and we shall want you to pay over again for the coal." The case was taken into the courts, and the landlord was beaten. The landlords are constantly coming to the lessees in respect of letting down the surface, and in all cases the Government ought to have their pound of flesh. There can be no justification for a landlord, because the surface has been let down, being entitled to charge large sums for damage altogether cut of proportion to the damage done. I know we cannot deal with this question effectively under this Bill, but in respect of these demands which lessors make out of all consideration for the damage done we can provide that the State shall get a fair proportion. Say the land is worth £30 or £40 an acre. Under my proposal you allow the landlord to keep his land. You give him the £30 or the £40 per acre, which is the full value, and allow him to retain the land, and after he has had that and been paid for all the minerals extracted, surely that is a reasonable payment, and if any premium in the form of three, four, or five times the value of the land goes into the landlord's pocket, the State ought to have a share, and this is provided for under this Amendment.
§ Sir W. ROBSON
I do not wish to say a word in justification of the cases of extortion which my hon. Friend has made before the Committee. I neither suggest that there are such cases, nor would I attempt to deny their existence. And yet I must ask the Committee not to accept this Amendment, for a very simple and practical reason. My reason is that it goes beyond the scope of this Bill as originally framed. It proposes a tax not strictly on mineral rights, or, strictly speaking, in respect of mineral rights, but a tax on some amounts which by damage the landlord is able to exact from the tenant in excess of the true damage actually suffered. Where the damage has been fixed by an arbitrator, if the amount is unjust, then it is the fault of the arbitrator. The hon. Member has mentioned some very hard and inequitable acts, which may very properly be made a subject of legislation. I do not, however, think it is advisable to put into this Bill any more cases of that class. I must ask the hon. Member to observe that we have already opened up a good many sources of conflict, and there still remains some 1348 remedy this Session. I suggest that some of them should be left over to be dealt with in the future.
§ Sir HENRY CRAIK
The hon. and learned Gentleman has opened a new line of argument in saying there are limits to the extent to which this Bill can go. We on this side of the House have not found these limits, and it is very well that we should at last have been informed by one of those defending the Bill that he sees there are points to which the Bill cannot go. He refuses to be a partaker in this blackmail, but that difficulty has not attended previous clauses in the Bill. We have heard of blackmail before. It was not the first time we were told that extortions by landlords were in the shape of blackmail. They, however, were condoned by a share of that blackmail being taken by the State. The hon. Member for Mansfield (Mr. Markham) fairly and reasonably thinks the same principle might be carried out now, and that a share might be got for the State so long as this blackmail continues. The hon. and learned Gentleman, however, is not prepared this time to share in the dirty spoils which might come to him. It is hard on his supporter that he should not have this concession given to him on the parallel followed out in all previous clauses of the Bill. The hon. Member has perhaps shown more sound and valid reasons for the State sharing in this particular form of blackmail than in any other blackmail of which we have heard so much in Limehouse, and which was so much denied in speeches which followed. The hon. and learned Member, however, is not prepared to take a share of this blackmail, and I suppose his follower must be disappointed in the check he hoped to place upon this iniquitous habit.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Mr. MARKHAM moved, in the sixth paragraph, after the second word "wayleave" ["the expression 'mineral wayleave' means any wayleave"], to insert the words "shaft rent."
§ There are cases within my knowledge where, in order to escape what landlords thought would be the future legislation, they have not called a shaft rent a wayleave, but a shaft rent. Although the shafts in 99 cases out of 100 have been sunk by working lessees, the lessor has said to the lessee, "You are bringing minerals up my shaft which are not comprised in my lease to you."1349
§ Mr. MARKHAM
That is what is termed foreign minerals comprised in other leases, and, in respect of this coal belonging to other proprietors carried up the shaft, I know of cases where a charge of 1d. or 2d. per ton is made for shaft rent alone. I have consulted counsel on this question, and I am informed that the words "shaft rent" are not covered.
§ Sir W. ROBSON
I think shaft rent would certainly be included within the word "wayleave," but, anyhow, I will accept the Amendment.
§ Mr. MARKHAM moved, in the sixth paragraph, after the word "wayleave" ["the expression 'mineral wayleave' means any wayleave"], to insert the words "above or under ground."
§ This Amendment is moved by reason of what was said last night. It was not made quite clear whether the expression "wayleave" applied to wayleaves above ground. If this Amendment is accepted it will be quite clear that the expression "wayleave" applies to the top and bottom.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN (Mr. Caldwell)
It will hardly do to put in the words "shaft rent," and then the words "above or underground." Of course, a portion of the shaft might be above ground.
§ Mr. MARKHAM (for Mr. Lambton) moved, in the seventh paragraph, after the word "worked," ["where any minerals are at any time being worked"] to insert the words "or being won for the purpose of being immediately worked." I understand the Attorney-General will give favourable consideration to this Amendment.
§ Sir W. ROBSON
I do not think this would make any difference. The hon. Member seems to speak of it as if it were some important concession, but that is not the way it strikes me We have said that where any minerals are at any time being worked they shall be deemed to be minerals being worked so as to come within the exemption. There are some minerals which are in process of being won, but are 1350 not actually being worked. It is proposed that those should be treated as minerals being worked. I think that is fair, and I propose to try and meet the case by inserting after the word "date" ["minerals which are being worked at that date"] words to this effect: "minerals which are being won for the purpose of being immediately worked shall be deemed to be minerals which are being worked." If my hon. Friend will withdraw his Amendment I will move that Amendment later.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Mr. MARKHAM moved, in the seventh paragraph, after the words "ordinary course of events," to insert the following words: "(except where exceptional mining difficulties have arisen in the course of working or developing the minerals due to wash-outs, faults, water, fire, or any other exceptional mining difficulties)."
§ As far as I understand it, the meaning of this Clause is this: If the lessee has acquired an area of minerals there may be within that area sublets of coal, and in the ordinary course of events a shaft may be sunk. I take it that the object of the draftsman in bringing in these words which would, "in the ordinary course of events, be worked by the same colliery, mine, quarry, or open working, shall be deemed to be minerals which are being worked at that date," means that where there is interlocked coal brought to the shaft it would be free from the Increment Duty. My Amendment is rather difficult to explain. These interlocked minerals which would, in the ordinary course of events, be carried to particular shafts would, I take it, by this Clause be exempt from paying Increment Tax. That is the meaning of the words. I feel quite sure that the reason of the draftsman in putting these words into the Bill—and I have had no indication from anyone in authority on the point—I feel sure that the object and intention of the Clause is that where certain mines are comprised in the lease that these particular mines shall form part of the whole area though they belong to different landlords. As a result of an Amendment moved by the Attorney-General earlier in the afternoon the effect of this definition Clause is altered. We have the words in paragraph 8 that all "minerals shall be deemed to be comprised in a mining lease if the right to work the minerals is the subject of a mining lease, or if the minerals are being worked under the terms of such a lease, 1351 although the lease has expired." They may not be let to-day—they may not come into course of working, perhaps, for 50, 100, or 200 years. I know a case where minerals are not likely to be worked for the next 300 years, and yet, in the ordinary course of events, unless a shaft is sunk, they will escape all duty. I think it is very important that these minerals should not escape the duty, and therefore I have put down this Amendment, that "except where exceptional mining difficulties have arisen in the course of working or developing the minerals, due to wash-outs, faults, water, fire, or any other exceptional mining difficulty." The object of that is clear. The Government have moved an Amendment which perhaps renders it unnecessary in some degree. Take the case of the Kent Collieries, which have been already referred to this afternoon. In that case enormous sums of money have been spent. The public have found large sums of money, and they have had to face exceptional mining difficulties. Under this Clause as it stands I believe some hundreds of thousands of pounds have been spent on this particular colliery. I believe the lessees have actually acquired mineral rights on which they will have to pay Increment Duty. But there are other cases where, owing to financial and other difficulties, certain mines have had to be closed for a time. I want to see justice done to the landlords. I can cite a case with which I was connected. I told the landlord I wanted to put the shaft in some other position, in order to avoid water. The landlord said, "You can move the shaft, if you think fit to do so." I did it, but instead of escaping the water I got a great deal more than I anticipated, and I am engaged in operations in order to get over the difficulty. Meanwhile the minerals cannot be worked. The landlord might be put to very serious disadvantage because I made a mistake in putting the shaft on the edge of the property, and thereby got more water than I anticipated. I think it is very hard indeed that in a case of that kind the landlord should have to pay Increment Duty on minerals which cannot be worked. Hence my Amendment with regard to exceptional mining difficulties. I could give another case in the county of Nottingham—the Mansfield Colliery. There there is an enormous tract of land covering something like 40,000 acres, and only one colliery has been sunk on the whole of that great estate. I think that the estate should only pay increment value 1352 as a whole. But unless my Amendment is accepted by the Government the minerals which are dealt with under one mining lease will escape this duty. Am I to understand from that that the whole of this great estate of 40,000 acres, on which only one mine has been sunk, and which would take at least eight large collieries—am I to understand that this vast estate, covering so many square miles, is to escape the duty? I think that the mine actually sunk on this great estate of the Duke of Newcastle's ought to be free, because that has been opened out, but that is only one portion of the estate, and the rest of it, 36,000 acres, will also be free.
§ Mr. MARKHAM
It is a very exceptional case and the lease was acquired under very exceptional circumstances—circumstances originally of fraud, because, unfortunately for the Duke of Newcastle, his solicitor and mining agent at that time entered into an agreement by which they were to take a certain proportion of the profits under the lease, and the lawyer went to prison. It was a very unfortunate transaction for the Duke. The present owners had nothing to do with the circumstances I have mentioned; they acquired it from another man, who acquired it from the Duke's lawyer. These are the exceptional circumstances under which the Duke is going to escape scot free on 36,000 acres of minerals, by reason of the introduction of this Amendment, which has been moved this afternoon from another point of view. I think it wants the attention of the Government, although it is an exceptional case, upon the Report stage, and I implore the Attorney-General—so far as all those unlet seams are concerned—to look into the matter, else these duties are gone forever. Unless you have this Clause limited, the duty from the whole of these seams on that estate goes, and, in my opinion, in the next 20 years it would produce an enormous sum of money. I do not press my Amendment, and I am afraid I have gone outside it in order to explain this point, to which I do hope the Attorney-General will give consideration.
§ Sir W. ROBSON
My hon. Friend has dealt with two cases, both of which he has very properly described as exceptional. The first one goes beyond the scope of the Amendment, and it is of a very great area 1353 of land which is comprised in a mineral lease, and therefore, although it would be exempt from Mineral Rights Duty, would fall only under the 5 per cent. duty. My hon. Friend said it would be exempt, but he means only exempt from this Mineral Rights Duty. It is an extraordinarily large quantity of land and minerals to be comprised in a single instrument, and it is a highly exceptional case, and it is indeed so phenomenal that it appears to have resulted in the lawyer being sent to gaol. We could scarcely legislate for such an exceptional case as that, but I have no doubt that the Duke of Newcastle and his agents will do their best to develop that great area, and as soon as they do they will come under the proviso. Up to the present I think the hon. Member has mainly spoken in the interests of the lessee, but I think in the other case he is speaking for the landlord, whom he thinks may be unjustly treated. We have exempted from the Increment Value Duty mines which are now comprised in mineral leases or which are being worked by the proprietor, and under these circumstances we have to define the words "being worked." Those words apply only to the proprietor, and they have much less scope than they had before I inserted the words "comprised in a mining lease." We are, therefore, dealing with the definition of those words, and we have said that where minerals would in the ordinary course of events be brought from the same shaft they should pay duty as minerals which are being worked by the proprietor, and therefore within the exemption which is under consideration. Now, my hon. Friend points to an exceptional case. He says you may have wash-outs, or accidents, water, fire, or exceptional mining conditions which may lead to a piece of land within the ordinary scope or range of the shaft which has been sunk, but which is, so to speak, cut off from it by this accident, so that it cannot be worked from that shaft, but from some other, and the hon. Member says that ought to be treated in the landlord's interest as being a mineral area which is within the words "being worked." I think, however, we have gone far enough. I do not think the case is a common one, but a very unusual one, and we should not attempt to treat every little case, especially a hypothetical case. We must keep our definitions as broad as we can, and I think we do so without including within the scope of our tax any case of that kind. I am afraid we cannot go further than we have done.
§ Mr. LUPTON
I am afraid I am not impressed with the speech of the Attorney-General. He seems to be very clear that wherever there is a colliery, as long as it contains minerals, all the minerals, whether they are now being worked or not, will be exempt. I think, however, if there is a mine working on a difficult seam the seams above and below will be exempt, and when it is a question of the mine being worked by the proprietor it will also be exempt. Then comes the question as to the meaning of the word "colliery." The word "mine" has, I think, a legal meaning, but the word "colliery," I think, has not.
§ Mr. LUPTON
But the effect of the Amendment is, in my opinion, to limit the meaning of the word "colliery," because the Amendment refers to shafts and things of that sort. A colliery may have a great number of shafts, and the colliery may be extended over a very large area.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ Amendment proposed, in the eighth paragraph, after the word "date" ["minerals which are being worked at that date"], to insert the words "minerals which are being won for the purpose of being immediately worked shall be deemed to be minerals which are being worked."—[The Attorney-General.]
§ Mr. MARKHAM
I want to know where we stand about this Amendment? Does this Clause mean that where a shaft is sunk all the minerals, whether they be upper or lower seams, in relation to any particular seam of coal which may be exempt from Increment Duty under this tax, will pay duty or will they escape?
§ Sir W. ROBSON
It is in each case a question of fact. If the lessee takes an area of coal comprising three or four seams and he sinks a shaft with the intention of working one or all of those seams, the Commissioners have to say whether all the seams are being won for the purpose of being immediately worked. If they are not being won for the purpose of being worked, if, for instance, the lessee has only got to a single seam, the others are not being won, and they will come under Increment Value Duty. If he is sinking a shaft to an upper seam with the intention of working the lower seam later they will be minerals in process of being won, and will come within the words "being worked."
§ Mr. MARKHAM
That case is a very remarkable one. I understand the hon. and learned Gentleman to say that a man might take a particular seam and work that and afterwards proceed to sink a shaft and work the other minerals. But what amount of time is going to be allowed between the two processes? The time of working out the upper seam might be 30 or 40 years.
§ Sir W. ROBSON
I really thought we were meeting the purpose of the hon. Member's Amendment, which was "being sunk to or developed." We choose words a little less wide than that.
§ Mr. MARKHAM
But the words the Attorney-General has put in are far wider than the words I wanted, only my words were to meet the case of mines which have been delayed from reaching the coal owing to water or other difficulties. There is a mine in Durham which has been worked for 17 years, and coal is not reached yet. Surely in a case like that it would be very unfair that a man should have to pay Increment Duty. My Amendment only referred to mines which were being sunk or developed prior to 30th April. If a shaft has been sunk and one particular seam has been let, and others are not let, and were not comprised in the mining lease prior to 30th April, I want to know whether all these other seams of coal, which would in the ordinary course of events perhaps, 100 or 200 years hence be worked, would escape Increment Duty or not?
§ Sir W. ROBSON
I do not think the hon. Member has quite grasped the scope of the Clause as it is proposed to be amended. In the case he has put, the under seams will undoubtedly be comprised in the mining lease. If they are not comprised in the mining lease, they will be taxed, and they will come under the Increment Value Duty. If they are comprised in the lease they will come under the Mineral Rights Duties, and not under the increment value. The expression "being worked" relates now, after the Amendment is made, only to the seams which are being worked by the landowner.
§ Mr. LUPTON
Sub-section (2) of Clause 13 says Increment Duty shall not be charged where a mine is being worked. Now we come to the definition, and we find that a mine which is being worked includes the minerals which would in the ordinary course of events be worked by the same colliery or mine. In the ordinary course 1356 of events you work first the best seam if it is within reasonable reach, and then afterwards you go to seams which are less valuable or more difficult to get at, but they will all in the ordinary course be worked, and under this Clause they will be exempted.
§ Mr. G. L. COURTHOPE
The Attorney-General has explained that his Amendment will cover the case of successive seams in the same lease which were won one after the other by means of the same shaft. In these circumstances is not the word "immediately" very misleading? Might it not be misinterpreted by the Court?
§ Mr. STEPHEN WALSH
I understand that if the lease is in operation all the mines contained within that lease are then and there exempted from Mineral Rights Duty.
§ Sir W. ROBSON
No; they are subject to Mineral Rights Duty but exempted from Increment Value Duty. I was afraid the rather wide language used, perhaps inadvertently, by some hon. Members might mislead in that respect. They are not exempted from all duty but from that particular form of duty. We do not get Increment Value Duty from mines which are being worked because they are a wasting asset, and it is not worth while troubling about it, but we do get Mineral Rights Duty. It is a very narrow point that is now under consideration. The only point is whether particular pieces of coal should be treated as being worked or not. So far as the lessee is concerned, the exemption extends to the coal comprised in the mining lease, but where there is no mining lease, and the landlord is working the mine himself, the question is how much coal can be said to be in process of working. The Clause says that he might be treated as working all the coal which would in the natural course of events be brought from that colliery. It is suggested by my hon. Friend and others that where a shaft is in actual process of being sunk in a case where the proprietor works the mine you ought to treat the coal which is then in process of getting as coal which is being worked by him. I do not know whether the point has any application at all to any existing state of things. I should doubt it. There are not many proprietors in the kingdom who work their own coal, and there are still fewer who happen to be sinking shafts.
§ Mr. R. DUNCAN
In order to decide whether minerals are being worked or not we would require to know whether the same shaft could be extended to seams below that from which coal is being taken. That would involve an enormous amount of surveying throughout the kingdom, the cost of which we cannot calculate at all.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Clause, as amended, added to the Bill.