HC Deb 06 August 1912 vol 41 cc2920-1
52. Sir J. D. REES

asked the Secretary to the Treasury whether he is aware that 90 per cent. of the farmers of the United Kingdom have incomes of less than £160 a year; that the Insurance Tax represents 6 per cent. of the average farmer's income and a tax of a shilling an acre on agricultural land; that an impost of this description is in fact levied on oats, wheat, barley, beef, and mutton, and amounts to a preference in favour of Canadian wheat, Russian barley, and Argentine oats and meat; and what steps the Government propose to take in order to preserve equal conditions for British agriculturists?


I have no reason to doubt that, as the hon. Member implies, the great majority of farmers in the United Kingdom are exempted from Income Tax, more particularly as owing to the method of assessment under Schedule B, no farmer who pays a rent not exceeding £480 per annum is deemed to make a profit of over £160, even though he may in fact make a larger profit. A farmer's normal contribution towards the cost of his employé's insurance is 3d. a head per week, and if the hon. Member will compare this sum with the variations in the cost of labour in the various countries he names, I think he will admit that the last part of his question hardly arises.