HC Deb 07 March 1912 vol 35 cc547-8

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he has recently received representations from many chambers of commerce as to the inadequacy of the allowance made for the depreciaion of commercial buildings and machinery for Income Tax purposes; and whether, in view of the altered conditions now existing and the shorter life of much modern machinery, he can promise an inquiry into the matter, with a view to the revision of the present scales?

The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER (Mr. Lloyd George)

The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. As regards the second part, I will refer the hon. Baronet to the answer that I gave on the 20th ultimo to the hon. Member for Roxburgh. The Commissioners, local or special, have power under the existing law to allow such deductions for depreciation of machinery and plant as they think just and reasonable. The Board of Inland Revenue have assisted the Commissioners in the past and are willing to continue such assistance by negotiating with recognised representatives of organised classes of traders who have authority to produce information and accept conclusions as to rates of depreciation. Negotiations of this nature are, I find, now going on with representatives of the gas companies. Such negotiations seem to promise the best means of arriving at the results desired by my hon. Friend. I would mention that the allowances for depreciation have nearly doubled in the last seven years, an increase far larger than can be accounted for by the greater quantity of machinery now in use.