HC Deb 28 June 1916 vol 83 cc986-7

In the case of any trade or business which by reason of its being unable to pay its debenture holders or creditors is being carried on by a liquidator, receiver, or trustee under the Court no Excess Profits Duty shall be levied or paid until provision has been made for payment of such unpaid debenture holders or creditors.—[Mr. J. M. Henderson.]

Clause brought up, and read the first time.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause be read a second time."


I brought up this Clause last year, and it was accepted by my right hon. Friend, but it was thought by the authorities to be unnecessary, as they believed it to be already common law. But we are at War, and the law is in some cases uncertain. Different Departments take different views. The Excess Profits Department has entirely taken this view; other Departments depart from it. Therefore it is desirable that what we all agree to be right should go on the Statute Book.


Did I understand the hon. Member to say that it was in the Act of last year?


No; I wish to have it in the Act this year. It was thought to be unnecessary last year; the draftsman thought it was already covered by the common law. I want to put it in now, so that there may be no dispute about it.


I quite understand. I think it would be better if there were words referring to the Act of last year.


I take no exception tow-hat my hon. Friend has said, except when he seemed to suggest that there was some difference between the Chancellor of the Exchequer and myself in the attitude we took up last year. The difference was due to the fact that when I spoke in Committee there was on the Paper a Clause making the Excess Profits Duty a first charge upon the assets of a company or firm. That Clause was dropped in Committee, and in consequence it did not appear to the Chancellor of the Exchequer that this Clause was necessary. We did not think it necessary then, and we do not think there is any greater necessity for it now; but if it will make my hon. Friend happy, I shall be delighted to accept it and incorporate it in the Bill, and, in deference to what the Chairman has said, to suggest any Amendment that may be necessary on the Report stage.

Question put, and agreed to.

Clause added to the Bill.