§ 27. Mr. HOLMES
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether the colliery companies would be assessed to Excess Profits Duty for the year ending 31st March, 1920, as separate entities; whether, in the event of the profits of an individual company for that year exceed- 880 ing its profits standard, it would be liable to pay Excess Profits Duty, notwithstanding the fact that the profits retainable by it would he less than its profits standard; whether, in the event of its profits being less than its profits standard, it would be able to claim by reason of such deficiency repayment of Excess Profits Duty out of duties previously paid by it; and whether, in the former case, the receipt of Excess Profits Duty by the Treasury would constitute a tax on the consumer of coal and, in the latter case, the repayment of Excess Profits Duty by the Treasury would constitute a subsidy to the coal industry from the national exchequer?
The reply to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. In the event of the Coal Industry (Emergency) Bill becoming law, a colliery company will be liable to Excess Profits Duty for the year ending 21st March, 1920, only if its profits, after taking into account "coal levy" and "coal award" under the provisions of that Bill, exceed the pre-war standard of profits. Where such profits are less than the pre-war standard of profits, a title to repayment of Excess Profits Duty will arise under the provisions of Section 38 (3) of the Finance (No. 2) Act, 1915, as subsequently amended. With regard to the fourth part of the question, the first case does net arise and the second case is governed by the statutory provisions relating to Excess Profits Duty which are applicable to all businesses affected by it and are not peculiar to the coal industry.