§ Sir J. BUTCHER
Is my right hon. Friend aware that there is a universal consensus of opinion in favour of altering the law?
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
But that does not arise on the question to me. I know, from a very vivid experience, that the Finance Bill gives plenty of opportunity for discussing such subjects.
§ 62. Mr. G. LOCKER-LAMPSON
asked whether the relief from Income Tax on a married woman's dividends is payable to the husband and not to the wife if the marriage takes place after the 7th May in any Income Tax year?
I am advised that there is no such provision for the year of marriage, but I am looking further into the question, and will communicate with my hon. Friend when my inquiries are completed.
§ Mr. LOCKER-LAMPSON
Supposing my right hon. Friend finds that some improvement is necessary will he take steps without waiting for the Report of the Royal Commission?
If I correctly understand the point of my hon. Friend it is as to whether the arrangement whereby a married woman can claim before a certain date is open to her if she happens to get married after that date? I think I should like to make the inquiry I have undertaken to make before coming to a decision. It seems to me to be an oversight in the law which ought to be remedied. It is not a new relief, it is merely adjusting the machinery to give the relief intended.
§ 63. Mr. MACMASTER
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he has taken note of the decline in the birth-rate in comparison with the death-rate in the United Kingdom, and of the enormous destruction of the manhood of the nation during the recent War; and whether, in these circumstances, he will take immediate steps to put an end to the tax upon marriage, and thus remove what is admittedly an intolerable anomaly and a premium on immorality?
I would refer my hon. and learned Friend to the answer which I gave yesterday to a similar question by my hon. Friend the Member for South Kensington.
§ Mr. MACMASTER
With regard to the answer to which I have been referred, I would ask whether the right hon. Gentleman will consider the propriety of seeing that more than one woman is put on that Commission in view of the fact that they are deeply interested in it.
I have given very great care to the composition of the Commission. It was a matter of great difficulty and I cannot recommend any alteration.
§ 65. Major TRYON
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he can arrange for a deputation of women to be received by some permanent official of the Treasury on the question of the joint assessment of Income Tax on husbands and wives?
For the reasons stated in previous replies on this subject, I am unable to accept my hon. and gallant Friend's proposal. I hope that those interested in this question will place their case before the Royal Commission.