HC Deb 05 May 1920 vol 128 cc2081-2
103. Mr. HOUSTON

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that the proposed Corporation Tax will fall very heavily upon the ordinary shareholders in British railways situated in the Argentine and other similar undertakings, who during the period of the War have received practically no dividends or interest on their investments; and whether he can see his way to exempt dividends of 5 per cent. and under from the operation of this proposed tax?


I would remind my hon. Friend that the Corporation Profits Tax is not a tax upon dividends, but upon the profits of concerns with limited liability prior to the distribution thereof. I cannot undertake to adopt the suggestion contained in the last part of the question.


Does my hon. Friend not realise that this tax falls with peculiar severity upon a class which has suffered very severely during the War?


Is not the effect of this tax to impose an additional Income Tax of from 1s. to 2s. in the £ upon many persons who really ought to be exempt from the Income Tax altogether?

The following question stood on the Order Paper in the name of Mr. HOUSTON: 104. To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware of the heavy discount at which Government securities are now standing, notably War Loan, Funding Loan, and Victory Bonds, whether he is aware that when these loans and bonds were issued the public were assured that they were the finest securities in the world, and strong appeals were made that everyone should invest the whole of their available moneys, even to the extent of borrowing to invest in these securities; whether he is aware that many companies, firms and individuals have invested large amounts of their available cash, including capital and reserves, and in some instances actually borrowed money for the purpose of investing in these securities, and that these reserves and capital are in many instances now required for business purposes; that war loan and bonds have consequently in many cases been sold at a great discount, inflicting heavy losses; whether the Treasury refuses to accept payment of taxes other than Excess Profit Duty in war loan and bonds and insists upon payment in cash, which necessitates the sale of these securities at a heavy loss; whether he is aware of the widespread discontent amongst all classes who have invested in these securities and who have had to realise them at a loss; and whether he proposes to take any action to improve the price of these Government securities?"


May I ask Question No. 104?


It is now 3.45 p.m. The hon. Member occupied the time he might have devoted to this question in asking supplementary questions.