HC Deb 02 July 1923 vol 166 cc194-9

A sinking fund or capital redemption policy issued by a registered insurance company in Scotland shall be treated for Inland Revenue purposes under the same category as a similar policy issued by a registered insurance company in England.—[Major McKenzie Wood.]

Brought up, and read the First time.


I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."

I moved this Clause in Committee, and the Solicitor-General waxed rather facetious on that occasion. I hope he will not do so on this occasion, because my Amendment is a serious one, and I trust he will take it seriously. It is meant to deal with a real grievance. The case I brought to the notice of hon. Members was where, in an insurance policy issued by an insurance company in Scotland, the stamp duty payable was £31 5s., whereas the stamp duty on a similar policy issued by a company in England was only 6d. The Solicitor-General said that that was due to the interpretation of the Scottish Courts as to what actually it cost to make a bond in Scotland. That only states what is the cause of this anomaly; it does not deal with the question I am raising as to whether there is any real ground for the anomaly, and whether there might not be a remedy for it. I put down my Amendment to insure that in future, for this particular purpose of revenue, no difference should be entertained between an insurance policy of this kind whether it be issued by a Scottish company or by an English company. It is, obviously, very prejudicial to Scottish insurance companies if policies issued by them are to be mulcted to this extent as compared with England. For my own part I see no justification for that course at all. I hope, therefore, that the Government will see fit to accept this Amendment, or, at any rate, if they do not they will give us some solid reason for differentiating so unfairly against Scotland and Scottish insurance companies.


I beg to second the Motion.


This Clause was proposed on the last occasion at an hour of the night which precluded any adequate reply. I must say what I tried to say before on this point, that it depends upon the admirable system of law which prevails in Scotland as to whether the document referred to in the Amendment is a bond or not. According to Scottish law certain documents are bonds which in English law are not bonds, and it is not for me to say which is the best system. The fact of the matter is that bonds are taxed at a particular rate. The particular document which the hon. and gallant Member indicates in his Amendment is in Scotland held to be a bond, whilst in England it would not be held to be a bond. I am afraid that the hon. and gallant Gentleman (Major M. Wood) must devise some other method of bringing the law of Scotland into conformity with the law of England than by the proposal which he now makes. The difference is due to the fact that in Scotland an instrument securing the payment of a sum of money is a bond, even if given under hand only, while in England it is only a bond if it is given under seal. If the hon. and gallant Gentleman will make the law of Scotland agreeable to the law of England, I am afraid these documents must be taxed differently. Probably he is not satisfied with this answer, but if there is an anomaly, and attention has been called to it quite recently, some consideration will be given to see whether on some future occasion the anomaly, if it be a real anomaly, can be removed.


Although the Solicitor-General has succeeded in not being facetious to-night, he has not succeeded in being any more satisfactory. He has not dealt with the position as stated by my hon. Friend the Member for Central Aberdeen (Major M. Wood). He has shown that an anomaly does exist from the revenue point of view, and that a legal document is treated by the Revenue Authorities in one way in England, while it is treated in a different way in Scotland. That is entirely due to the technicality that a bond in England must be under seal, but it is not so in Scotland. Surely, it is the object of the revenue to tax subjects equally in both countries. If it does not do so, then the revenue is acting unjustly. The hon. and learned Gentleman has offered no defence at all; he has not even dealt with the proposition that the new Clause would provide a remedy. He does not suggest that it does not. He has, in effect, admitted the existence of the anomaly due to the difference in the laws of the two countries. Yet here is a Clause which sets it right and he has nothing to say about it. I should like to have the Front Bench reinforced by a Law Officer from Scotland. We all know the great importance that was attached to the accession of the learned Solicitor-General for Scotland, and we are surprised and disappointed the House should not have the benefit of illumination from him on an obscure problem of this kind. It is regrettable the Government should have made no attempt to remove this inequality of the law which inflicts a great injustice on the Scottish taxpayer, and that it should have given no reason for rejecting the Clause of my hon. Friend which offers a means of doing it. I hope my hon. Friend will divide the House and thus enable it to express its opinion of the slackness and inefficiency of the Solicitor-General and the Financial Secretary in dealing with an important grievance of this kind.


If documents identical in England and Scotland have different legal effects it is the duty of the Treasury to make its taxation uniform, even if one course has to be taken for England and another for Scotland. Here we have a real grievance for Scotland, and it should be remedied by the Government and not be left to private Members to deal with by bringing in Bills to amend the existing law. It is up to the Financial Secretary to the Treasury to see that the taxation is levied in such a way that injustice cannot arise.

Question put, "That the Clause be read a Second time."

The House divided: Ayes, 148; Noes, 255.

Division No. 263.] AYES. [10.50 p.m.
Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro') Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland) Phillipps, Vivian
Ammon, Charles George Hardie, George D. Ponsonby, Arthur
Attlee, C. R. Harney, E. A. Potts, John S.
Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery) Harris, Percy A. Pringle, W. M. R.
Barrie, Sir Charles Coupar (Banff) Hastings, Patrick Riley, Ben
Batey, Joseph Hay, Captain J. P. (Cathcart) Ritson, J.
Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith) Hayday, Arthur Roberts, C. H. (Derby)
Bennett, A. J. (Mansfield) Hayes, John Henry (Edge Hill) Roberts, Frederick O. (W. Bromwich)
Berkeley, Captain Reginald Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (N'castle, E.) Robertson, J. (Lanark, Bothwell)
Bonwick, A. Herriotts, J. Royce, William Stapleton
Bowdler, W. A. Hill, A. Saklatvala, S.
Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W. Hinds, John Salter, Dr. A.
Broad, F. A. Hirst, G. H. Sexton, James
Brotherton, J. Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath) Shaw, Thomas (Preston)
Brown, James (Ayr and Bute) John, William (Rhondda, West) Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)
Buckie, J. Johnston, Thomas (Stirling) Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John
Burgess, S. Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth) Simpson, J. Hope
Burnie, Major J. (Bootle) Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown) Sitch, Charles H.
Buxton, Charles (Accrington) Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Snell, Harry
Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, North) Jones, R. T. (Carnarvon) Spencer, George A. (Broxtowe)
Charleton, H. C. Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd) Stephenson, Lieut.-Colonel H. K.
Clarke, Sir E. C. Jowett, F. W. (Bradford, East) Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)
Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R. Jowitt, W. A. (The Hartlepools) Strauss, Edward Anthony
Collins, Pat (Walsall) Kenyon, Barnet Sullivan, J.
Collison, Levi Lambert, Rt. Hon. George Sutherland, Rt. Hon. Sir William
Cotts, Sir William Dingwall Mitchell Lansbury, George Thomas, Sir Robert John (Anglesey)
Darbishire, C. W. Lawson, John James Thomson, T. (Middlesbrough, West)
Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale) Leach, W. Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Lee, F. Thornton, M.
Davison, J. E. (Smethwick) Lees-Smith, H. B. (Keighley) Trevelyan, C. P.
Dudgeon, Major C. R. Linfield, F. C. Turner, Ben
Duffy, T. Gavan Lowth, T. Walsh, Stephen (Lancaster, Ince)
Dunnico, H. Lunn, William Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)
Ede, James Chuter MacDonald, J. R. (Aberavon) Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)
Edge, Captain Sir William M'Entee, V. L. Webb, Sidney
Edmonds, G. McLaren, Andrew Weir, L. M.
Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty) March, S. Westwood, J.
Entwistle, Major C. F. Marshall, Sir Arthur H. White, Charles F. (Derby, Western)
Falconer, J. Martin, F. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, E.) Whiteley, W.
Foot, Isaac Middleton, G. Williams, David (Swansea, E.)
Gosling, Harry Morel, E. D. Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)
Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton) Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.) Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)
Greenall, T. Mosley, Oswald Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)
Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne) Murnin, H. Wintringham, Margaret
Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan) Murray, John (Leeds, West) Wright, W.
Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool) O'Grady, Captain James Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)
Groves, T. Oliver, George Harold
Grundy, T. W. Paling, W. TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Guest, Hon. C. H. (Bristol, N.) Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan) Major McKenzie Wood and Mr. A.
Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton) Parry, Lieut.-Colonel Thomas Henry Shaw.
Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Pattinson, S. (Horncastle)
Agg-Gardner, Sir James Tynte Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W. Churchman, Sir Arthur
Alexander, E. E. (Leyton, East) Boyd-Carpenter, Major A. Clarry, Reginald George
Alexander, Col. M. (Southwark) Brass, Captain W. Clayton, G. C.
Apsley, Lord Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive Cobb, Sir Cyril
Archer-Shee, Lieut.-Colonel Martin Brittain, Sir Harry Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K.
Ashley, Lt.-Col. Wilfrid W. Brown, Major D. C. (Hexham) Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley Brown, Brig.-Gen. Clifton (Newbury) Colvin, Brig.-General Richard Beale
Balfour, George (Hampstead) Bruton, Sir James Conway, Sir W. Martin
Banbury, Rt. Hon. Sir Frederick G. Buckingham, Sir H. Cope, Major William
Banks, Mitchell Burn, Colonel Sir Charles Rosdew Craig, Captain C. C. (Antrim, South)
Barlow, Rt. Hon. Sir Montague Burney, Com. (Middx., Uxbridge) Croft, Lieut.-Colonel Henry Page
Barnett, Major Richard W. Butcher, Sir John George Crook, C. W. (East Ham, North)
Barnston, Major Harry Butler, H. M. (Leeds, North) Crooke, J. Smedley (Deritend)
Becker, Harry Butt, Sir Alfred Curzon, Captain Viscount
Bell, Lieut.-Col. W. C. H. (Devizes) Button, H. S. Dalziel, Sir D. (Lambeth, Brixton)
Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W. Cadogan, Major Edward Davidson, J. C. C. (Hemel Hempstead)
Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake) Campion, Lieut.-Colonel W. R. Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H.
Bennett, Sir T. J. (Sevenoaks) Cautley, Henry Strother Davies, Alfred Thomas (Lincoln)
Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City) Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)
Berry, Sir George Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston) Dawson, Sir Philip
Betterton, Henry B. Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord H. (Ox. Univ.) Dixon, C. H. (Rutland)
Birchall, Major J. Dearman Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton Doyle, N. Grattan
Bird, Sir William B. M. (Chichester) Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Birm., W.) Du Pre, Colonel William Baring
Blades, Sir George Rowland Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood) Edmondson, Major A. J.
Ednam, Viscount Jephcott, A. R. Rhodes, Lieut.-Col. J. P.
Elliot, Capt. Walter E. (Lanark) Jodrell, Sir Neville Paul Richardson, Sir Alex. (Gravesend)
Ellis, R. G. Johnson, Sir L. (Walthamstow, E.) Richardson, Lt.-Col. Sir P. (Chertsey)
Erskine, James Malcolm Monteith Joynson-Hicks, Sir William Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)
Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare) Kelley, Major Fred (Rotherham) Robertson-Despencer, Major (Islgtn, W.)
Evans, Capt. H. Arthur (Leicester, E.) Kennedy, Captain M. S. Nigel Roundell, Colonel R. F.
Eyres-Monsell, Com. Bolton M. King, Captain Henry Douglas Ruggles-Brise, Major E.
Falcon, Captain Michael Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement Russell, William (Bolton)
Falle, Major Sir Bertram Godfray Lamb, J. Q. Russell-Wells, Sir Sydney
Fawkes, Major F. H. Lane-Fox, Lieut.-Colonel G. R. Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)
Fermor-Hesketh, Major T. Leigh, Sir John (Clapham) Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)
Flanagan, W. H. Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley) Sanderson, Sir Frank B.
Ford, Patrick Johnston Lloyd-Greame, Rt. Hon. Sir P. Sandon, Lord
Foreman, Sir Henry Locker-Lampson, G. (wood Green) Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.
Foxcroft, Captain Charles Talbot Locker-Lampson, Com O. (Handsw'th) Scott, Sir Leslie (Liverp'l, Exchange)
Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E. Lorden, John William Shepperson, E. W.
Furness, G. J. Lorimer, H. D. Shipwright, Captain D.
Galbraith, J. F. W. Loyd, Arthur Thomas (Abingdon) Simpson-Hinchliffe, W. A.
Ganzoni, Sir John Lumley, L. R. Skelton, A. N.
Garland, C. S. McNeill, Ronald (Kent, Canterbury) Smith, Sir Allan M. (Croydon, South)
Gates, Percy Malone, Major P. B. (Tottenham, S.) Snowden, Philip
Gaunt, Rear-Admiral Sir Guy R. Margesson, H. D. R. Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)
Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John Mason, Lieut.-Col. C. K. Somerville, Daniel (Barrow-in-Furness)
Greaves-Lord, Walter Mercer, Colonel H. Spender-Clay, Lieut.-Colonel H. H.
Greene, Lt.-Col. Sir W. (Hack'y, N.) Milne, J. S. Wardlaw Stanley, Lord
Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London) Mitchell, W. F. (Saffron Walden) Steel, Major S. Strang
Gretton, Colonel John Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham) Stewart, Gershom (Wirral)
Guinness, Lieut.-Col Hon. W. E. Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C. Stott, Lt.-Col. W. H.
Gwynne, Rupert S. Morden, Col. W. Grant Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser
Hacking, Captain Douglas H. Moreing, Captain Algernon H. Sugden, Sir Wilfrid H.
Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich) Morrison-Bell, Major A. C. (Honiton) Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.
Hall, Rr-Adml Sir W. (Liv'p'l, W. D.'by Murchison, C. K. Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)
Halstead, Major D. Nall, Major Joseph Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)
Hamilton, Sir George C. (Altrincham) Nesbitt, Robert C. Titchfield, Marquess of
Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry Newman, Colonel J. R. P. (Finchley) Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Harmswoth, Hon. E. C. (Kent) Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter) Tubbs, S. W.
Harrison, F. C. Newson, Sir Percy Wilson Turton, Edmund Russborough
Harvey, Major S. E. Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge) Wallace, Captain E.
Hawke, John Anthony Nicholson, Brig.-Gen. J. (Westminster) Ward, Col. L. (Kingston-upon-Hull)
Hay, Major T. W. (Norfolk, South) Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield) Waring, Major Walter
Henn, Sir Sydney H. O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Hugh Watts, Dr. T. (Man., Withington)
Hennessy, Major J. R. G. Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William Wells, S. R.
Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford) Paget, T. G. Weston, Colonel John Wakefield
Hewett, Sir J. P. Parker, Owen (Kettering) Wheler, Col. Granville C. H.
Hilder, Lieut.-Colonel Frank Pease, William Edwin White, Lt.-Col. G. D. (Southport)
Hiley, Sir Ernest Pennefather, De Fonblanque Whitla, Sir William
Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G. Penny, Frederick George Wilson, Col. M. J. (Richmond)
Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy Perkins, Colonel E. K. Winterton, Earl
Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard Perring, William George Wise, Frederick
Hood, Sir Joseph Philipson, Mabel Wolmer, Viscount
Hopkins, John W. W. Pollock, Rt. Hon. Sir Ernest Murray Wood, Rt. Hn. Edward F. L. (Ripon)
Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley) Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Assheton Wood, Sir H. K. (Woolwich, West)
Houfton, John Plowright Pretyman, Rt. Hon. Ernest G. Wood, Maj. Sir S. Hill. (High Peak)
Hundson, Capt. A. Privett, F. J. Woodcock, Colonel, H. C.
Hume, G. H. Raine, W. Worthington Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.
Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer Rankin, Captain James Stuart Yate, Colonel Sir Charles Edward
Hurd, Percy A. Rawlinson, Rt. Hon. John Fredk. Peel Yerburgh, R. D. T.
Hutchison, G. A. C. (Midlothian, N.) Rees, Sir Beddoe
Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H. Reid, D. D. (County Down) TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Jackson, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. F. S. Remer, J. R. Colonel Leslie Wilson and Colonel
Jenkins, W. A. (Brecon and Radnor) Remnant, Sir James Gibbs.

Question, "That the Clause be read a Second time," put, and agreed to.