§ Collectors of taxes, whether appointed by the General Commissioners of Taxes or the Commissioners of Inland Revenue, shall hold office during the will and pleasure of the appointing authority.—[Mr. Samuel Roberts.]
§ Brought up and Read the First time.
§ Mr. S. ROBERTS
I beg to move, "That the Clause be Read a Second time."
I ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he is prepared to accept this Clause? If so, I shall only formally move.
§ Mr. ROBERTS
The hon. and gallant Member for Leith (Captain Benn) has taken hours and hours but the supporters of the Government on the back benches have taken up practically no time. When an Amendment is proposed, he wants to drive us out. What I want to say about this Clause is that these people are appointed year by 473 year, and these appointments come to an end each year. They ask definitely to be placed in the same position as other civil servants. The answer made last year was, I believe, that it was considered by the Royal Commission for Income Tax, and the Treasury desired to have them all appointed under the Inland Revenue. That has not been done. I do not think I need argue this case any longer. Except that when I look at the Division lists of last year— the Clause is in the same form as it was put down last year—the Prime Minister and the Financial Secretary to the Treasury supported it. I do not think they can turn round now and vote against it.
In spite of the vote I gave last year, I cannot, on behalf of the Government, accept this New Clause. It is quite true that it is a matter which ought to be dealt with, and it is quite true that it was brought before the Royal Commission on Income Tax. The Royal Commission made no definite recommendation on the subject. We do not believe that the acceptance of this Clause would make any important difference to the uncertainty which is felt on the part of these officials as regards their present position. But we are going into the matter, and I can only ask the hon. Member to exercise a little more patience.
§ Question, "That the Clause be read a Second time" put, and negatived.