HC Deb 11 December 1928 vol 223 cc1907-9

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that there are a number of persons who engage in betting on credit terms and who, when they lose, decline to pay; and whether he will amend the law so as to remove the obligation now resting on bookmakers to pay duty upon such bets?


As the hon. Member may be aware, a Clause to effect the object he has in mind was moved by my hon. Friend the Member for Grimsby (Mr. Womersley) in Committee on the Finance Bill on the 3rd July this year and negatived. I would refer the hon. Member to the statement I made on that occasion.


Has not the attention of the right hon. Gentleman been called to cases of harshness and injustice arising out of the present position, and does he think it right and fair that the Government should take tax on losses?


I have here all the excellent arguments I used when this matter was debated during the Committee stage of the Finance Bill, and I shall be glad if I may send them on to the hon. Member, with the general caption that "Hard cases do not make good law."

lent to the unemployment fund, on loan at interest?


As the answer contains a number of figures, with my hon. Friend's permission, I will circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Following is the answer:


Will the right hon. Gentleman receive a deputation?


Does the right hon. Gentleman not believe that the facts stated in this question are a complete reply to the arguments he has just been producing to the House?


asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether he has any information indicating widespread evasion of the Betting Duty; and what proportion of bookmakers are paying the duty upon bets?

The FINANCIAL SECRETARY to the TREASURY (Mr. Arthur Michael Samuel)

The number of prosecutions instituted by the Board of Customs and Excise against bookmakers, and the number of convictions secured, namely, 1,700 and 1,663 respectively, in the 12 months ended 31st October, 1928, are indicative both of the efforts made to evade the Betting Duty and of the counter-efforts to prevent such evasion. It is impossible to say what proportion of bookmakers are paying duty, as an unknown number carry on business in an illegal manner.

Viscountess ASTOR

Are the Government not sorry that they ever brought in this miserable Measure?


Is the Chancellor of the Exchequer prepared to receive a deputation in order to show the gross harshness and unfairness of collecting a tax from some people, and winking at it in the case of thousands of others?


No, Sir, we do not wink at them. If the hon. Member can bring any cases to my notice, I will look into them.


Is it not true to say that the racecourse bookmakers are paying what they owe, and that it is the starting price bookmakers who evade the tax?