HC Deb 07 March 1929 vol 226 cc554-5

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the annual deliveries of free coal which certain royalty owners exact from the colliery lessees are taken into account when assessing the incomes of the said royalty owners from coal royalties for the purposes of national taxation; what steps are taken by the Treasury to ascertain from royalty owners generally whether they derive this additional accretion to their incomes from coal royalties; and what is the total quantity of this free coal accounted for to his Department during the last fiscal year?

The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER (Mr. Churchill)

Royalties paid in kind are by law chargeable to both Income Tax and Mineral Rights Duty, and are required to be included in the yearly return made by lessors to the Commissioners of Inland Revenue. As regards the last part of the question, no statistics are available.


Seeing that the different colliery companies make returns of all the coal they get, why is it not possible to record for each fiscal year the total quantity of coal taken by royalty owners in this way?


We keep a great number of statistics, but in this case the collection of the tax is more important.


Is it not also important to ascertain how much free coal is being exacted in this way, and, if I put down a question, giving a few weeks' notice, will the right hon. Gentleman give the information?


Before the right hon. Gentleman replies, may I ask whether he would be prepared to publish the Income Tax returns of members of the Labour party?


It is not a question of disclosing secret or confidential information about individuals, but of ascertaining the amount of royalty that is drawn in kind. It has never been thought worth while to add to our burden of statistics by including the totals of these amounts, and I doubt whether the matter is of sufficient importance at the present time to require what would undoubtedly involve an additional expenditure of money and labour.


Is it not advisable, in the public interest, in view of the coming General Election, that we should be informed—[Interruption.]


Mr. Tinker.