HC Deb 23 June 1930 vol 240 cc804-6

May I ask the Prime Minister what Supply business will be taken on Thursday; and perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will tell us at the same time how far he proposes to ask us to go in the consideration of the Finance Bill to-day?


The answer to the first question of the right hon. Gentleman is that on Thursday it is proposed to put down the Dominions and Colonial Offices Votes. As to the second question, I am afraid that I cannot at this moment give any definite answer.


Surely the Chancellor of the Exchequer would be well advised at this stage to let us know his general wishes as to the amount of progress he desires to make on the Finance Bill this evening?


My general wish is that we should get as far as possible. The next two or three Clauses ought not to occupy very much time. The first two, at any rate, deal with points which have been debated at great length already. The general question as to the assimilation of the method of assessment as between London and the provinces has been already discussed. I do not think that the next two or three Clauses ought to take very much time, but Clause 29 and the two or three Clauses which follow do raise matters of great importance, and I do not want to limit the discussion upon them at all. I think we should get to the end of Clause 29 today.


I think the right hon. Gentleman might consider getting Clauses 26 and 27 and thus complete Part II of the Bill altogether. Clause 28 is most important as it deals with a substantial increase of taxation in the Estate Duty. It is of far-reaching financial importance. I think the right hon. Gentleman should be satisfied in getting to the end of Clause 28 to-day, and we might separate at a reasonable hour. There is absolutely no question of our obtaining Clause 29, and I submit that it really would be a great mistake to break in upon the group of five Clauses which deal with quite different matters. The whole principle of this group of Clauses will come up on Clause 29, and very important questions of procedure and order will also arise. I think it would be in accordance with the proper conduct of our debate if we stopped at the end of Clause 28 and began on Wednesday the issues which arise under Clause 29. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will not put this suggestion aside, because there is no doubt that Clause 26, which deals with London valuation is one which, with the greatest good will in the world, can only be compressed into a seven or eight-hours' debate.


Nobody will maintain that we have made even reasonable progress with the Bill so far. This is the sixth or seventh day in Committee, and we have reached only Clause 26. Suppose that we stop at the end of Clause 28 to-day, would the right hon. Gentleman help me to get Clause 29 and the following Clauses dealing with the same matter on the next day?


I have no doubt that the Chancellor of the Exchequer has considered Clauses 29 to 33, but with the best will in the world it will be impossible to dispose of those Clauses in a day. There are hundreds of Amendments to them on the Paper, and 20, 30 and even 40 of them are important Amendments. It will be quite impossible to dispose of them in one day, and I doubt whether it would be possible in two days.