§ The CHAIRMAN
The first Amendment in the name of the hon. Member for Leominster (Sir E. Shepperson)—in page 23, line 38, at the end, to insert the words:Provided always that there shall be no increase in the rate of estate duty charged upon agricultural land—I do not select.
§ The CHAIRMAN
That is an unnecessary point of Older. I said that I did not select the Amendment. The next two Amendments on the Paper, in the name of the hon. Member for Barnstaple (Sir B. Peto), should be put on the Paper as new Clauses.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."
§ Mr. T. O'CONNOR
I think it right to call attention to the progress in the pernicious principle of increasing the Death Duties. There might be something to be said for an increase of Death Duties if the State was replacing this source of new capital for industry and the general needs of the country by reservoirs of capital which would perform a similar function; but in practice the pernicious principle to which I call attention, which has been indulged in by successive Governments, has meant that the large estates which have been the source of the fructification of industry and the source of the re-equipment of our machinery and industrial efficiency are used, not for the purpose for which they were previously used, but merely to be drawn into the general stream of income. That cannot be good for any country. I can understand the full Socialist thesis that the State itself ought to supply itself with reservoirs of capital. There is something to be said for that. But there is nothing to be said for taking the capital reservoirs of the country, exhausting them, and putting nothing whatever in their place. For that reason any increase in the already onerous Estate Duties is a 914 most retrograde move, and is one of the things that is causing most concern to industry at the present time.
Another thing I would press upon the Government. This is an exhaustible and indeed exhausting form of revenue. We are now receiving the benefit of the large fortunes that were accumulated at a time when this country enjoyed very great industrial prosperity. That source will dry up. I have not the smallest doubt that if a careful actuarial investigation were undertaken it would be found that the revenue from Death Duties will begin to diminish very rapidly within the next few years, and that in the course of the next 25 years the yield from these particular duties will be very much smaller than it is now. So in the principle that is involved in this Clause the Government are really embarking on a process which is dangerous for two reasons. They are, first of all, taking away from industry the reservoirs that have hitherto supplied it; and, secondly, they are relying for an increasingly large proportion of general revenue on a source which is drying up with alarming rapidity.
One does not want to over-emphasise the first of these points, although it is a very serious one indeed. What is it that we need in this country especially, if we are to restore employment to anything like the rate that we wish to see? We want more money, not less, available for capital purposes for re-equipping industry and bringing it up to date. We are constantly deploring the fact that we cannot compete in our home market or in the markets of the world against the much better equipment that exists in foreign countries. We cannot re-equip our industries to face the world competition. Yet all the time we are exhausting the one reservoir that could be used for the purpose of re-equipping our industries. We are exhausting that reservoir without putting anything in substitution for it. It is the easiest possible and most tempting method by which hon. Gentlemen opposite can attempt to make ends meet, but it is the most dangerous and potentially unsocial method, and most inimical to the real interests of industry, which demand that capital should be available freely for industry to refresh itself.
You are also obviously striking at one of the most potential weapons for the 915 continuity and stability of society. There is nothing that conduces so much in a beneficial, social, way to the continuance of a stable order of society, in which the whole principle of private ownership is involved, as that at your death you should be able to pass on what you have accumulated to your children. That is a respectable and completely social motive. An attack on that motive, if it becomes predatory and punitive in the sense that the present scales of Death Duties are, is an attack on a principle which is respectable and social and which is of the greatest advantage to the stability of the whole community. If one had to select one portion of this Finance Bill which, above all others, is open to attack on either the principle of common sense or sound economics, one would seize on this increase in the Death Duties. Indeed, I find less to complain if the Chancellor of the Exchequer increases the revenue taxes and the Income Tax, but, when he is driven to this expedient of vastly increasing taxes which we, on this side, think are already far too heavy, I think prudence counsels that the dangers of the step should be pointed out.
There is another feature of this increase in Death Duties to which I would also call attention. One might have expected from a Socialist Government, which presumably believes in the public ownership of property, that at least it would have recognised the principle of accepting payments in kind, and that if hon. Gentlemen opposite really believe that the State can make good use of property and can manage it better than the individual can, they would accept payment of the capital that passes at death in the form of land, goods or shares, so that the State would thus take a share in the ownership of land and in the hazards of industry. Side by side with these large increases in the duties, there is in the present Finance Bill no machinery whatsoever whereby the State can receive payment in kind, either in land, shares, or any other form of estate. In the case of agricultural land, the effect of the method of Death Duties is, of course, disastrous. It can only result in the liquidation of property which is passed on so that it must mean the break up of the estate. That means 916 a reduction of a more economic unit to a less economically manageable unit. In the case of companies very much the same thing occurs. If, for example, you take the many private companies which exist, in which most of the shares are held by a limited number of persons coming from the same family and who have been long associated with the business and know the workpeople intimately, what do you find at their death? At the death of such an individual the company must, in fact, be turned into a public company in order that the shares can be realised on the open market and all the advantages of that contact between employer and employed, which you find in the limited area of the private liability company, disappear, and the shares are thrown on the open market in order that by forced sale the owners may secure the means with which to pay the toll to the State.
The State will not take its part of the shares or assume any share of responsibility in the matter. It is simply a ruthless machine forcing into liquidation interests which are valuable to the community in order to grind out revenue for delivery and distribution to the public in the form of ever expanding doles and social services. Anything more inimical to the conservation of our resources than the savage and exaggerated Death Duties, it is difficult to conceive. It is because these duties are increased in these Clauses and no step whatsoever is taken to substitute capital for the reserves that are being exhausted, because no alteration is made in the method of levying the toll, and because the tax is not collected in kind or by methods which mean the conservation of our resources, that I consider a strong protest ought to be made against the Clause standing part of the Bill.
§ Sir E. SHEPPERSON
I rise for a few moments to protest against the increase of these duties. I would like, in making my protest against the increases generally, to emphasise the case against the increase in the Death Duties upon agricultural land. I do submit to the Committee that the increase of these duties upon agricultural land is worthy of very serious consideration. We all know the terrible depression through which the agricultural industry is passing at the present 917 time and the inability of the industry to pay its way. Agriculture is composed of three partners—and equal partners—the agricultural labourer, the farmer himself and the agricultural landlord. The agricultural labourer is suffering acutely from unemployment and low wages, but the effect of the depression is not merely felt by the agricultural labourer and the farmer, but also by the other partner, the agricultural landlord. The agricultural landlord is a partner who has a function to perform in maintaining the buildings and instituting internal drainage work and so on. At present he is unable properly to perform those functions. If you take his money from him in the form of Death Duties, you are taking from him the money which he normally would be able to put into the land in order to maintain it in a proper state of cultivation. I appeal to the Financial Secretary, if he cannot accept the maintenance of the whole of the Estate Duties at the present rate, as they affect other indusries, that he should give special consideration to the case of agricultural land, owing to the very depressed condition of agriculture at the present time. There are precedents for an action of this description. Objects of national importance are not subject to Estate Duty, and I contend that agricultural land is of national importance.
§ Mr. PETHICK-LAWRENCE
Perhaps it may save the time of the Committee if the hon Member will allow me to explain that what he is saying is evidently being said under an entire misapprehension. The provision in this Clause does not alter the Estate Duty on agricultural land. Under the Finance Act of 1925 the rates of Estate Duty on the agricultural value of land were left unaltered when the general level of the duty was raised by the fourth Schedule to that Act. It is only that Schedule which is now being altered, and therefore there is no increase in Estate Duty on agricultural land proposed under this Clause such as the hon. Member quite erroneously supposes. I make that statement now in order to save him the trouble of arguing a case which is already met under the provisions of the Bill.
§ Sir E. SHEPPERSON
The information which I have just received gives me great gratification. May I ask the Financial Secretary if I am right in assuming 918 that the rates of Estate Duty laid down originally in the Finance Act of 1919 and raised in the Act of 1925, by the predecessor of the right hon. Gentleman the present Chancellor of the Exchequer, remain unchanged. I wish to make it quite clear that the position under that Act in reference to Estate Duty and special relief in the case of agricultural land stands good, and that under the present Bill there is no possibility of an increase in Estate Duty on agricultural land. That assurance will give great gratification not only to myself but to members of the agricultural community generally who have been in some doubt upon the matter.
§ Mr. PETHICK-LAWRENCE
The position is that the Bill preserves and continues the concession granted in the Act of 1925 which applied to the agricultural value of agricultural land and exempted that value from the rates of duty imposed by the late Chancellor of the Exchequer. The present Bill only applies to the rates which were imposed by the late Chancellor of the Exchequer and leaves untouched that concession.
§ Sir E. SHEPPERSON
In those circumstances, I think I should be acting honourably towards the Committee by not proceeding further with my speech.
§ Captain GUNSTON
I think my hon. Friend has been rather taken in by the Treasury because, if I remember aright, the Chancellor of the Exchequer did say on a previous occasion that the Duty on agricultural land was not raised, but the reason given was because fresh legislation was to be brought in, and he left us with the impression that we would rather like to see that fresh legislation before coming to any conclusion. Apart from that consideration I think that this proposal does affect agricultural land. No landlord at present can live on what he gets from his rents; he can only act as a landlord on capital which is derived from other sources, and, therefore, the raising of the Death Duties does affect the agricultural industry very seriously indeed. The hon. and learned Member for Central Nottingham (Mr. O'Connor) has pointed out the difficulties and the ill-effects of Death Duties in the case of ordinary estates, but the effects are much more serious in relation to agricultural land. Shares in a company can be sold to meet Death Duties but one cannot 919 sell shares in a farm or in landed property. The only alternatives are either to raise a mortgage or else sell the land. I am not a landlord and never have been, and the reason why I object to Death Duties on land is because they hit the farming industry first of all. If the landowner raises the money to meet Death Duties by a mortgage it means that he has to pay the interest on the mortgage and thus he has less money to spend on ditching and hedging and draining and maintaining the land generally. Everybody knows that one of the reasons why farming is doing so badly to-day is because the land is not being maintained as it used to be owing to the results of taxation.
The other way of meeting this charge in the case of land is by selling the land. What happens in that case? The tenant usually wants to buy and the landlord generally tries to meet him and offers him a first option on the land. But the tenant in order to buy the land has to raise a mortgage and has to pay, in interest on the mortgage, money which otherwise he would be putting into farming operations. In that way agriculture is very seriously hit. There is another point which hon. Members opposite I know do not take very seriously but which is serious to the people in the country. If the land is hit very heavily in this way, the result is that nobody will buy land. If the landlord cannot get a return in rents for land used for farming then the land will only appeal by reason of its social or sporting amenities. A man who has made money in other walks of life will buy land for its sporting amenities and I do not think that even the Labour party desire to encourage that sort of thing. The 1909 Budget by taxing the landlord actually hit the farming community harder than the landlords because the landlords realising what was coming could sell out and invest his money in other businesses. The good landlords who held on are now being driven out.
What is the result to-day? Throughout the country farmers are being compelled to buy their land with the result that they are heavily mortgaged and cannot put the requisite money into their farming operations. Then, again, have the country districts gained from the splitting up of the large estates? In 920 every part of England one sees the results of this kind of taxation in the case of the good landlords, the landlords who brought in new methods of farming, whose land was properly maintained, who gave ample employment—that many of the ditchers and the hedgers and the other skilled workers who used to be employed in the maintenance of the land can now get no employment because people are economising on the upkeep of the land. The men who suffer most from this taxation are not necessarily the landlord but the labourers and the skilled workmen of the countryside. If the Labour party really believe in the nationalisation of the land, and they used to tell us that they believed in it, why should they not accept the land which is being offered in place of the payment, of Death Duties? I think we might have an answer from the Financial Secretary to the Treasury to that question. If he and his colleagues believe in the nationalisation of the land why not try to prove to the country that the State can farm as well as the landlord?
§ Major GEORGE DAVIES
It is not very long ago that the expression "capital levy" was on the lips of nearly every hon. Member opposite, but we do not hear so much of that to-day. I wish to draw attention to the fact that the whole system involved in raising revenue by Death Duties is a capital levy by instalments. While it would be possible to argue on that basis that the whole system of Death Duties is fundamentally vicious, one has to admit that by a Constant suffering from that method, it has become one, not of principle, but of degree. In this Clause one more step has been taken in increasing the degree to which the principle of a capital levy by instalments is being applied to industry.
We hear a great deal of the necessity of rationalising industry, and our leaders of industry are criticised for being behind their competitors abroad, particularly in Germany, France, Belgium and the United States of America. We are told that we are slow in adopting new inventions and that that reacts on the prosperity of industry and on the right of labour to gain their living from the efficiency of those who are carrying on industry. If that be so, it 921 seems only common sense that those responsible for the national system of taxation should encourage anything that would improve the employment of our people and the efficiency of our industry.
An hon. and learned Friend who spoke earlier pointed out some of the menaces to industry if that reservoir of capital was shut off from flowing freely into industry. No industry can continue unless it keeps itself efficient and is constantly expanding. There is no such thing in business as standing still. If you stand still, you stagnate and die. You must constantly be progressing. You must follow a policy of replacement, not only because of new inventions on the market, but because of the wear and tear of existing plant and machinery; and in the same way, if your business wants to live, it wants to expand, to go into fresh lines, and to increase its activities. It is because some other countries have realised that fact that sometimes there is ground for the criticism that our competitors in the world markets have been replacing inefficient plant with efficient plant and have been expanding while we have been, as it were, marking time.
In this Clause we are increasing the instalments of the capital levy, and the question of private enterprise or State control does not arise, because, as has been pointed out by more than one ornament of the Front Bench opposite, the conduct of industry, whether by the State or by the individual, must be broadly on the same lines. It has to be run by capital in somebody's hands. If you denude industry, even if operated by the State, of its necessary power of replacement and expansion, you have the same effect on the employment of the workers of the country as if it had been done by private enterprise. Therefore, when you use taxation in order to redistribute property, you are, while perhaps realising your political ideals, handicapping the giving of employment to our people.
We regard with grave misapprehension the general attitude of the Government an this question of the Death Duties. It is not only the present Chancellor of the Exchequer. There have been sinners in this respect in every party in the State, ever since the scheme was first brought forward in order to raise revenue. I am not a supporter of 922 the principle of earmarking certain sources of revenue for certain forms of State expenditure, but if ever that could be justified, it would be in the case where you are deliberately taxing, not the revenues, but the capital sums of the country, and using the proceeds, not in paying off debt and reducing the national load, but in using it for revenue purposes.
The present Chancellor of the Exchequer is going a step further in this direction under this Clause. The Financial Secretary to the Treasury has to some extent relieved the anxieties of my hon. Friend the Member for Leominster (Sir E. Shepperson) with regard to its application to agricultural land. It is true that a year ago special provision was made in that connection, and that is not being interfered with now, but the fact remains that if the exhaustion of capital reserves has a deleterious effect on industry, it has an equally, if not greater, deleterious effect on agriculture; and the time has come when the tendency is to realise that it is not correct to talk about industry and agriculture. The two are one.
I had the privilege during the weekend of staying at a farm in this country which is being run on a large scale on the lines of an industrial business, at the highest point of efficiency and of up-to-date machinery. The owner of those acres has the privilege of being on the electric grid, and he is getting his power and applying it in every conceivable direction. At the same time, by certain developments, he has been enabled not only to continue employing the people living in that district, but, by going into other lines, such as fruit and so forth, actually to increase employment and to provide a constantly increasing demand for that kind of labour which the inhabitants of that area are particularly well fitted to give. Therefore, any activity of that sort is a benefit to the community and is doing much to try to stem agricultural depression and unemployment. But all these efforts are made the more difficult by the unnecessary weight of the application of the instalments of capital levy.
In agriculture, more than in anything else, we can see the definite results. All of us who have had the opportunity and responsibility of being closely connected 923 with agriculture have realised that one of the most direct reasons for agricultural depression and the tragedy of agricultural unemployment, which is rather new to the countryside, is that we have been making it every year more and more difficult for those who are naturally responsible for the provision of capital to that industry to be equal to that responsibility. We in this House have for many years tried to solve the housing problem and have been able to do a great deal, but on all hands it has been admitted that the one exception so far has been the housing of the agricultural countryside. What has been the class of people who have really had the responsibility of providing agricultural housing for the last few hundreds of years? It has been the landowner. It has been part of his responsibility, which he has cheerfully accepted when he has been able to carry it out. Inasmuch as this form of taxation has depleted his capital resources, he has been denied the opportunity of carrying out this responsibility. Like my hon. and gallant Friend who spoke before me, I have the fortune or misfortune to be in a small way what is denounced as a landlord. I have the privilege of letting cottages to agricultural workers at the magnificent rental of 1s. 6d. and 2s. a week. No one will suggest that it is possible to replace cottages of any kind on which you can get an economic return with a rent of that sort, and, even if you raise the rental to what is the general rental throughout the country, 3s. and 3s. 6d., it does not begin to touch the problem. I have been faced recently with the replacement of cottages——
§ The CHAIRMAN
The hon. and gallant Gentleman is getting rather wide from the Death Duties; he is not dead yet.
§ Major ELLIOT
If the hon. and gallant Gentleman is not dead now, he must be some day, as all of us will be. We are dealing with the Death Duties, and I cannot imagine anything more germane to the subject than their effect on the housing of the people.
§ Major DAVIES
I was using it as an illustration of my main speech. Although I am not dead—although some of my friends opposite may say that I am practically as good as dead—I have to 924 make provision in the event of the next omnibus which the Minister of Transport puts on the road running over me; it is an important question to my family, and legislation of this kind vitally affects the workers in the countryside. If hon. Members knew the innumerable responsibilities and activities connected with the ownership of land, even in a very small way, they would appreciate how day after day matters of re-equipment, repairing and replacements come up. Anyone who goes round the countryside to-day, and meets farmers who for various reasons, after being tenants for long years, have been compelled to buy their farms, will find them saying, "I have now the worst landlord I ever had; I have bought my own farm." The reason is that this form of legislation, which is a capital levy by instalments, gradually, death by death, takes a great amount of the capital resources of the land. But the matter does not end there. When a predatory Chancellor of the Exchequer, to whatever party he belongs, says at the death of a person that the estate has to pay a certain amount in Death Duties, he insists that it shall be paid to him in the most liquid form of capital, that is cash; and immediately, whether it be in agriculture or in any other industry, it does not matter how properously it is working or how extensive its resources are, it has to make some form of realisation in order to turn its assets into liquid capital to pay over to the State, and the State at once spends it as revenue for the year.
The whole principle is vicious, and every time there is an opportunity of bringing it before the nation and before the House we are justified in doing it, because, if even there were a time when this was a shortsighted and foolish policy, it is to-day, when we are faced with the ever-increasing struggle of industry to provide employment. It is a much less vicious principle to tax revenue than it is to sap the capital resources of the country. Although I am not so foolish as to hope that this Clause will be withdrawn and reconsidered, I welcome the opportunity of ventilating the subject and hoping that at some future time some Chancellor of the Exchequer will realise the vital principle that is involved, and readjust accordingly the revenue in the Finance Bill of the year.
§ Mr. TINKER
I did not gather from the hon. and gallant Gentleman whether he was attacking the principle of Death Duties or the increase in the present year, but he told us that the country would be ruined by this increased taxation. I have one or two figures to show how far this ruination has gone. In 1913–14 the estates passing at death amounted to £296,000,000. In 1928–29 the figure increased to £525,000,000. It seems, therefore, that the Death Duties are not ruining the country.
§ Mr. A. M. SAMUEL
Has the hon. Gentleman taken into account the change in the index value of money?
§ Mr. TINKER
I am giving the plain figures, and just a plain statement of the increase of the estates.
§ Major DAVIES
The hon. Gentleman is getting on very dangerous ground in just quoting statistics. Statistics of that sort are always misleading, but two things stand out prominently. This vicious process has gone on to such an enormous extent in the period which he has mentioned that, if we have regard to the amount of capital resources of the country that have been swallowed up and spent in the expense of running this country, his figures show that the case is worse than I tried to point out.
§ Mr. TINKER
I am just pointing out the increase in the estates. The hon. and gallant Gentleman is trying to point out that we are wasting the money, but where is the money to come from to meet the expenses of running the country? It must come from somewhere, and we think that the Estate Duties provide the best means. Not one on the other side has touched on it. The rate on an estate of £120,000 is increased from 21 per cent. to 22 per cent. If I may judge hon. Members on the other side by those who have spoken, I assume that many of them are worth £120,000. From the remarks of the hon. and gallant Member who has just spoken, I take it that this increase will be bearing upon him. Is that so?
§ Major DAVIES
Not for a moment should I try to represent a case for my own personal benefit. I am representing a much wider interest than that. I am not talking about the increase as it may affect a few millionaires, but as it may 926 affect the welfare of the whole community, and not least the working classes.
§ Mr. TINKER
We are dealing with Clause 28, which is concerned with the increased Death Duties. I take it we shall not be allowed to deal with the principle, but only with the increase which is provided for by the Clause. [HON. MEMBERS "No!"] I take it to be so.
§ Mr. TINKER
With the increase provided by the Clause. I contend that in this Budget the Chancellor of the Exchequer has followed the only possible course. The increase of just over £3,000,000 in the amount to be raised by Estate Duties is certainly not excessive, and if there could be an alteration I assure hon. Members opposite that we should fight most strenuously for a greater increase than that for which he is budgeting. I wish the question of whether there should be a still further increase could be thrown open to a free vote of the Committee. I would willingly accept the challenge on behalf of these benches as against the benches opposite. I am looking forward to the time when there will be a greater increase in the Estate Duties than is imposed by this Budget.
§ Sir BASIL PETO
There is only one moral to be drawn from the speech of the hon. Member for Leigh (Mr. Tinker), and that is that if the majority in the House were to be given free play they would, he thinks, vote for almost any possible increase in the yield of the Estate Duties that could be proposed. I think the present Budget raises the amount which we expect to receive from Death Duties from £80,000,000 to £83,000,000. We are entitled to ask, if this process is to go on indefinitely, where future Chancellors will get their Estate Duties from when the present generation have all "handed in their checks." It is very obvious that we shall rapidly get to the end of this source of revenue. Hon. Members must recall the old proverb, "You cannot eat your cake and have it." If we eat the cake every year in larger and larger slices, there will be less and less for successive Chancellors.
I wish to deal with the increase in the Estate Duties from another and a closer 927 point of view. Any Chancellor proposing an increase in the Estate Duties ought to justify it on principle. In 1925 the right hon. Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill) increased the yield of Estate Duties by about £10,000,000, but in the same year he reduced the Surtax by an almost exactly similar sum. He justified that action on the ground that the living were better able to divert their savings and their capital resources to the assistance of industry than were the dead. He said, "If I leave £10,000,000 more a year in the hands of the living, presumably it will be saved and the savings will be invested directly in industry and will form a source from which industry can find new capital." On balance he felt it to be to the advantage of the country, in the state in which industry then was, to reduce the Surtax and to increase the yield from the Estate Duties.
What does the present Chancellor do? Under Clause 8 he raises the rate of the Surtax and under this Clause he raises the rate of the Estate Duties on larger estates, so taking money both ways. He takes more from the potential savings of those with large incomes, money which would be available to furnish fresh capital for industry, and squanders it in various ways, and also takes a larger slice from estates passing at death. In two directions, therefore, the reservoir from which fresh capital is drawn will be depleted. That is his contribution towards helping the present industrial depression, although the rationalisation of industry, on which the Government are so greatly depending, involves finding enormous new capital sums. There is another way in which this increase will affect industry. Whenever a large employer of industry dies there is bound to be a great dislocation in industry, and the greater the levy that is made upon capital passing at death the greater the disturbance. The hon. Member for Leigh has been pointing out that the sum under contribution for estate duties will be £200,000,000 more. We are, therefore, disturbing to that extent more the capital resources of industry.
What is the main justification for the Estate Duties at all? It is that the country owes a gigantic sum as National Debt—mainly War debts due to the various holders of the national stock; 928 and we are supposed to say that it is a reasonable thing to levy on those estates that pass at death a certain sum by which we may reduce the indebtedness of the nation and so find relief for industry, indirectly, by having to find a smaller sum year by year. There is no justification for the increase proposed in this Clause on that ground. We have been told that the services of the National Debt need about £55,000,000 a year, and I remember the Chancellor of the Exchequer pointing out that the National Savings Certificates also demanded a large sum, and putting the two together about £70,000,000 was required for that purpose. The yield of the Estate Duties was £80,000,000 and the right hon. Gentleman now proposes to raise it to £83,000,000. It is clear that the increase which is proposed under this Clause is not going to be spent on the redemption of capital, but is going to be spent in order to give more than £10,000,000 to the annual needs of the country in regard to social services and things of that kind. I hold that the very worst way of raising revenue for national services is taking the capital required in industry, and doling it out, week by week, in one form or another for social services. That is the Rake's Progress. It is a process which, if adopted by any private individual in his daily life, would obviously result, if he lived long enough, in bankruptcy.
I would like to say a few words from the point of view of the great landed estates and what will happen to them under this Clause. It is quite true, as the Financial Secretary has already pointed out, that the Schedule under the Finance Act of 1925 is the basis of the present Clause, and that under that no increase was made over the rates of 1919 in the Estate Duties on estates of agricultural value. There is an enormous difficulty, which is increasing as death after death occurs, in finding the means of carrying on in any way at all the great obligations which have been placed upon landed estates. I think we have a right to expect from the present Government a clear pronouncement as to whether they believe in the nationalisation of the land or whether they do not.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
The hon. Baronet must confine himself to the subject-matter of this Clause which is an 929 increase in the Estate Duties. He cannot discuss the nationalisation of the land or kindred subjects.
§ Sir B. PETO
Of course, I will bow to your Ruling, Mr. Dunnico, and I was only dealing with the question of the method of the payment of the Estate Duties. I am coming to the question whether we are not entitled, when the Estate Duties are raised on the larger landed properties, to get a decision from the Government as to whether they will accept land in payment of those duties. It is a very vital question, because, if cash is required in every case, the question immediately arises as to how that cash is to be provided, and I hope that you will allow me to deal very briefly with that question in a moment. At present I want to call attention to the fact that there is now under offer to the Government a large and valuable portion at one of the most picturesque parts of Great Britain, part of the property of the Duke of Montrose on Loch Lomond, for the purpose of a great national park. The question which is still under consideration, and has not been decided, is whether that land, offered in payment at Estate Duty, should be accepted or not. Surely, when we are considering the question of an increase in the Estate Duties, it is very pertinent to consider how those duties are to be paid. Either they must be paid in cash—in which case, if the estate is to be carried on at all in the future, the cash must be provided by insurance or by some other means, and obviously the only effective means is insurance—or by offering to the Government, and by the Government accepting, a portion of the estate, so that, if a smaller estate is handed on to the successor, it can be administered properly with an adequate capital to enable the successor after the death to carry it on as it has been carried on, for the benefit of all who live by it.
Personally, I am not enamoured of the State taking over large sections of the land of the country on the death of every large landed proprietor, but, in the absence of any decision on that matter, we are clearly entitled, when the Estate Duties are raised to their present level, to ask the Government how estates are to be carried on after these great sums are 930 deducted from the capital value of the estate at every succeeding death. I should like to say just a word with regard to the question I raised on two Amendments which I put down to this Clause, and which the Chairman decided should be raised as a new Clause. I think that it is applicable on the Question, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill." The more the Estate Duties are raised, the more easy should the Government make it for those who have to provide for the payment of these Duties, and the only effective method of so providing is by taking out large insurance policies, so that the successor to the estate may have the resources with which to carry on the estate in the future.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
The hon. Member is now trying to discuss an Amendment which it has been decided must be raised as a new Clause. Obviously, he cannot raise subjects which it has been decided are not appropriate to the Clause under discussion.
§ Sir B. PETO
I do not want to discuss it at all, but would like merely to put to the Chancellor of the Exchequer the general proposition that, the more the Estate Duties are raised, the more necessary it is to consider how those duties are to be paid. I am not sure that we ought to leave the matter in its present haphazard condition. We are making no provision with regard to the State taking over part of these landed properties——
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
The hon. Member is entirely out of order. He is entitled to discuss the scale, but the methods of payment do not arise on this Clause.
§ Sir B. PETO
I quite agree. I merely wish to point out that, the higher you make the scale, the greater you make the problem, and there is no doubt that it is being felt more and more all over the country that the position, particularly in regard to landed estates, is becoming impossible. The scale indicated in the new Schedule rises, in the case of the largest properties, to 50 per cent. Of course, it is not all property in land; it is a question of property in land and the other necessary outside property which is essential to carrying out the obligations attaching to any landed property. In the aggregate, in 931 the case of a property even of such a moderate value as £120,000, invested in general securities and in land, the scale is raised; and the question for the Government is how we are to go on year after year increasing the scale of these Death Duties and not really facing the problem how estates can possibly be carried on. We are getting very close to the point of the nationalisation of land when we are raising the Surtax and the Estate Duties. Then we shall have to settle how it is possible to carry on the agricultural industry. I greatly regret that the Chancellor of the Exchequer has thought it necessary, in his very first Finance Bill, to introduce this vicious principle of taking a larger and larger annual amount of the capital invested in the most essential industries of the country and spending it on the current needs of the Treasury. It is most unfortunate that he should do so at a time like the present, when industry is demanding fresh sources of capital for reconstruction, and that, by way of his contribution to the unemployment problem, he should be denying the industry the capital which is so urgently required.
§ Mr. A. M. SAMUEL
I have listened to pretty well every speech that has been made since the Budget was introduced, and I have asked myself: "Are the Government never going to bring in a constructive Bill to add to the wealth of the country?" Every action of the Socialist party seems directed towards dividing up existing wealth. Here we have a Clause which, by increasing the Death Duties, carries forward what seems to be part of a spiteful satisfaction in dividing up the wealth of others. There must come a time when, if you increase your Death Duties, you will not have very much left to divide up. My hon. Friend has spoken of the effect of these forms of taxation upon land. I do not own a foot of land, but, I have been connected all my life with industry. I have seen many factories in the great provincial cities which are not owned by companies, but are owned by a family or by a proprietor who has sunk every farthing he has in his factory, in machinery or buildings or materials. When he dies a large slice of money has to be found to pay the Estate 932 Duties. If a man owning a factory worth £120,000 dies, over £20,000 has to be found somewhere. If the widow, or the sons or the partners are careful men, they do not like to borrow, and they will not borrow. They restrict their business. They say, "We will draw in our horns. We will pay what the State asks us to pay and we will go on again."
The very persons whom I presume hon. Members opposite wish to help are the first to suffer. It leads to a restriction of employment. Owing to the high prices of manufacturers' goods in England, it is very difficult for such goods to be sold in the competitive markets of the world. We are trying in our competitive industries to keep down costs, but here you have a larger and heavier clog put upon industry by reason of the Second Schedule increasing the cost of Estate Duties. The Germans at the present moment, while we are struggling with these heavy costs—the right hon. Gentleman may laugh. I have been in trade all my life helping to make goods, and I am only too conscious of the difficulty of selling them.
§ Mr. SAMUEL
I hope the right hon. Gentleman is not laughing. I have experienced difficulty in selling my goods in the markets of the world. We are trying, as far as we can, to rehabilitate and reorganise our factories. What are the Germans doing at this moment while we are bearing this big burden of extra costs? I received this morning a note from some friends in America to say that while we are struggling with increased taxation the Germans are now preparing to make cuts in leading lines of 7½ per cent. in wages and 10 per cent. in selling prices. That is what we are up against. Our competitors will try to filch our trade from us while we are increasing our costs. We ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer to pause for a moment in order to see the mischief which is being done by placing heavier costs on our industries. I was interested to hear my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Yeovil (Major Davies) state that certain persons deplored the fact that there had been no capital levy put upon British wealth, and I believe that it, was said by the Financial Secretary, if not by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, some days ago that 933 it was a pity no capital levy was put on wealth at an earlier date. What more do hon. Members want?—[An HON. MEMBER: "A lot more."] It is a capital levy which they have here. Here is a capital levy. You cannot take more out of a vessel than there is in it. Here you have a scale of taxation raised to an extent which makes it stiffer than any capital levy which would have been put on at the time when hon. Gentlemen opposite wanted to put it on.
A question was asked the other day and a reply was given to me across the Floor of the House by the Financial Secretary in which he said there were roughly rather more than 25,000 persons in the country whose incomes were in excess of £5,000 a year. Capitalised at 5 per cent. it means that there are only 25,000 people out of 45,000,000 people who have a capital of over £100,000. When you are increasing this capital levy charged on savings you are penalising—not the millionaires because there are very few of them; you may not find more than half a dozen or a dozen in a year—but the main body of people you are penalising are those who keep industries at work and provide the life-blood of the trade which provides your taxes. What inducement is there for individuals to save? I presume that the right hon. Gentleman takes the same view as the President of the Board of Trade took when he made a speech at this time last year and said that it was necessary for us to save in order to refill the pool which feeds trade. Imagine a man saving £100. He invests it at 5 per cent. Income and surtax are taken off, which brings the interest down considerably. A portion of his savings is also taken away from his children when he dies.
No one will save in those circumstances. It will not pay them to save and invest. They take the view that if they save they are heavily taxed and that when they die a portion will be taken away from their
§ children, they spend before the tax-gatherer gets the money. These high Estate Duties also act detrimentally to the extension of businesses and they also prevent the setting up of new businesses. Such duties at such a high rate have a repercussion upon the Exchequer, because when a man dies and his securities have to be thrown upon the market the price of that class of security is depressed and it takes some time to recover, with the result that the Exchequer loses owing to the decreased capital value in the next deceased estate and less stamp duty on the securities as they are transferred, and upon which transfer stamp duty has to be paid.
§ Another effect of these high duties is that when men are reaching a certain age they say to themselves: "We will divide up our estates, honestly and properly, among our children." This applies not only to estates but to money. They say to themselves: "If we die within three years of the division of our property it will have to bear the Estate Duty, but if we live for more than three years afterwards our children will have the money without paying Estate Duty." No one can stop them doing that, and the result is that the Treasury loses the Estate Duty, which would otherwise be paid, by compelling these people to divest themselves of their property and investments to their children. In that way not only is the Treasury losing the Estate Duty which would otherwise be paid, but the total income which these men would own is reduced, and that reduces the poundage rate for surtax. I do not suppose that the Chancellor of the Exchequer will in any way moderate his delight to penalise wealth, but as a matter of grace he ought to make some speech in extenuation of his conduct.
§ Question put, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 256: Noes, 156.937
|Division No. 386.]||AYES.||[10.38 p.m.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Baldwin, Oliver (Dudley)||Birkett, W. Norman|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Barnes, Alfred John||Blindell, James|
|Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. Christopher||Barr, James||Bondfield, Rt. Hon. Margaret|
|Aitchison, Rt. Hon. Craigie M.||Batey, Joseph||Bowen, J. W.|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (Hillsbro')||Bellamy, Albert||Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.|
|Ammon, Charles George||Benn, Rt. Hon. Wedgwood||Brockway, A. Fenner|
|Arnott, John||Bennett, Capt. Sir E. N. (Cardiff C.)||Bromfield, William|
|Aske, Sir Robert||Bennett, William (Battersea, South)||Brooke, W.|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Benson, G.||Brothers, M.|
|Ayles, Walter||Bentham, Dr. Ethel||Brown, C. W. E. (Notts, Mansfield)|
|Baker, John (Wolverhampton, Bilston)||Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Brown, Ernest (Leith)|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. J. (South Ayrshire)||Lang, Gordon||Ramsay, T. B. Wilson|
|Brown, W. J. (Wolverhampton, West)||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||Rathbone, Eleanor|
|Burgess, F. G.||Lathan, G.||Raynes, W. R.|
|Caine, Derwent Hall-||Law, A. (Rossendale)||Richards, R.|
|Cameron, A. G.||Lawrence, Susan||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)|
|Cape, Thomas||Lawrie, Hugh Hartley (Stalybridge)||Riley, Ben (Dewsbury)|
|Carter, W. (St. Pancras, S. W.)||Lawson, John James||Riley, F. F. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Charleton, H. C.||Lawther, W. (Barnard Castle)||Ritson, J.|
|Chater, Daniel||Leach, W.||Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Bromwich)|
|Cluse, W. S.||Lee, Frank (Derby, N. E.)||Romeril, H. G.|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour||Lee, Frank (Derby, N. E.)||Rosbotham, D. S. T.|
|Compton, Joseph||Lees, J.||Rowson, Guy|
|Daggar, George||Lewis, T. (Southampton)||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Dallas, George||Lindley, Fred W.||Sanders, W. S.|
|Dalton, Hugh||Logan, David Gilbert||Sawyer, G. F.|
|Davies, E. C. (Montgomery)||Longbottom, A. W.||Scott, James|
|Day, Harry||Longden, F.||Scrymgeour, E.|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||Lowth, Thomas||Scurr, John|
|Dickson, T.||Lunn, William||Sexton, James|
|Duncan, Charles||Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)|
|Ede, James Chuter||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Seaham)||Shepherd, Arthur Lewis|
|Edmunds, J. E.||MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)||Sherwood, G. H.|
|Edwards, E. (Morpeth)||Macdonald, Sir M. (Inverness)||Shield, George William|
|Egan, W. H.||McElwee, A.||Shillaker, J. F.|
|Elmley, Viscount||McEntee, V. L.||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Freeman, Peter||McKinlay, A.||Simmons, C. J.|
|Gardner, B. W. (West Ham. Upton)||MacLaren, Andrew||Simon, E. D. (Manch'ter, Withington)|
|Gardner, J. P. (Hammersmith, N.)||Maclean, Sir Donald (Cornwall, N.)||Sinclair, Sir A. (Caithness)|
|Gibbins, Joseph||Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)||Sinkinson, George|
|Gibson, H. M. (Lancs, Mossley)||McShane, John James||Sitch, Charles H.|
|Gill, T. H.||Malone, C. L'Estrange (N'thampton)||Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)|
|Glassey, A. E.||Mansfield, W.||Smith, Frank (Nuneaton)|
|Gossling, A. G.||March, S.||Smith, Tom (Pontefract)|
|Gould, F.||Marcus, M.||Smith, W. R. (Norwich)|
|Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)||Marley, J.||Snell, Harry|
|Granville, E.||Marshall, F.||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip|
|Gray, Milner||Mathers, George||Snowden, Thomas (Accrington)|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A. (Colne)||Matters, L. W.||Sorensen, R.|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Messer, Fred||Stamford, Thomas W.|
|Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro' W.)||Middleton, G.||Strauss, G. R.|
|Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Millar, J. D.||Sutton, J. E.|
|Groves, Thomas E.||Mills, J. E.||Taylor, R. A. (Lincoln)|
|Grundy, Thomas W.||Milner, Major J.||Thurtle, Ernest|
|Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Montague, Frederick||Tillett, Ben|
|Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Morgan, Dr. H. B.||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Hall, Capt. W. P. (Portsmouth, C.)||Morley, Ralph||Toole, Joseph|
|Hardie, George D.||Morris, Rhys Hopkins||Tout, W. J.|
|Harris, Percy A.||Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh)||Townend, A. E.|
|Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon||Morrison, Herbert (Hackney, South)||Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles|
|Hastings, Dr. Somerville||Morrison, Robert C. (Tottenham, N.)||Vaughan, D. J.|
|Haycock, A. W.||Mort, D. L.||Viant, S. P.|
|Hayday, Arthur||Moses, J. J. H.||Walkden, A. G.|
|Hayes, John Henry||Mosley, Lady C. (Stoke-on-Trent)||Walker, J.|
|Henderson, Arthur, Junr. (Cardiff, S.)||Mosley, Sir Oswald (Smethwick)||Wallace, H. W.|
|Henderson, Thomas (Glasgow)||Muff, G.||Watkins, F. C.|
|Henderson, W. W. (Middx., Enfield)||Muggeridge, H. T.||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|Hirst, G. H. (York W. R. Wentworth)||Murnin, Hugh||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Naylor, T. E.||Welsh, James (Paisley)|
|Hoffman, P. C.||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)||Welsh, James C. (Coatbridge)|
|Hollins, A.||Noel Baker, P. J.||West, F. R.|
|Hopkin, Daniel||Oldfield, J. R.||Westwood, Joseph|
|Hudson, James H. (Huddersfield)||Oliver, George Harold (Ilkeston)||White, H. G.|
|Hunter, Dr. Joseph||Oliver, P. M. (Man., Blackley)||Whiteley, Wilfrid (Birm., Ladywood)|
|Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Owen, Major G. (Carnarvon)||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)|
|John, William (Rhondda, West)||Owen, H. F. (Hereford)||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Jones, F. Llewellyn- (Flint)||Palin, John Henry||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Paling, Wilfrid||Wilson, J. (Oldham)|
|Jones, Rt. Hon Leif (Camborne)||Palmer, E. T.||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)||Winterton, G. E. (Leicester, Loughb'gh)|
|Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)||Perry, S. F.||Wise, E. F.|
|Jowett, Rt. Hon. F. W.||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||Wood, Major McKenzie (Banff)|
|Jowitt, Rt. Hon. Sir W. A.||Phillips, Dr. Marion||Young. R. S. (Islington, North)|
|Kedward, R. M. (Kent, Ashford)||Pole, Major D. G.|
|Kelly, W. T.||Potts, John S.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Kennedy, Thomas||Price, M. P.||Mr. Charles Edwards and Mr. William Whiteley.|
|Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M.||Pybus, Percy John|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Birchall, Major Sir John Dearman||Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham)|
|Albery, Irving James||Bird, Ernest Roy||Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks, Newb'y)|
|Astor, Viscountess||Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Buckingham, Sir H.|
|Atkinson, C.||Bowyer, Captain Sir George E. W.||Butler, R. A.|
|Balfour, Captain H. H. (I. of Thanet)||Boyce, H. L.||Butt, Sir Alfred|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.||Bracken, B.||Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward|
|Betterton, Sir Henry B.||Briscoe, Richard George||Carver, Major W. H.|
|Castle Stewart, Earl of||Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.||Remer, John R.|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth, S)||Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||Rontoul, Sir Gervais S.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Edgbaston)||Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford)||Reynolds, Col. Sir James|
|Christie, J. A.||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'te'y)|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer||Hartington, Marquess of||Roberts, Sir Samuel (Ecclesall)|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Rodd, Rt. Hon. Sir James Rennell|
|Cockerill, Brig.-General Sir George||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||Ross, Major Ronald D.|
|Colfex, Major William Philip||Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.||Ruggles-Brise, Lieut.-Colonel E. A.|
|Courtauld, Major J. S.||Herbert, Sir Dennis (Hertford)||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Courthope, Colonel Sir G. L.||Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.||Salmon, Major I.|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Horne, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert S.||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Crookshank, Capt. H. C.||Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Culverwell, C. T. (Bristol, West)||Iveagh, Countess of||Sandeman, Sir N. Stewart|
|Cunliffe-Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip||Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton)||Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip A. G. D.|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Kindersley, Major G. M.||Savery, S. S.|
|Dalrymple-White, Lt.-Col. Sir Godfrey||King, Commodore Rt. Hon. Henry D.||Shepperson, Sir Ernest Whittome|
|Davies, Dr. Vernon||Knox, Sir Alfred||Skelton, A. N.|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Lamb, Sir J. Q.||Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)|
|Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)||Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R.||Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dlne, C.)|
|Dixey, A. C.||Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Dixon, Captain Rt. Hon. Herbert||Little, Dr. E. Graham||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)|
|Duckworth, G. A. V.||Llewellin, Major J. J.||Spender-Clay, Colonel H.|
|Dugdale, Capt. T. L.||Long, Major Eric||Stanley, Lord (Fylde)|
|Eden, Captain Anthony||Lymington, Viscount||Steel-Maitland, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||McConnell, Sir Joseph||Stewart, W. J. (Belfast South)|
|Elliot, Major Walter E.||Maitland, A. (Kent, Faversham)||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s-M.)||Makins, Brigadier-General E.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral M. F.|
|Everard, W. Lindsay||Margesson, Captain H. D.||Thomson, Sir F.|
|Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Meller, R. J.||Tinne, J. A.|
|Ferguson, Sir John||Merriman, Sir F. Boyd||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Fermoy, Lord||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. Sir B.||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Fielden, E. B.||Moore, Sir Newton J. (Richmond)||Turton, Robert Hugh|
|Fison, F. G. Clavering||Morden, Col. W. Grant||Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon|
|Forestier-Walker, Sir L.||Morrison, W. S. (Glos., Cirencester)||Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. Lambert|
|Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive||Wardlaw Milne, J. S.|
|Ganzoni, Sir John||Muirhead, A. J.||Warrender, Sir Victor|
|Gibson, C. G. (Pudsey & Otley)||Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hn. W. G. (Ptrsf'ld)||Wayland, Sir William A.|
|Glyn, Major H. G. C.||O'Connor, T. J.||Wells, Sydney R.|
|Gower, Sir Robert||Oman, Sir Charles William C.||Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)|
|Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)||Peake, Capt. Osbert||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Greene, W. P. Crawford||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)||Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)||Womersley, W. J.|
|Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||Purbrick, R.||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Gritten, W. G. Howard||Ramsbotham, H.|
|Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Rawson, Sir Cooper||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Gunston, Captain D. W.||Reid, David D. (County Down)||Sir George Penny and Captain Wallace.|
Resolution agreed to.
§ Mr. P. SNOWDEN
I beg to move, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again." Although it is shamefully early we have got to the end of, I will not say the agreement, but the suggestion which was made, and I shall honourably abide by it. I trust hon. Members will feel some righteousness in going home so early and will be in a physical and mental condition when we resume the Committee stage of the Bill even to make more rapid progress.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
I do not think that we ought to separate without my offering to the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer my congratulations on the solid achievements of to-day. How clear this casts before us the moral"Suaviter in mode, fortiter in re."Here you have a sound example of two methods applied in the passage of the Bill—the vinegar and the oil. Which is the better one? The second is a sort of 938 Æsop's fable. There is the traveller with the north wind blowing upon him and the more it blew the more he wrapped himself up, and then the sun came out and shone brightly on the traveller, and he divested himself of his cloak and yielded himself to the genial influence. The right hon. Gentleman has made progress to-day, but only progress in one element, namely, of time—and it is the time element which governs his affairs. I suggest to him to go one step further. I suggest to him to go one step further. Do not let him be checked by arbitrary feelings but go one step further. Let us have some compromise on merits, and we can wind up this business in due time. The right hon. Gentleman has already said he will consider all the Amendments to Clauses 29 and 30 which do not affect the main principles which he has in view and which we share with him, namely, to stop outrageous evasion of taxation. Let him consider carefully whether he cannot make his Budget a 939 Budget of the House of Commons as a whole. He has got to 'have his revenue and to balance his Budget, we know. We may not like the way he does it, but he has got to have it. But let him consider whether we cannot expedite proceedings on a much larger scale than we have done to-night by some give and take between the two sides of the House and by the acceptance of Amendments which meet the point of view expressed from these benches and also the point of view expressed with so much ability from the Liberal benches. [interruption.] Do not let hon. Gentlemen jeer at the Liberals when they are keeping them in office. Despise not the horse that is bearing you through the battle. I accept the Motion, but I do suggest to the right hon. Gentleman that it would be very well worth his while to consider whether the kind of arrangement which is possible in the sphere of time might not be very profitably extended to the sphere of merits.
§ Committee report Progress; to sit again upon Wednesday.