HC Deb 08 December 1931 vol 260 cc1693-5
51. Sir F. HALL

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he can now state whether it is the intention of the Government to abandon Part III of the Finance Act, 1931, which relates to land valuation?

54. Lieut.-Colonel Sir VIVIAN HENDERSON

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is now in a position to make a statement in regard to the discontinuance of expenditure on the valuation of land under the provisions of Part III of the Finance Act, 1931?

60. Lieut.-Colonel ACLAND-TROYTE

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is yet in a position to make any statement with regard to Part III of the Finance Act, 1931?


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he can now define the position of the Government in respect of the land tax duties imposed by Part III of the Finance Act, 1931?


The Government have given careful consideration to the question of proceeding with the valuation provided for in Part III of the Finance Act, 1931. As the House knows it was estimated that the total cost of the valuation would be from £1,000,000 to £1,500,000. A certain amount of money has already been spent but the great bulk of the expenditure is still to come. In the meantime the need for economy has become paramount and the Government feel that, in present financial conditions, they would not be justified in incurring further expenditure upon an object which, in any case, could not produce any return for a considerable time.

Without prejudice therefore to the merits of the plan, which have not been under consideration, the Government propose to suspend work upon the valuation and to disperse the temporary staff which has been engaged in connection with it. The necessary legislation will be included in next year's Finance Bill.


Seeing that the tax was imposed by Parliament, and machinery set up in order that it might be effective, under what power does the right hon. Gentleman act in suspending the will of the House, as expressed in the last Budget?


The hon. Member is mistaken. I am not suspending the tax. That would be a matter for legislation, as I have already explained.


Does the right hon. Gentleman recollect that the present Lord Privy Seal said that it was his desire, under this tax, to restore God's land to the people?


Is the right hon. Gentleman not, as a matter of fact, suspending the tax, because he is suspending the machinery by which alone the tax can be made effective, and under what power is he doing that?


As I have already informed the hon. Member, I am not suspending the tax; I am only suspending the valuation.


How can the right hon. Gentleman impose a tax if he does not know the valuation on which it is to be imposed?


Will it be necessary to make any return to Somerset House?


I would like to have notice of that question.


In view of the unsatisfactory answer given by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, I beg to give notice that I propose to raise this matter on the Motion for the Adjournment on the first opportunity.