54. Major MILLS
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will introduce legislation to abolish the male servants licence duty of 15s. per head in the case of male servants whose nationality is British, so as to promote their employment; and if he will consider how far he could recoup the consequent loss of revenue by increasing the licence duty on foreign male servants and by extending the liability to include foreign female servants?
In reply to the first part of the question, as has been explained on a number of previous occasions, the male servant licence duty in England and Wales is not an Imperial but a local taxation duty, and its administration rests with the county and county borough councils which receive the proceeds, and I could not undertake to introduce legislation which would deprive the authorities of this part of their revenue unless I was sure of their concurrence and that a demand would not be made on the Exchequer to replace the revenue surrendered. As regards the second part of the question, while I have no actual statistics to show how many non-British male servants are employed in a taxable capacity, it may be accepted that their number is very small and that the abolition of the tax on British male servants, even if the tax on non-British servants were substantially increased and extended to include female servants, would result in reducing the proceeds of the duty to a small fraction of the present yield.
§ Sir ARTHUR MICHAEL SAMUEL
As there has been considerable feeling about this matter for several years past, will the right hon. Gentleman consult with local authorities, and ask them if they will be willing to surrender this small amount of taxation, which, if surrendered, will result in giving employment to more men for domestic service?
§ Lieut.-Colonel ACLAND-TROYTE
Is my right hon. Friend aware that local authorities have already been consulted by another association, and that a large majority of them do not wish to give up this source of revenue?