HC Deb 15 April 1935 vol 300 cc1627-8

Now I have to deal with one or two minor points. I shall have to bring forward a Resolution connected with the Beer Duties, but hon. Members will be relieved to know that this is not to impose any fresh burden upon beer. It is merely to put the law into harmony with what has been for some time the established practice. I shall also have Resolutions to correct an anomaly in the charge of Sugar Duties, to authorise an increase in the duty on rice in husk, to impose a new duty upon soya beans, and to cover a Clause in the Finance Bill to amend the definition of value of imported goods for Customs purposes. There will be another Resolution to deal with the classification for taxation purposes of vehicles on the borderline of the goods class.

I have a small change to propose in the Liquor Licence Duties. I cannot afford a general all-round reduction, but I do propose to make a concession in the minimum licence duties, which vary at present according to the population. The result will be that, subject to a minimum, which for public-houses will be £10 in urban districts and £5 in rural districts, and for beer houses £6 10s. in urban districts and £3 10s. in rural districts, the small houses will be put into the same position as the large ones, that is to say, their licence duties will vary according to their annual value. That change will come into operation on 1st October next, and it should, I think, be of considerable benefit to the small licence holders. I have received from the Brewers' Society an assurance that their members will pass on the concession to the licence holders. The Finance Bill will contain a small concession in the Estate Duties. Where a deceased person has provided during his life for an annuity at his death for the benefit of his family or others there is exemption at present, under the Finance Act of 1894, for annuities which do not exceed £25 a year. It has been represented to me -that that limit of £25, fixed 40 years ago, is now too low. I agree, and I propose, therefore, to extend the exemption to annuities not exceeding £52 a year. These minor changes are not going to produce any great effect one way or the other upon the revenue. Some of them mean small increases, others small reductions, but the net effect on the whole I estimate will be an increase of about £145,000 in the current year.