HC Deb 13 July 1936 vol 314 cc1668-70
71. Sir W. DAVISON

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will make available to the House the calculations and the assumptions by which it is estimated that a serious loss would be involved to the Exchequer were insurance policies taken out in the name of the Chancellor of the Exchequer for the express purpose of meeting Estate Duty payable at death to be taken at their surrender value on the day of death; and what is the estimated loss in a full year?


In the Debate that took place on the Report stage of the Finance Bill on a Clause moved by my hon. Friend, I furnished estimates of the loss which the Revenue would suffer by valuing insurance policies at the surrender value before death instead of the actual amount of the policy moneys passing at death. While I am not prepared to supplement these estimates with particulars of the calculations on which they were based, I may point out that in cases where such policies as my hon. Friend has in mind are taken out, the charging of duty on an amount appreciably less than the moneys actually payable by the insurance company must result in a loss of revenue and the loss would be a growing one as the differential position enjoyed by life insurance policies in relation to other kinds of property would lead to conversion of other property into life insurance.


Is the hon. and learned Gentleman aware that neither Members of this House nor the general public, including experts, are able to understand how the figures which he gave have been arrived at; and what objection is there to placing in the Library or giving to myself or other hon. Members the calculations which enabled him to make a statement to the House which the House has so far been unable to verify?


The objection is that any detailed calculations would necessarily involve figures relating to estates. The hon. Member's argument in the Debate and the argument underlying his Supplementary Question is clearly that such life insurance policies would be a net addition to savings of money and would be different from other savings, and that is an assumption which I cannot agree to be a valid one.