§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution.
§ Captain Crookshank
I am not going to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer for an explanation. I am not going to tax his brain unduly at this time of night. In one part of his lengthy oration introducing the Budget he dealt with this 1163 matter and every hon. Member who is interested in the matter is, I am sure, quite seized of the proposal here made. Although last year the right hon. Gentleman increased Death Duties—or this part of the Death Duties; it is a generic term for the whole—and Estate Duty, so that they ran up to 75 per cent. at £2,000,000, and although the result of that was to get a great deal more revenue than he had expected, this year he is continuing the policy of increasing the total amount of the Death Duties by taking over a slice on the side. The latest thing is Succession Duties, and well as he did last year, when he was making certain exemptions and reductions in the lower rates, it still remains a fact that he has doubled these duties in the cases which he specified in his speech. It will be apparent in the Finance Bill, however, and we need not discuss in detail. As a result of all that, the right hon. Gentleman has budgeted for a further £9,000,000 next year.
§ Captain Crookshank
Yes, in a full year. This year does not come very much into it. This is one more step in increasing this particular duty and of course the more that is collected in Death Duty, the less remains. After all, it is in the nature of a capital receipt, for a particular estate only pays at the death, and, while it may be repeated within a short period, there may, too, be a very long gap. But I think it is generally looked upon as not being in the same class of revenue as the yield of the Income Tax and other revenue duties, and the higher it goes in the long run, the less the eventual return.
There has been a steep increase in recent years in the receipts from these duties. In 1943, £93 million came in; in 1945, £120 million; last year the right hon. Gentleman budgeted for £140 million and got £148 million; now he is hoping to get £155 million. So the House will see that in a very short period, the receipts are expected to be much increased. Perhaps that is partly due to a change in cost-of-living figures and everything else, but it is a very substantial increase. How long that will go on, and how wise it is to let it go on over a long period is a question of general policy which I merely indicate. We do not think at the present time that a further increase on Death Duties, in 1164 view of what happened last year, is justified and therefore, as a party, we should protest against it.
§ Mr. Dalton
The less time we take on matters on which the issue is clear, the longer we can take on matters on which the issue is not so clear and on which debate can be more useful. There is a perfectly clear division on this issue before the two sides. The right hon. and gallant Gentleman's party are against this increase. I am confident that the Government's supporters are in favour of it and I wonder whether it is really necessary, as we have it all in more detail on the Finance Bill, to go into it at length now. I adduce a further reason for taking a division now and passing on to the next Resolution. This Resolution merely proposes a double tax but that is not the whole of my proposal, as the right hon. and gallant Gentleman apprehends. I do not merely propose a double tax; I am making certain alleviations and relaxations which in the aggregate would be of considerable value to those affected and they will not be set out fully until we get the Clause—
§ Mr. Dalton
It is not in the Resolution. It is not necessary, as the right hon. and gallant Gentleman knows, to have that set out in the Resolution. For technical reasons, it is set out in the Finance Bill itself. It occurs to me that if the House wants more time on other matters, we had better have a division on this Resolution now.
§ Mr. Hogg
I do not propose to quarrel with the right hon. Gentleman's principle in this matter at this stage. After all, the purpose of an increase in Death Duties in a Socialist Budget is well known. It is just the dash of political sadism which is necessary in order to give zest to an otherwise unpleasing performance and I do not grudge the right hon. Gentleman and his friends their shot of dope. I wish to draw attention at the present stage to something of less importance. If Death Duties are to be applied on political grounds as apparently they are, let them be rationalised a little and 1165 put into a more consistent and coherent form. Income Tax, which has provided a main source of revenue in the past, has undergone such a rationalisation. A higher rate of tax inevitably demands that inherent defects in the system should be exposed and removed in successive Budgets, and it is to that aspect of the matter that I desire to draw the Chancellor's attention. The Death Duty, as a whole, unlike the Income Tax, has certain curiously anomalous features. In the first place, the great bulk of the revenue is not raised from the Legacy and Succession Duties at all. The right hon. Gentleman will concede that. On the contrary, the great bulk of it is raised from the Estate Duty. A characteristic feature of the Estate Duty is that it penalises the estate—
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Major Milner)
I do not think we can have a review of the whole of the Death Duties, and I hope the hon. Gentleman will content himself with dealing with the Resolution.
§ Mr. Hogg
In order to exhibit the point at its real value, it was necessary for me to draw the contrast between this duty, which we are now discussing, and the Estate Duty, which we are not discussing. The point of the contrast is precisely this—that, whereas, under the Estate Duty, the penalty lies upon the size of the estate, and not upon the amount which comes into the hands of the recipient, in the case of the Legacy and Succession Duties, duty is levied on what comes into the hands of the recipient, and not upon the size of the estate. It is, therefore, anomalous that the great bulk of this should be levied on that series of Duties which is borne by the estate, and not by the recipient. That, in my submission, is entirely wrong. It leads to numerous anomalies, of which I shall give only the broadest and most general examples.
If we had the extreme position of a man worth, say, £2 million, who left his entire estate in parcels of £2,000 each, each recipient would pay no Legacy and Succession Duty at all. On the other hand, he would receive only a very small proportion of his legacy, because the estate as a whole would pay much more than half in the way of Estate Duty. On the other hand, if we take a person worth, say, only £2,500, leaving his estate in one block, the recipient does pay Legacy and Succession Duty, but receives almost 1166 everything left to him. It is inevitable that, when the duty has swollen to the present extent, this kind of anomaly will produce injustices.
There is another anomaly to which I draw the attention of the House in relation to Income Tax. There is, in the case of the Succession and Estate Duties, a lower limit which constitutes a free allowance. There is £2,000 in the case of the Succession Duty under the present Resolution, and the personal allowance in Income Tax, but there is this difference in the way in which the two allowances work. If a person has an income of a value of £10 above the personal allowance, he pays Income Tax only on the £10. The personal allowance is generally free. If, on the other hand, he inherits an estate which is worth £10 above the minimum exemption allowance in the Legacy and Succession Duty, he pays also Succession Duty upon the total estate. There can be no justification for these ramifications of inconsistency. I do not complain of the Chancellor's decision to raise this particular tax. But the higher he raises it, the stronger becomes the case for making it a sensible tax, and it is manifestly not a sensible tax, as it is left at the moment.
§ Viscount Hinchingbrooke
I should like to make the general observation upon this Resolution that the higher the party opposite attempt to raise the salary of the Prime Minister, or the Chairman of the National Coal Board—[Interruption]
§ Viscount Hinchingbrooke
I was giving an illustration. The higher hon. Members opposite raise the salary of the Prime Minister—[Interruption]
§ Mr. Hogg
On a point of Order. I have not heard my noble Friend complete a single sentence. May we not, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, have some semblance of courtesy from hon. Members on the benches opposite? May we not hear what hon. Members wish to say to one another in this House of Commons, or are we to be subject to the constant interruptions of the Bandar-Log?
§ Viscount Hinchingbrooke
It is all too clear that hon. Members opposite are not disposed to hear the kind things I proposed to say to them. I submit, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, that I am perfectly entitled to make a statement of this kind. 1167 All I say is that the higher the party opposite raise the salary of the Prime Minister—[HON. MEMBERS; "Order."]
§ Mr. Alpass (Thornbury)
On a point of Order. Is the noble Lord in Order, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, in speaking about the salary of the Prime Minister and his allowances on this Motion?
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
I should not have thought so, but I am waiting until the noble Lord completes his sentence.
§ Mr. George Porter (Leeds, Central)
Further to that point of Order. Is the noble Lord in Order, Sir, when he accuses hon. Members on this side of the House of passing the increase in the Prime Minister's salary, when in fact, the House was responsible?
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
The noble Lord is now indulging in repetition. If he would be good enough to proceed with his argument, we should then see how far it was in Order.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
The hon. Member should permit the noble Lord to get on with his speech. That would be the most satisfactory way of dealing with the matter.
§ Mr. Hogg
I understood you to rule, Sir, that the noble Lord, having been interrupted again and again before he had completed one sentence, was to be allowed to complete it. Indeed, so much interruption has taken place between the noble Lord's various efforts to complete his sentence that I have quite forgotten how he began it. My point of Order is this: If, owing to the interruptions from the opposite side, it is not possible to remember how my noble Friend had begun the sentence, is my noble Friend not entitled to repeat it for the benefit of the House?
§ Viscount Hinchingbrooke
I will pass from the Prime Minister's salary, and I will now say that the higher the party opposite raise the salary of the chairman of the Coal Board, the chairman of the Transport Board and those other minions of Socialism the more difficult it will be for them to make up their minds between two courses—one, whether they will try to keep the salaries low, and the other, whether they will stop putting Resolutions of this sort before the House of Commons.
§ Question put, "That this House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution".
§ The House divided: Ayes, 226; Noes, 100.1169
|Division No. 140.]||AYES.||[11.2 p.m.|
|Adams, W. T. (Hammersmith, South)||Collindridge, F.||Gaitskell, H. T. N.|
|Alpass, J. H.||Collins, V. J.||Gibbins, J.|
|Anderson, A. (Motherwell)||Comyns, Dr. L.||Gibson, C. W.|
|Anderson, F. (Whitehaven)||Corbet, Mrs. F. K. (Camb'well, N.W.)||Gilzean, A.|
|Austin, H. Lewis||Crawley, A.||Gooch, E. G.|
|Awbery, S. S||Daines, P.||Goodrich, H. E.|
|Baird, J.||Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.||Gordon-Walker, P. C.|
|Barnes, Rt. Hon. A. J.||Davies, Ernest (Enfield)||Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A. (Wakefield)|
|Barton, C.||Davies, Harold (Leek)||Greenwood, A. W. J. (Heywood)|
|Bechervaise, A. E.||Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Grenfell, D. R.|
|Benson, G.||Deer, G.||Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley)|
|Beswick, F.||Delargy, H. J.||Griffiths, W. D. (Moss Side)|
|Bing, G. H. C.||Diamond, J.||Gunter, R. J.|
|Banns, J.||Dobbie, W.||Guy, W. H.|
|Blyton, W. R.||Dodds, N. N.||Haire, John E. (Wycombe)|
|Bowden, Flg.-Offr. H. W.||Driberg, T. E. N.||Hale, Leslie|
|Braddock, Mrs. E. M. (L'pl, Exch'ge)||Dumpleton, C. W.||Hall, W. G.|
|Braddock, T. (Mitcham)||Durbin, E. F. M.||Hannan, W. (Maryhill)|
|Bramall, E. A.||Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||Hardy, E. A.|
|Brown, George (Belper)||Edwards, A. (Middlesbrough, E.)||Harrison, J.|
|Brown, T. J. (Ince)||Evans, John (Ogmore)||Henderson, A. (Kingswinford)|
|Buchanan, G.||Evans, S. N. (Wednesbury)||Henderson, Joseph (Ardwick)|
|Burden, T. W||Fairhurst, F.||Hobson, C. R.|
|Burke, W. A.||Farthing, W. J.||Holman, P.|
|Butler, H. W. (Hackney, S.)||Fletcher, E. C. M. (Islington, E.)||Holmes, H. E. (Hemsworth)|
|Callaghan, James||Foot, M. M.||House, G.|
|Carmichael, James||Forman, J. C.||Hoy, J.|
|Champion, A. J.||Foster, W. (Wigan)||Hubbard, T.|
|Chetwynd, G. R||Fraser, T. (Hamilton)||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)|
|Cooks, F S.||Freeman, Peter (Newport)||Hughes, H. D. (Wolverh'pton, W.)|
|Hynd, H. (Hackney, C.)||Nally, W.||Strauss, G. R. (Lambeth, H.)|
|Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)||Neal, H. (Claycross)||Stross, Dr. B.|
|Irving, W. J.||Nicholls, H. R. (Stratford)||Stubbs, A. E.|
|Janner, B.||Paget, R. T.||Summerskill, Dr. Edith|
|Jay, D. P. T.||Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)||Swingler, S.|
|Jeger, G. (Winchester)||Palmer, A. M. F.||Sylvester, G. O.|
|Jeger, Dr. S. W. (St. Pancras, S.E.)||Pargiter, G. A.||Symonds, A. L.|
|Jones, Rt. Hon. A. C, (Shipley)||Parker, J.||Taylor, H. B. (Mansfield)|
|Jones, J. H. (Bolton)||Paton, Mrs. F. (Rushcliffe)||Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)|
|Jones, P. Asterley (Hitchin)||Paton, J. (Norwich)||Taylor, Dr. S. (Barnet)|
|Keenan, W.||Piratin, P.||Thomas, D. E. (Aberdare)|
|Kenyon, C.||Platts-Mills, J. F. E.||Thomas, I. O. (Wrekin)|
|Key, C. W.||Poole, Major Cecil (Lichfield)||Thorneycroft, Harry (Clayton)|
|King, E. M.||Porter, E. (Warrington)||Thurtle, E.|
|Kinghorn, Sqn.-Ldr. E.||Porter, G. (Leeds)||Timmons, J.|
|Kinley, J.||Price, M. Philips||Tolley, L.|
|Lang, G.||Proctor, W. T.||Vernon, Maj. W. F.|
|Lee, F. (Hulme)||Pryde, D. J.||Viant, S. P.|
|Lee, Miss J. (Cannock)||Pursey, Cmdr. H.||Walkden, E.|
|Leonard, W.||Randall, H E.||Wallace, G. D. (Chislehurst)|
|Lever, N. H.||Ranger, J.||Wallace, H. W. (Walthamstow, E.)|
|Lewis, T. (Southampton)||Rankin, J.||Watkins, T. E.|
|Lipton, Lt.-Col. M.||Reid, T. (Swindon)||Weitzman, D.|
|Logan, D. G.||Rhodes, H.||Wells, P. L (Faversham)|
|Longden, F.||Richards, R.||Wells, W T. (Walsall)|
|Lyne, A. W.||Ridealgh, Mrs. M.||West, D. G.|
|McAdam, W.||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire)||White, C. F. (Derbyshire, W.)|
|McAllister, G.||Rogers, G. H. R.||White, H. (Derbyshire, N.E.)|
|Mack, J. D.||Ross, William (Kilmarnock)||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.|
|McKay, J. (Wallsend)||Royle, C.||Wigg, Col. G. E.|
|Mackay, R. W. C. (Hull, N.W.)||Sargood, R.||Wilkes, L.|
|McKinley, A. S.||Scollan, T||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Maclean, N. (Govan)||Willey, F. T. (Sunderland)|
|McLeavy, F.||Shackleton, E. A. A.||Willey, O. G. (Cleveland)|
|MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles)||Sharp, Granville||Williams, D. J. (Heath)|
|Macpherson, T. (Romford)||Shawcross, C. N. (Widnes)||Williams, J. L. (Kelvingrove)|
|Mallalieu, J. P. W.||Shawcross, Rt. Hn. Sir H. (St. Helens)||Williams, W. R. (Heston)|
|Mann, Mrs. J.||Shurmer, P.||Wills, Mrs. E. A.|
|Marquand, H. A.||Silverman, J. (Erdington)||Wise, Major F. J.|
|Middleton, Mrs. L.||Simmons, C. J.||Woodburn, A.|
|Mikardo, Ian||Skeffington, A. M.||Wyatt, W.|
|Mitchison, G. R.||Skinnard, F. W.||Yates, V. F.|
|Monslow, W.||Smith, S. H. (Hull, S.W.)||Younger, Hon. Kenneth|
|Moody, A. S.||Snow, Capt. J. W.|
|Morgan, Dr. H. B.||Soskice, Maj. Sir F.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Morley, R.||Sparks, J. A||Mr. Pearson and Mr. Michael Stewart.|
|Morris, P. (Swansea, W.)||Steele, T.|
|Agnew, Cmdr. P. G.||Gomme-Duncan, Col. A||Neven-Spence, Sir B.|
|Assheton, Rt. Hon. R.||Grimstan, R. V.||Noble, Comdr. A. H. P.|
|Astor, Hon. M.||Head, Brig. A. H.||Orr-Ewing, I. L.|
|Baldwin, A. E.||Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir C.||Peake, Rt. Hon. O.|
|Barlow, Sir J.||Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Pickthorn, K.|
|Beechman, N. A.||Hogg, Hon. Q.||Pitman, I J.|
|Birch, Nigel||Hollis, M. C.||Poole, O. B. S. (Oswestry)|
|Bower, N.||Hope, Lord J.||Prior-Palmer, Brig. O.|
|Boyd-Carpenter, J. A.||Howard, Hon. A.||Roberts, H. (Handsworth)|
|Braithwaite, Lt.-Comdr. J. G.||Hurd, A.||Roberts, Maj. P. G. (Ecclesall)|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Hutchison, Lt.-Cm. Clark (E'b'rgh, W.)||Ropner, Col. L.|
|Bullock, Capt. M.||Hutchison, Col. J. R (Glasgow, C.)||Ross, Sir R. D. (Londonderry)|
|Carson, E.||Jennings, R.||Scott, Lord W.|
|Challen, C.||Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W.||Smith, E. P. (Ashford)|
|Channon, H.||Keeling, E. H.||Spence, H. R.|
|Clarke, Col. R. S.||Lambert, Hon. G.||Stanley, Rt. Hon. O.|
|Clifton-Brown, Lt.-Col. G.||Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.|
|Conant, Maj. R. J. E.||Lancaster, Col. C. G.||Strauss, H. G. (English Universities)|
|Cooper-Key, E. M.||Langford-Holt, J.|
|Corbett, Lieut.-Col. U. (Ludlow)||Linstead, H. N.||Stuart, Rt. Hon. J. (Moray)|
|Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C||Low, Brig. A. R. W.||Studholme, H. G.|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.||Lucas, Major Sir J.||Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)|
|Cuthbert, W. N.||Lucas-Tooth, Sir H.||Thomas, J. P. L. (Hereford)|
|De la Bère, R.||McCallum, Maj. D.||Thorp, Lt.-Col. R. A. F.|
|Dodds-Parker, A. D.||Macdonald, Sir P. (I. of Wight)||Vane, W. M. F.|
|Drayson, G. B.||Mackeson, Brig. H. R.||Wadsworth, G.|
|Dugdale, Maj. Sir T. (Richmond)||McKie, J. H. (Galloway)||Walker-Smith, D.|
|Eccles, D. M.||Macpherson, Maj. N. (Dumfries)||Wheatley, Colonel M. J|
|Elliot, Rt. Hon. Walter||Maitland, Comdr. J. W.||Williams, C. (Torquay)|
|Fletcher, W. (Bury)||Marlowe, A. A. H.||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Foster, J. G. (Northwich)||Marples, A. E.||York, C.|
|Fox, Sir G.||Marshall, D. (Bodmin)||Young, Sir A. S. L. (Partick)|
|Fraser, H. C. P. (Stone)||Medlicott, F.|
|Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir D. P. M.||Mellor, Sir J.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Galbraith, Cmdr. T. D.||Morrison, Maj. J. G. (Salisbury)||Mr. Drewe and Major Ramsay.|
Twenty-second Resolution read a Second time.