HC Deb 11 June 1947 vol 438 cc1224-9

Motion made, and Question proposed, That the Clause stand part of the Bill.

Lieut.-Commander Braithwaite

Prior to the Chancellor's Budget statement, certain suggestions were being made as to what the right hon. Gentleman might be likely to do, and one proposal much talked about, and given prominence in some sections of the Press, was that there would be a capital gains tax. It was even rumoured that the Chancellor was in the United States studying a similar measure operating there. I have always held the view that the Chancellor was unlikely to adopt the suggestion because there had been a four or five years' rise in share values, so that he had missed his market as far as any capital gains tax was concerned. Furthermore, a far more potent reason—and I say this knowing his mentality—was that he was much more likely to obtain money on both the swings and the roundabouts by operating on the Stamp Duties, which has the same effect so far as the Stock Exchange is concerned.

I want to put one question to the Chancellor about the operation of these duties. First, let me say that, as in the case of the last matter we were discussing—the Legacy Duty—I think this is another increase in taxation which can only be a deterrent to a number of quite proper undertakings. I want to put to the Chancellor one question regarding the ad valorem stamps. The right hon. Gentleman will be familiar with the fact that registered stock changes hands on a nominal ten shillings stamp between dealers in the market to facilitate the passage of operations between jobbers. I gather that arrangement is unaltered. But is it the right hon. Gentleman's intention that this shall pass not only between jobbers in the market, but also between local authorities, public boards, and the like on a ten shillings ad valorem stamp? That practice is growing and, I think, defeating the main object of the duty as such. Is it the intention of the Government to allow public boards and local authorities to have the privilege?

Mr. Dalton

I think the answer is, "No."

Lieut.-Commander Braithwaite

I thank the Chancellor, but I would point out that pressure is being put on the market by local authorities and public boards to allow stocks to pass on the ad valorem stamp.

Mr. Dalton

There would be no legal validity in this. It is not provided that there should be any extension.

Lieut.-Commander Braithwaite

I hope the right hon. Gentleman's remarks will get publicity.

12.15 a.m.

Mr. Assheton

My hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Holderness (Lieut.-Commander Braithwaite) has already expressed our view about this increase of taxation. These Stamp Duties are being doubled, and taxation is being increased at a time when taxation ought to be reduced. We have gone through a period of very heavy taxation during the war years, and the community now expects to have some reduction of taxation. It certainly does not expect taxes to be doubled. I do not know whether hon. Members have looked at the Clause. If they look at it, they will see that these Stamp Duties affect a number of transactions which are necessary transactions if the business of the country is to be carried on. The headings which are relevant are these: bond, covenant or instrument; conveyance or transfer, on sale or lease; letter of allotment and letter of renunciation; mortgage, bond, debenture and warrant of attorney, and stock certificate to bearer.

These are instruments which are part of the ordinary mechanics of commerce, and every increase of taxation upon them is a deterrent to the trade and commerce of this country. I want to ask the Chancellor one specific point; it is a matter of mechanics which he may be able to answer now, or he may have to look into it and give an answer at some future date. The date on which these new stamps come into operation is 1st August; but difficulties may arise in the case of stocks which are bought, for example, from Johannesburg by dealers in London, and take a considerable time in transit—possibly two or three months. If the Chancellor or the Financial Secretary would be good enough to let the committee know how the difficulties are to be overcome, I should be obliged. On the main principle, I must say that we on this side of the Committee intend to vote against the increase.

Mr. Glenvil Hall

Perhaps I can provide the answer straight away. As the right hon. Member correctly said, the operative date is 1st August this year, when the higher Stamp Duty will be payable on documents brought in for stamping. Documents executed before then, but brought in after 1st August, will be stamped at the old rate; that is, the guiding principle will be the date on the document. So far as foreign documents are concerned, they will be liable to Stamp Duty, but the operative date in their case will be the date of assignment or negotiation. That will be the criterion which will determine whether Stamp Duty shall be at the old rate or the new

rate. That will cover the particular case which the right hon. Member gave of documents from Johannesburg, in the Union of South Africa.

Question put, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 167; Noes, 68.

Division No. 249.] AYES. [12.20 a.m
Adams, W. T. (Hammersmith, South) Hobson, C. R. Roberts, Emrys (Merioneth)
Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. Holman, P. Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire)
Anderson, A. (Motherwell) Holmes, H. E. (Hemsworth) Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N.)
Attewell, H. C. House, G. Robertson, J. J. (Berwick)
Austin, H. Lewis Hoy, J. Rogers, G. H. R.
Baird, J. Hudson, J. H. (Ealing, W.) Ross, William (Kilmarnock)
Barton, C. Hughes, H. D. (Wolverhampton, W.) Royle, C,
Berry, H. Hutchinson, H L. (Rusholme) Sargood, R.
Beswick, F. Irving, W. J Segal, Dr. S.
Blackburn, A. R. Janner, B. Sharp, Granville
Blyton, W. R. Jay, D. P. T. Shawcross, C. N. (Widnes)
Braddock, T. (Mitcham) Jeger, Dr. S. W. (St. Pancras, S.E.) Simmons, C. J.
Bramall, E. A. Jones, D. T (Hartlepools) Skirnnard, F. W
Brook, D (Halifax) Jones, Elwyn (Plaistow) Snow, Capt. J W
Brown, George (Belper) Jones, J. H. (Bolton) Sorensen, R. W.
Burke, W. A. Jones, P. Asterley (Hitchin) Soskice, Maj. Sir F.
Byers, Frank Keenan, W. Stewart, Michael (Fulham E)
Callaghan, James Kinley, J. Stokes, R. R
Champion, A. J. Lang, G. Stubbs, A. E.
Collindridge, F. Lee, F. (Hulme) Swingler, S.
Collins, V. J. Lee, Miss J. (Cannock) Symonds, A. L.
Corbet, Mrs. F. K. (Camb'well, N.W.) Lipton, Lt.-Col M Taylor, H. B. (Mansfield)
Corlett, Dr. J. Logan, D. G. Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)
Crawley, A. Longden, F Taylor, Dr. S. (Barnet)
Dalton, Rt. Hon. H. McAllister, G. Thomas, D. E. (Aberdare)
Davies, Ernest (Enfield) McGhee, H. G Thomas, Ivor (Keighley)
Davies, Harold (Leek) Mack, J. D. Thomas, I. O. (Wrekin)
Deer, G McKay, J. (Wallsend) Thomas, George (Cardiff)
de Freitas, Geoffrey McKinlay, A. S. Timmons, J.
Delargy, H. J McLeavy, F. Tolley, L.
Diamond, J. Manning, C (Camberwell, N.) Ungoed-Thomas, L.
Dodds, N. N. Medtand, H. M. Usborne, Henry
Driberg, T. E. N. Mellish, R. J. Wadsworth, G.
Dugdale, J. (W. Bromwich) Middleton, Mrs. L. Wallace, G. D. (Chislehurst)
Dumpleton, C. W. Millington, Wing-Comdr. E. R Wallace, H. W. (Walthamstow, E.)
Durbin, E. F. M. Mitchison, G. R. Watson, W. M.
Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C Monslow, W. Weitzman, D.
Fernyhough, E. Morris, P. (Swansea, W.) Wells, P. L. (Faversham)
Foot, M. M. Moyle, A. Wells, W. T. (Walsall)
For man, J. C. Neal, H. (Claycross) West, D. G.
Freeman, Maj. J. (Watford) Nichol, Mrs. M. E. (Bradford, N.) White, H. (Derbyshire, N.E.)
Freeman, Peter (Newport) Noel-Buxton, Lady Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.
Gallacher, W. Oliver, G. H Willey, F. T. (Sunderland)
Gibbins, J. Paget, R. T. Willey, O. G. (Cleveland)
Gilzean, A. Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury) Williams, D. J. (Neath)
Glanville, J. E. (Consett) Pargiter, G. A. Williams, J. (Kelvingrove)
Greenwood, A. W. J. (Heywood) Paton, J. (Norwich) Williams, W. R. (Heston)
Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley) Peart, Thomas F. Willis, E.
Gunter, R. J Platts-Mills, J. F. F. Wills, Mrs. E. A.
Guy, W. H Popplewell, E. Wilson, J. H.
Hall, W. G. Porter, G. (Leeds) Woods, G. S.
Hannan, W. (Maryhill) Pritt, D. N. Wyatt, W.
Hardy, E. A. Proctor, W. T Yates, V. F.
Harrison, J. Pryde, D. J
Henderson, A. (Kingswinford) Ranger, J. TELLERS FOR THE AYES
Henderson, Joseph (Ardwick) Rankin, J. Mr. Pearson and Mr. Daines
Hewitson, Capt. M. Rhodes, H
Assheton, Rt. Hon. R. Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T. Drewe, C.
Baldwin, A. E. Challen, C. Duthie, W. S.
Barlow, Sir J. Clarke, Col. R. S. Eccles, D. M.
Beamish, Maj. T. V. H Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F C. Eden, Rt. Hon. A.
Bossom, A. C. Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col O. E Fletcher, W. (Bury)
Bower, N. Cuthbert, W. N. Fox, Sir G.
Braithwaite, Lt.-Comdr. J. G. Digby, S. W Fraser, Sir I. (Lonsdale)
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. Drayson, G. B Gage, C.
Galbraith, Cmdr. T. D. Mellor, Sir J. Spence, H. R.
Gales, Maj. E. E. Molson, A. H. E. Stanley, Rt. Hon. O.
Gomme-Duncan, Col. A Morrison, Maj. J. G. (Salisbury) Strauss, H. G. (English Universities)
Grimston, R. V. Neven-Spenoe, Sir B. Stuart, Rt. Hon. J. (Moray)
Hare, Hon. J. H. (Woodbridge) Nield, B. (Chester) Studholme, H. G.
Haughton, S. G. Noble, Comdr. A. H. P. Teeling, William
Henderson, John (Cathcart) Nutting, Anthony Thomas, J. P. L. (Hereford)
Hope, Lord J. Pitman, I. J. Touche, G. C.
Jarvis, Sir J. Prescott, Stanley Walker-Smith, D.
Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W Price-White, Lt.-Col. D Ward, Hon. G. R.
Keeling, E. H. Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. Wheatley, Colonel M. J
Lambert, Hon. G. Ramsay, Maj. S. York, C.
Low, Brig. A. R. W. Reid, Rt. Hon. J. S. C (Hillhead)
Lucas-Tooth, Sir H. Ropner, Col. L. TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Mackeson, Brig. H. R. Shephard, S. (Newark) Major Conant and
Marshall, D (Bodmin) Shepherd, W. S. (Bucklow) Lieut.-Colonel Thorp

Question put, and agreed to.

Clause 44 ordered to stand part of the Bill.