HC Deb 28 May 1952 vol 501 cc1497-511
The Seventh Schedule to the Finance Act, 1949, shall be replaced by the following Schedule:—
Principal Value of Estate
Rate per cent. of Duty
£ £
Not exceeding 2,000 Nil
On each pound of that part of the estate exceeding 2,000 but not exceeding 3,000 1
On each pound of that part of the estate exceeding 3,000 but not exceeding 5,000 2
On each pound of that part of the estate exceeding 5,000 but not exceeding 7,500 3
On each pound of that part of the estate exceeding 7,500 but not exceeding 10,000 4
On each pound of that part of the estate exceeding 10,500 but not exceeding 12,500 6
On each pound of that part of the estate exceeding 12,500 but not exceeding 15,000 8
On each pound of that part of the estate exceeding 15,000 but not exceeding 17,500 10
On each pound of that part of the estate exceeding 17,500 but not exceeding 20,000 12
On each pound of that part of the estate exceeding 20,000 but not exceeding 25,000 15
On each pound of that part of the estate exceeding 25,000 but not exceeding 30,000 18
On each pound of that part of the estate exceeding 30,000 but not exceeding 35,000 21
On each pound of that part of the estate exceeding 35,000 but not exceeding 40,000 24
On each pound of that part of the estate exceeding 40,000 but not exceeding 45,000 28
On each pound of that part of the estate exceeding 45,000 but not exceeding 50,000 31
On each pound of that part of the estate exceeding 50,000 but not exceeding 60,000 35
On each pound of that part of the estate exceeding 60,000 but not exceeding 75,000 40
On each pound of that part of the estate exceeding 75,000 but not exceeding 100,000 45
On each pound of that part of the estate exceeding 100,000 but not exceeding 150,000 50
On each pound of that part of the estate exceeding 150,000 but not exceeding 200,000 55
On each pound of that part of the estate exceeding 200,000 but not exceeding 300,000 60
On each pound of that part of the estate exceeding 300,000 but not exceeding 500,000 65
On each pound of that part of the estate exceeding 500,000 but not exceeding 750,000 70
On each pound of that part of the estate exceeding 750,000 but not exceeding 1,000,000 75
On each pound of that part of the estate exceeding 1,000,000 80." —[Mr. R. Bell].

Brought up, and read the First time.

Mr. Ronald Bell (Buckinghamshire, South)

I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."

This Clause seeks to draw attention to the method of collecting Estate Duty which is at present in force. The figures on the right giving the rate per cent. of duty are purely notional, and they would result in a very considerable reduction in the yield if accepted. If one proposes a change in the method of collecting a duty and works out the figures which, under the new system, would give the same yield, automatically the Clause is out of order because some taxpayers somewhere would have to pay more taxes. Last year I went through the laborious process of working out the right figures and was rewarded by having my new Clause ruled out of order. Accordingly, the figures which I have put in this year are purely notional.

At present, Estate Duty is raised by a series of steps in the rate, each step relating back to the whole body of the estate. Thus, on the first £2,000 there is no Estate Duty. If the estate is between £2,000 and £3,000 there is a duty of 1 per cent., not on the excess over £2,000 but on the whole estate. So it is at each step. For example, if the estate exceeds £10,000 but is less than £12,500 the rate of duty at present is 6 per cent. on the whole estate.

The consequence of that is that each time the rate goes up we have a band in which the amount of the total duty leviable would actually be higher than if the estate were a little smaller. If the estate were £2,000 there would be no duty, but if it were £2,001 there would be 1 per cent. duty upon the whole estate. One's heirs would be unlucky if one died leaving an estate just within the duty level or just within one of the higher rates of duty. The inheritors could then be out of pocket by it.

This system was introduced with the duty, in 1894, when the highest Estate Duty was 8s. 6d., which it reached when the estate was worth £1 million. As the rate began to go up, this point began to acquire significance. In the Finance Act, 1914, a degree of marginal relief was given in that the rate of duty should not exceed 100 per cent. In other words, it meant that the Revenue contented itself with taking the whole excess. It did not actually charge the beneficiaries extra because the estate was higher. By the proposed Clause we are trying to remedy the confiscation of the amount at each step where 100 per cent. duty is charged.

This works all the way up the scale. In the case of an estate of £2,000 there is no duty, but the next £20, up to £2,020 is confiscated by the Revenue, because the rate of duty on the excess is 100 per cent. If, on the other hand, the estate is only £2,100, the rate of duty on the excess falls to 20 per cent. Later it falls to 5 per cent., and just before you get to the next increment it goes down to 3 per cent. The present system is a series of steps, and just over each step the rate of tax on the excess is 100 per cent. It gradually shelves down until just before the next step, it reaches its lowest point.

The size of the band in which 100 per cent. duty is charged increases with the size of the estate. In the case of a £2,000 estate it is £20, of a £3,000 estate £30. On £5,000, which is still a small estate, it is within the range of £50, where the whole of it is confiscated. When you get to £15,000, which again is quite a moderate estate nowadays, the range of 100 per cent. taxation is £200. If the testator dies leaving £15,200, the excess is simply pocketed by the Exchequer. In really big estates of, say, £100,000, the band of 100 per cent. taxation is no less than £5,000. It makes no difference to the beneficiaries whether a man dies leaving £100,000 or £105,000. The result is precisely the same.

That is an extraordinary state of affairs, and I have never heard any justification for it. It may be that the Financial Secretary, with his stronger moral sense, will fill that gap this evening. I understand that the Estate Duty Office are under the impression that there are practical difficulties in the way of altering the system. The alteration which I am proposing is that Estate Duty should be collected in the same way as Income Tax or Surtax, by a system of slices—so much on the first amount, so much more on the excess over that, and so on, all the way up. We levy our tax on the excess. We shall need different figures from the existing ones, in order to give the same yield. That would do complete justice. There would be no blind spots and no desperate attempts by executors to avoid the payment of 100 per cent. Estate Duty as we all know goes on at the present time if they can possibly do it.

10.15 p.m.

The only objection that I can find for this obvious improvement is that it might create doubt and difficulty where the amount of the estate is subsequently revised. It is said it would be more difficult to recover the additional tax caused by a lot of adjustments of the value of the estate. I do not follow that. I quite agree that the amount of duty varies according to the amount of the estate, but it is common for a provisional figure to be agreed for probate, and for that to be revised when the estate has been completely wound up.

If there is an increase in duty it has to be collected from the beneficiaries if the executors have been so unwise as to leave themselves with no margin with which to administer the estate. I do not think that executors generally are so unwise as to leave themselves nothing in the estate, but if they do then the beneficiaries will have to pay.

Precisely the same result will follow if this scheme which I propose is adopted. If the value of the estate is to be revised and the tax reassessed, then I see no reason why the amount should not be recovered from the beneficiaries. There is no reason why it should be met by the residuary legatee, the man who is paying out on the top slice. That could easily be covered. All the beneficiaries will do is they will simply take from their proportion that extra part of the duty.

I am quite satisfied that the Clause as it stands cannot obviously be accepted, but I move it for the sake of raising the point. It would be quite simple for the Treasury, in reframing this, to provide that the beneficiary should simply bear their repayable proportion of the duty. If that can be arranged, I can see no reason why this undoubted reform in Estate Duty matters should not be accepted.

Mr. Arthur Colegate (Burton)

The new Clause before the Committee is simply an assimilation of death duty to the scheme adopted for Surtax. Whatever the rate payable for Surtax may be and however wealthy a person may be, he never pays 19s. 6d. on the whole of his income. He only pays 19s. 6d. on a certain portion of it. Like everybody else he gets the first £2,000 entirely free of Surtax. Even if his income is £100,000 a year he still gets the first £500 and on the next £500 he only pays 2s. in the £ Surtax, and so on up to a figure of £20,000, after which he pays 10s. in the £. That figure has been found to be applicable and it has not been changed by any Government since Surtax was first imposed.

This principle has been overlooked in death duties, because I am afraid that death duties have been looked upon by subsequent Chancellors of the Exchequer as the easiest way of getting money without actually, in fact, knowing that of all the taxes charged at the present time it is the one which offends against every canon of tax collection. It is irregular, uncertain and it can never be collected beforehand. This Clause would, of course, have the effect of reducing the amount from death duties for a year or two, but it would probably increase the amount derived because at the moment there is no doubt about it—this is well-known to everybody—that death duties creates the biggest schemes for avoiding the payment of the tax than anything else.

Every device that can be adopted is taken to avoid the payment of death duties, to the great disadvantage of the accumulation of capital, which all Governments today admit is a very necessary part of our economy This capital ought to be in circulation for the further extension of the industrial capacity of the country.

There are an immense number of schemes for the avoidance of death duties, and one of the first things that has to be done is to remove the anomaly from the tax altogether. I felt very strongly about one aspect of it in 1941, and I am very glad that at last I have had some small success, because for the first time —and I am grateful to my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer —death duties will no longer be levied on the estates of soldiers, sailors and airmen killed in action. That is only one of the many anomalies. Anyone who deals with small businesses knows the amount of damage that can be done to them by the necessity to raise the capital to pay death duties on the scale imposed. That is particularly so on the estate of £50,000 or £60,000, and if a lower scale of death duties were levied then I believe it would be for the general good of all, and would bring in an additional income from this duty.

It would be out of order for me to discuss other matters arising through the desire to avoid the payment of death duties at their full rate, such as the question of insurance policies. All I can say is now that while I realise that the Chancellor will not be able to accept this Clause, I hope he will be able to give serious attention to this matter and see that the anomalies are smoothed out so that we can have a tax which is workable, which yields a reasonable amount of Revenue, and, at the same time, does not lead to the immense amount of wasted effort for the avoidance of payment of the duty which is in operation today.

Mr. Albu

The hon. Member for Buckinghamshire, South (Mr. R. Bell) said that the figures in the new Clause were purely notional, and I think he tried to say that he was not in favour of any general reduction in the yield but wanted to make smooth progression.

Mr. R. Bell

I moved this new Clause to raise one specific point quite regardless of the merit of the existing scale of death duties.

Mr. Albu

We can only debate the Clause that is on the Order Paper, and the hon. Member for Burton (Mr. Colegate), who supported the hon. Member, has made it very clear indeed where he stands in this matter. The case that he made was for a reduction in the death duties themselves, and, of course, the figures in the Clause would involve a very substantial reduction in the yield of the present duties. Therefore, we must give some consideration to the merits of the case for a reduction in the yield on death duties and, perhaps, particularly to reductions at some of the lower levels, to which the hon. Member for Burton referred in the second part of his speech.

Whatever may have happened—and a great deal has happened—in recent years about the distribution of the national income and its fairer distribution as between different sections of the community—the closing of the gap between the top and the bottom levels of income receivers —practically nothing has taken place in regard to the redistribution of wealth. Very little change has taken place in this century. In spite of all the effects of taxation and death duties, there has been very little change as a result in the final distribution of property between various groups of people.

It is difficult to obtain figures of this sort, but some calculations have been made, for instance, by Miss Kathleen Longmore of the Oxford Institute of Statistics. Not counting persons under 25 years of age and ignoring sums of less than £100, her figures show that in the years 1936 to 1938, somewhere between 11,000 and 17,000 persons owned between 191 and 24 per cent. of all the property in the country, whereas in the years 1946 and 1947 somewhere between 15,000 and 17,000 persons—roughly the same scale of numbers—owned between 14 and 18 per cent. of all property. Therefore, practically no change has taken place between those years before the war and after the war.

Mr. Colegate

I was not talking about the totals of property, to which the hon. Member refers. I was referring to small businesses, which is quite a different matter.

Mr. Albu

The Clause, of course, would reduce Estate Duty for estates from over £1 million right down the scale. I must deal with the Clause as it appears on the Paper, and one must consider the total effect of Estate Duty over the whole range of property income.

If one looks at it another way, in 1926 something like 1 per cent. of the population owned something like 57 per cent. of the property in the country. Ten years later, in 1926, still 1 per cent. of the population owned 55 per cent. of the property. In 1946, 1 per cent. of the population owned 50 per cent. of the property, so that in that time the amount owned by this small proportion of the population that owned one half or more of the property of the country, had fallen by only 7 per cent.

Another way of looking at it, which is, perhaps, more relevant to the issues that we are immediately discussing—the question of Estate Duty—is to look at the figures of estates of over £50,000 in the Reports of the Commissioners for Inland Revenue. Their last Report, for the year ending 31st March, 1951, shows that 1,839 estates worth over £50,000 were liable for tax; that was 2.98 per cent. of all estates liable to Estate Duty. This very small number of estates was responsible for just under one-third of the total value of all estates liable for duty.

The total number of estates liable for duty was itself only just over 61,000, and, of course, that included all estates worth over £2,000 out of something like 500,000 adult persons who must die every year. This is a measure of the extreme inequality of the distribution of wealth and is a reason why we should not make any modification at present in the direction of reducing Estate Duty.

I come, finally, to the point dealt with last by the hon. Member for Burton: that was. the difficulties that, he says, face family businesses on the death of the owner. The hon. Member is probably well aware that there has recently been a Report on this subject by the Board of Inland Revenue—Command Paper 8295—entitled "Estate Duty and Family Businesses." This was a report on a statistical investigation that the Board made to find out the effect of death duties on family businesses.

The Report took samples covering all the cases arising in one year at different levels of size. Taking trading companies only, and not estates or investment companies, which were used merely for the purpose of providing a convenient method of holding private assets, it was found that the number of cases where the non-trade assets were insufficient to pay the whole of the duty, was 0.7 per cent., and that there had been very little difference since 1922, in spite of the considerably increased Estate Duty. In the 86 cases in their sample where the non-trade assets were insufficient to pay the whole of the estate duty, in 51 cases—or 60 per cent. —the proportion of trade assets required was less than 25 per cent. Thus the argument, frequently adduced, that the Estate Duty has had the effect of wiping out a large number of family businesses does not appear to hold water.

But if the case were stronger, it is still necessary to examine the justice of the claim. If a business is successful, money can be raised to pay duties, if necessary, or it can be turned from a private into a public company.

10.30 p.m.

Mr. Colegate

The hon. Member must know that small family businesses cannot be converted into public companies and sell shares on the market. No firm in the City of London would even think of handling them.

Mr. Albu

If a business is as small as that, I do not believe that where it is successful and where the inheritors are efficient there would be difficulty in borrowing the money required to pay the duty. Board of Inland Revenue figures show that the number of such cases is small. However it is done—by borrowing the money or selling the shares on the market—there is no doubt that the inheritors would continue to control the business in the first generation. If in the second generation the family inheritors are unable— [Interruption.] Perhaps the hon. Gentleman would listen to my argument, although he does not like it.

Mr. Colegate

I have listened with extreme care and have realised how unsound it is.

Mr. Albu

Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will wait until I have finished the argument. In the first generation the family would keep control.

Mr. Colegate


Mr. Albu

There are many devices by which a family can keep control of a business if they want to. If on the second passing of the business— [Interruption.] If hon. Gentlemen would stop muttering I might be able to get on. [Interruption.] The hon. Member for Burton is about the rudest Member in the Committee. I repeat: if on the second passing of the business the family members are unable to keep control, it will be probably because they are not efficient. There has been far too much nepotism in family businesses, and certainly the carrying on of businesses from one generation to another does not make for efficiency unless the inheritors are themselves extremely efficient and up to date. If they are so, they will be in no danger of losing control.

A lot of this nonsense about family businesses has been based on sentiment, nepotism, or pure feudalism, and the sooner we get rid of it the better. Even if there is a case for providing some reduction on the pure ground of need, I do not agree on the grounds of efficiency or equity.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

I do not propose to get involved in the discussion between the two hon. Gentlemen on the broad general question of the level of estate duties and their effect, because on this particular Clause, although it is perfectly fair to point out that its effect would be to reduce the yield of the death duties—by some £60 million in a full year—my hon. Friend the Member for Burton (Mr. Colegate) did make it clear that his purpose was simply to raise the question of the actual method of assessment of estate duties. My hon. Friend the Member for Buckinghamshire, South (Mr. R. Bell) made it clear that he had selected these figures, not with any particular affection for them, but simply in order to secure that he kept his Clause within the rules of order.

Mr. Mulley

Surely the hon. Gentleman will agree that the speech of his other hon. Friend, the hon. Member for Burton (Mr. Colegate) was with regard to the figures of Estate Duty as shown in the Clause? Will not the hon. Gentleman answer that point?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

At the moment I propose to deal with the point my hon. Friend the Member for Buckinghamshire, South not only put forward tonight but in regard to which he was good enough to give me private notice by correspondence a little while ago. It is only incidentally and accidentally that my hon. Friend's Clause gives rise to a general discussion on the rate of Estate Duty, and my hon. Friend made it clear that if his general point of view could be accepted he would be perfectly happy if the figures were so adjusted as to prevent a loss in the yield. I do not think I misunderstood him.

On the point of the general yield, I would only say that whatever may be the merits or demerits of Estate Duty at its present level, the loss of yield of £60 million a year, in our present position, is quite clearly one which my right hon. Friend could not possibly consider.

The point which was intended to be raised by this Amendment is—as I think hon. Members on both sides of the Committee would agree—an interesting, instructive and rather valuable one. As I understand it, my hon. and learned Friend wants to apply to the assessment of Estate Duty substantially the same principles as are applied to the assessment of Income Tax and Surtax, namely, that we should not apply a particular rate over the whole sum that becomes subject to tax but that we should apply different rates to different slices of the tax.

That is an interesting proposal. It is not a wholly new one; it was raised in another place by Lord Pethick-Lawrence, some three years ago, and it has been frequently canvassed in the past. Superficially it is not unattractive. It is undoubtedly the fact that the difficulty of the present system is that to which my hon. Friend drew attention, namely, that at the points where one goes to a higher rate of duty, even operating a system of marginal relief as we do, there is a consequence that at certain points the net estate after tax is not increased at all, even with a rise of several thousand pounds in the gross estate. Looking at the matter in the abstract, and from the point of view of a perfectly efficient system of taxation, that is a defect. Whether it is an inevitable defect is perhaps another matter.

My hon. Friend, as I understand it, seeks to cure that defect by this slices system—by applying different rates of tax to different parts of the estate which is subject to tax. I think that the difficulty we come upon when looking at this question is that in the case of Income Tax and Surtax the tax falls upon the income of one person—it is one person, or one body corporate, as the case may be, who enjoys the income and is responsible for the tax—but when one deals with Estate Duty the matter is far less simple.

In the case of an estate of any size, property often passes under more than one title. We may be concerned with gifts inter vivos; joint property passing to survivors; nominated life assurance policies; the passing of a life interest under an existing settlement, and the passing of an annuity. There is a whole variety of different titles under which an estate can pass. Equally, an estate of any size very often passes to a whole variety of beneficiaries, and that makes the matter much less simple to deal with than the income of one particular person with that one particular person liable for the tax. My hon. Friend pointed out that often under the existing system one gets into difficulties, because of the discovery of further property or an alteration in the valuation, and it becomes necessary to put in a corrected affidavit for the alteration of duties. Occasionally executors often retain in their hands, to the fury of the beneficiaries, a substantial part of the estate until sufficient time has lapsed to make further variations improbable. Let us see what happens in that case if a slice system is introduced.

It would have to be much more sharply graduated, if we are not to lose the yield, than it is in the tables on the Order Paper. A comparatively small alteration in the value of the estate would bring one into another slice with a proportionately higher rate of duty. I assume that what my hon. Friend contemplates is the sharing by the various beneficiaries, apart from those with specific legacies, of whatever particular rate of tax the property which they inherited bears. We then come at once to the difficulties one may get into with increased valuation and into another slice with a sharp increase in duty.

Mr. G. R. Mitchison (Kettering)

I fully appreciate these complications. they seem extremely difficult. I was wondering if the Government would consider setting up another Douglas Committee to investigate the fact of this dead spot—if I may call it that—in the mortality rate?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

Any suggestion by the hon. and learned Member will be given the weight it deserves. I do not want to detain the Committee with these complications. They only show what I desire to show, first of all that we have given most careful consideration to what he has said. My hon. Friend was good enough to write to me on this point, and in my reply I indicated some of the difficulties I have indicated to the Committee now. Clearly in his Clause, which he does not want to press, what he wants is to secure some improvement in the general system of Estate Duty. In view of the difficulties, I cannot tell him that we accept his specific proposals, but it may be that with his assistance and that of other hon. Members we may be enabled to clear up some of the difficulties.

On our present view, this Clause raises quite different difficulties from the present system, but difficulties which are just as serious. What I want to indicate is that, although we cannot accept the proposal, I do not want it to be thought that I think the present system is free from all faults. I think it has many, and, in particular, the one we have been discussing tonight.

I am also indicating that we are prepared to look further into the general line my hon. Friend has mentioned to see whether the difficulties can be removed and some better system evolved from it. That does not, and cannot, commit us to anything other than a willingness open-mindedly to look at the proposals that may be brought forward to improve this part of our taxation. I am prepared to tell him that we have found his suggestion interesting and constructive, and are prepared with his assistance and that of any other hon. Gentlemen to look further into it, as we are always prepared to accept any assistance hon. Gentlemen can give us to secure what we all want, that, particularly when taxation is as heavy as it is now, the system should be as fair between taxpayer and taxpayer as human ingenuity can devise.

10.45 p.m.

Mr. Hugh Dalton (Bishop Auckland)

If the Government appear to be in any danger of being defeated on this Clause, I would offer them the support of the Opposition: their majority fell to 10 on the last Division, and that must have caused the heart of the hon. Gentleman to beat a little faster. I do not know if the back benchers opposite are going to press this, but, if so, he will have our assistance if he desires it.

The death duties are not only the most just, but the most painless, and the most satisfactory of all taxes; the dead feel nothing, and the living are enriched, although the tax limits the riches passing to one person. The proposal before the Committee is, I venture to think, merely for re-writing the scale, and there is less in it than the Financial Secretary is inclined to think; because by simple arithmetical processes, one can take a scale consisting of average charges and turn it into a scale of sliced charges.

It would be quite easy to re-write the existing scale, although not in the actual figures in this Clause, which take away £60 million of revenue. But if one did that the marginal rates would run at the top end to a higher figure. It would be possible to present the existing scale in the manner proposed while changing nothing in its incidence. This does nothing to lessen the revenue, but merely presents the same facts in another way.

I considered this when Chancellor, and it then appeared to me that there was no particular advantage in changing the method of writing out the scale, and even with the slice method, there is still a sharp break at the point of passage from one slice to the next; if one has the existing marginal reliefs one does not gain much by changing from one method to the other.

My hon. Friend the Member for Edmonton (Mr. Albu), who is a specialist in these matters, and has written on this subject—most recently in new Fabian Essays—referred to the effects on the inequality of fortunes of this system of taxation. I think I may say that I am the only Chancellor since Harcourt who has ever made any substantial reduction in the death duties; whereas, the present Prime Minister, the late Sir Kingsley Wood, and others, have thrust up the scales of these duties. But I reduced it by lifting the old exemption figure from £100 to £2,000 as the point where the Estate Duty should begin. I thus relieved 75 per cent. of the estates which would otherwise have been liable. I more than made up the loss of revenue by raising the tax on the larger estates.

Having done that, I say that if there is any case at all for looking at the Estate Duty structure now it is not so much by a Clause such as this but by making a change in the scale—perhaps, in view of changes in the value of money, and so on, to lift even above £2,000 the total exemption and to recoup the Treasury by adjustments of the scale at the higher levels, making it more highly graduated than now. I trust that in the Treasury that possibility will also be examined in relation to yield, the balance of loss and gain, and so on.

The hon. Member for Burton (Mr. Colegate) said that he was very anxious to see "anomalies" smoothed out. That is the whole purpose of the steeply graduated Estate Duties. The "anomalies" are the millionaires and their heirs and successors, and the purpose of a steeply-graded tax of this character is constantly to work against the creation of anomalies in the form of abnormally rich people whose wealth is wholly out of relation to any service they have rendered to the community. Therefore, we judge this to be one of the most just and moral taxes in the whole system. I trust that in the coming years we shall be strengthening it still further against the greater fortunes while giving larger benefits to the poorer.

Mr. R. Bell

I realised that this was slightly misleading in its form because the figures must be so much lower than the existing ones. I did bear that in mind and did write to my right hon. Friend, but after hearing the speeches since made by hon. Members opposite I realise that I should have written to the Opposition also and then I would have saved them a certain amount of labour and sorrow.

I do not agree that the present emergency relief takes care of the situation unless it means that the Revenue takes 100 per cent. of the marginal slice. In view of the form which my Clause had to take I should in any case have sought leave to withdraw it in view of the undertaking which the Financial Secretary to the Treasury has given. I realise the limitations of his undertaking and I have all the greater pleasure in asking the leave of the Committee to withdraw the Clause.

Motion and Clause, by leave, withdrawn.