HC Deb 03 April 1958 vol 585 cc1369-70
33. Mrs. Hill

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in view of the reduced amount now collected by the 2d. stamp at present required by the law on receipts for accounts over £2, if he will amend the Stamp Act, 1891, in order to remove this requirement completely.

Mr. Simon

I cannot anticipate my right hon. Friend's Budget statement.

Mrs. Hill

While the hon. and learned Gentleman may not be able to anticipate his right hon. Friend's Budget statement, and in view of the changed value of money since the Act was passed in 1891, will the Financial Secretary to the Treasury say whether, if he cannot dispense with the point altogether, the amount be raised to something more reasonable in comparison with the present-day value of money?

Mr. Simon

I have no doubt that my right hon. Friend will note and take into account what has been said by my hon. Friend.

Mr. H. Wilson

Will his right hon. Friend also, between now and the Budget, take into account something to which we drew attention last year—the extraordinary fact that Stamp Duties in this country, including those on Stock Exchange transactions, are not legally enforceable and that payment cannot be enforced, but offenders can be fined only a small sum if they do not pay? Is the hon. and learned Gentleman aware of the widespread evasion and avoidance of the payment of Stamp Duties, and will he ask his right hon. Friend to look at that matter as well?

Mr. Simon

I will draw my right hon. Friend's attention to the points that have been made by the right hon. Gentleman.

Mr. Lipton

Is not it a fact that, as a result of the objects of the Cheques Act being completely misconstrued, firms of otherwise good reputation are deliberaately not carrying out their responsibilities in this matter and are refusing to provide stamped receipts on the payment of accounts? Will the hon. and learned Gentleman make it clear that companies' stamped receipts are legally enforceable and must be provided when an account is paid?

Mr. Simon

That is an entirely different question.