§ 6. Mr. Ridley
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what would be the equivalent today of 7s. 6d. dog licences, in view of the fall in the value of money since they were introduced.
§ The Economic Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Anthony Barber)
Dog licensing was first introduced in 1796 but the present charge dates from 1878. The equivalent today of 7s. 6d. then would be about 32s. 6d.
§ Mr. Ridley
May I sow the idea in my hon. Friend's mind that this would be a convenient way of raising some revenue? May I ask him to bear in mind that it would be possible for him to exempt old-age pensioners from such a charge but that it is ridiculous to leave it at its present low level?
§ Mr. Barber
Obviously we will bear in mind what my hon. Friend has said, but this tax was originally introduced, I am told, for quite a special purpose in 1796, to pay for the war with France. While I see my hon. Friend's point about exempting old-age pensioners, they are not the only people who might find it a hardship if the tax were increased. We will certainly bear in mind what he has said.
§ Mr. Peyton
Will my hon. Friend bear in mind that, in the first place, there is no war with France to pay for now? Will he also consider the cost of collecting this fatuous tax and whether the game is worth the candle?
§ Mr. Barber
I note that one of my hon. Friends wishes the tax to be increased and the other wishes it to be abolished.