HL Deb 06 March 1851 vol 114 cc1098-9

said he meant to ask their Lordships' leave to lay again upon the table a copy of a series of Resolutions on the subject of the Income Tax, which he had submitted to their Lordships' consideration in the year 1842, when they had led to a long debate. It was not his intention to provoke any discussion on the subject of these resolutions on the present occasion, but he felt that it was due to himself to lay them again on the table, in order that it might be seen that the objections which he had entertained against the income tax in the year 1816, and which he had explained with such minuteness nine years ago, were still as strong and as numerous as ever. Their Lordships were aware that, keeping in view the privileges of the other House of Parliament, they had no opportunity of declaring their precise sentiments on questions of taxation except in the way he now proposed, for they must either receive all the propositions of the other House, or reject them all, having no power of making alterations.

  1. "1. That a direct Tax upon Income ought never to be resorted to unless in some great Emergency of public Affairs, when an extraordinary Expenditure may become unavoidable for a Time, or in some Pressure upon the Finances of the Country, which can be sustained by no other Means:
  2. "2. That it behoves the Parliament, as feithful Guardians of the People's Rights and Interests, to take Care that, during the temporary Existence of this Tax, its Pressure shall be distributed in such a Manner as shall make it be most easily and most patiently borne:
  3. "3. That, with this View, it is expedient to make a Distinction between Income arising from 1099 Capital of every Description and Income arising from Labour merely; levying a smaller Proportion of the latter Income than the former:
  4. "4. That, with the same View, it is expedient to make a Distinction between Income possessed by Persons who have only an Interest in the same for their Lives, or for some lesser Term, and Income possessed by Persons who have an Interest in the Capital from whence the Income arises; levying a larger Proportion of the latter Income than of the former:
  5. "5. That it is neither consistent with Justice nor with sound Policy to levy a greater Proportion of Tax upon large Incomes than upon smaller, and that an Exemption of even the smallest Incomes from the Operation of the Tax can only be justified upon the Supposition that their Owners are wholly unable to pay it:
  6. "6. That no Modification can remove its inquisitorial Operation, which is equally vexatious whatever be the Sums levied, and falls exclusively upon some Classes of the Community, while other Classes escape from it only by being compelled to pay in a larger and unequal Proportion:
  7. "7. That no Modification can remove the Injustice and Inconsistency of making Money previously invested in Improvements or in Trade, and which yielded for some Years no Income, pay as soon as it yielded the expected Profit; this Imposition being, in fact, a Tax not upon Income but upon Capital:
  8. "8. That, besides all its other Defects, an In-come Tax is objectionable as offering by the Facility of raising its Amount according to the supposed Exigence of the Public Service, a constant Temptation to Extravagance on the Part of the Government; removing the most effectual Check upon improvident Expenditure, and dispensing with the Necessity of seeking a Revenue in Retrenchment:
  9. "9. That this Tax being of all other the worst, with the Exception only of Taxes upon Food, upon Law Proceedings, and upon Knowledge, it ought on no account to form part of the ordinary Revenue of the State, but to cease with the Necessity which alone could justify its Imposition:
  10. "10. That while it is the Duty of the People to bear those Burdens which are necessary for supporting the Credit of the Country and maintaining the Security of its widely extended Dominions, it is equally the Duty of Parliament to afford them every procurable Relief, by enforcing strict Economy in all the Departments of the Public Service, by discouraging all Proceedings which may endanger the Continuance of Peace, and by adopting whatever Measures may best conduce to the Improvement of our national Resources."

House adjourned till To-morrow.