HL Deb 05 March 1914 vol 15 cc396-7

LORD ORANMORE AND BROWNE rose to ask His Majesty's Government whether it is intended to introduce in the Finance Bill of this year provisions to exempt lands or houses let on lease for charitable or philanthropic purposes from Reversion Duty on the expiry of such leases.

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I ventured to bring this subject forward in your Lordships' House a year ago, when it attracted some interest and there was a short discussion. The point briefly is this. If a landowner is anxious to give a lease of land or buildings for philanthropic or charitable purposes and agrees to do so at a nominal rent, say a penny a year, when that lease expires his heirs will be mulcted for Reversion Duty; whereas had a full rack rent for these buildings or land been insisted upon no Reversion Duty would be chargeable. The noble Earl, Lord Granard, who replied to me on the last occasion, agreed that this was a serious grievance which called for revision, and said that he would call the attention of the Chancellor of the Exchequer to it in the hope that he might be able to do something to change this aspect of affairs. The right hon. gentleman last year, in the Bill which he introduced after the decision in the Bowles's case, included a clause which would have put this absolutely right. But, as your Lordships are aware, that Bill did not pass the House of Commons; and I therefore think it is desirable at this early stage in the session to ask His Majesty's Government whether they are able to give me any promise or undertaking that the subject will receive attention in the Finance Bill of this year. It is not in any way a Party question, as we must all agree that it is very desirable to encourage owners to give their land at low rents for charitable and philanthropic purposes.


My Lords, as the noble Lord has said, the attention of His Majesty's Government was directed to this question last year, and it was in order to meet the wishes of the noble Lord that one of the clauses was put into the Revenue Bill. That clause—Clause 9—did not pass the House of Commons, because the Bill was not proceeded with. I am not quite sure from what the noble Lord said whether he was satisfied with the terms of Clause 9. [Lord ORANMORE nodded assent.] I am glad to think that the terms satisfied the noble Lord. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has said that it is his intention to revive the Revenue Bill this year, and when he does Clause 9 will form part of it. I hope that on this occasion my right hon. friend will be more fortunate, and will succeed in persuading both Houses of Parliament to allow the Bill to become law.