HC Deb 29 June 1909 vol 7 cc360-1W

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will state the full effect of the difference between the definition of agricultural land as defined in the Agricultural Eating Act and the definition of agricultural land given in Clause 27 of the Finance Bill; and what is the reason for this differentiation and its intention for the purposes of taxation?


Every definition must be considered with reference to the subject-matter of the measure in which it is contained, and it does not follow that the definition of a term in one Act of Parliament must necessarily suit the subject- matter of another Act of Parliament. In point of fact, however, the differences, which I will proceed to enumerate, between the two definitions mentioned by my hon. Friend are very small:—(1) Owing to the definition in the Agricultural Rating Act being exhaustive, while that in the Finance Bill is inclusive, arable land, which was necessarily specified in the Rating Act, is not referred to in Clause 27 of the Finance Bill. Similarly, orchards are not specifically mentioned in Clause 27. (2) Woodland is included in the definition in the Bill, but not in the definition in the Act. (3) Cottage gardens exceeding a quarter of an acre were specially included in the Agricultural Rates Act, whereas other gardens were specially excluded. Under the Bill gardens are treated separately, and any garden not exceeding an acre occupied with a dwelling house is exempt from Undeveloped Land Duty. (4) The exclusive part of the definition in the Agricultural Rates Act would not be appropriate to the Bill, as the matters excluded, parks, gardens, recreation grounds, etc., are dealt with in the Bill by special provisions. I may perhaps point out that the differences between the two definitions are all in the favour of the taxpayer.