§ Mr. D. SOMERVILLE
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the grounds on which he bases his assertion that the burden of the Inhabited House Duty in proportion to the means to pay it has diminished; and whether, seeing that owing to the existing unemployment the standard of wages in many industries is exceptionally low, and in view of the housing shortage and the absolute inability of many tenants to find cheaper homes, he will consider postponing the enforcement of the new quinquennial 1243W valuation until the time when housing conditions will have become more supportable to the very poor?
§ Mr. BALDWIN
Inhabited House Duty is not charged in any case where the annual value of the property is less than £20, and the yearly charge for a dwelling-house of £20 annual value is 5s. (£20 at 3d. in the £) at the present rates of the duty, while the charge for a shop of the same annual value is 3s. 4d. (£20 at 2d. in the £). The relative burden of these small charges, which have remained unaltered for many years, is certainly less under existing conditions than in pre-War times. The valuation of property for Income Tax purposes at present in force was made so long ago as 1910 and is, therefore, gravely out of date, and I cannot consider any further postponement of the re-assessment, in regard to which the necessary preliminary legislation was embodied in Section 32 of this year's Finance Act.