asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what are the reasons for the increase in the audit stamp duty; and whether he is aware to what an extent this increase adds to the already overwhelming burden of local authorities?
Sir A. MONO
I have been asked to reply. The reason for the issue of the new scale of Audit Stamp Duty was that Section 61 (1) of the Finance Act, 1921, required that a new scale should be fixed so as to secure that the Stamp Duty payable by local authorities should cover the whole cost of the district auditors instead of only part of the cost as hitherto. As regards the second part of the question, I am aware that the new scale necessarily increases the amount of duty payable by local authorities generally, but the amount of such increase in individual cases is comparatively small.
§ Mr. ROYCE
asked the Minister of Health whether he has received any protests from rural district councils and boards of guardians regarding a new and increased scale of Audit Stamp Duties, as fixed in Treasury Order, 1921, No. 1895; and whether, considering these authorities are already paying an in. creased duty by reason of the normal 631W expenditure being at least twice the amount at which it stood in pre-War days, he will state what steps, if any, he proposes to take to deal with the objections raised?
§ Sir A. MOND
I have received some representations from rural district councils and boards of guardians on this subject. The new scale of Audit Stamp Duty was issued by the Treasury in consequence of the provision in the Finance Act, 7921, requiring that the duties levied shall be sufficient to cover the whole cost of the district auditors instead of only part, as hitherto. As regards the authorities mentioned in the question, the duty payable by them will be considerably reduced if my proposal to substitute annual for half-yearly audits is accepted by Parliament.