§ Mr. HAYDN JONES
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether gold and silver are the absolute property of the State and are the only products upon which royalties on production are claimed by the Treasury; whether, in order to encourage the production of gold and silver not only in Wales but in other parts of the United Kingdom and in order to provide employment, the Government will for a period forego all royalties and taxation and so offer an inducement to capitalists to re-open the mines with up-to-date machinery with a view of saving the base as well as the precious metals contained in the ores?
Free gold and silver are the property of the Crown and the royalties, with those of other Crown mines forming part of the Land Revenues in charge of the Commissioners of Woods, are payable by those Commissioners to the Exchequer. As regards the last part of the question my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer has no power to forego taxation on any profits made by gold and silver mines, and I am satisfied that the very moderate rate of 2 per cent. on production of gold and silver charged as royalty is not an appreciable factor in determining whether such mines resume working or not.