HC Deb 17 March 1926 vol 193 cc450-1W

asked the Secretary for Mines what sum of money was paid to the Somerset colliery owners in respect of deferred repairs; on what dates were the payments made; and what steps were taken to ascertain the accuracy of the claims before payments were made?

Colonel LANE FOX

The hon. Member appears to be under a misapprehension regarding the method of dealing with allowances for postponed repairs. These allowances are made under the provisions of Sub-Section 3 of Section 40 of the Finance (No. 2) Act, 1915, and have the effect of reducing the profits of the undertakings concerned for the purposes of Excess Profits Duty and consequently also of the Coal Mines Control Agreement (Confirmation) Act, 1918, and the, Coal Mines (Emergency) Act, 1920. The allowances are thus merged in the general settlement of accounts for these purposes; they may have the effect of reducing the owner's liability under the Acts referred to, or of increasing the amounts payable to the owners under those Acts. Even apart, therefore, from the obligation of secrecy imposed on the Commissioners of Inland Revenue in such matters, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to give a precise answer to the hon. Member's question. The assistance of the technical and accounting staff of the Mines Department is given to the Inland Revenue for the purpose of investigating claims, and arriving at the correct amount of the allowances.