HC Deb 11 December 1928 vol 223 cc1925-7W

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will give the figures showing the taxation per head of population in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, and the United States of America for 1913 and for the years 1919 to 1927, inclusive?

United Kingdom. France. Germany.* Italy. U.S.A.*
£ s. d. Francs. Reichsmarks. Lire. $
1913 or 1913–14 3 11 4 84.5 31.3 53.8 6.8
1919 or 1919–20 21 14 5 221.1 —‡ 179.3 53.8
1920 or 1920–21 22 0 8 393.2 —‡ 248.7 45.2
1921 or 1921–22 18 1 10 426.9 —‡ 313.9 32.5
1922 or 1922–23 17 8 1† 467.7 —‡ 327.7 28.6
1923 or 1923–24 16 2 5† 522.7 —‡ 373.2 29.7
1924 or 1924–25 15 9 0† 676.1 117.0 380.4 27.5
1925 or 1925–26 15 2 8† 702.4 108.4 426.8 29.6
1926 or 1926–27 14 11 8† 910.2 113.4 394.4 30.0
1927 or 1927–28 15 6 3† 1,104.7 134.2 409.6 28.4
* Excluding taxation raised by States.
† Excluding Irish Free State.
‡ Owing to the depreciation of the paper mark, the annual returns of tax revenue during the period 1919 to 1924 are of no statistical value.


As I have before now had occasion to explain, a comparison of the kind requested is apt to be misleading. To obtain a complete picture it is necessary to take into consideration payments to local as well as to national authorities, the local purchasing power of money, the various standards and habits of living, the character of the national expenditure and its relation to the national wealth, the weight of indirect taxation and its effect on prices, together with other important factors. Further, the statistical value for purposes of comparison of the figures for our own country is affected by various special factors which should be taken into account, e. g.:

  1. (a) the figures for the years before 1921 include and the figures since 1921 exclude the Irish Free State;
  2. (b) the abnormal decrease in the yield of taxation in 1926 was due to the dislocation of trade following the coal stoppage; and
  3. (c) the smaller but considerable temporary rise in 1927 was apparent rather than real, being due to the new method of collecting Income Tax, Schedule A.

Subject to qualifications of this nature, the following figures represent the taxation per head of population raised by the central Governments in the respective countries;


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he can give the figures showing the total burden of the National Debt and the amount per capita in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and the United States of America, respectively?


Owing to differences in the political constitution of the countries concerned, it is not possible to give strictly comparable figures. The figures below represent the nominal amount of the debts of the central Governments in the respective countries. It should be borne in mind that the nominal amount of a nation's indebted-

National Debts, 31st March, 1928.
Currency. Debt. Per head in sterling at current rates of exchange.
Amount. Per head in currency.
United Kingdom £ 7,527,570,000 165.7 165.7
France Francs Internal 291,306,000,000 7149.7 57.6
External 178,738,000,000 4386.8 35.4
Total 470,044,000,000 11,536.5 93.0
Germany (apart from Reparations). Reichsmarks 7,890,600,000 124.8 6.1
U.S.A. $ 17,633,115,000 149.4 30.6

(1) The figures for the external debt of France are as at 31st December, 1927, and represent the equivalent in paper francs, at the current rate of exchange, of the various obligations or France in foreign currencies, including the war debts to this country and to the United States, at their nominal amounts.

(2) The figures for Germany represent the amount of the public debt of the German Reich, but do not include either the debt of Germany for reparations in respect of which 2,500 million gold marks are at present payable each year, or the debts of the separate German States.

(3) The figures for the United States represent the debt of the Federal Government and do not include the debts of the several States of the Union.

It should be borne in mind that, apart from the qualifications referred to in the above notes, the nominal totals or public debts afford no measure of their real burden and any comparison between the various figures of the debts per head, taken by themselves, would be misleading.