HC Deb 18 July 1935 vol 304 cc1241-2W

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether he will provide a statement showing the annual value to agriculture of the relief of rates on the pre-1923 basis, the Wheat Act, 1932, the Sugar Beet Act, including relief of Excise Duty, the Beef Subsidy Act, the Milk Subsidy Act, and differential Income Tax relief; and, further, will he state the estimated value of imported foodstuffs subject to duty and the expected revenue therefrom?


Figures are not available as to the amount by which agriculture now benefits by de-rating, but the amounts included in the block grants on the basis of benefit in the year 1928–29 under the provisions of the Agricultural Rates Act, 1923, and the Local Government Acts (but excluding benefit under the Agricultural Rates Act, 1896) totalled approximately £9,300,000. For the current cereal year it is estimated that the levy payments under the Wheat Act, 1932, will amount to £6,800,000. In Estimates and/or Supplementary Estimates for the current financial year the following provision has been made:

Beet Sugar Subsidy 2,878,000
Cattle Fund (Payments to Producers) 3,920,000
Milk (England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland) 2,115,000

The corresponding provisional figure for rebate of taxation in connection with the Beet Sugar subsidy is £2,900,000. There is no Income Tax relief specially confined to agriculture, and I do not understand what the hon. Member intends to convey by the use of the term "differential Income Tax relief." If he will communicate with me indicating what particular point he has in mind I will have further inquiry made. There is no information available as to the estimated value of foodstuffs delivered for home consumption on payment of duty, as no record is kept of the value of such foodstuffs liable to specific duty. Nor is it possible to give any reliable estimate of the future revenue from imported foodstuffs as a whole, but the approximate amount of Customs duties collected during the financial year 1934–35 on foodstuffs, including tea, coffee and cocoa, and certain foodstuffs used in part as feeding stuffs for animals, which cannot be separately distinguished, was £31,265,000.