New Clause. — (Repeal of s. 36 of 8 and 9 Geo. V, c. 15.)

Part of Orders of the Day — Finance Bill. – in the House of Commons on 8th July 1924.

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Photo of Mr Neville Chamberlain Mr Neville Chamberlain , Birmingham, Ladywood

I think we have now a pretty clear idea of what it is we want to do, and what it is we do not want to do, in making any alteration in the law as it at present stands. I examined the Amendment with some care, and whilst I agree with the object of my hon. Friend the Member for Farnham, I do not think the Amendment is drafted in a way which the Financial Secretary could accept as it stands. In the Act itself the Special Commissioners are not directed to say what is a reasonable amount to be distributed by the company; they are only directed to say what is not a reasonable amount. I do not think the words, therefore, could stand as they are, because there is no reasonable amount mentioned in the Act. That objection, as the hon. Member for Watford (Mr. D. Herbert) has pointed out, does not appply to the Amendment which stands in his name. This Clause says that the amount to be charged is not to exceed such part of the income of the company as, for the purpose of that Section, shall be a reasonable part thereof for the company to distribute. That does not seem clearly to indicate who is to decide what is a reasonable part, but I want to suggest to the Financial Secretary that, if he amended the last line, so as to make it clear by whose authority the reasonable part ought to be decided, he might then quite well give an undertaking that he will accept the Clause of my hon. Friend in the words in which it is put down.