New Clause. — (Amendment as to Stamp Duty on leases of certain dwelling- houses.)

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

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Paragraph (1) of the heading "Lease or Tack," in the First Schedule to The Stamp Act, 1891 (which relates to the stamp duty on a lease or tack of any dwelling-house or part of a dwelling-house for a definite term not exceeding a year at a rent not exceeding the rate of ten pounds per annum), and paragraph (a) of Subsection (1) of Section seventy-eight of the said Act (which provides that the duty on any such lease or tack as is mentioned in the said paragraph (1) may be denoted by an adhesive stamp) shall have effect as though "forty pounds" were therein substituted for "ten pounds."—[Mr. T. Johnston.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

Photo of Mr Thomas Johnston Mr Thomas Johnston , Stirlingshire and Clackmannanshire Western

I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."

I trust that I shall be able to explain the Amendment to the Committee. About a year ago about the time of the last Budget I endeavoured to induce the then Financial Secretary to agree to it, and although I failed to get it incorporated in his Budget last year I induced him and the Treasury to see that there was something in it, and finally I got word that the matter would be brought before the Chancellor's Department, who notified me that the suggestion made had been noted with a view to some action being taken when an opportunity presented itself. By the Stamp Act of 1891 lord subsequently amended by the Budget of 1910, the Stamp Duty payable by a tenant for a house rented over £5 and not exceeding £10 is 1s., over £10 and under £15 the duty is 3s., over £15 and under £20, 4s.; over £20 and under £25, 5s.; and over £25 up to £50, 10s. Obviously these taxes defeat themselves. Very few tenants and very few landlords are now paying these taxes because the missives are illegal, and where the case goes into Court the pesiding Sheriff cannot look at the missive because it is illegal. These missives are held to be illegal, and the tenant has no protection nor has the landlord in some cases where a missive is not signed. There is the case of a lady who having resided for seven years in one property in Glasgow went down last Tuesday to cite the missive. She asked the factor for the reason of the charge of 10s., and he informed her that the notice to quit broke the contract, that she now ranked as a new tenant and that Stamp Duty had to be paid. All that is proposed in the Amendment is that £10 should now read £40. I submit this to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, that if he lean see his way to agree to this Amendment the revenue will actually benefit.

Photo of Mr Philip Snowden Mr Philip Snowden , Colne Valley

My hon. Friend has submitted this new Clause with so much lucidity and persuasiveness, together with the assurance that the revenue is likely to benefit, that I have no option but to accept it.

Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill.