No instrument chargeable with stamp duty under the heading "Letter or Power of Attorney, and Commission, Factory, Mandate, or other instrument in the nature thereof" in the First Schedule to The Stamp Act, 1891, shall be charged with duty more than once by reason only that more persons than one are named in the instrument as donors or donees (whether jointly, severally, or otherwise), of the powers, thereby conferred or that those powers relate to more than one matter.—[Mr. Churchill.]
The new Clause has been put down to meet to a very large extent and in some respects to an even greater extent what was asked for in the Amendment moved by my hon. Friend the Member for Cambridge University (Mr. Withers). We promised the hon. Gentleman on the Committee stage that we would take this action. The. Clause is primarily designed to meet a point of doubt and occasional difficulty which arises in connection with the assessment of Stamp Duty on Powers of Attorney by which a number of persons are appointed to act. That, I think, briefly, is the effect of it. I do not think it will be advantageous to go into it in great detail, although I should be prepared to do so. The Clause, as now drafted, carries out fully the intention which animated the hon. Member for Cambridge University in his proposal, and in one respect it is more generous than his proposal. The amount of duty involved is quite inconsiderable. We do not consider that the revenue will be prejudicially affected in any appreciable way or that it need be a factor in the decision to which the House has now to come. The proposals put forward are designed to meet the promise made in Committee, and I trust they will be assented to by the House.
I wish to say only a word or two on this Clause. The previous speech having been designed to secure the explanation of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, I would say again that it would be unreasonable to offer any objection. I remember the discussion which took place on a previous occasion. We are told that very little revenue is involved here, and, in any case, on impartial view, it is unfair to duplicate the Stamp Duty in cases of this kind, so that from this side of the House we have no objection whatever to this Clause.