Orders of the Day — Revenue, 1929–30.

– in the House of Commons on 14th April 1930.

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The Committee may be interested to know how the particular items of revenue have responded to expectations. Under Customs and Excise there were large deficiencies—on spirits more than £1,400,000 and on the Beer Duty over £1,800,000. Other heads of Customs and Excise revenue which failed to reach expectations were oil, nearly £700,000 short and sugar, nearly £1,600,000 short. On the other hand, tobacco continued its good Budget record of recent years and yielded a surplus of £2,800,000. This, I understand, is the result in the main—well, not in the main, but in a large measure—of the social and economic equality of the sexes. The Entertainment Duty showed a surplus over estimate of nearly £500,000, which may be connected with the boom in talking films.

This increase in the yield of the Entertainment Duty is interesting and it opens up a field of investigation for the social economist. It may be due to the diversion of expenditure from the public-house, or it may indicate that, notwithstanding the wide prevalence of unemployment, the aggregate spending power of the masses has not fallen off. The Customs and Excise revenue, as a whole, was short by £3,012,000.

The Inland Revenue showed a much larger deficiency, namely £9,624,000. The Income Tax yield of £237,500,000 was £2,000,000 below the estimate, but it shows an advance on the yield of previous years, if the various changes made in the scope of the charge of the tax are taken into account. So far as the Income Tax may be taken as a barometer of national prosperity therefore we are entitled at least to say that industry as a whole continued to hold its ground. The Surtax yield is slightly better than the previous year, but has failed to show the expansion which was expected, and is £1,500,000 below the estimate. The Budget expectations with regard to the Stamp Duties were sadly disappointed. The Stamp Duties had been estimated to yield £31,000,000, or £1,000,000 in excess of the boom year of 1928. With the decline in Stock Exchange transactions, the receipts from these Duties fall short of the estimate by the large sum of £5,330,000. Death Duties failed by £1,230,000 to realise the high figure of £81,000,000 at which they had been estimated, but there was a surplus of £550,000 in the collection of arrears of Excess Profits Duty and the Corporation Profits Tax.

By comparison with the large deficiencies in Customs and Inland Revenue, non-tax revenue may he regarded as having done quite well. It yielded £79,500,000 against a forecast of £300,000 less. There were one or two disappointments under certain heads of Miscellaneous Revenue, but these were made good by surpluses under Receipts from Sundry Loans. The net receipt from the Post Office was £9,200,000, or £300,000 in excess of the estimate.