Orders of the Day — Postponed Clause 19. — (Exemptions.)

– in the House of Commons on 23rd June 1931.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Dennis Herbert Mr Dennis Herbert , Watford

I beg to move, in page 19, line 3, to leave out from the word "unit," to the end of line 5, and to insert instead thereof the word "which."

I may explain my Amendment best in this way. This Clause grants certain exemptions and reliefs, and the words which I propose to leave out except from exemptions and relief land units which are subject to a lease granted for a term exceeding 50 years. I want to make sure that the full exception which I understand the Government really wish to give is given effectively in these cases. The position is that, taking Clause 19 by itself, certain charities—if I may use that word widely to cover all the exempted list—are exempted from this tax in respect of land which is not let by them for a period of 50 years. If it is subject to a lease for 50 years, then, under this Clause, they are not exempt. I am told that they are exempt under Clause 20.

That may be the case, but realising that the mere striking out of these words at the beginning of this Clause was not quite sufficient I have ventured to put down another Amendment to the Chancellor of the Exchequer's Amendment to provide that in the case of any of these exempted units the amount which could be thrown back on to the owner by the lessee should not be thrown back upon him and that the lessee should be exempt. The only thing I have to say about it is that that Amendment of mine, which, with a slight amount of polishing up, would meet the whole case, is only five lines in length, and the Government apparently propose to do the same thing by a Clause which is nearly a page and a half and contains in the very first Subsection one sentence of 15 lines. I have been trying to make out what the Clause means exactly, and I think I have arrived at the intention, but the whole thing is so involved that it needs to be carefully considered. I ask the Solicitor-General whether what is intended to be done by Clause 20 could not be done by a more direct form of words which would be beyond doubt, and which would be more easily understood by the taxpayer.

Photo of Sir Stafford Cripps Sir Stafford Cripps , Bristol East

The intention, and I think the achievement, of Clause 20 is to give the result which the hon. Member for Watford (Sir D. Herbert) has mentioned. The matter has been very carefully considered, and it has been decided that what I have suggested is the best way of doing it in order to make certain that the exemption is granted. I will, however, promise to look into the matter again, and see whether any improvements can be made in the drafting.

Photo of Mr Dennis Herbert Mr Dennis Herbert , Watford

I know that there are many important things to be discussed, but I want to suggest that the whole of Clause 20 might be got into 20 lines at the outside, instead of the long Clause which is proposed. If I scrutinised that Clause, I think I should find that all sorts of questions might be raised, such as the question whether "land unit" is the proper phrase to deal with this particular interest. From what the Solicitor-General has said I take it that he will be prepared to reconsider this point, and, if he gives me that undertaking, I should be inclined to ask leave to withdraw my Amendment.

Photo of Reverend Herbert Dunnico Reverend Herbert Dunnico , Consett

I understand that the hon. Member desires to withdraw his Amendment.

Photo of Mr Dennis Herbert Mr Dennis Herbert , Watford

I did not ask leave to withdraw my Amendment, because I was anxious to give some of my hon. Friends an opportunity of discussing my Amendment. As soon as my hon. Friends have said what they wish to say, then I shall be prepared to withdraw the Amendment.

Photo of Mr Walter Womersley Mr Walter Womersley , Grimsby

There are other people concerned about the wording of Clause 19. The associations which represent the local authorities have expressed some concern about the proposals in Clause 19 and they are not convinced that their case is covered by the provisions in Clause 20. I ask the Solicitor-General, in reconsidering this matter, to take into account the opinion of the Municipal Corporations Association who have communicated with me in regard to it.

Photo of Mr Dennis Herbert Mr Dennis Herbert , Watford

I beg to ask leave to withdraw my Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Photo of Mr Arthur Steel-Maitland Mr Arthur Steel-Maitland , Tamworth

I beg to move, in page 19, line 5, at the end, to insert the words: (a) is held by a body of persons for charitable, benevolent, or religious purposes who are exempt from liability to Income Tax under the provisions of Section thirty-seven of the Income Tax Act, 1918, or under Section thirty-two of the Finance Act, 1921, as amended by Section nineteen of the Finance Act, 1930. This Amendment was put down at the request of the Church of Scotland, but of course, in its ambit, it is much greater, and covers all charitable, benevolent, or religious purposes. In view of the fact that the Amendment which has been put down on this point by the, Chancellor of the Exchequer covers charitable, benevolent, or religious purposes, I do not wish to take up the time of the Committee by debating this Amendment at any length. There is one particular object which the Church of Scotland has in mind and about which there is some doubt. It is whether the Amendment which the Chancellor of the Exchequer proposes would cover the widows and orphans fund. It was in order to cover that fund that a reference was made to Section 32 of the Finance Act of 1921. From the point of view of the Treasury, I understand that my proposal goes too far, because it covers other things to which they do not wish to extend exemptions. I am informed, however, that it will be covered by Sections 37 and 38 of the Income Tax Act. If I receive an assurance to that effect, I do not wish to press my Amendment.

Photo of Sir Stafford Cripps Sir Stafford Cripps , Bristol East

I have not sufficient knowledge of the fund in question to give a definite answer, but perhaps the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Tamworth (Sir A. Steel-Maitland) will allow me to put it in this way. If the fund is one distributed by way of bounty and not by way of contract, I think it would be a charity within the sense of a charity under the Income Tax Act; but, if it is a contractual fund, and if it is not distributed by way of bounty, it would not be exempt under the general charitable Clause.

Photo of Mr Arthur Steel-Maitland Mr Arthur Steel-Maitland , Tamworth

I gather that it is quite clear that it is a fund distributed by way of bounty. In these circumstances, I do not wish to press my Amendment further. The matter will be looked into by the Church of Scotland, and, if it has not been made quite clear, I will raise the matter again on the Report stage.

Photo of Colonel Josiah Wedgwood Colonel Josiah Wedgwood , Newcastle-under-Lyme

There is another question which I desire to raise on this Amendment. Probably we shall not have an opportunity of discussing the Government Amendment to-night. Some of us are strongly opposed to this form of endowment and charitable provisions being dealt with in this way, and, if we miss this chance of discussing the point, we may not have another opportunity.

Photo of Reverend Herbert Dunnico Reverend Herbert Dunnico , Consett

The Government Amendment must be reached.

Photo of Colonel Josiah Wedgwood Colonel Josiah Wedgwood , Newcastle-under-Lyme

Yes, but it may not be discussed.

Photo of Reverend Herbert Dunnico Reverend Herbert Dunnico , Consett

The Government Amendment must be reached and will, so far as I know, be discussed.

Photo of Mr Dennis Herbert Mr Dennis Herbert , Watford

What is the question before the Committee?

Photo of Reverend Herbert Dunnico Reverend Herbert Dunnico , Consett

The Amendment which has been moved by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Tamworth (Sir A. Steel-Maitland), and is proposed from the Chair.

Photo of Colonel Josiah Wedgwood Colonel Josiah Wedgwood , Newcastle-under-Lyme

This question has frequently been discussed in this House. I have refreshed my mind with previous Debates on this question. The exemption of charities and religious endowments from taxation is a subject which has frequently been brought forward. The question was discussed on one almost historic occasion, and, as the question has so often been put to audiences as to what Mr. Gladstone said in 1863, I will tell the House something of what he did say. I have the very greatest admiration for every word that fell from Mr. Gladstone's lips, and I do not think that hon. Members can do better than look back to the attitude which Mr. Gladstone took up on various occasions when he spoke on this question. On the particular occasion to which I refer, Mr. Gladstone made a speech which the late Herbert Paul said was the finest speech Mr. Gladstone made in his life. It was almost a unique occasion, and, speaking from that Box with a party majority behind him, Mr. Gladstone's proposal was defeated. Nevertheless, Mr. Gladstone was in the right, and his speech on that occasion carries conviction to-day. The occasion of that speech was a Motion to exempt charities from the Income Tax, and Mr. Gladstone opposed that exemption, as all good Chancellors of the Exchequer would do, but he was beaten. The arguments used by Mr. Gladstone on that occasion are as sound now as they were then, and he laid down that: What the State remits to a man it gives to him. If you remit the Land Tax, or any other tax to any charitable or religious institution, you are in fact endowing that charity and that institution. He went on to say: If this money is to be laid out upon what are called charities, why is that portion of the State expenditure to be altogether withdrawn from view. … to be so contrived that we shall know nothing of it and have no control over it? If you are voting the State's money, this House has a right to see how that money is spent, whether it is wasted or otherwise. He also said: A payment of public money for the purpose I have stated, which payment can only be obtained by levying it off the rest of the community, appears to me. … to be wrong in principle and dangerous in its consequences. 8.0 p.m.

Can anyone deny to-day that it is "wrong in principle and dangerous in its consequences" when all chance of public control or criticism over the expenditure of that money is withdrawn? It may be urged that at any rate religious endowments stand upon a different footing. That was indeed Mr. Gladstone's view also, but his view was that no one should be bold enough to ask for the exemption of religious endowments from Income Tax, and that only charitable endowments might ask for it. As to religious endowments, he said—and I wish it were true to-day: The State has, however, long thought that with respect to religious endowments it was desirable, owing to their nature, to pass laws with a view to limit their growth. I wish we could say the same to-day. Here we are, under this Amendment, removing from the purview of this tax not merely churches and schools, but every bit of property belonging to those churches. The whole of the valuable building estate round the Westminster Pro-Cathedral becomes henceforth free of Land Value Duty. The whole of every bit of property belonging to a church or to a charity, though there is no sort of supervision as to the way in which that money is expended, though much of it is expended, in my opinion, in the propagation of error, is all exempted from taxation and control. I conceive this to be a thoroughly reactionary step that we are taking. I do not believe that there can be any democratic argument in favour of it. We see these religious endowments growing in strength and growing in wealth, and I would remind those hon. Friends of mine who support this as in the interests of their faith that, in the words of M. Clemenceau, uttered not long before he died: Christianity, which began by being the refuge of the poor, has ended by becoming the trades union of the rich. Every additional endowment clogs the power of that institution for good. Here you are endowing it. We are not told—it has not been suggested that we should be informed—as to what the amount of the endowment is to be, and there is no estimate as to how much the Church of England, or the Roman Catholic Church, or the Nonconformist bodies, or charitable organisations are going to get out of the taxpayer's pocket by this relief. That is left out. Nevertheless, the rest of the taxpayers are contributing that money. It is so easy to press for exemptions. I understand that every Member of this House on the Labour benches, except myself, has put down an Amendment to exempt something or other. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] Good, there are some sound people still left, but it is so easy to ask for exemption for your friends.

I must confess that latterly I have not been giving all the time to Parliamentary duties that I might, because I have been spending so much time in historical research, and I have found many interesting things from the actions of Parliament in the 15th century. In the 15th century the Civil Service of this country was paid for by the Crown by giving grants, unfortunately for life in most cases. The civil servant begged for what he could get, and got what he could, and the grants naturally, as the Civil Service developed, became more and more numerous; and every now and then the public opinion of the country got so exasperated by the progressive poverty of the Crown and the progressive endowment of the Civil Service that something in the nature of a revolution took place, and the Commons forced through an Act of Resumption, whereby, without a penny piece of compensation, everything that the King had granted was resumed to the Crown—a very sound piece of legislation. It was never called robbery in those days, but resumption. Nowadays it is called robbery, but the act was the same. But directly Parliament had passed an Act of Resumption, the individual Members of Parliament got together and put in Clauses to exempt their friends. Now in one of the Acts of Resumption at which I was looking, away back in 1455, I think, the exemptions for the friends of the King who got the grants—most of them, I regret to say, Members of that Parliament—occupied 375 double columns of the folio volume of the Rolls of Parliament.

Here, too, it is said, "Let us exempt our friends. Whatever else we do, whatever happens to the taxpayer, whatever happens to our financial virtue, let us exempt our friends"; and we have proceeded to exempt and exempt till there is nothing left of the tax at all. However, I understand that the Chancellor of the Exchequer is standing firm against some of the exemptions. He is only exempting the charities, whether good, bad or indifferent; and churches—whether they preach that which is right or wrong does not matter—are exempted, but I do not think that we are exempting trade union funds—an extraordinary thing. I do not think that we are exempting widows and orphans per se—another extraordinary thing. We are only exempting the institutions. I am afraid that much as the majority of the Members of this Committee probably disapprove of the individual exemptions proposed by these Amendments, yet because they are implicated in some of them, they feel that the exemptions must be accepted and carried through.

I wish there was more financial virtue about this House of Commons. I wish we could stand up, as Gladstone did in 1863, and say: "The arguments in favour of exempting charities, although they may move the heart of the hearer, yet have no substance in logic or in ethics." I wish we could say, as he said then, that because many people ask for exemption, that is no reason why the Government should consent to exempt them. In those days the Government of Mr. Gladstone at any rate looked after the interest of the country as a whole and put that in front of the various vested interests clamouring for his assistance. I wish I knew that the Chancellor of the Exchequer was standing firm to-day. I am sorry that we are having any concessions made, but I would not like this Bill to go through without putting forward my voice——

Photo of Reverend Herbert Dunnico Reverend Herbert Dunnico , Consett

The right hon. and gallant Member must keep to the particular Amendment before the Committee.

Photo of Colonel Josiah Wedgwood Colonel Josiah Wedgwood , Newcastle-under-Lyme

The Amendment covers a good deal of the ground. In any case, it covers enough ground to meet with my opposition, and I should not have liked to let this Amendment be embodied in the Bill without recording that at any rate those of us who set some value by tradition and by the wisdom of our forefathers are opposed to these endowments of charities, often false, and religions growing dangerously strong.

Photo of Mr John Oldfield Mr John Oldfield , Essex South Eastern

On a point of Order. I think everybody in the House probably shares the hon. Member's desire to get to the Amendment which is being moved by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and it is a fact that most of the other Amendments on the Paper before it are very much affected by the Chancellor's Amendment. I would ask whether it would not be possible to deal rather shortly and objectively with the Amendments which come before that of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and have a more general discussion on the Government Amendment.

Photo of Reverend Herbert Dunnico Reverend Herbert Dunnico , Consett

That is not a point of Order, but I would remind the hon. Member that there are several Amendments on the Paper that I must call, and which without general consent I cannot pass over them before we reach the Government's Amendment.

Amendment negatived.

Photo of Mr John Colville Mr John Colville , Midlothian and Peeblesshire Northern

I beg to move, in page 19, line 5, at the end, to insert the words: (a) is land used for industrial purposes, and for the purposes of this Part of this Act 'industrial purposes' means purposes of the following classes (that is to say):—

  1. (i) the use of land any part of which or the buildings or structures upon which would make such land, buildings, or structures or any part of them subject to the provisions of the Factory and Workshops Acts, 1901 to 1920; or
  2. (ii) any land which, with the buildings or structures thereon, is within the definition of industrial hereditaments as defined in Section three of the Rating and Valuation (Apportionment) Act, 1928."
I think I am speaking for every member of the party to which I belong when I say that while we disapprove of the whole principle of this tax, in no aspect does it strike us as more sinister than in relation to its application to industry. I think I may be pardoned if I take a wide view in discussing the Amendment. Great Britain is an industrial country, whose population has increased in a century from 14,000,000 to 40,000,000, supported largely by her industry, her home trade and her foreign trade, and at the present time, while our population presses on us, our industry languishes, and the outlet of emigration, which for many years ran at a level of some 400,000 a year, is practically closed. Therefore, we have this great problem at home of finding employment for our people. Costly expedients are resorted to to maintain our population. Only yesterday the House passed a Resolution to borrow up to £125,000,000 for unemployment relief, yet we feel—and I think everyone in this House, irrespective of party, must feel—that the real cure does not lie in palliatives like that, but in trying to get people back to work, and that anything which stands in the way of that end should be countered at once.

Nobody has pronounced more gravely on the situation in industry in this country than the Chancellor of the Exchequer himself, in a speech which he will very well remember. On the 11th February, there was a Debate on a Motion of Censure on the Government—an economy Debate—and the Chancellor of the Exchequer made a speech which made an impression not only on the House and the whole country, but I think I am not wrong in saying, on the whole world. He visualised the grave situation in which our industries stand, and I will quote one sentence, which summed up the whole thing. He referred to a quotation from last year's Budget speech, in which he had said that he was anxious to avoid, if possible, further imposts upon industry, and he then went on in these words: In view of the deeper depression since that time, I feel the importance of that statement to-day more than I did 12 months ago. I believe, if I may put it so bluntly as this, that an increase of taxation in present conditions which fell on industry would be the last straw. Those are very blunt words, as he himself calls them. He goes on: Schemes involving heavy expenditure, however desirable they may be, will have to wait until prosperity returns. This is necessary—I say this more particularly to my hon. Friends behind—to uphold the present standard of living, and no class will ultimately benefit more by present economy than wage earners."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 11th February, 1931; cols. 447–8, Vol. 248.] That was a grave and courageous statement for the Chancellor of the Exchequer to make, but when, three months afterwards, he comes forward with a new tax directly on industry, what are we to think? There is no doubt that this will be a direct new tax on industry unless this Amendment is accepted. [Interruption.] Hon. Members who laugh show that they have not read the Bill. It is a new tax to be applied to the land of every industrial and manufacturing concern, whether that concern is making profits or losses, and no matter what fierce competition it is up against—and the competition in this, the world's dumping ground at the present time, has never been fiercer. No matter what competition it may be up against, no matter whether its operations are carried on at a profit or at a loss, it has to bear a tax on the land which is essential for carrying on its business.

How will this tax fall on industry? If the manufacturer owns the land, it will obviously fall on him directly, and will thus be a direct addition to his overhead charges. Hon. Members may say that it is small, but what about the last straw? A straw seems a small thing, but it breaks the camel's back, and I shall be prepared to prove later on that it is not so very small. [Interruption.] The way in which hon. Members treat this Debate is good evidence that, as we hold, Labour is unfit to govern. If, on the other hand, the ground is leased, I hold that in the case of leases, sooner or later—and sooner in most cases—the tax will be passed on by the owner of the land to the lessee, and so he will be required to bear a heavier burden. What will happen in Scotland, where, as we know, the feudal system is maintained, is that feus will be more difficult to get. I see that the Lord Advocate does not agree with me, but I can assure him that it will be so, because landlords, very naturally, will not feu a subject upon which they are to be taxed if they can sell it, and so ground will have to be bought instead of feued, which means an additional capital charge on newly developing industries, because they will have to find money to buy the ground instead of merely a feu duty, which is a small amount each year. Therefore, the tax will fall upon industry in these three ways, and the statement is unanswerable that in every case it will be a direct burden on industry.

Another point is that, broadly speaking, it is those industries which are most depressed at the present time which require most land for the purposes of their manufactures. Such are the shipyards, the iron and steel works, the oil refineries—all of them going through a very difficult time at the moment. Take the shipyards. I have been looking into this question, and I find that, so far as the shipyards are concerned, this tax is going to be a serious burden. Figures furnished by a chamber of commerce in a great city in the North, where shipbuilding is a very important industry, show the position to be this: Shipbuilding sites must be confined to limited positions, adjoining deep and smooth water, and, therefore, their values are relatively high. In the second place, a large area of ground is necessary relative to the capital in the business. Why should they bear a heavier tax because they need ground on account of their industry? Thirdly, most of the sites now in use have been used for years for this purpose, and have largely increased in value, and, so far from the value having been created by the community, it has been created by the shipyard. I am sorry that the hon. Member for Dumbarton Burghs (Mr. Kirkwood) is not here. I would have liked to ask him where Dumbarton Burghs would be but for John Brown's shipyard. Fourthly, most of the firms in this industry have bought more land alongside their yards, in order to be able to cope with future develop- ments, and they are to be taxed on that land. Finally, as we know, this is one of the most severely hit industries, and I have figures to show that in the case of several of these yards the tax will run into very large amounts.

Passing to the iron and steel industry, it was stated in answer to a question to-day in the House, that there were only 80 blast-furnaces in blast to-day, as against 150 when the present Government came in two years ago. Is that an industry which is so prosperous that it can afford to bear another tax? As regards the employment in that industry, we know that it has gone back very much during the last two years. The level of unemployment in the industry is 34 per cent. to-day, as against 19 per cent. two years ago, whereas the general level of unemployment at the present time is between 16 and 17 per cent. That shows that this industry, which, as I have said, needs a lot of land, is one of the most severely hit at the present time by unemployment. How do hon. Members opposite justify the proposal to apply this tax to the land used for that industry? I know of a firm in the north whose works stand on a fairly valuable site, but who only employ 200 or 300 men, and the tax in their case will be fully £l per man employed, based on a fairly accurate estimate of the value of the land and a tax of 1d. in the £. Why a tax of £l a head should be applied to them I cannot see.

I could multiply instances, but there is no need; the principle is perfectly clear. I would like, however, again to mention the oil refineries. There are many in my constituency, and at the moment they are threatened with the necessity for closing down, as a result of which some 2,500 men would be put out of work. Their land will be taxed, making it more difficult still for them ever to bring those men back into employment. Why do that? Can hon. Members opposite explain what contribution that is towards solving the unemployment problem? We believe that what is needed in this country, more than anything else, in order to get our industries running again, is confidence. What possible confidence can manufacturers in this country have when they see a Government whose chief representative and spokesman said three months ago that one more straw would break the camel's back, and now heaps on, not a straw, but a whole bundle? I do not see how the Chancellor of the Exchequer can resist this Amendment, in view of his previous words.

Has the position improved during the last three months? Has anything occurred which has made our industries more able to bear this burden? If the right hon. Gentleman does resist this Amendment, will he do so on the ground that he must have the money? If so, let him look for it from some other source, and not from one which obviously cannot pay. The reasons which the Chancellor of the Exchequer gave in his Budget speech have no relation to the tax which is to be applied to-day. He said that he wanted to get at what is known as unearned increment, and he asked us to help him to combat the exploitation of the public by private land monopoly. What in the world has that to do with the land on which industrial concerns stand? Nothing at all. He claims that this tax is being applied in order to catch those whom we should all like to catch who may be exploiting the public by private land monopoly; but that has no relation at all to the land that is essential for business concerns who have no intention of selling it if they can use it profitably and give employment.

There is no justification whatever for the tax. Manufacturers are straining every nerve to meet a competition which is more fierce than has been known in the lifetime of any of us. Their attention has to be diverted. They have to get their own valuers and assessors to combat the threats of the Government. The Gloucestershire regiment wears a cap badge behind as well as in front. The origin of that is that in a famous action, when they were hotly attacked, they were also attacked from behind, but they stood their ground and beat off both attacks. They faced both ways. That is exactly what the Government are asking the manufacturers to do. They are asking them to meet foreign competition and at the same time to combat their own Government, which should be helping instead of hindering them. Why cannot the Government be the allies of British industry instead of its opponents? If they accept the Amendment, it will go out from this House that they have realised the necessity of raising the burden from the shoulders of British industry rather than putting on a new burden. If they resist it, it will go out that they do not understand the troubles that afflict the country, and unemployment will continue and increase as long as they are in office.

Photo of Mr Andrew MacLaren Mr Andrew MacLaren , Stoke-on-Trent Burslem

Nothing could be more true than that industry wants relief from the heavy burden of taxation. If the hon. Member had been in the House long enough, he would know that, time in and time out, I have advocated the relief of the industries of the country from taxation, as I believe that the heavy weight of taxation is one of the most potent forces that are driving us into an inferior position compared with our foreign competitors. But here comes the point. If we are advocating the under-taxing of industry, the throwing off of this burden which is constantly growing and accumulating on the back of industry, where must we find the money? Where must you go for your taxation? A well-known writer, Mr. Bernard Shaw, made the same remark when he said, "The House of Commons is peopled with men who will constantly try to solve problems by all sorts of forms and expedients, but they will fail, because very few of them are conscious of the operation of the law of rent. They are still on the wrong side of the pons asinorum, the law of rent." I could not help feeling that the hon. and gallant Gentleman with his Scottish precision, but utterly lacking in Scottish logic, was going on to argue a ease on all fours with the case that I have often put up. He did not seem to see that what he is arguing for is the very negation of all that we are trying to get by imposing a tax upon land values. This is not a tax upon industry. How often are we to tell you that? [Interruption.] I thought the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Hendon (Sir P. Cunliffe-Lister) would laugh at that. Worcester College was never noted for its understanding of economic law. I hope I shall make the right hon. Gentleman laugh on the other side of his face before I sit down. I will challenge anyone to prove that this is a tax on industry.

Photo of Mr John Colville Mr John Colville , Midlothian and Peeblesshire Northern

Is it to be applied to industrial subjects or not?

Photo of Mr Andrew MacLaren Mr Andrew MacLaren , Stoke-on-Trent Burslem

It is to be applied, if you will read and understand the Bill, to the value of land.

Photo of Mr Andrew MacLaren Mr Andrew MacLaren , Stoke-on-Trent Burslem

Exactly, and it is where you stand too, but I want you to watch what happens. Whether you are standing on an industrial subject or in your own house, there is a landowner demanding rent from you for standing there. Have you never noticed that? It is amazing that one has to lecture Members of the House of Commons on a simple matter like that. This is not a tax upon industry, but upon land. In my Second Reading speech I made that my first remark. [Interruption.] I am glad the right hon. Gentleman agrees. I will take him for a walk now that I have got him out into the wilderness. A tax upon land can never be a tax upon industry. I should like hon. Members opposite to compose a little essay on the law of rent. What is rent? Do any of you know? I have had a suspicion for a long time that you do not. I am not a wealthy man, but I could quite easily give a prize to anyone who would define it in the House of Commons to-night. Rent is what a landlord takes from anyone who uses his piece of land. It is determined by the demand that a number of people make for the use of the site, and it is the rent that the landowner takes, the rent that he walks off with and appropriates for his private use, which is now to come under the charge of a tax in this Budget. Whether you like the taxation of land values or not, this tax will be levied upon the rent for the land value, and the land value has to be paid whether the land belongs to you or not. The landowner takes the rent, and all that we are doing by this tax is to stop the landowner on the way home and take a little from him.

Photo of Mr John Colville Mr John Colville , Midlothian and Peeblesshire Northern

How about the case where an industrial company owns the land?

Photo of Mr Andrew MacLaren Mr Andrew MacLaren , Stoke-on-Trent Burslem

I will deal with that in a moment. Do not be so impatient. There is nothing I like more than lecturing Tories on the land question, because it gets you back to fundamentals instead of what passes for politics in this House. It has been said that the value of a shipyard is high if it is near smooth and deep water. Reference was made to a great city in the North, which I suspect was Glasgow, where shipbuilding is carried on. Who charges the Land Value Tax when you get deep and smooth water on the Clyde? Is it the Government, or it is Lord Blythswood or any of the Noble Lords who own land on the Clyde and see a shipbuilder coming along and become advocates of land values taxation and charge high rents? Do they or do they not? No answer! All we are going to do under the taxation of land values is to collect a little tax from the landowner who takes advantage of an industry that gets near deep and smooth water to construct a shipyard.

Photo of Mr John Colville Mr John Colville , Midlothian and Peeblesshire Northern

What about the industry that owns the land itself?

Photo of Mr Andrew MacLaren Mr Andrew MacLaren , Stoke-on-Trent Burslem

That is to say, that here is a shipbuilding yard on the Clyde. It is constructed because of an, accident of nature, because of deep and smooth water on the Clyde. [An HON. MEMBER: "It is all dredged!"] Very good, then the Corporation of Glasgow dredge the river for the landowner.

Photo of Mr John Colville Mr John Colville , Midlothian and Peeblesshire Northern

The Corporation of Glasgow never carried out any dredging operations in their lives.

Photo of Mr Andrew MacLaren Mr Andrew MacLaren , Stoke-on-Trent Burslem

The river has been dredged. [An HON. MEMBER; "By whom?"] By the Clyde Trust. The corporation is a common unit; it is a public corporation. [Interruption.] Leave them to me. I am having a night out with them now. The Clyde Trust dredges the river, and the landowner on the banks of the river takes advantage of public expenditure to make a charge upon the industrial company which comes along to build and launch ships there. I put it to the hon. and gallant Member for North Midlothian (Major Colville), that if he came across advantageous sites for shipbuilding on the banks of the Clyde, the landowner would capitalise all that had been done by the Clyde Trust in dredging and so on and put it in the bill he would charge against the shipbuilding company for putting a dockyard there. No reply. That means assent, does it not? If there was no deep water and no smooth water, no one would put a shipyard there. We have been told by the hon. and gallant Member that by virtue of these natural adjustments the shipyard was put there. If a shipping company wants to put a shipyard there, it will have to pay a heavy price for the site. Having paid that price to the landowner he no doubt walks off with the capitalised value in his pocket. Then we are told that this company is left with the site, and that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who spoke the other flight about the last straw breaking the camel's back, is now coming along to put an extra tax upon industry.

Really, that is tinkering with the facts of the case. Even if you own the site upon which your shipyard stands you must surely, in your book-keeping, set aside a certain amount for the annual rent value of the site you are using. You must charge yourself in your books for the rental of the site you are using. All that we are suggesting is, that the land value shall stand charged with the tax. Those of us in this House who have advocated the taxation of rent, have advocated the taxation of ground values or rent or site values as an alternative to the present vicious and stupid system of taxing and rating industry in proportion to the amount of energy it puts into the industry. We have advocated that, and now, for the first time in the history of this House, we see it coming through in this Budget only to find that the industrialists themselves are still befogged and think that it is an extra tax upon industry. It is a tax upon rent. Rent must be paid in all circumstances. You set aside a portion to be paid in respect of the site so used, and all we are doing is to put a tax upon that and not upon industry at all. We would relieve industry from taxation. In proportion as we levied taxes upon the value of the site, we would give relief in taxation upon that which is already the subject of taxation.

Photo of Mr Ronald Ross Mr Ronald Ross , County Londonderry

What relief is proposed?

Photo of Mr Andrew MacLaren Mr Andrew MacLaren , Stoke-on-Trent Burslem

In passing, it is quite appropriate to call attention to the fact that the De-rating Bill was supposed to be an effort made by the late Government on behalf of the industrialists of this country to remove taxation from industry. That was the major proposition. The De-rating Bill was brought in with the one object only of de-rating industries and relieving them from the pressure of taxation locally which made it more or less a handicap upon those industries in international competition. During the Debate I warned the House that if, at the same time, you did not put, what this Budget now purports to do, a tax upon the value of land, that which is supposed to accrue from the de-rating of the industrial hereditament would finally record itself in advance of the value of the sites used by the industrial hereditament. I still hold that view.

Let us look at what happens now. I ask this question of hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite who may resent what I am saying. Does the landowner who is collecting rent stop collecting rent when he finds the industry in distress? Your rent is a first charge. The landowner's demand must be met annually, or, if you like, you have to have a capitalised sum in being. But the landowners collect land values now. [An HON. MEMBER: "They are constantly reducing rents!"] There may be some compassionate ones, but speaking generally—and hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite know it—the landowner collects his rent as regularly as the clock ticks, and with no regard whatever to the distress or otherwise of the industry from which he collects it. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] Take the distressed industries of this country to-day. Here is the Chancellor of the Exchequer sending subventions down to the distressed areas. Thousands of pounds of public money are being sent into distressed areas. For what purpose? To pay the rent of the landowners as a first charge in those areas. Do hon. and right hon. Members deny it?

Photo of Mr Harold Balfour Mr Harold Balfour , Isle of Thanet

Is not a union charge due when the men are out of work?

Photo of Mr Andrew MacLaren Mr Andrew MacLaren , Stoke-on-Trent Burslem

I am speaking specifically about the mysterious element called rent, and it is this thing which we are going to make subject to taxation. All that I am telling the Committee at the moment—and it seems to be a fact not observed by the ordinary Members of the Committee—is that to-day the landowners are the real land values men. They take their toll of rent out of industry in this country. Rather than proceeding further to tax industry, the Chancellor of the Exchequer has an alternative plan before him. He can either increase taxes upon industry, or he can do the other thing: He can put taxation upon the rent which the landlords are receiving. You cannot have it both ways. I would advise you to take it my way. [An HON. MEMBER: "What about the owners?"] I have dealt with him. The owner must regularly apportion a certain amount of income as rent payable for the land, and it is that which is subject to the tax.

A word about feu duties. We have had a lovely example to-night from an hon. Member opposite as to what is going to happen if the superiors are taxed upon feu duties. It was a little slip which it would have been better for him to have left out. He told us that the superiors will not feu rent in Scotland in view of the threat of a tax coming along. It is said that he will sell it. I suppose he will attempt to sell it, but I can assure the hon. Member of the salutary effect of this method of taxing land values. He will find it much more difficult to get purchasers than ever before, because the threat of a tax will keep would-be purchasers from jumping forward. I want the Committee to notice that these great loyal supporters of the King and Constitution will, whenever they are threatened with a tax upon the value of land, resort to all sorts of devices to escape the King's taxes, and in respect of the old historic method of feuing land in Scotland, by the device of the back letter, which is well known in Scotland. Rather than carry on the regular practice, they are going to stop feuing.

My word to the Scottish landowners is this: "Good luck to you, try it, because with the threat of this tax coming along you will find that there are not so many customers looking for freeholds in Scotland as before, and your little device of trying to circumvent the tax by abolishing feuing and trying to capitalise your property by selling it an enhanced price to an industry which we are told are in distress, will not avail you." We are told that the industries are distressed, and the very mouth that tells us that is advising the landowners of Scotland not to continue the old feuing system, which was an accommodation in many cases to industry, but to stand with their revolver charged, and when any industrialists come along and want more land to tell them that they will have no more land feued to them, but that they will have to pay the capitalised price. It seems a strong apologia coming from such a gentleman.

In London we have had an example of the application of the law of rent. Gamage attempted to have a big business near the Marble Arch. The landowner wanted £20,000 for two years and £30,000 for 99 years for the site. Gamage has gone out of business, but the landowner's claim remains. He was the land value taxer. He was the gentleman who is demanding the value of the site——[An HON. MEMBER: "He provided £300,000!"] I am told that the landowner invested £300,000. I know that, but the point is that for the shop business established there, the landowner was to collect his rent for 90 years at £30,000 a year. I am not blaming him. That was the value of the site, and he knew it. I would go round the country on the same principle and I would accept what the landowners say is the value of their land. Then I would support the Budget in demanding not that we should put fresh taxation upon industry, not that we should do as we have hitherto clone, watch the progress of a man's business and if he enhanced the value of his premises, put on more rates, if he extended his warehouse, more rates, if there was more invention, more rates; I would stop that thing, and I would ask what is the value of this site through the growth and progress of society. What is the value of the site by virtue of the fact that there has been this expansion of industry or this development of trade locally? Upon the basis of that value, we will levy our tax.

I hope that I have said enough to show, if I have not been over insistent upon the fact, that this is not a tax upon industry. If I thought for a moment that this tax, purporting to be a tax upon land values, was in any way a tax upon honest industry, I should be more opposed to it than any hon. or right hon. Member opposite, but it is because I know, and so do they know, that this is the beginning of the transference of taxation from honest industry to this great historic endowment called rent, land value, that I am supporting it. I can excuse a Member for an English constituency coming here and talking as the hon. and gallant Member opposite has done, but I cannot understand it from one coming from Scotland where we train men to reason——

Photo of Mr Andrew MacLaren Mr Andrew MacLaren , Stoke-on-Trent Burslem

Where we train men to reason from intelligible premises and to make deductions. It is surprising that he should dare, in the year 1931, to say that a tax upon rent is a tax upon industry. That is too bad and I must report him to his constituency as soon as I get back there. I hope the Government will not entertain this proposition seriously. It is part and parcel of the sophistry thrown out by the vested interests, that this is a tax upon industry. I challenge any right hon. or hon. Member opposite to prove that a tax upon rent can at any time be a tax upon industry.

Photo of Sir Joseph Lamb Sir Joseph Lamb , Stone

Will the hon. Member answer me a question?

Photo of Mr James Lockwood Mr James Lockwood , Shipley

We have listened with immense interest to the remarks of the last speaker. They were emphatic, as always, but some of us who approach this matter from the point of view of reasoning rather than from the point of view of fanaticism have come to a different conclusion. I was struck by one remark of the hon. Member. He seemed to have the idea of abolishing what he calls rent.

Photo of Mr Andrew MacLaren Mr Andrew MacLaren , Stoke-on-Trent Burslem

Sometimes I speak on this subject with a sort of religious zeal which may overcome my clarity of expression. I should like to put the hon. Member right. You can no more abolish rent than you can abolish sunshine. Rent is inevitable and is always in existence, and therefore, as it is in existence and has a value, we propose to tax it.

Photo of Mr James Lockwood Mr James Lockwood , Shipley

I thank the hon. Member for his explanation, but I do not think that it will make the slightest difference to my reasoning. There is one thing that should be borne in mind in dealing with the question of land taxation, and that is that land is only a form of property, just as stocks and shares, moveables or any other commodity. Ownership of land throughout the generations has changed over and over again. We hear about God's own children being entitled to the land, but, as I was journeying from the House on my last; visit to the North and I looked out of the railway carriage and noticed the land, I saw what it was that made the value of the land. It was the people who tilled it and did work on it. I saw plots of land adjacent to each other. While one was a picture, the other was a terrible mess and a nuisance. I would like the hon. Member for Huddersfield (Mr. J. Hudson) to bear this fact in mind, because I regard him as fanatical on this subject as the last speaker. The value in land is created, like everything else, by the work and industry that is put into it. We are benefiting to-day by the value of land arising from the industry of generations so far as agricultural land is concerned. So far as industrial property is concerned, or the value of land in industrial centres is concerned, I concede the point that the value of that land has been made by the activity of the people and by their joint action, but when we come to the question of rent, where a particular form of ownership produces rent which is to be taxed, a fallacy arises. Why should we tax land because it is land notwithstanding that the owner may have paid the enhanced value which may have arisen from some joint effort? He has bought it in the market. It is perfectly legitimate to own land.

Photo of Reverend Herbert Dunnico Reverend Herbert Dunnico , Consett

The hon. Member is going rather wide of the Amendment. The Amendment is whether land used for industrial purposes should be exempt or not.

Photo of Mr James Lockwood Mr James Lockwood , Shipley

I am sorry if I have strayed from the Amendment, but I was dealing with the fallacy of the argument of the hon. Member opposite. By this Amendment we are seeking to establish the proposition that industrial property should not be subject to this tax. The hon. Member for Burslem (Mr. MacLaren) again referred to the question of rent when dealing with this point. Unfortunately, many industrial concerns have to own their own land, and it is, of course, a great mistake to bring in legislation to deal with exceptional cases, for hard cases make bad laws. But in many cases the business itself owns the land and it is not a question of rent but a question of the capital asset in their balance-sheet, and they are to be called upon to pay a tax, if the Amendment is not accepted, of an extra Schedule assessment simply because the industry happens to own land.

I note the solicitude of the bon. Member for Burslem for the welfare of industry. Let me develop that argument. It very often happens that the amount of land required by an industry does not depend on the size of the industry but on the nature of the industry. The hon. Member for Huddersfield knows that in Huddersfield we have built storey upon storey, whereas certain heavy industries require a much larger area. If the hon. Member is so sincere in his desire to prevent any further burdens being thrown upon industry can the hon. Member tell me why an industry employing a larger number of persons, and situate upon a larger acreage of land because of its nature, should have to pay more than a factory which is built up storey after storey and which has a much less number of employés, and less capital value so far as site is concerned. This Land Tax, which is based upon considerations which are incomprehensible to some of us who have been interested in these matters, is going to put a further penalty upon the whole of the industries of this country. They will not be able to get away from it; and it is to be put on industries without any regard to essential facts. This is a further overhead charge upon industry, upon which further employment rests; yet here we are, when faced with this very grave problem, imposing a further burden on industry, imposing a tax which will not produce more than the cost of collection.

Photo of Mr James Hudson Mr James Hudson , Huddersfield

As one who has been somewhat abused as a fanatic on this issue, may I be allowed to make a short incursion into this Debate. The hon. Member for Shipley (Mr. Lockwood) has said that there is no difference between a tax upon land and a tax upon stocks and shares, in his judgment they all come under the same heading.

9.0 p.m.

Photo of Reverend Herbert Dunnico Reverend Herbert Dunnico , Consett

I called the hon. Member for Shipley (Mr. Lock wood) to order because he was developing an argument on the general principle of the taxation of land value. The Amendment before the Committee and the only subject under discussion is whether land used for industrial purposes is to be exempt from the tax that is proposed to be levied.

Photo of Mr James Hudson Mr James Hudson , Huddersfield

With respect, I submit that the hon. Member for Shipley was endeavouring to show that land used for industrial purposes is in exactly the same position as stocks and shares in industry——

Photo of Reverend Herbert Dunnico Reverend Herbert Dunnico , Consett

The hon. Member for Shipley was dealing with the general principle of the taxation of land values when I called him to order and not with the question of land used for industry.

Photo of Mr James Hudson Mr James Hudson , Huddersfield

I am only assuming that that is what he intended to do, but he failed to do it. Perhaps he came nearer to the point after he had had the assistance of your Ruling. Let me take three illustrations of industries upon whom rent is charged for the land upon which their factories are erected. The hon. Member for Shipley has drawn attention to industrial conditions in Yorkshire. Let me take the case of three factories built up the Colne Valley, one at the head of the Valley, another one halfway down in the village of Slaithwaite, and another, the third, in Huddersfield. The firm in Huddersfield is nearest to the railways and to other advantages created not by the firm but by other agencies and forces, certainly not created by the owner of the firm; the firm at Slaithwaite, halfway up the Valley, enjoys advantages not so great as those possessed by the firm in Huddersfield; and then there is the factory at the head of the Valley, at what may be called the margin of production. These three firms are competing with each other, and in the process of competition a price for the article they produce is arrived at which enables the firm at the head of the Valley just to pay its way. The owner of the land, therefore, at the head of the Valley is unable to extract anything from the man who has built his factory there, but the owner of the land in Huddersfield, with his great advantages, is in a position to extract from the factory a toll from whoever is in occupation of the land.

In Huddersfield it is the case that the land is in the possession of the town, but that does not alter the law of rent. It merely means that the rent instead of going to a landlord goes to the town, and the Bill has provided for that, there is no attempt to extract rent in that case because it is going into the right quarters, into the possession of the public of Huddersfield. It will ultimately be used, and is now used, in relief of rates at Huddersfield. At Slaithwaite the firm in question extracts, or if it were a landlord who let the land to the firm he would extract, toll in relation to the advantage that that particular situation has. If the firm had bought the land it does not alter the situation, nor would the situation be altered if the urban district council at Slaithwaite had bought the land. It is an advantage that has not been created by industry. It is an advantage inherent in a particular position that that industry possesses, and the toll is taken quite irrespective of the industrial activities that are put in.

That was the point that my hon. Friend was making when dealing with the law of rent. I have applied it to industry. The question has nothing to do with building vertically or horizontally. The hon. Member who spoke last does not trouble the town council where he is situated with a question of that sort, because rates are collected now irrespective of vertical or horizontal building. It was a piece of imagination on the hon. Member's part—imagination that he had to call in aid on account of his inability to understand this law of rent. I come back again to what we have been insisting on, that if the Tory party would try to understand a few fundamental economic laws—[Interruption]—instead of talking the nonsense that they bring to this Committee, we could avoid a good deal of the waste of time that is due to their imagination on this issue of rent, interest and profit.

Photo of Sir Geoffrey Mander Sir Geoffrey Mander , Wolverhampton East

I rise to express the hope that the Government will not see their way to accept the Amendment, because it cuts at the root of the whole system of land taxation, and probably was so intended. It would convert the Bill simply into a tax on undeveloped land, and the taking of increment from the land where increment has already been created by the State would not be possible. I wish to make it clear that the official policy of the Liberal party has always been that there should be a general tax on all land in the country, whether it is developed or undeveloped. I shall quote an official resolution of the party to show that that is so. Our policy has not involved double taxation. The official policy of the party has been to use the revenue so obtained, or other revenue, to take the tax off improvements—to carry out a re-adjustment and to take the tax off industry where at present it rests in its most burdensome and difficult form. Let me quote the resolution that was passed at the meeting of the National Liberal Federation at Nottingham on 25th February, 1921: That the site valuation of land of the 1909–10 Finance Act should be amended and brought up to date and should ho made accessible for public use, the value of all mineral and mining rights being included in site value"——

Photo of Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy , Daventry

I am wondering what this has to do with the Amendment that is before the Committee.

Photo of Sir Geoffrey Mander Sir Geoffrey Mander , Wolverhampton East

The Amendment would take away the taxation of all land that is already developed, and I was pointing out that we on these benches, in resisting the Amendment——

Photo of Mr Philip Lloyd-Greame Mr Philip Lloyd-Greame , Hendon

The Amendment deals entirely with land which is used for manufacturing purposes.

Photo of Sir Geoffrey Mander Sir Geoffrey Mander , Wolverhampton East

It would at any rate make a considerable inroad into the system of taxation of land. I was putting forward the view that we, in resisting the Amendment, are following out what is the policy of the Liberal party, as laid down in an official resolution at a meeting of the National Liberal Federation, and I ask permission to complete the quotation that I was making.

Photo of Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy , Daventry

The Amendment deals with land for industrial purposes and not with Liberal party and policy.

Photo of Sir Geoffrey Mander Sir Geoffrey Mander , Wolverhampton East

I was dealing with the policy of the Liberal party covering this Amendment.

Photo of Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy , Daventry

The hon. Member must keep strictly to the Amendment.

Photo of Sir Geoffrey Mander Sir Geoffrey Mander , Wolverhampton East

We resist the Amendment because it would be absolutely inconsistent with the view that our party has adopted. The party has decided that a uniform national tax should be imposed on the capital site values of the whole country, including any industrial land such as is referred to in the Amendment, and that the revenue should be used to take the tax off improvements. I regret that the Government have not made it clearer in the Bill that this is in due course intended.

Photo of Mr Cyril Culverwell Mr Cyril Culverwell , Bristol West

On a point of Order. Is the hon. Member entitled to discuss other parts of the Bill when speaking on this Amendment?

Photo of Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy , Daventry

The hon. Member knows very well that; he is not.

Photo of Sir Geoffrey Mander Sir Geoffrey Mander , Wolverhampton East

I was pointing out that it was regrettable that the Government had not made that clear. The greatest criticism that can be made of the points put forward in support of the Amendment is that under an Amendment which we understand is to be accepted by the Government later, the Amendment which has arisen out of the joint discussions of the Liberal and Labour Amendments——

Photo of Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy , Daventry

I am not concerned with any other Liberal or Labour Amendment. The Amendment before the Committee is confined to land for industrial purposes.

Photo of Sir Geoffrey Mander Sir Geoffrey Mander , Wolverhampton East

The case made, that this is going to be a very burdensome tax, is true if the tax is going to remain at 1d., but as a result of the deliberations to which I was referring it appears now that the tax will be only one-eighth of a penny, and the whole case against it falls to the ground.

Photo of Mr Walter Greaves-Lord Mr Walter Greaves-Lord , Lambeth Norwood

There is at least one advantage that we have obtained from the speech of the hon. Member who has just spoken, for we now know that it is the definite policy of the Liberal party to tax land which has been specially developed for industrial purposes. I hope that my hon. Friend will go down to his constituency at Wolverhampton and say that. What has been done practically within the confines of the City of Manchester on the Trafford Park estate? There you have an estate which was bought and developed purely for industrial purposes. What has been the result? The railways surrounding the estate have developed themselves to supply the site, to take goods to the site, to take manufactured goods away from the site, and roads have been developed. Why? Simply because those who bought the estate have developed it for industrial purposes.

Photo of Mr Walter Greaves-Lord Mr Walter Greaves-Lord , Lambeth Norwood

The shareholders. I suppose that hon. Members opposite really think that the men who dug the trenches of the Ship Canal were the people who made it, but they could never have made it unless others had supplied the money to pay their wages. But I am not dealing with the Ship Canal; I am dealing with the Trafford Park estate, which has been developed by capitalists. That estate has been developed instead of being allowed to remain fallow, and all those who have means of transport anywhere near the site have developed the means of transport so as to make the Trafford Park estate an extraordinarily useful and valuable site for industrial purposes. It is quite true that when you value a piece of land for the purposes of this Measure you strip it of all industrial developments but you value it as having the advantage of the accessories of industrial development which have grown up around the estate, as a result of the development of the estate itself. Those developments would not have been there but for the capital expenditure on the development of the estate. Now the hon. Member says that the Trafford Park Estate which has developed the land purely and simply in the interest of the community for industrial purposes, is to be taxed upon the improvements which it has brought about, and he says that that is the considered policy of the Liberal party. No wonder they dare not face the electorate at the by-elections.

Photo of Sir Stafford Cripps Sir Stafford Cripps , Bristol East

I propose to address myself very shortly to the actual terms of the Amendment, and not to engage in a Second Reading Debate upon the principle of the Land Tax. I think that when one looks at the Amendment as an Amendment to a tax which, it is admitted at this stage of the Bill, is to come into operation, it must be perfectly obvious that no such Amendment could possibly be accepted. The object of the Amendment is to exempt all industrial premises by whomsoever owned and by whomsoever used, and the result, of course, would be that the Land Tax would be thrown entirely upon non-industrial land. As far as one can see from the principles which lie behind the tax, there is no possible reason for exempting one class of rent and charging tax upon another.

Photo of Marquess of  Titchfield Marquess of Titchfield , Newark

That is exactly what you are doing. You are letting off agricultural land.

Photo of Sir Stafford Cripps Sir Stafford Cripps , Bristol East

The Noble Lord is not quite accurate in his statement that we are letting off agricultural land. We are letting off agricultural land where the cultivation value is as great as the land value, but not in other cases.

HON. MEMBERS:

Friendly societies!

Photo of Sir Stafford Cripps Sir Stafford Cripps , Bristol East

That is another question on which, under pressure from hon. Gentleman opposite, we have said that we are prepared to compromise with them.

Photo of Mr Dennis Herbert Mr Dennis Herbert , Watford

Then, what about the case of industrial assurance companies?

Photo of Sir Stafford Cripps Sir Stafford Cripps , Bristol East

I shall answer that question when we come to the pertinent Amendment, but if I start now answering a cross-examination on these points, it will delay our proceedings. There seems to be no reason why rents paid by industry should be treated in any different category from any other kind of rent, nor does there seem to us to be any reason why industrial rents should be sacrosanct. Industry has already been de-rated to the extent of £25,000,000 to £30,000,000 and that no doubt is a wise procedure, but only if you substitute for those rates some other means of getting the money. [Laughter.] Someone has to provide—in spite of the laughter of the hon. Member opposite—this £25,000,000 which has to be spent in the course of the year.

Photo of Sir John Power Sir John Power , Wimbledon

May I ask the hon. and learned Gentleman what good he is doing to industry if he takes off one impost and puts on another.

Photo of Sir Stafford Cripps Sir Stafford Cripps , Bristol East

If the hon. Gentleman had been in the Committee he would have appreciated that this is not a tax on industry, but I do not propose to go into that argument again. [HON. MEMBERS: "You have not proved that!"] I am perfectly satisfied with the clear demonstration given by my hon. Friend behind me. May I put this question to hon. Gentlemen opposite? If industry has to bear a burden, would it prefer that burden to be charged proportionately on the building machinery and improvements on the site, or would it prefer the burden to be on the site value?

Photo of Mr John Colville Mr John Colville , Midlothian and Peeblesshire Northern

May I ask the hon. and learned Gentleman why industry should bear any further burden at all, in view of the statement of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, about any additional burden being the last straw.

Photo of Sir Stafford Cripps Sir Stafford Cripps , Bristol East

The hon. and gallant Member cannot get out of answering that question by asking another.

Photo of Sir Basil Peto Sir Basil Peto , Barnstaple

Will the hon. and learned Gentleman allow me to say that I would answer his question unhesitatingly. Plant used in industry would not be used if it were not capable of earning a profit, whereas if you tax merely the site of the industry it is perfectly haphazard, whether it happens to be an industry which is conducted on a number of floors and can extend upwards or whether it is an industry which requires a considerable amount of land. Therefore the hon. and learned Member's proposal is not only a tax on industry but is an unjust and indiscriminate tax.

Photo of Sir Stafford Cripps Sir Stafford Cripps , Bristol East

The hon. Baronet has informed me for the first time that rating is on the basis of profit. I was not aware of that proposition.

Photo of Sir Basil Peto Sir Basil Peto , Barnstaple

I said that the tax upon the plant and machinery of an industry was, at any rate, a tax upon something capable of earning a profit.

Photo of Sir Stafford Cripps Sir Stafford Cripps , Bristol East

Does the hon. Baronet suggest that the plant and machinery are capable of earning a profit apart from the site? That seems to be the state of mind of the hon. Member for Shipley (Mr. Lockwood) who said that there was no difference between a piece of land and a share certificate. I should like to see the hon. Member build his house on a share certificate.

Mr. LOCKWOOD rose——

Photo of Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy , Daventry

I would point out to the hon. Member that the Solicitor-General has not given way.

Photo of Sir Stafford Cripps Sir Stafford Cripps , Bristol East

I would give way were it not that I am afraid of detaining the Committee too long by continuing to sit down and rise up again in answer to hon. Members opposite.

Photo of Sir Kingsley Wood Sir Kingsley Wood , Woolwich West

Then why ask questions?

Photo of Sir Stafford Cripps Sir Stafford Cripps , Bristol East

Because so many questions have been put to me, but the best thing for me to do in order not to delay the Committee further is to state that for the reasons already given the Government clearly and obviously cannot accept the Amendment.

Photo of Mr Philip Lloyd-Greame Mr Philip Lloyd-Greame , Hendon

A good many ingenious arguments have been addressed to the Committee by the Solicitor-General. He generally is in a position to give some answer and as a rule a specious and, on the face of it, rather convincing answer to any Amendment moved. But for the first time the Committee has seen him entirely floored and he has been unable to produce any argument against this Amendment. He has been driven into putting a number of entirely irrelevant questions to hon. Friends of mine and he said his reason for doing so was because he had been asked a number of questions. I should imagine that the best thing he could do to justify these proposals, if that be possible, would be to try to answer the criticisms addressed to him. He only produced one argument why this Amendment should not be accepted. He said that if he were to accept this Amendment he would then be forced to put a larger burden of taxation on certain other taxpayers and landowners. What an astounding argument! It amounts to this, that he says nothing about the justice of the claim—which I propose in a moment to justify up to the hilt—he does not challenge the justice of the claim, but he says that if he gave way, he would have to put a higher and an unjustified tax on somebody else. It means that these taxes cannot be justified on their merits; that they ought never to have been imposed at all, because, in order to get out of one injustice, you have to commit another. The real answer is that this fantastic proposal had better be withdrawn altogether.

The learned Solicitor-General is not consistent. He makes exceptions for the friendly societies but not for industries. Why? I suppose because he thinks he is going to get votes out of friendly societies. [HON. MEMBERS: "And industry!"] He is not likely to get votes out of industry, as we see from the course of recent by-elections. I should have thought in these times it was more important to him to consider the number of people who are being thrown out of work by the policy of the Government than the prospect of future votes. I am told that the unemployment figures are up by another 20,000 this week. Unless this Amendment is conceded, you are going to put fresh burdens on industry which will inevitably take away its power of competing, and which must add to the numbers of the unemployed. Indeed, the Chancellor of the Exchequer himself has admitted it. He said he was unwilling to add to Income Tax this year, even to balance his Budget, because any burden added to industry would be the last straw. As between an Income Tax of 1s. 8d. in the £, which is what this is, upon the land which industry occupies, and an Income Tax which is paid by industry only when it makes a profit, I have no hesitation in saying that the burden imposed by this system is a far worse burden upon industry than the Income Tax which it pays only when it makes a profit.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer rightly refused to add to Income Tax, and yet, apparently, because he has a down upon industry, forgetting the good advice he has given the House, he imposes this tax. Let the Committee observe that this is a tax which is going to be imposed whether a profit is made or not. The Solicitor-General thought he was going to get away with—I will not say a misrepresentation—but a misunderstanding of an interjection by my hon. Friend below the Gangway, by saying that he learned for the first time that rating was on a profit basis. Well, now industry learns for the first time that it is going to have a new form of Income Tax put on it whether it makes a profit or not. The hon. and learned Gentleman will not get away with the argument that industry cannot suffer be- cause it is only a tax on rent. I am not going to follow the hon. Member for Burslem (Mr. MacLaren) in his long lecture about rent. According to him, rent is universal, and I suppose oratorical rent is the penalty we pay for listening to those lectures. It will be small consolation to the manufacturer who happens to own the freehold of his factory, and who is to be heavily taxed upon the freehold value of his land, to be told that he really is not being taxed on the freehold value for which he has paid, but upon a mysterious rent which he does not pay at all. I do not think that will give him much satisfaction.

Mr. MacLAREN rose——

Photo of Mr Philip Lloyd-Greame Mr Philip Lloyd-Greame , Hendon

The process of debate is best conducted by continuous argument. It may not be the opinion of hon. Members opposite, but it is the opinion expressed by the Chair, and I defer to the appeal of the Chair which has been made several times this evening to conduct debate in an orderly manner. This tax is going to be placed on every industry whether it makes a profit or not. I do not in the least mind what hon. Gentlemen call it, but industry is going to pay, and this will reduce its capacity to employ men, because it will leave a smaller wage fund out of which to pay the wages.

Photo of Mr Andrew MacLaren Mr Andrew MacLaren , Stoke-on-Trent Burslem

If industry is carried on on a site held on a yearly tenancy, does the right hon. Gentleman say that when the landlord takes his rent annually out of the industries he is reducing the wages fund?

Photo of Mr Philip Lloyd-Greame Mr Philip Lloyd-Greame , Hendon

I never heard a more irrelevant observation. Where, I ask, in this country do you find a great industry conducted on a site which is held on a yearly rent? I am glad the hon. Gentleman made that interruption, because it shows how completely fallacious the whole argument is. As a matter of fact, all these industries are conducted either in freehold premises or long leasehold premises. Under the Bill the freeholder cannot pass the tax on, and if it is a long lease the long leaseholder cannot pass it on either. Therefore, every industry is going to be hit, and, what is more, the industries which are suffering most today will be the hardest hit of all. The depressed industry occupying the largest site will pay the largest tax. The industry in populous places will pay a larger measure of tax than the industry which is carried on in a country district. [HON. MEMBERS: "It is on the rent!"] It is a discriminating tax. If you object to rent, why double it by putting a tax on? You discriminate because you put a heavier burden on the man whose works are situated in a populous area and the man who, as a matter of fact, is bringing to that area exactly the kind of development that you want.

We had a lot of talk of the need for action to encourage new industries from the late Lord Privy Seal and other Members of the Government. The President of the Board of Trade volunteered, at Question Time, that he would like an opportunity to make a statement on his success in persuading people to set up new businesses in populous centres where old industries were beginning to fade out. Is this the contribution which is going to encourage new industries to set up on the site of the old steel works or old mills? It is a very remarkable inducement which is going to be offered to them for this purpose. Let the Committee observe this. The President of the Board of Trade has often lectured us in a very kindly way on the importance of industry being far-sighted and of developing well laid out factories, and having the best processes. What is this going to contribute in that regard? You are putting an extra penalty on the industry which has been most far-sighted—the big industry which has bought the land on which it can expand in new development. That industry is going to be taxed specially under this proposal, and a special burden is to be put upon it because it has had the far-sightedness to buy the land for its new development.

We are told how important it is that amenities should be provided for the workers. The industry which has provided amenities is to be specially penalised here. There is the provision of canteens, and there are playing fields which certainly will not be exempted under the Amendment of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Industries which have been farsighted in their business and generous in their conduct towards their employés are to be selected in order that a special penal tax may be put upon them. Why? it is not that these industries have profiteered out of an unearned increment in laud. They themselves have created the value of the land by their development and by setting up their factories. As a matter of fact, by setting up factories they have added to the value of the land around them. They themselves have created a value for the community. They have not robbed the community of a value which the community has created. If a factory site has a value beyond the purpose for which it is used, it will pay a further tax. It is not, however, in the public interest that a factory should be converted to another use. It is not in the public interest that a dock or harbour or shipbuilding yard should be turned over to some other use. On the contrary, if it were turned over to some other use, the community would suffer and the people employed there would cease to be employed.

It is perfectly plain that there can be no relief out of any other Amendment that is offered to us. We are not going to be fobbed off by being told that the amount of the tax is to be temporarily reduced while the principle of double taxation is maintained. Once the principle of double taxation is accepted, industry will be ill-advised to place any reliance on the suggested reduction but must insist on complete exemption. We have then the admission of the Government that here is a penalty deliberately put upon industry, a penalty which must reduce its capacity to compete, must reduce its capacity to employ people, and must still further reduce the confidence of those engaged in industry. It is a tax which will fall with the heaviest force upon industries which are most far-sighted, and, of all the contributions which the Government have made to solve the problem of unemployment, this is the most futile.

Photo of Mr John Jones Mr John Jones , West Ham Silvertown

We have listened today to a series of lectures on economics by infantile economists, including the last right hon. Gentleman who addressed the House. He seems to imagine that land is the private property of the people who buy and sell it. If he can show me in any of the laws of England that the land of this country belongs to any individual in law, I would accept his description of the situation. The problem is that money has to be raised. Even the Tories have to raise money sometimes for propaganda purposes. As far as we are concerned this is not a tax upon industry; it is a tax upon that bugbear of industry, the right to rob the people through the private ownership of the soil. I live in a district which has been developed industrially. Lately one of the greatest firms in the world—Fords, Limited—have bought up land which used to be worth only marsh value and was practically useless for industrial purposes. That land has been bought up at a fairly decent price, but we have no right to say that Mr. Ford has created the value. Some people say that Mr. Ford is a splendid employer, but he is a clever business man at the same time—[Interruption.]

Photo of Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy , Daventry

It is difficult for me to hear the hon. Member if I can hear hon. Members on the Back Benches on the opposite side.

Photo of Mr John Jones Mr John Jones , West Ham Silvertown

This land in my time used to be practically valueless. It is now valuable and it is going to become more valuable as the days go by, but with all Mr. Ford's genius he has not made the Thames. He has not made the facilities for the imports of raw materials and the exports of the goods produced. While we are willing to pay a tribute to Mr. Ford's genius as a great manufacturer, we protest if, because he has bought the land at present prices, he is for ever to become a monopolist of that land. We say that land is an essential part of industrial development, and eventually the taxation of the value of land, most of which value has been created by the labours of the people, will enable industry to develop and to give the people of the country a better chance. In my own locality of West Ham we could buy land 40 years ago for £40 an acre for public improvements. To-day we have to pay £600, and the landlords do not pay a penny for any purpose. As far as we are concerned, the Land Tax is not a tax on industry, but upon the people who have been taxing industry far too long. They have been taking advantage of the people's development and the situation generally, and now they squeal. Even when we make new roads, hon. Members opposite pocket the swag and say nothing about it. We now ask them to pay one penny in the pound on the increased value of the land which they have pinched from the people in days gone by by legal enactment, and I hope to see the day come when we will pass an Act of Parliament to restore the land to the people.

At present we are asking for only one penny in the pound. Soon we will ask you for the pound. Just as you took the land away, we are going to take it back. I am surprised at the modesty of our Government. The reason we are losing by-elections is because of their modesty. They should go the whole hog. They could not get more votes against them if they went the whole hog than they do now. If you do not accept these proposals now, you will have to swallow a bigger dose later on. The time will come, after the valuation scheme has been carried into effect, when the people of this country will know how they are being robbed by the development of land values. [interruption.] The right hon. Gentleman opposite wandered ail over the shop, from Dan to Beersheba. I cannot wander so far, because I have not travelled so much. When hon. Members opposite talk about this being a tax on industry they are talking with their tongue in their cheek. They know it is a necessary and desirable tax. I was in the House when the De-rating Act went through, relieving industry of 75 per cent. of the rates upon it, and I remember right hon. Gentlemen now sitting opposite telling us that the object of that Bill was not to benefit the landowner or the farmer but to open the way for more employment. I said then as I say now, that we always fear the Greeks when they bring gifts. De-rating has not solved our problem, it has not created more employment. When we meet the manufacturers to discuss wages what do they say when we mention derating?

Photo of Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy , Daventry

The hon. Member must keep to the Amendment before the Committee.

Photo of Mr John Jones Mr John Jones , West Ham Silvertown

I mentioned that only as an illustration. Belief from taxation, according to the other side, can mean only relief for them. When we propose relief of taxation for the general body of the people they always turn round and say we are ruining industry. They cannot have it both ways. Giving relief to landowners is a public duty, but relieving the common people of their burdens by placing them on the proper shoulders is an attack upon sacred institutions. We say this tax is justified by all the circumstances of the time, and when the figures are produced after the valuation scheme has been carried into effect I will undertake to say that the people will have the revelation of their lives.

Photo of Mr Terence O'Connor Mr Terence O'Connor , Nottingham Central

The speech of the Solicitor-General was, as it always is very illuminating, and we on this side have reason to be grateful to him for the ex-plicitness with which he puts all the points in this complicated Bill. We have particular reason to be grateful to him on this occasion, because he is the only Member of the Government to face up to the implications of this tax, and to state the principles which underlie it. He does not deny, and no logically-minded person could deny, that this is a tax upon industry, because in resisting this Amendment, which is designed to remove a burden upon industry, he did not base his reply upon that footing at all. He does not deny that this is fresh taxation upon industry. [Interruption.] No, he never denied that this is fresh taxation.

Photo of Sir Stafford Cripps Sir Stafford Cripps , Bristol East

The hon. and learned Member must have misunderstood me. I have more than once pointed out that this it not a tax upon industry.

Photo of Mr Terence O'Connor Mr Terence O'Connor , Nottingham Central

The hon. and learned Gentleman has never denied that this is fresh taxation, and if it is fresh taxation it is fresh taxation upon every person who bears the tax, including the great industries of the country. So it-is perfectly right to say that he has never denied that it is a fresh tax upon industry. Let us examine the footing upon which he resisted the Amendment. He resisted it in the first place on the ground that industrialists, like everybody else, ought to bear the burden. That was neatly answered by my Noble Friend when he pointed out that an exemption had been made in the case of agriculturists, though they are only exempted to the extent of their cultivation value. It was the second part of the hon. and learned Member's defence which particularly interested me. It coincides with a defence he has previously put forward. He asked, "Which would industry rather have: would it rather have this tax or would it rather have rates?" So now we know exactly where we are. We know that this is the reimposition of a burden. We removed the rating burden under the De-rating Act, and this is a reimposition of that burden, and when the Solicitor-General airily says, "Oh, would you rather have the burden of rates back again?" we are justified in reminding him that when the De-rating Act was passed the burden was reimposed upon industry in another and more bearable form by means of the Petrol Duty. That was the footing upon which derating was carried out. The rates were removed from industrial hereditaments, and the Petrol Duty was put on in order to provide the money with which the Exchequer reimburses the local authorities for the loss of rates. Therefore, not only have the Government increased the Petrol Duty, and so increased the burden placed on industry to replace the burden of rates, but they are now, on the Solicitor-General's own admission, going to put another burden on industry in order to counterbalance the relief which in-dusty got from rates under de-rating.

The movement of industry in the last decade has been from the highly-congested areas to the open country. Industry has been getting away from the highly-rated and highly-developed areas to areas where the site values were small. That is a highly desirable movement. It is of no advantage to an industry to have a high site value for its works. Now this movement, which it has been the aim of everybody to assist, is to be hampered and hindered by the imposition of this tax, because by their movement into the undeveloped areas they will increase the values of the sites upon which they settle. Therefore, they are having re-imposed upon them by means of the Land Tax a good deal of the burden which they moved out of the congested areas to avoid. On that ground, as well as on every other, this is a tax upon industry a tax to hamper its free movement, and a tax to hinder the development which alone can provide the Government with the revenue which they desire to squander.

Photo of Mr George Hardie Mr George Hardie , Glasgow Springburn

The statement so often made to-night that this is a tax upon industry has got to be met. What this tax seeks to do is to take a part of what the landlords are now taking in the form of rent. If it were not so, why is it that in Scotland someone has not put works on the top of Ben Nevis? The reason is the existence of the River Clyde and all that comes from the wealth that is created by the presence of a population. Although talking of the tax falling on industry, the other side know perfectly well that there are industrialists who have to pay rent, because all companies are not large enough to own their own land. Those who do own their own sites will make some allowance for it in their balance-sheets.

Take the city of Glasgow. Why do people want sites in that district? Take, for example, the Duke of Montrose. He did not create any of the value of his land. The whole question rests upon the power of the landlord to extract rent. This is not a tax upon industry. It is simply a question of asking this House to give the Government power to get back part of what the landlords now take. I am surprised that there should be any industrialists in this House, and especially a Scotsman, who still desire to help the landlord to go on robbing industry. I am surprised at the hon. and learned Member for Central Nottingham (Mr. O'Connor) making such a reference as he did to an hon. Member on this side of the Committee, and I think it would be well if the hon. and learned Member took some lectures on this subject himself and tried to understand some of the economics and real ethics of this question. Rent is not such a simple question as hon. Members opposite seem to think. I will conclude by saying that if this country is going to be freed from the incubus of landlordism, and the power to inflict the continuous tax of rent upon industry alone, this is the first proceeding that ought to be taken towards freeing industry.

Question put, "That those words be there inserted."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 243; Noes, 272.

Division No. 344.]AYES.[10.0 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-ColonelEngland, Colonel A.Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hn. W. G.(Ptrsf'ld)
Albery, Irving JamesErskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)O'Connor, T. J.
Alexander, Sir Wm. (Glasgow, Cent'l)Everard, W. LindsayOman, Sir Charles William C.
Allen, Sir J. Sandeman (Liverp'l., W.)Falle, Sir Bertram G.O'Neill, Sir H.
Allen, Lt.-Col. Sir William (Armagh)Ferguson, Sir JohnOrmsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William
Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.Fielden, E. B.Peake, Captain Osbert
Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.Fison, F. G. ClaveringPenny, Sir George
Aske, Sir RobertFord, Sir P. J.Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)
Astor, Maj. Hon. John J.(Kent, Dover)Forestier-Walker, Sir L.Perkins, W. R. D.
Astor, ViscountessFremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)
Atholl, Duchess ofGalbraith, J. F. W.Pilditch, Sir Philip
Atkinson, C.Ganzonl, Sir JohnPower, Sir John Cecil
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley (Bewdley)Gault, Lieut.-Col. A. HamiltonPownall, Sir Assheton
Balfour, George (Hampstead)Gibson, C. G. (Pudsey & Otley)Preston, Sir Walter Rueben
Balfour, Captain H. H. (I. of Thanet)Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir JohnPurbrick, R.
Balniel, LordGlyn, Major R. G. C.Pybus, Percy John
Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)Ramsbotham, H.
Beaumont, M. W.Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.Rawson, Sir Cooper
Bellairs, Commander CarlyonGreaves-Lord, Sir WalterReid, David D. (County Down)
Betterton, Sir Henry B.Greene, W. P. CrawfordRentoul, Sir Gervais S.
Bevan, S. J. (Holborn)Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)Reynolds, Col. Sir James
Birchall, Major Sir John DearmanGretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. JohnRichardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)
Bird, Ernest RoyGritten, W. G. HowardRoberts, Sir Samuel (Ecclesall)
Bourne, Captain Robert CroftGuinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.Robinson, Sir T. (Lancs, Stretford)
Bowater, Col. Sir T. VansittartGunston, Captain D. W.Rodd, Rt. Hon. Sir James Rennell
Boyce, LeslieHacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.Ross, Ronald D.
Bracken, B.Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)Ruggles-Brise, Colonel E.
Braithwaite, Major A. N.Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford)Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)
Brass, Captain Sir WilliamHammersley, S. S.Russell, Richard John (Eddisbury)
Briscoe, Richard GeorgeHanbury, C.Salmon, Major I.
Broadbent, Colonel J.Hartington, Marquess ofSamuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C.(Berks, Newb'y)Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)
Buchan, JohnHaslam, Henry C.Sandeman, Sir N. Stewart
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.Henderson, Capt. R. R.(Oxf'd, Henley)Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip A. G. D.
Bullock, Captain MalcolmHeneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.Savery, S. S.
Burton, Colonel H. W.Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.Shepperson, Sir Ernest Whittome
Butler, R. A.Herbert, Sir Dennis (Hertford)Sinclair, Col. T. (Queen's U., Belfst)
Butt, Sir AlfredHills, Major Rt. Hon. John WallerSkelton, A. N.
Cadogan, Major Hon. EdwardHoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)
Campbell, E. T.Horne, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert S.Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)
Carver, Major W. H.Howard-Bury, Colonel C. K.Smith-Carington, Neville W.
Castle Stewart, Earl ofHudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)Smithers, Waldron
Cautley, Sir Henry S.Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir AylmerSomerset, Thomas
Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)Hurd, Percy A.Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)
Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth, S.)Hurst, Sir Gerald B.Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)
Cazalet, Captain Victor A.Hutchison, Maj.-Gen. Sir R.Southby, Commander A. R. J.
Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord H. (Ox. Univ.)Inskip, Sir ThomasSpender-Clay, Colonel H.
Chadwick, Capt. Sir Robert BurtonIveagh, Countess ofStanley, Lord (Fylde)
Chamberlain Rt. Hn. Sir J. A.(Birm., W.)Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton)Stanley, Hon. O. (Westmorland)
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Edgbaston)Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)Steel-Maitland, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur
Chapman, Sir S.Kindersley, Major G. M.Stewart, W. J. (Belfast South)
Christle, J. A.Knox, Sir AlfredStuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)
Clydesdale, Marquess ofLamb, Sir J. O.Sueter, Rear-Admiral M. F.
Cobb, Sir CyrilLane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R.Thomas, Major L. B. (King's Norton)
Cohen, Major J. BruneiLatham, H. P. (Scarboro' & Whitby)Thompson, Luke
Colfox, Major William PhilipLeighton, Major B. E. P.Thomson, Sir F.
Colman, N. C. D.Lewis, Oswald (Colchester)Thomson, Mitchell-, Rt. Hon. Sir W.
Colville, Major D. J.Llewellin, Major J. J.Titchfield, Major the Marquess of
Cooper, A. DuffLocker-Lampson, Rt. Hon. GodfreyTodd, Capt. A. J.
Courtauld, Major J. S.Locker-Lampson, Com. O.(Handsw'th)Train, J.
Courthope, Colonel Sir G. L.Lockwood, Captain J. H.Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Cowan, D. MLong, Major Hon. EricTurton, Robert Hugh
Cranborne, ViscountLymington, ViscountVaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon
Crichton-Stuart, Lord C.McConnell, Sir JosephWard, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. Lambert
Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.Macdonald, Sir M. (Inverness)Warrender, Sir Victor
Crookshank, Capt. H. C.Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)Waterhouse, Captain Charles
Croom-Johnson, R. P.Maitland, A. (Kent, Faversham)Wayland, Sir William A.
Culverwell, C. T. (Bristol, West)Makins, Brigadier-General E.Wells, Sydney R.
Cunliffe-Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir PhilipMargesson, Captain H. D.Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)
Dalkeith, Earl ofMarjoribanks, EdwardWilson, G. H. A. (Cambridge U.)
Dalrymple-White, Lt.-Col. Sir GodfreyMason, Colonel Glyn K.Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. (Hertford)Meller, R. J.Winterton, Ht. Hon. Earl
Davies, Dr. VernonMerriman, Sir F. BoydWithers, Sir John James
Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)Milne, Wardlaw-, J. S.Wolmer, Rt. Hon. Viscount
Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)Womersley, W. J.
Dawson, Sir PhilipMonsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. Sir B.Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley
Despencer-Robertson, Major J. A. F.Moore, Sir Newton J. (Richmond)Wright, Brig.-Gen. W. D. (Tavist'k)
Dixey, A. C.Morris, Rhys HopkinsYoung, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton
Dugdale, Capt. T. L.Morrison, W. S. (Glos., Cirencester)
Eden, Captain AnthonyMuirhead, A. J.TELLERS FOR THE AYES.
Edmondson, Major A. J.Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)Captain Sir George Bowyer and
Elliot, Major Walter E.Nicholson, O. (Westminster)Captain Wallace.
NOES.
Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (File, West)Hall, Capt. W. G. (Portsmouth, C.)Messer, Fred
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)Hamilton, Mary Agnes (Blackburn)Middleton, G.
Altchison, Rt. Hon. Craigle M.Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Zetland)Mills, J. E.
Alpass, J. H.Harbord, A.Milner, Major J.
Ammon, Charles GeorgeHardie, David (Rutherglen)Montague, Frederick
Angell, Sir NormanHardie, G. D. (Springburn)Morgan, Dr. H. B.
Arnott, JohnHarris, Percy A.Morley, Raiph
Ayles, WalterHastings, Dr. SomervilleMorrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Hackney, S.)
Barnes, Alfred JohnHaycock, A. W.Morrison, Robert C. (Tottenham)
Barr, JamesHayday, ArthurMort, D. L.
Batey, JosephHayes, John HenryMuff, G.
Bennett, Sir E. N. (Cardiff, Central)Henderson, Right Hon. A. (Burnley)Muggeridge, H. T.
Bennett, William (Battersea, South)Henderson, Arthur, Junr. (Cardiff, S.)Muruin, Hugh
Benson, G.Henderson, Thomas (Glasgow)Naylor, T. E.
Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)Henderson, W. W. (Middx., Enfield)Noel Baker, P. J.
Birkett, W. NormanHerriotts, J.Noel-Buxton, Baroness (Norfolk, N.)
Bondfield, Rt. Hon. MargaretHicks, Ernest GeorgeOldfield, J. R.
Bowen, J. W.Hirst, G. H. (York W. R. Wentworth)Oliver, George Harold (Ilkeston)
Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)Owen, Major G. (Carnarvon)
Broad, Francis AlfredHoffman, P. C.Owen, H. F. (Hereford)
Brockway, A. FennerHollins, A.Palin, John Henry
Bromfield, WilliamHopkin, DanielPalmer, E. T.
Bromley, J.Hore-Belisha, LeslieParkinson, John Allen (Wigan)
Brooke, W.Hudson, James H. (Huddersfield)Perry, S. F.
Brothers, M.Hunter, Dr. JosephPethick-Lawrence, F. W.
Brown, C. W. E. (Notts. Mansfield)John, William (Rhondda, West)Phillips, Dr. Marlon
Brown, Rt. Hon. J. (South Ayrshire)Johnston, Rt. Hon. ThomasPicton-Turbervill, Edith
Buchanan, G.Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)Pole, Major D. G.
Burgess, F. G.Jones, Rt. Hon. Leif (Camborne)Potts, John S
Burgin, Dr. E. L.Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)Price, M. P.
Came, Hall-, DerwentJowett, Rt. Hon. F. W.Quibell, D. J. K.
Cameron, A. G.Jowitt, Rt. Hon. Sir W. A. (Preston)Ramsay, T. B. Wilson
Cape, ThomasKedward, R. M. (Kent, Ashford)Raynes, W. R.
Carter, W. (St. Pancras, S. W.)Kelly, W. T.Richards, R.
Chater, DanielKennedy, Rt. Hon. ThomasRichardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)
Clarke, J. S.Kinley, J.Riley, Ben (Dewsbury)
Cluse, W. S.Kirkwood, D.Riley, F. F. (Stockton-on-Tees)
Cocks, Frederick SeymourKnight, HolfordRitson, J.
Compton, JosephLang, GordonRoberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Bromwich)
Cove, William G.Lansbury, Rt. Hon. GeorgeRomerll, H. G.
Cripps, Sir StaffordLathan, G. (Sheffield, Park)Rosbotham, D. S. T.
Daggar, GeorgeLaw, Albert (Bolton)Rowson, Guy
Dallas, GeorgeLaw, A. (Rossendale)Salter, Dr. Alfred
Dalton, HughLawrence, SusanSamuel, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Darwen)
Davies, E. C. (Montgomery)Lawrle, Hugh Hartley (Stalybridge)Samuel, H. Walter (Swansea, Wet
Davies, D. L. (Pontypridd)Lawson, John JamesSanders, W. S.
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)Lawther, W. (Barnard Castle)Sandham, E.
Day, HarryLeach, W.Sawyer, G. F.
Denman, Hon. R. D.Lee, Frank (Derby, N. E.)Scurr, John
Devlin, JosephLee, Jennie (Lanark, Northern)Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)
Dudgeon, Major C. R.Lees, J.Shepherd, Arthur Lewis
Dukes, C.Leonard, W.Sherwood, G. H.
Duncan, CharlesLewis, T. (Southampton)Shield, George William
Ede, James ChuterLindley, Fred W.Shiels, Dr. Drummond
Edge, Sir WilliamLloyd, C. EllisShillaker, J. F.
Edmunds, J. E.Logan, David GilbertShinwell, E.
Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)Longbottom, A. W.Simmons, C. J.
Edwards, E. (Morpeth)Longden, F.Sinclair, Sir A. (Caithness)
Egan, W. H.Lovat-Fraser, J. A.Sinkinson, George
Elmley, ViscountLunn, WilliamSitch, Charles H.
Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.)Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)
Foot, IsaacMacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)Smith, Frank (Nuneaton)
Gardner, B. W. (West Ham, Upton)McElwee, A.Smith, Tom (Pontefract)
Gardner, J. P. (Hammersmith, N.)McEntee, V. L.Smith, W. R. (Norwich)
George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)McGovern, J. (Glasgow, Shettleston)Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip
George, Megan Lloyd (Anglesea)McKinlay, A.Sorensen, R.
Gibbins, JosephMacLaren, AndrewStamford, Thomas W.
Gibson, H. M. (Lancs, Mossley)Maclean, Sir Donald (Cornwall, N.)Stephen, Campbell
Gill, T. H.Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)Strauss, G. R.
Gillett, George M.MacNeill-Weir, L.Sullivan, J.
Glassey, A. EMcShane, John JamesSutton, J. E.
Gossling, A. G.Malone, C. L'Estrange (N'thampton)Taylor, R. A. (Lincoln)
Gould, F.Mander, Geoffrey le M.Taylor, W. B. (Norfolk, S. W.)
Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)Manning, E. L.Thurtle, Ernest
Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)Mansfield, W.Tillett, Ben
Gray, MilnerMarch, S.Tinker, John Joseph
Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A. (Colne)Marcus, M.Tout, W. J.
Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)Markham, S. F.Townend, A. E.
Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro' W.)Marley, J.Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles
Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)Marshall, FredVaughan, David
Grundy, Thomas W.Mathers, GeorgeViant, S. P.
Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)Matters, L. W.Walkden, A. G.
Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel)Maxton, JamesWalker, J.
Wallace, H. W.White, H. G.Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)
Watkins, F. C.Whiteley, Wilfrid (Birm., Ladywood)Winterton, G. E.(Leicester, Loughb'gh)
Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)Whiteley, William (Blaydon)Wise, E. F.
Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)Williams, David (Swansea, East)Wood, Major McKenzie (Banff)
Wellock, WilfredWilliams, E. J. (Ogmore)Young, R. S. (Islington, North)
Welsh, James (Paisley)Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)
Welsh, James C. (Coatbridge)Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)TELLERS FOR THE NOES.
West, F. R.Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)Mr. Charleton and Mr. Paling.
Westwood, JosephWilson, J. (Oldham)

Photo of Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy , Daventry

The next Amendment that I call is the first one on page 2209, which covers a very large number of Amendments, and I think we might have a general discussion on playing fields.

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN:

Does that include all the Amendments, which cover not only playing fields, but also recreation grounds, sports clubs, camping grounds and clubs?

Photo of Sir James Millar Sir James Millar , Fife Eastern

I beg to move, in page 19, line 5, at the end, to insert the words: (a) is used as the site of any park, garden, or open space which is open to the public as of right; or(b) is used as the site of any woodland, park, garden, or open space reasonable access to which is enjoyed by the public or by the inhabitants of the locality where, in the opinion of the Commissioners, that access is of public benefit; or(c) is used as a site of any land where it is shown to the Commissioners that the land is being kept free of buildings in pursuance of any definite scheme whether framed before or after the passing of this Act for the development of the area of which the land forms part and where, in the opinion of the Commissioners, it is reasonably necessary in the interests of the public or in view of the character of the surroundings or neighbourhood that the land should be so kept free from buildings; or(d) is used as the site of any and which is bona fide used for the purpose of games or other recreation where the Commissioners are satisfied that the land is so used under some agreement with the owner which as originally made could not be determined for a period of at least five years or where, in the opinion of the Commissioners, other circumstances render it probable that the land will contnue to be so used. The Amendment raises the whole question of the exemption of open spaces and sports and recreation grounds from the application of the Land Value Duty, and as you have indicated, Sir Robert, we are to have a general discussion of these questions in view of the various Amendments on the Paper. I suggest that my Amendment is one which covers practically all the points with which we are anxious to deal, and I would remind the Committee that it is framed in the precise terms of the provision which was inserted in the Finance Act, 1909–10, which exempted such open spaces and sports grounds from the provisions of the Undeveloped Land Duty. I recognise with gratitude that the Government have gone so far as to meet the claims which are raised in the Amendment in paragraph (a) and have put on the Paper an Amendment which covers this particular point, but it does not carry us nearly far enough. After all, we are dealing here with a question which I hope may be approached in no mere partisan spirit and which affects very closely indeed an enormous section of our population throughout the whole country. We are asking, not for an opportunity of evading the application of a Land Value Duty where it may be properly imposed, but that it should not apply to purposes which are strictly of the nature of public purposes and in the public interest.

The first paragraph of the Amendment is, as I have indicated, covered by the right hon. Gentleman's Amendment, but paragraphs (b) and (c) deal with other open spaces, access to which is enjoyed by the public and is a public benefit; and I would like the Committee to observe that the one underlying argument on which we recommend this Amendment is that it deals with the public interest. We maintain that there are many places, such as woodlands, parks and gardens, access to which is at present given to the public and which ought to continue as they are, free from any additional taxation. It is in the public interest that such properties should remain open for public access. In paragraph (c) we deal also with the case of land kept free of buildings in pursuance of any denite scheme. … for the development of the area of which the land forms part, and where. … it is reasonably necessary in the interests of the public or in view of the character of the surroundings or neighbourhood that the land should be so kept free from buildings. I have no doubt that the Solicitor-General will refer us to the Government Amendment which has been put down to the Town Planning Bill, and will suggest that that substantially meets the case, but I want to meet that argument by saying, first, that we are very anxious to have this matter cleared up in the Finance Bill. We want to have it quite clear in this taxing Statute what is to be taxed and what is to be exempted. In the second place, I do not think that the point, is fully covered in the Town and Country Planning Bill, because that Measure only deals with undertakings given by landowners restricting the use of their land. Under the Finance Bill, such undertakings or restrictions would have to be binding upon purchasers in order to be covered under the First Schedule of this Bill and enter into the valuation.

Photo of Sir Stafford Cripps Sir Stafford Cripps , Bristol East

That is provided for in Clause 26 of the Town and Country Planning Bill.

Photo of Sir James Millar Sir James Millar , Fife Eastern

There are many restrictions which are not so provided for, and we want to make it perfectly clear that purposes of the character referred to in paragraphs (b) and (c) of the Amendment may be continued in the public interest, and that land subject to these purposes shall not be subject to the Land Tax. Paragraph (d) deals with a very large class of cases of lands used bona fide for the purposes of games or other recreations. Under the Act of 1910, it was left to the Commissioners to satisfy themselves that the land is so used under an agreement which could not be determined for at least five years, or to consider whether the circumstances rendered it probable that the land would continue to be so used. I submit that that is a perfectly reasonable view. We are dealing here with an enormous number of various interests throughout the country, and when we are doing everything we can to encourage the provision of additional recreational facilities, in connection with our National Playing Fields Association and other organisations, the Government really ought to meet us substantially on this point.

I suggest to the Front Bench that they have no idea of the number of particular interests which are specially represented in connection with our sports and recreation grounds. It is all very well to suggest that this is a class matter, but it is nothing of the kind. An immense number of workers and artisans are closely identified with the various sports clubs that we desire to have exempted. We desire that all cases of private clubs or associations who hold land for bona fide purposes of sports and recreation should be covered. I have received a number of representations with regard to the various interests with desire this Amendment to be pressed, and perhaps I may be allowed, as a Scottish Member, to refer to the clubs and other associations in Scotland. I have there a memorandum showing the number of associations comprising sports clubs which have sent special representations on this matter to Members of the House. They include the Scottish Rugby Union, with 127 clubs; the Scottish Cricket Union, with 80; the Scottish Hockey Union, with 90: the Scottish Golfing Union, with 371; the Scottish Lawn Tennis Association, with 230; the Scottish Bowling Association, whose clubs owning their own grounds number no fewer than 546; and the Caledonian Curling Club, with 505 constituent associations. All of these are directly interested in these recreational facilities. They are only a small section of the interests represented to-night in this House, but I desire to voice their view, and, if I may be allowed to do so, as the representative of a Division where there are a very large number of clubs, golf links, and bowling greens which provide facilities for healthy recreation for a very large section of our population, I would ask the Government to consider this Amendment and give effect to its provisions.

The question about which we are specially concerned is this: The Chancellor of the Exchequer has already indicated that he is not going to deal with a certain class of wealthy clubs run merely for profit, but has he considered the very large number of working-men's and other clubs which are not being run for profit, but which are being run simply on the lines of providing a sufficient revenue for meeting the expenses of the club or, it may be, a very small sum for interest on capital for the buildings which have to be provided? We urge on the right hon. Gentleman that these cases ought to be very specially considered. I am satisfied that the purpose of the Amendment is one that can and ought to be met. It is not quite true to say that these bodies can escape taxation, as the Chancellor indicated the other day. It appears to me that, even under any undertaking that might be given under the Town Planning Act, they will certainly not escape the very large burden of taxation which will be thrown upon them. This is a matter on which the country feels very strongly and I do not believe there is any bigger social issue raised in the Bill. If we are going to develop an A 1 race, we want to afford it the greatest opportunity for health and recreation, and we want to see these facilities provided for all classes of our population. It is because I regard this Amendment as not directed from any one source, or trying to give effect to the interests or the feelings or the wishes of any one section of the House, that I move it in the hope and belief that the Government will accept it.

Photo of Sir Edward Campbell Sir Edward Campbell , Bromley

I consider that this is the most important portion of the Bill. In view of the fact that I spend all the time that I am not in the House of Commons in social service, either for the purpose of education or of physical education, I have my name down to a- great number of Amendments, which include such things as land used for boys' and girls' clubs, scouts' and guides' camping grounds, private school grounds, county and private cricket and football grounds, all of which are covered by this Amendment. I deplore the fact that such a subject should be raised in the House of Commons at all. I had hoped that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in bringing forward certain exemptions, would have exempted all land used exclusively for sports, provided it was not run for the financial profit either of members, shareholders or proprietors. I am not going to speak for any club run solely for profit but on behalf of playing fields as such, which, I consider, are beneficial to the health of the country as a whole. I appreciate the fact that the Chancellor of the Exchequer has already acceded to a portion of the Amendments down in my name, and for that, speaking on behalf of the societies which I represent, I am naturally exceedingly grateful. But I should like to plead that the balance of those Amendments which has not yet been conceded by the Chancellor of the Exchequer should be accepted under what he terms "for purposes beneficial to the community." I believe that the clubs and such bodies for which I am pleading are really of benefit to the community as a whole.

I take, for instance, Lords Cricket Ground, the headquarters of the M.C.C. who are the great governing body of cricket. They not only provide cricket on Lords Cricket Ground for themselves but send teams to secondary and public schools, to the Colonies and Dominions and to foreign countries. [Interruption.] I am trying to make my speech as short as possible in view of the fact that I believe every Member of the Committee is anxious to say something on this matter, alhough very few hon. Members will realise their ambition. They foster good relations by sending teams to the Colonies and Overseas. At the present time there is a team of the M.C.C. playing in Holland. Many elementary school children are at Lords every day without any payment whatever. On 21 evenings there is coaching of elementary school boys at Lords by first-class professionals. If I send my son to be coached, although I am a member of the M.C.C., I have to pay for him. The elementary school boy receives coaching free, and I am very glad that he does. In September Lords Ground is used by working boys and working men. I am taking the M.C.C. at Lords as an example of the many governing bodies of sport. Were Lords Cricket Ground to be taxed it would not cripple Lords and the members of the M.C.C. as such, but it would prevent the M.C.C. helping boys and girls and such like. [An HON. MEMBER: "Why?"] Because they would have so much less revenue. By sending teams overseas, I believe that they are doing just as much good for the world in general as the League of Nations. [Interruption.] If any hon. Gentleman has been, as I have, with a team on the other side of the water, whether on the Continent of Europe or further afield, he will realise that these cricket and football teams do a great deal to cement friendship between one nation and another.

I am also asked to speak on behalf of the Club Cricket Conference with a membership of no fewer than 650 clubs. They also do a very great deal to help cricket, because it is one of their main objects, that when a club joins the Cricket Conference they invite them to do everything possible to foster cricket among elementary school children. In the majority of cases they do that. The same hardship will come upon golf courses, bowling greens, lawn tennis clubs, hockey clubs and similar clubs. I have in my constituency probably more clubs of various sorts than are to be found in any other constituency. These clubs are not run by the rich. Very few of them are in the hands of rich people. They are run by the poor, and if the land which they use is to be taxed it will mean that they will not be able to pay the rent to the landlords, or if it is their own ground they will have to sell it. In the interests of the health of the nation I consider that this land should be exempt.

The Rugby Union, another great governing body, do a tremendous amount on behalf of sport. In the M.C.C. and the Rugby Union not one penny of profits goes to any member of the club. All the money made either at Lords or at Twickenham or wherever it may be made goes back into the game in one form or other to help in the furtherance of the sport. In the Rugby Union there are 850 clubs, including elementary, secondary and public schools. All these clubs will be adversely affected by this taxation. By putting this tax on private playing grounds whether they be cricket, fotball, lawn tennis, bowls, or other grounds, there is great risk that many of the clubs will have to close down. The result will be that many of the people affected will be forced to go to the recreation grounds in the public parks. For three years I have been a member of the London County Council Parks Committee and I can assure hon. Members that there is the greatest difficulty at the present time to find sufficient pitches for all those who want them. Why should those who are willing to pay their own way by having a small club of their own, therefore leaving the recreation grounds in the parks for those who can least afford to pay, be taxed when they are helping others who are less able to help themselves? In the interests of the health of mind and body I implore the Chancellor of the Exchequer to consider this matter. I see on the benches opposite an honourable doctor——

Photo of Mr John McShane Mr John McShane , Walsall

Is not that a contradiction in terms?

Photo of Sir Edward Campbell Sir Edward Campbell , Bromley

——the hon. Member who beat me at the last election, and, when I talk about the health of the children of the nation, he laughs. I am serious. I see so much of the people who are down and out and who want someone to speak for them in the House of Commons that I realise that this proposition of the Government to tax the land owned by these clubs is going to be a great hardship to many of the very poorest people in the country. Therefore, I implore the Chancellor of the Exchequer to consider whether he cannot find some means of helping such clubs as come within the confines of the Amendment.

Photo of Mr John Remer Mr John Remer , Macclesfield

In the few minutes I propose to detain the Committee I want to refer to the question of golf courses. I claim to be one of the oldest golfers in the United Kingdom; it is 42 years since I first struck a golf ball. In my opinion the Chancellor of the Exchequer has not given the Consideration to the question of golf courses to which it is entitled. He views this subject from the point of view that in taxing golf courses he is taxing the rich, but the kind of people who are really going to be taxed are not the rich golfers but the poor golfers. There are two kinds of golf courses in the country. There is the golf course that can only be reached by the motor car, and there is the golf course which can be reached by train, tube and omnibus. The golf courses which can be reached by the train, tube and omnibus, are generally near a town and are precisely the courses upon which men of smaller means play, but they are also the courses which will pay the largest amount of taxation under the Bill.

I see the Noble Lady the Member for Sutton Division (Viscountess Astor) in the Committee. She has reached the honourable position of being a semi-finalist in the Parliamentary golf handicap. The course upon which the Noble Lady plays her golf is Sandwich, which will not be subject to this taxation because it is a private course and there is no building value attaching to it. But take a course which is near the centre of London like North Middlesex or Hendon, which are easily reached by people of small means, they will be taxed to a considerable extent by the Bill as it is at present drafted. I am sure the Chancellor of the Exchequer will agree that this is a case for his consideration. I am making no political capital out of it, but I hope that the right hon. Gentleman, if he cannot accept this Amendment, will before the Report stage do something to deal with the kind of golf courses to which I have referred. There can be no greater advantage to the country than to have a great many more golfers playing the game and learning the rudiments of the game, because it appeals to those of middle age as few other games do. I appeal to the Chancellor of the Exchequer to do something for these golf courses. Unless the right hon. Gentleman does something in this respect I believe that a great many courses used by those of slender means who have started to play the game, will have to close their doors. [Laughter.] I am sorry for the hilarity of hon. Members opposite. After all, golf club houses have doors. I appeal to the Chancellor to do something to deal with the situation in the interests of a great many people in this country.

Photo of Mr Donald Maclean Mr Donald Maclean , Cornwall Northern

I fear that I have no special athletic achievement on which to base my appeal to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, but I would like to put the case for the Amendment on broad, general, national grounds. It is, perhaps, not unnatural that, while I support this Amendment, I prefer the words of an Amendment that stands on the Paper in the name of myself and some of my colleagues. Rut the words of the Amendment represent the public's opinion outside this House and inside this House in the year 1910. There will be general agreement that on most social matters which were at issue in those days there has been an enormous general advance. Matters which were supposed to be the divisors of parties for generations, have become the commonplaces of all parties. There is no question that there has been no greater, swifter and more general development of opinion than with regard to the playing fields of the country. Great medical authorities, social workers, religious leaders, party leaders of all parties, have combined, without any sense of special political opinion, in blessing this great movement. For a great movement it is.

This is a Finance Bill, and every day we are dealing with questions of investment. There could be no greater investment for the nation, apart from purely financial interest, than the typical well-being of the youth of this country. That has been so well recognised that during the last few years one of the Princes of the Royal House has lent himself, with members of all political parties and all leaders of religious opinion, to this very movement, which finds its expression in the principle of this Amendment. As far as I understand it, the proposal of the Chancellor of the Exchequer towards meeting this appeal from almost the whole of the Committee, falls very much short of the reasonable requirements of the case.

Some statistics were placed before the Committee by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for East Fife (Mr. Millar) with regard to Scotland and its amateur sports, and the devotion of the population of Scotland as a whole to those sports, but if you multiplied by six those very striking figures, you would only faintly reflect the devotion to the interest in and the benefit from the playing fields of this country. When I say playing fields, I do not by any means confine the term to golf courses, or to Lord's cricket ground or to county cricket grounds all of which, I think myself, are entitled to very favourable consideration on their own merits. When I speak of playing fields, I mean those small plots right in the centre of valuable building sites, which afford all too infrequently, some opportunities of physical recreation to the least privileged of the citizens of our country. If by any means, or any tax, no matter what it may be, we lessen either the inducement to preserve such playing fields, or the user of them by those who so sorely need them, we are doing a national disservice. I feel that I speak for my hon. Friends around me when I plead for a much wider recognition of this question. It ought not to be limited by merely tacking on these sites, as it were, to an Amendment in the Town Planning Bill now before Parliament.

May I speak quite frankly and say that I am sure that the general opinion of the House of Commons is that we ought to go very much further than that. These pieces of precious land are valuable, for building purposes, or purely material development purposes, and it should be the concern of the Government of the day, no matter how composed, to bend their best energies not only to preserving, but to increasing them. What would be the effect of the Bill, as it stands, on these sites? It cannot help leaving them unprotected, or driving them into the building market. It can have no other result. I am certain that the House of Commons desires to prevent that. I wonder if I might make an appeal to the Government on this matter. Public opinion is behind this or a similar Amendment. It is the duty of the House of Commons, in Committee, or in any other form of its public expression, to rise above the ordinary play of party forces, to meet a great and clearly demonstrated national demand, and that is what this demand is. Whether it has reached the Chancellor of the Exchequer or not, I do not know, but there are very few Members of the Committee who will dissent from my statement. As to the immediate practicability of meeting this demand in full, I am not prepared to judge, but it should be met substantially, and, when I say substantially, I mean the demand as a whole, subject to necessary exceptions. I am sure that if the matter goes to a Division, the Committee will be very dominantly and largely in favour of putting some such exemption as this on the Statute Book.

Photo of Sir Stafford Cripps Sir Stafford Cripps , Bristol East

One may safely premise that nobody will discuss this problem from a partisan point of view, and I am sure the Government and the Chancellor of the Exchequer are as keen on an A1 population as anbyody else in the House. There are, however, certain real difficulties about this problem, and I think all Members will appreciate that there may well be different views as to how it should be approached. In addition to the Amendment which we are now discussing there are a great number of other Amendments on the Order Paper which deal with the problem in a very different way, and it is a little difficult in the discussion of this Amendment to deal with all the different aspects which are presented by those other Amendments. For instance, the right hon. Gentleman mentioned the fact that on a later page of the Paper there is an Amendment in his name. That Amendment is one which raises the problem in an extraordinarily different form from the one which we are now discussing, and is one which would be far more easy to meet than the one under discussion. [Interruption.] Hon. and right hon. Gentleman opposite, I am sure, will not assist the cause of playing fields by jeering whenever the Government suggest that there is a general case for any particular Amendment.

Perhaps I may first of all deal with the Amendment before us, and then deal more generally with the question of playing fields. The Amendment which is now before the Committee is one which, in the view of the Government it would be quite impossible to accept, and largely for the reason that the Amendment is really dealing with the state of affairs long prior to effective town planning, and paragraphs (b) and (c) of this Amendment are wholly inappropriate to the present state of affairs. They are just those types of paragraphs against which we were so eloquently warned by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) during the course of the Second Reading—Amendments the meaning of which it is really extraordinarily difficult to know. Take paragraph (b), which refers to land which is used as the site of any … garden or open space reasonable access to which is enjoyed by the public or by the inhabitants of the locality where, in the opinion of the Commissioners, that access is of public benefit. How are the Commissioners to say, if someone opens his gardens on Sunday afternoons to the public of the locality, whether that is a case which is meant to be excluded? It is a perfectly impossible set of words for any practical administration of the Bill. If one cames to deal with paragraph (c), there again, obviously, one is dealing with a state of affairs before town planning, because it is trying to exempt land which would clearly be scheduled under the Town Planning Act or a Town Planning Order for a particular use. That, of course, is now done appropriately under the Town Planning Bill, and not under such a vague and general exemption as this. Those are two reasons why it would be quite impossible to accept the Amendment in this form.

On the general question of playing-fields, I think the Committee will realise that there are a very large number of widely different sorts of playing-fields. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Bromley (Mr. Campbell) mentioned that as far as he was concerned, he was speaking on behalf of what one might call the non-commercial playing-fields, that is, the non-profit earning playing-fields, The Amendment deals with every kind of playing-field, whether commercial or not. It will exclude all the racecourses of the country, which hardly seems rational, to say the least of it. [An HON. MEMBER: "Why not?"] The hon. Gentleman asks why not, but he says it with a smile which obviously shows that he sees the distinction between the two. As regards those plots of land which were referred to by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for North Cornwall (Sir D. Maclean), plots of valuable land which are in the heart of the city, they are, I presume, in a large number of cases, not owned by the associations or bodies which use them. That raises a different question altogether, because there it would not be a question of exempting the user under the Bill, but the owner, and the owner, of course, would not be the sports association or other body.

That might be perfectly all right in those cases where you have a benevolent person who permits a user at a nominal rent, but, on the other hand, the right hon. Gentleman will appreciate that there are many cases, in and around London for instance, where full commercial rents are charged; and there can be no reason why, in the case, say, of tennis courts which are hired out at so much a game, the rent which the landlord receives for that land, which may be as high as the rent he would receive for it if there were buildings on it, should be exempted from the tax. The problem is different from the case where the land is given, or substantially given, by a benevolent person in order to provide recreation for the people who would otherwise not get it. These are two cases which obviously widely differ, and it is quite clear—and I know the right hon. Gentleman will appreciate this—that unless we are extraordinarily careful, we will get evasions of every kind through a wide exemption of this sort which is quite unqualified. It is that evasion that we desire to obviate. We do not in the least desire to cut out the genuine playing fields from exemption.

Photo of Mr Arthur Dixey Mr Arthur Dixey , Penrith and Cockermouth

Why did you put it in the Bill?

11.0 p.m.

Photo of Sir Stafford Cripps Sir Stafford Cripps , Bristol East

If the hon. Gentleman will have a little patience, he will hear. By our method, by which we have attempted to deal with the genuine playing field, we believe that we have met all the genuine and proper eases. First of all, as regards playing fields generally, all those owned by charities will be exempt, that is to say, all school playing fields, roughly speaking. Those mentioned by the hon. Member for Bromley, which are run by public elementary schools, will also be excluded. On the other hand, those owned by private profit making schools will not be exempt. The playing fields owned by the National or London Playing Fields Association will be excluded because they all come within the definition of charities. All those owned by local authorities will be excluded as being the property of local authorities. In addition to that there will be the provisions of the Town and Country Planning Bill. We believe that the appropriate place to deal with the user of land is in town planning and not in this Bill.

There is a provision in the first Schedule of this Bill by which, if there is a user binding upon the purchaser, that user or that restriction must be taken into account in the valuation. Take the case of a playing-field which it is desired to perpetuate as a playing-field. Let me take the example of Lords which the hon. Member gave. It will be open to the owners of Lords, the Marylebone Cricket Club, to enter into an undertaking with the London County Council, or the appropriate town planning authority, immediately after the passing of the Town Planning Bill, that that land shall not be used except for the purposes of sport, or however they like to express their undertaking, in perpetuity. Whether it is in perpetuity or not they can choose. The result of that will be that to a very great extent the land will be de-valued in consequence of that encumbrance. [Interruption.] Some hon. Member says "No, no." If Lords cricket ground can be used for the purpose of sport and is not available for other purposes that must obviously devalue it to a great extent. I do not say that it will entirely deprive it of value, but it will de-value it to a great extent.

Photo of Mr Philip Oliver Mr Philip Oliver , Manchester, Blackley

Will not the value of Lords be the value that any body of capitalists would give for Lords? [Interruption.]

Photo of Sir Stafford Cripps Sir Stafford Cripps , Bristol East

The answer to that is that it depends on the form of the undertaking. If the user is limited to the Marylebone Cricket Club for the purposes of sport, then obviously a capitalist would not buy it with that limited user; and if they like so to limit it in perpetuity then it has no purchaser, and it must be de-valued to that extent. It may be that the Marylebone Cricket Club are making profits out of it and therefore it is valuable to that extent, and the extent of its value will be measured by the profits made.

Photo of Mr Philip Oliver Mr Philip Oliver , Manchester, Blackley

And they are making those profits for the good of cricket in general, and it is on that ground it ought to be treated as a charity.

Photo of Sir Stafford Cripps Sir Stafford Cripps , Bristol East

If the proposition of the hon. Member is correct, that their profits are all devoted necessarily to the general purpose of promoting sport among the public, they will be entitled to be relieved as a charity under the Income Tax Acts. [Interruption.] I appeal to the hon. and learned Member for Fareham (Sir T. Inskip). I do not know whether that condition of affairs applies to the Marylebone Cricket Club or not, but if there is a club which devotes the whole of its profits or whatever it makes—its income from investments—to the general advancement of sport amongst the public generally, then that is a charitable object.

Photo of Mr Thomas Inskip Mr Thomas Inskip , Fareham

I do not want to interrupt the Solicitor-General, but he appeals to me and silence might be taken as assent. I distinctly differ from the statement that any body which devotes its money entirely to the propagation or popularisation of sport is charitable, and I believe there are decisions in the courts entirely contrary to that opinion.

Photo of Sir Stafford Cripps Sir Stafford Cripps , Bristol East

I will repeat what I said. I think I made it clear that where moneys were necessarily devoted to the advance of sport for the public generally and not for any particular body of persons, it would be, in my view, a charity. [Interruption.]

Photo of Mr David Reid Mr David Reid , Down

If that is the Solicitor-General's definition of a charity, would it not have been better if he had put those words in the Bill?

Photo of Sir Stafford Cripps Sir Stafford Cripps , Bristol East

I think my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Fareham (Sir T. Inskip) will agree with me when I say that to attempt to define charity in this Bill would be almost impossible and a most unfortunate thing. The position, so far as we are concerned, is that we are as anxious as hon. Members opposite to give exemptions to those lands which are bona fide Used for the purpose of sport in the sense in which the hon. Member for Bromley (Mr. Campbell) put the case. We are not prepared to exempt purely commercial sporting grounds, whether they be run for profit, or for the purposes of the members who are well able to pay for it; but we believe that, by the adoption of this process which I have suggested under the Town and Country Planning Bill in regard to charitable exemptions, the matter can be substantially dealt with, and will be substantially dealt with.

If it is found when the Town and Country Planning Bill is in force, and the required undertaking is given, there are any substantial cases of the class I have mentioned which are not relieved from the tax, we shall be prepared to consider them with a view to giving them exemption. [Interruption.] The hon. and learned Gentleman opposite might, I think, give us some credit for having thought out this problem. [An HON. MEMBER: "Why?"] The reason why I say hon. Members might give us some credit for having thought out the problem is because we have done so. Really, hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite must not think that they have an absolute monopoly of sincerity. Therefore, the position, so far as we can see it, on this Amendment—and it is impossible at the moment to go further than this Amendment—apart from the general statement that I have made, is that we are quite unable to accept the Amendment, because of the reasons which I have stated with regard to paragraphs (b) and (c) and because, with regard to paragraph (d), under that heading there is too general an exemption without any means of controlling evasions.

Photo of Mr Donald Maclean Mr Donald Maclean , Cornwall Northern

On a point of Order. Would not the Solicitor-General be in order under your Ruling at the start of these proceedings if he dealt not only with the Amendment formally moved, but also with the Amendment in my name, for which he expressed a very decided preference?

Photo of Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy , Daventry

We are dealing with all matters covering playing fields in each of the Amendments on the Paper, including that of the right hon. Gentleman, but it is not for me to dictate to the Solicitor-General what he shall say.

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN:

I think the speech of the learned Solicitor-General to which we have just listened will have occasioned very great disappointment in all parts of the House. Although he treated the subject sympathetically and spent a considerable time in explaining to us the difficulties that he found in accepting particular parts of the Amendment before us, he ended up by giving us no hope whatever that he was going to produce any solution of his own for the difficulties which we see before us I am not so much interested in paragraphs (b) and (c) as I am in paragraph (d) and in some of the other Amendments which stand in the names of hon. Friends behind me. Nobody who has been in close contact with the social life of the people in any big city can fail to have been struck intensely by the tremendous and increasing demand that there is among all classes of the community for the opportunity to use their leisure in outdoor sports and recreations, and nobody can have failed to be impressed by the difficulty, the increasing difficulty, that these people have in finding grounds on which they may play.

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN:

Those of us who are working to try to secure that there shall be playing fields or opportunities for these outdoor sports in our big towns have been profoundly discouraged by the imposition of this new tax, which must make it more difficult, as the right hon. Member for North Cornwall (Sir D. Maclean) said, to get these grounds in future than it has been in the past. I want particularly to put in a plea for what I may call the casual playing grounds of the people. I am not going to dwell upon the case of Lords or of the commercial grounds of which the Solicitor-General spoke, but I am thinking of those numerous fields and little plots of land, which are to be found in all big cities, which are kept free from buildings a little longer, but which sooner or later perhaps will go into building, but at any rate while they are free they are being used for recreation or camping grounds. Surely, when the Government profess this sympathy with the object of this Amendment, it is not beyond their wits to devise some means of preserving these open spaces a little bit longer.

What surprises me even more is that this Amendment to the Town and Country Planning Bill which is being discussed upstairs and to which allusion has been made on several occasions already this evening does contain a provision which appears to me to be equally applicable to this tax. I think it is very likely that many hon. Members have not seen the new Clause which it is proposed to put into the Town and Country Planning Bill, a Clause moved by the Minister of Health, and I would like to read the relevant Sub-section of it. It is a Clause dealing with the subject of betterment.

Photo of Sir Stafford Cripps Sir Stafford Cripps , Bristol East

The Clause with which I was dealing was Clause 26, which deals with undertakings.

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN:

This is a Clause which deals with the claims that can be made by local authorities for betterment, where betterment has been brought about by the coming into operation of the provisions in the Town Planning Bill. It reads thus: Where any property in respect of which a claim is made under the last preceding Sub-section, or any part of such a property, is being used for purposes of agriculture or of sport or recreation, the owner thereof may, within twenty-eight days after the receipt by him of the claim, give notice in writing to the responsible authority requiring them to withdraw the claim so far as it relates to any property used for any such purpose as aforesaid, and to defer making a fresh claim until the property becomes used for some purpose which is not such a purpose as aforesaid. There, in a nutshell, is the provision that I ask the Government to put into this Bill. If the land is going to be used for some other purpose than sport or recreation, let the tax come upon it. If this is the principle which the Government themselves think sufficiently practical to put into their Town and Country Planning Bill, sufficiently important to cause them to deprive local authorities of the value of any claims that they could make for betterment, and sufficiently workable to make themselves responsible for it, is it not equally valuable and available for the purposes of this Bill? I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will still further consider this matter and will give us some concession on these lines.

Photo of Sir Annesley Somerville Sir Annesley Somerville , Windsor

The Solicitor-General made a remark which causes me great regret. He said that the Government are not going to exempt the playing fields of private schools. He has told us that he has thought out this problem, and I give the Government credit for wishing to preserve as many open spaces as possible for the public. These playing fields of private schools provide hundreds of open spaces for the public, which are necessary for the health of the people, and in all cases these playing fields already pay, and in some cases very heavily, in Income Tax under Schedule A. I have here a list of private schools—efficient schools—in all parts of the country which pay heavily under Schedule A. It may be objected that to exempt private schools would put a premium on inefficient schools, but the exemption limit of £120 covers nearly all the inefficient schools, and in any case the site value of the inefficient schools is very small. I only want to enter a protest, in the interests of the health and education of the community, against this double taxation of playing fields, the exemption of which justice and the national welfare demand.

Photo of Mr Philip Snowden Mr Philip Snowden , Colne Valley

It has been truly said by many speakers on this subject that there is a general feeling in the House, and it is certainly shared on this side, that we should do nothing which will penalise genuine cases. We are anxious to do whatever we can to encourage and help the extension of such sport and recreation. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Edgbaston (Mr. Chamberlain) appreciated the difficulties of defining a playing field in his De-rating Bill, and, if I am not mistaken, he did not de-rate playing fields, because of the difficulty of definition. There are a great many cases such as the right hon. Gentleman referred to, where land which is being held for building purposes is in the meantime thrown open to the use of the children of the neighbourhood. That is a very desirable thing, and I should be sorry if anything in this Bill prevented the continued use of such land for such purposes.

I am quite prepared to do this. The Amendment now before the Committee is, for reasons which my learned Friend has explained, quite unacceptable, and would be quite impracticable. It goes a great deal further, particularly in paragraph (d), than I shall be prepared to go. I cannot hold out any hope at all that I should be willing to exempt race-courses, polo grounds and private playing-fields, for very good reasons, and out of the pocket of the general taxpayer to subsidise private and, in many cases, profitable institutions of that character. But I believe if words can be devised which will exempt every genuine playing-field, I am quite prepared to incorporate those words in the Bill. The Amendment of the right hon. Member for North Cornwall (Sir D. Maclean) offers a more promising opening for attaining the object that most members of the Committee desire to achieve, and I should be quite prepared to give an undertaking between now and Report that we will work upon the idea of that Amendment, and see whether it is possible to draft an Amendment which will meet the conditions which I have mentioned.

Photo of Mr Donald Maclean Mr Donald Maclean , Cornwall Northern

The Chancellor of the Exchequer has made a conciliatory statement, but I very much fear, unless we carry with us the party above the Gangway, we shall not represent, as one wishes specially to do in a matter of this kind, the House of Commons as a whole and, if it is possible between now and Report for hon. Members above the Gangway to take part in the framing of this concordat on the question of playing fields, that would be the best solution, reserving absolutely to all parties their full liberty of action without any restriction of any kind on the Report stage. If the right hon. Gentleman is prepared in effect to accept the Amendment in the names of hon. Members below the Gangway and myself, I shall be delighted to accept that offer.

Mr. P. SNOWDEM:

What I said was that it might be possible to hammer out something of the idea embodied in the right hon. Gentleman's Amendment. He must not assume that I shall be prepared to accept his Amendment in the form in which it appears on the Paper. In regard to his suggestion, if the three parties are prepared to meet together between now and Report and see what they can do in the matter, I shall be quite willing.

Photo of Mr Clement Davies Mr Clement Davies , Montgomeryshire

As my name is also attached to the Amendment might I ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer this question. The Amendment has been down on the Paper for about a fortnight and has been under the consideration of the Chancellor and the Solicitor-General. It has been perfectly clear that it has been separated from the Amendment of my hon. and learned Friend and one part of it has already been accepted by the Chancellor of the Exchequer—the first part. What is there now that is objectionable in the other part of the Amendment which cannot be accepted here and now, or what

are the objections to it, which can be stated shortly after a consideration of at least a fortnight? Before a ground is exempted from the tax, it has to be a playing ground, it has to be bona fide used as a playing ground and it has to be so bona fide used to the satisfaction of the Commissioners themselves; and, attached to that, so that the Chancellor of the Exchequer is not deprived of any tax, is this, if perchance that land is subsequently used within a period of five years and used profitably.

Photo of Mr John McGovern Mr John McGovern , Glasgow Shettleston

On a point of Order. Is it in order, when the Committee is sitting, for anyone to talk behind the Speaker's Chair?

Photo of Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy , Daventry

It is in order as long as such talking does not interfere with what is being said in the Chamber.

Photo of Mr John McGovern Mr John McGovern , Glasgow Shettleston

May I draw your attention to the fact that someone is sitting in the Speaker's Chair?

Photo of Mr Philip Snowden Mr Philip Snowden , Colne Valley

In reply to the hon. and learned-Member's question, the Amendment is not acceptable because it is drawn sufficiently wide to include some of the sports grounds which I say it is undesirable should be included. We cannot accept it in the form in which it appears on the Paper.

Question put, "That those words be there inserted."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 243; Noes, 250.

Division No. 345.]AYES.[11.28 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-ColonelBrass, Captain Sir WilliamColfox, Major William Philip
Ainsworth, Lieut.-Col. CharlesBriscoe, Richard GeorgeColman, N. C. D.
Albery, Irving JamesBroadbent, Colonel J.Colville, Major D. J.
Alexander, Sir Wm. (Glasgow, Cent'l)Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C.(Berks, Newb'y)Cooper, A. Duff
Allen, Lt.-Col. Sir William (Armagh)Buchan, JohnCourthope, Colonel Sir G. L.
Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.Cowan, D. M.
Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.Bullock, Captain MalcolmCranborne, Viscount
Aske, Sir RobertBurgin, Dr. E. L.Crichton-Stuart, Lord C.
Astor, Maj. Hon. John J.(Kent, Dover)Burton, Colonel H. W.Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.
Astor, ViscountessButler, R. A.Crookshank, Capt. H. C.
Atholl, Duchess ofCadogan, Major Hon. EdwardCroom-Johnson, R. P.
Atkinson, C.Campbell, E. T.Culverwell, C. T. (Bristol, West)
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley (Bewdley)Carver, Major W. H.Cunliffe-Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip
Balfour, George (Hampstead)Castle Stewart, Earl ofDalkeith, Earl of
Balfour, Captain H. H. (I. of Thanet)Cautley, Sir Henry S.Dalrymple-White, Lt.-Col. Sir Godfrey
Balniel, LordCayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. (Hertford)
Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R.(Prtsmth, S.)Davies, E. C. (Montgomery)
Beaumont, M. W.Cazalet, Captain Victor A.Davies, Maj. Geo. F.(Somerset, Yeovil)
Betterton, Sir Henry B.Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord H. (Ox. Univ.)Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)
Bevan, S. J. (Holborn)Chadwick, Capt. Sir Robert BurtonDawson, Sir Philip
Birchall, Major Sir John DearmanChamberlain, Rt. Hn. Sir J. A. (Birm-, W.)Despencer-Robertson, Major J. A. F.
Bird, Ernest RoyChamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Edgbaston)Dixey, A. C.
Bourne, Captain Robert Croft.Chapman, Sir S.Dugdale, Capt. T. L.
Bowater, Col. Sir T. VansittartChristle, J. A.Eden, Captain Anthony
Bowyer, Captain Sir George E. W.Clydesdale, Marquess ofEdmondson, Major A. J.
Boyce, LeslieCobb, Sir CyrilElliot, Major Walter F.
Bracken, B.Cohen, Major J. BruneiEngland, Colonel A.
Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s-M.)Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R.Salmon, Major I.
Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.)Latham, H. P. (Scarboro'& Whitby)Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)
Everard, W. LindsayLeighton, Major B. E. P.Sandeman, Sir N. Stewart
Falle, Sir Bertram G.Little, Graham-, Sir ErnestSassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip A. G. D.
Ferguson, Sir JohnLlewellin, Major J. J.Savery, S. S.
Fielden, E. B.Locker-Lampson, Rt. Hon. GodfreyShakespeare, Geoffrey H.
Fison, F. G. ClaveringLocker-Lampson, Com. O. (Handsw'th)Shepperson, Sir Ernest Whittome
Ford, Sir P. J.Lockwood, Captain J. H.Sinclair, Col. T. (Queen's U., Belfast)
Forestier-Walker, Sir L.Long, Major Hon. EricSkelton, A. N.
Fremantle, Lieut.- Colonel Francis E.Lymington, ViscountSmith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)
Galbraith, J. F. W.McConnell, Sir JosephSmith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine. C.)
Ganzonl, Sir JohnMacdonald, Sir M. (Inverness)Smith-Carington, Neville W.
Gault, Lieut.-Col. A. HamiltonMacdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)Smithers, Waldron
Gibson, C. G. (Pudsey & Otley)Maitland, A. (Kent, Faversham)Somerset, Thomas
Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir JohnMakins, Brigadier-General E.Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)
Glyn, Major H. G. C.Margesson, Captain H. D.Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)
Gower, Sir RobertMarjoribanks, EdwardSouthby, Commander A. R. J.
Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)Mason, Colonel Glyn K.Spender-Clay, Colonel H.
Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.Meller, R. J.Stanley, Lord (Fylde)
Greaves-Lord, Sir WalterMerriman, Sir F. BoydStanley, Hon. O. (Westmorland)
Greene, W. P. CrawfordMilne, Wardlaw-, J. S.Steel-Maitland, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur
Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. Sir B.Stewart, W. J. (Belfast, South)
Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. JohnMoore, Sir Newton J. (Richmond)Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)
Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro' W.)Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)Sueter, Rear-Admiral M. F.
Gritten, W. G. HowardMorris, Rhys HopkinsThomas, Major L. B. (King's Norton)
Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.Morrison, W. S. (Glos., Cirencester)Thompson, Luke
Gunston, Captain D. W.Mulrhead, A. J.Thomson, Sir F.
Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)Thomson, Mitchell-, Rt. Hon. Sir W.
Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)Nicholson, O. (Westminster)Titchfield, Major the Marquess of
Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford)Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hn. W. G.(Ptrsf'ld)Todd, Capt. A. J.
Hammersley, S. S.O'Connor, T. J.Train, J.
Hanbury, C.Oliver, P. M. (Man., Blackley)Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement.
Hannon, Patrick Joseph HenryOman, Sir Charles William C.Turton, Robert Hugh
Harbord, A.O'Neill, Sir H.Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon
Hartington, Marquess ofOrmsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. WilliamWallace, Capt. D. E. (Hornsey)
Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)Peake, Capt. OsbertWard, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. Lambert
Henderson, Capt. R. R.(Oxf'd, Henley)Penny, Sir GeorgeWarrender, Sir Victor
Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)Waterhouse, Captain Charles
Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.Perkins, W. R. D.Wayland, Sir William A.
Herbert, Sir Dennis (Hertford)Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)Wells, Sydney R.
Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John WallerPownall, Sir AsshetonWilliams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)
Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.Preston, Sir Walter RuebenWilson, G. H. A. (Cambridge U.)
Hore-Belisha, LesliePurbrick, R.Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Home, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert S.Pybus, Percy JohnWinterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Howard-Bury, Colonel C. K.Ramsbotham, H.Withers, Sir John James
Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)Reid, David D. (County Down)Wolmer, Rt. Hon. Viscount
Hurd, Percy A.Remer, John R.Womersley, W. J.
Inskip, Sir ThomasRentoul, Sir Gervals S.Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley
Iveagh, Countess ofReynolds, Col. Sir JamesWright, Brig.-Gen. W. D. (Tavist'k)
Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton)Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'te'y)Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton
Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)Roberts, Sir Samuel (Ecciesall)
Kedward, R. M. (Kent, Ashford)Rodd, Rt. Hon. Sir James RennellTELLERS FOR THE AYES.
Kindersley, Major G. M.Ross, Ronald D.Major-General Sir Robert Hutchison
Knox, Sir AlfredRothschild, J. doand Mr. Duncan Millar.
Lamb, Sir J. O.Ruggles-Brise, Colonel E.
Lambert, Rt. Hon. George (S. Molton)Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)
NOES.
Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)Brothers, M.Duncan, Charles
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)Brown, C. W. E. (Notts, Mansfield)Ede, James Chuter
Altchison, Rt. Hon. Cralgie M.Brown, Rt. Hon. J. (South Ayrshire)Edmunds, J. E.
Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (Hillsbro')Buchanan, G.Edwards, E. (Morpeth)
Alpass, J. H.Burgess, F. G.Egan, W. H.
Ammon, Charles GeorgeCalne, Hall-, DerwentFoot, Isaac
Angell, Sir NormanCape, ThomasGardner, B. W. (West Ham, Upton)
Arnott, JohnCarter, W. (St. Pancras, S. W.)Gardner, J. P. (Hammersmith, N.)
Ayles, WalterCharleton, H. C.Gibbins, Joseph
Baldwin, Oliver (Dudley)Chater, DanielGibson, H. M. (Lancs, Mossley)
Barnes, Alfred JohnClarke, J. S.Gill, T. H.
Barr, JamesCluse, W. S.Gillett, George M.
Batey, JosephCocks, Frederick SeymourGossling, A. G.
Benn, Rt. Hon. WedgwoodCove, William G.Gould, F.
Bennett, Sir E N. (Cardiff, Central)Cripps, Sir StaffordGraham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)
Bennett, William (Battersea, South)Daggar, GeorgeGraham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)
Benson, G.Dallas, GeorgeGreenwood, Rt. Hon. A. (Colne)
Bondfield, Rt. Hon. MargaretDalton, HughGrenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)
Bowen, J. W.Davies, D. L. (Pontypridd)Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypoot)
Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)Groves, Thomas E.
Broad, Francis AlfredDay, HarryGrundy, Thomas W.
Brockway, A. FennerDenman, Hon. R. D.Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)
Bromfield, WilliamDevlin, JosephHall, J. H. (Whitechapel)
Bromley, J.Dudgeon, Major C. R.Hall, Capt. W. G. (Portsmouth, C.)
Brooke, W.Dukes, C.Hamilton, Mary Agnes (Blackburn)
Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Zetland)MacNeill-Weir, L.Shield, George William
Hardie, David (Rutherglen)McShane, John JamesShiels, Dr. Drummond
Hardie, G. D. (Springburn)Malone, C. L'Estrange (N'thampton)Shillaker, J. F.
Harris, Percy A.Mander, Geoffrey le M.Shinwell, E.
Hastings, Dr. SomervilleManning, E. L.Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)
Haycock, A. W.Mansfield, W.Simmons, C. J.
Hayday, ArthurMarch, S.Sinkinson, George
Hayes, John HenryMarcus, M.Sitch, Charles H.
Henderson, Right Hon. A. (Burnley)Markham, S. F.Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)
Henderson, Arthur, Junr. (Cardiff, S.)Marley, J.Smith, Frank (Nuneaton)
Henderson, Thomas (Glasgow)Marshall, FredSmith, Tom (Pontefract)
Henderson, W. W. (Middx., Enfield)Mathers, GeorgeSmith, W. R. (Norwich)
Herriotts, J.Matters, L. W.Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip
Hicks, Ernest GeorgeMaxton, JamesSnowden, Thomas (Accrington)
Hirst, G. H. (York W. R. Wentworth)Messer, FredSorensen, R.
Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)Middleton, G.Stamford, Thomas W.
Hoffman, P. C.Mills, J. E.Stephen, Campbell
Hollins, A.Milner, Major J.Strauss, G. R.
Hopkin, DanielMontague, FrederickSullivan, J.
Hudson, James H. (Huddersfield)Morgan, Dr. H. B.Sutton, J. E.
John, William (Rhondda, West)Morley, RalphTaylor, R. A. (Lincoln)
Johnston, Rt. Hon. ThomasMorrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Hackney, S.)Taylor, W. B. (Norfolk, S. W.)
Jones, Llewellyn-, F.Morrison, Robert C. (Tottenham, N.)Thurtle, Ernest
Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)Mort, D. L.Tinker, John Joseph
Jones, Rt. Hon. Leif (Camborne)Muff, G.Tout, W. J.
Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)Muggeridge, H. T.Townend, A. E.
Jowett, Rt. Hon. F. W.Murnin, HughTrevelyan, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles
Jowitt, Rt. Hon. Sir W. A. (Preston)Naylor, T. E.Vaughan, David
Kelly, W. T.Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)Viant, S. P.
Kennedy, Rt. Hon. ThomasNoel Baker, p. J.Walkden, A. G.
Kinley, J.Oldfield, J. R.Walker, J.
Kirkwood, D.Oliver, George Harold (Ilkeston)Wallace, H. W.
Lang, GordonPalin, John HenryWatkins, F. C.
Lansbury, Rt. Hon. GeorgeParkinson, John Allen (Wigan)Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)
Lathan, G. (Sheffield, Park)Perry, S. F.Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)
Law, Albert (Bolton)Pethick- Lawrence, F. W.Wellock, Wilfred
Law, A. (Rossendale)Phillips, Dr. MarlonWelsh, James (Paisley)
Lawrence, SusanPicton-Turbervill, EdithWelsh, James C. (Coatbridge)
Lawrle, Hugh Hartley (Stalybridge)Potts, John S.West, F. R.
Lawson, John JamesPrice, M. P.Westwood, Joseph
Lawther, W. (Barnard Castle)Quibell, D. J. K.White, H. G.
Leach, W.Ramsay, T. B. WilsonWhiteley, Wilfrid (Birm., Ladywood)
Lee, Frank (Derby, N. E.)Raynes, W. R.Whiteley, William (Blaydon)
Lees, J.Richards, R.Wilkinson, Ellen C.
Leonard, W.Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)Williams, David (Swansea, East)
Lewis, T. (Southampton)Riley, Ben (Dewsbury)Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)
Lindley, Fred W.Ritson, J.Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)
Logan, David GilbertRoberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Bromwich)Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)
Longbottom. A. W.Romerll, H. G.Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)
Longden, F.Rosbotham, D. S. T.Wilson, J. (Oldham)
Lovat-Fraser, J. A.Rowson, GuyWilson R. J. (Jarrow)
Lunn, WilliamSalter, Dr. AlfredWinterton, G. E. (Leicester, Loughb'gh)
Macdonald. Gordon (Ince)Samuel, H. W. (Swansea, West)Wise, E. F.
MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Seaham)Sanders, W. S.Wood, Major McKenzie (Banff)
McElwee, A.Sandham, E.Young, R. S. (Islington, North)
McEntee, V. L.Sawyer, G. F.
McGovern, J. (Glasgow, Shettleston)Scurr, JohnTELLERS FOR THE NOES.
McKinlay, A.Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)Mr. Charles Edwards and Mr. Paling.
MacLaren, AndrewShepherd, Arthur Lewis
Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)Sherwood, G. H.

Photo of Mr Robin Turton Mr Robin Turton , Thirsk and Malton

I beg to move, in page 19, line 5, at the end, to insert the words: (a) is used for the purposes of allotment gardens under the Allotments Act, 1922, or allotments under the Small Holdings and Allotments Acts, 1908 to 1926, or of any other allotments not exceeding one acre in extent. In view of the lateness of the hour and the fact that this question has been already discussed, I do not propose to detain the Committee for more than a few moments while I put the position of allotments as precisely as I can. There are 950,000 allotment holders, of which 500,000 are allotments owned by private persons and 450,000 by local authorities. The Chancellor of the Exchequer is exempting allotments owned by local authorities and taxing those owned by private persons. I contend that there should be just the same treatment for allotments owned by private persons as for allotments owned by a local authority. There is no difference in the allotment holder; one man is not more meritorious than another. As the Bill stands allotments owned by private persons will be taxed to the full, but if the Government will accept the Amendment this grave injustice will be remedied. I ask Members of all parties and representing all kinds of constituencies to accept a proposal which will do away with a great injustice and be a great benefit to the cause of allotments, which everyone will realise are to the advantage of the nation as a whole.

Photo of Sir Stafford Cripps Sir Stafford Cripps , Bristol East

It is rather a complex question which is raised by the Amendment, and, again, it is not as simple a question as may appear at first sight. The position as regards allotments is perhaps different in rural districts from what it is in urban districts. In rural districts, according to the opinion of the National Allotments Society, substantially this tax would have no effect at all, because in the case of rural allotments, in nearly all cases, the allotment value, that is to say the cultivation value as allotments, will probably be practically as high as any other land value which can be put upon the site. The problem, therefore, is essentially one of urban allotments. These allotments fall into two categories. First of all, there are those which are owned by allotment associations or bodies working on some sort of co-operative lines; and, secondly, those which are owned by private individuals and are let on short lease either to local authorities or to individual allotment holders.

The relief which is at present given under the Bill to the allotments is, of course, a very substantial one. In all cases of land used as allotments the land value will be reduced by the amount of the cultivation value, and, as the Committee are aware, probably the cultivation value as allotments is the highest cultivation value that there can be upon land. The aggregate rent per acre of allotments is generally in excess of anything that is charged for agricultural land otherwise. That high cultivation value will in every case be deductible from the land value before arriving at the sum on which the allotment land is to be taxed. Secondly, there is the land which is owned by allotment associations or by individual allotment holders. In these cases the owners will be able, under the Town Planning Bill, Clause 26, to guarantee continued user of that land for allotment purposes, in which case it would be impossible to put a higher value on the land than the cultivation value for allotment purposes; that is to say, from the point of view of taxation the value will disappear.

The last case, that of land which is let by owners to allotment associations or to local authorities for use as allotments, is the case which gives the most difficulty. That land remains, of course, in private ownership and, as members, of the Committee appreciate, in nearly all, or a large number of these cases, the allotment holders are subject to very short notice. Cases are constantly arising in which that land comes in for building purposes and the allotment holders are obliged to leave. In those cases, the land is only let for allotments while it is ripening for building purposes. There is no real security of tenure, and it is extremely questionable whether, in the general interest of allotment holders, it is not better to encourage local authorities to acquire land for allotments, rather than leave the allotment holders to the possibly precarious venture of carrying on allotments upon land which may at any moment be required for building purposes.

The majority of Members probably feel that it is desirable for allotment holders to have as secure a tenure as possible and for that end to be achieved by the acquisition of land by the allotments association or by the local authority on their behalf. It will, I am sure, be felt that short leases on allotment land are not to be encouraged. As regards these short leases, they would probably, in most cases, apply to land where anything over the cultivation value will necessarily be in the land value—that is to say, where there will be some tax. But the Committee will appreciate that the only effect of this tax in the form in which it is proposed to impose it, will be to throw more land of that type into use as allotments and not lees. Hon. Members opposite shake their heads. Let them visualise the position of anybody who owns land in the vicinity of a town and is waiting for it to ripen. Presumably, he wants to pay as small a tax as possible upon it, That is human nature. His way of achieving that end is to get the highest cultivation value possible upon that land. That is the only way in which he can get an effective reduction of land value. He can do it best by letting the land for allotments, thereby realising the allotment value of the land.

In our view, the effect of the tax will not be in the least disadvantageous to allotment holders. It will rather tend, first, to get local authorities and allotment associations to acquire their own land permanently for allotments and thus give security of tenure, and, secondly, in so far as casual allotments, that is to say, allotments without security of tenure are required, this taxation will probably lead to a greater desire on the part of owners of land in the vicinity of towns to let the land for use as allotments in order to realise the higher cultivation value. We believe that the position of the allotment holder is covered, to the best possible purpose, by the Bill as it stands, and that any alteration would not be for the benefit of the allotment holder, but would only benefit possibly the landlord, in cases of short leases on land, when he is waiting for the land to ripen for development.

Photo of Captain Robert Henderson Captain Robert Henderson , Henley

The Committee, I am sure, has admired the manner in which the hon. and learned Gentleman has skated over some rather thin ice in dealing with this question. In an extremely clever and legal manner he raised two hypotheses, neither of which I imagine, had ever presented itself to the minds of the Committee. I venture to put to the Committee, the case which he ignored, of an allotments association which rents land from a private land-owner. The land-owner is liable to pay this tax to the full. The hon. and learned Gentleman offers, as a means of escape, the Town and Country Planning Bill, which is now before a Standing Committee. I would remind the Committee precisely what the provisions of that Bill are. A 100 per cent. betterment tax is placed on land, which accumulates at 5 per cent. Let me briefly state what is the position of the allotment holder under the Town and Country Planning Bill. I take an instance which will apply to nearly all Midland towns. Putting the price of land for building purposes at one shilling per square yard, it comes out roughly in the neighbourhood of £240 per acre. The cultivation value may be a high one. As has been calculated by many allotment associations we will assume that the land has a site value of £180. At 5 per cent. that would amount to a tax of about £9 per acre which the allotment holder will have to pay if he wishes to have the privilege of cultivating an allotment under this auspicious Bill. Anyone who has any personal knowledge of allotments will realise that that is an absolutely prohibitive amount. The Committee need not speculate as to what the effect will be on allotments. Hon. Members need only look at countries where a site value tax is in force, and they will see that there is not a single allotment there. Allotments have been completely extinguished from those countries. Therefore the point before the Committee is whether it is or is not worth while maintaining allotments in this country, because, if this proposal goes through, it will deal an absolute death blow at allotments and allotment holders.

Photo of Mr Daniel Somerville Mr Daniel Somerville , Willesden East

I have never listened to such an extraordinary explanation as that given by the Government. The hon. and learned Gentleman referred to the position of members of allotment associations and town councils. Can he say where the funds are coming from for these associations and local councils to pay the burden which is imposed. The hon. and learned Gentleman drew a picture of people who wanted a high cultivation value and then talked about only getting short leases. It seems entirely contradictory. The whole intention of the Government under this Bill is to deprive working-class men of healthy employment. It will certainly tell against them when the Bill comes into force and working-men find owners will not allow them to rent the land for the purpose of cultivation and allotments.

Photo of Mr Edward Wise Mr Edward Wise , Leicester East

I want to appeal to the Solicitor-General to reconsider this particular Amendment. I am not quite sure that I go the whole way that the Amendment does, because I think part of the case which has been referred to is already covered, but it is certain that those who are concerned with working allotment organisations are not so satisfied with the position as the hon. and learned Gentleman is. It really is a very important financial matter to them, and it seems very inconsistent, as they say, that at the time when the Government are pressing on with the establishment of allotments under two Bills, they should tax them in a third. I am quite sure that that is not the intention of the Government.

May I point out what seems to me to be a very remarkable and new method of legislation. We have often heard denunciations in this House of legislation by reference, but this is an entirely-new development. It is not really legislation by reference to existing Acts, but legislation by doubtful reference to Bills not yet passed by this House. I have put down an Amendment to a later proposed Amendment in the name of the Chancellor of the Exchequer which will exempt a certain number of allotments. My Amendment covers another group, that is to say, allotments owned by a society which is registered under the Industrial and Provident Societies Acts. I am quite sure that there is no real intention of the Government to tax allotments or allotment holders, but I am equally sure from the speeches that have been made to-night that this matter is not clear. As I am not at all anxious

that the thing should be rushed, I hope that the learned Solicitor-General will take the opportunity of considering this point between now and the time when the matter may come up again, so that we may do what I am sure is the desire of all members, and avoid adding to the difficulties of allotment holders.

Earl of DALKEITH:

The Solicitor-General has made out no case for imposing heavy additional taxation where land has been let at nominal rents for allotments, any more than where land has been let for cricket grounds at nominal rents. How does he justify this special discrimination against those owners of land who have utilised it for the benefit of the community?

Question put, "That those words be there inserted."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 228; Noes, 256.

Division No. 346.]AYES.[12 m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut-ColonelChurchill, Rt. Hon. Winston SpencerGretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John
Ainsworth, Lieut.-Col. CharlesClydesdale, Marquess ofGritten, W. G. Howard
Albery, Irving JamesCobb, Sir CyrilGuinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.
Allen, Lt.-Col. Sir William (Armagh)Cohen, Major J. BruneiGunston, Captain D. W.
Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.Colfox, Major William PhilipHicking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.
Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.Colman, N. C. D.Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)
Aske, Sir RobertColville, Major D. J.Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford)
Astor, Maj. Hn. John J.(Kent, Dover)Cooper, A. DuffHammersley, S. S.
Astor, ViscountessCourthope, Colonel Sir G. L.Hanbury, C.
Atholl, Duchess ofCranborne, ViscountHannon, Patrick Joseph Henry
Atkinson, C.Crichton-Stuart, Lord C.Harbord, A.
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley (Bewdley)Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.Hartington, Marquess of
Balfour, George (Hampstead)Crookshank, Capt. H. C.Harvey. Major S. E. (Devon. Totnes)
Balfour, Captain H. H. (I. of Thanet)Croom-Johnson, R. P.Henderson, Capt. R. R.(Oxf'd, Henley)
Balniel, LordCulverwell, C. T. (Bristol, West)Heneage, Lieut.-Col Arthur P.
Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.Cunliffe-Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir PhilipHerbert, Sir Dennis (Hertford)
Beaumont, M. W.Dalkeith, Earl ofHeare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.
Betterton, Sir Henry B.Dalrymple-White, Lt.-Col. Sir GodfreyHorne, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert S.
Eevan, S. J. (Holborn)Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. (Hertford)Howard-Bury, Colonel C. K.
Birchall, Major Sir John DearmanDavies, E. C. (Montgomery)Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)
Bird, Ernest RoyDavies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)Hurd, Percy A.
Bourne, Captain Robert CroftDavison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)Hutchison, Maj.-Gen. Sir R.
Bowater, Col. Sir T. VansittartDawson, Sir PhilipInskip, Sir Thomas
Bowyer, Captain Sir George E. W.Despencer-Robertson, Major J. A. F.Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton)
Boyce, LeslieDugdale, Capt. T. L.Kedward, R. M. (Kent, Ashford)
Bracken, B.Eden, Captain AnthonyKindersley, Major G. M.
Brass, Captain Sir WilliamEdmondson, Major A. J.Knox, Sir Alfred
Briscoe, Richard GeorgeElliot, Major Walter E.Lamb, Sir J. O.
Broadbent, Colonel J.Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s. M.)Lambert, Rt. Hon. George (S. Molton)
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berke, Newb'y)Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.)Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R.
Buchan, JohnEverard, W. LindsayLatham, H. P. (Scarboro' & Whitby)
Buchan Hepburn, P. G. T.Falle, Sir Bertram G.Leighton, Major B. E. P.
Bullock, Captain MalcolmFerguson, Sir JohnLlewellin, Major J. J.
Burgin, Dr. E. L.Fielden, E. B.Locker-Lampson, Rt. Hon. Godfrey
Burton, Colonel H. W.Fison, F. G. ClaveringLocker-Lampson, Com. O.(Handsw'th)
Butler, R. A.Ford, Sir P. J.Lockwood, Captain J. H.
Cadogan, Major Hon. EdwardForestler-Walker, Sir L.Long. Major Hon. Eric
Campbell, E. T.Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.Lymington, Viscount
Carver, Major W. H.Galbraith, J. F. W.McConnell, Sir Joseph
Castle Stewart, Earl ofGanzonl, Sir JohnMacdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)
Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)Gault, Lieut.-Col. A. HamiltonMaitland, A. (Kent, Faversham)
Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth, S.)Gibson, C. G. (Pudsey & Otley)Makins, Brigadier-General E.
Cazalet, Captain Victor A.Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir JohnMargesson, Captain H. D.
Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord H. (Ox. Univ.)Glyn, Major R. G. C.Marjoribanks, Edward
Chadwick, Capt. Sir Robert BurtonGower, Sir RobertMeller, R. J.
Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. Sir J. A.(Birm., W.)Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N,)Merriman, Sir F. Boyd
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Edgbaston)Greaves-Lord, Sir WalterMillar, J. D.
Chapman, Sir S.Greene, W. P. CrawfordMilne, Wardlaw-, J. S.
Christle, J. A.Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. Sir B.
Moore, Sir Newton J. (Richmond)Rodd, Rt. Hon. Sir James RennellThomas, Major L. B. (King's Norton)
Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)Ross, Ronald D.Thompson, Luke
Morrison, W. S. (Glos., Cirencester)Rothschild, J. deThomson, Sir F.
Muirhead, A. J.Ruggles-Brise, Colonel E.Thomson, Mitchell-, Rt. Hon. Sir W.
Nicholson, O. (Westminster)Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)Titchfield, Major the Marquess of
Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hn. W. G. (Ptrsf'ld)Salmon, Major I.Todd, Capt. A. J.
O'Connor, T. J.Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)Train, J.
Oliver, P. M. (Man., Blackley)Sandeman, Sir N. StewartTryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Oman, Sir Charles William C.Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip A. G. D.Turton, Robert Hugh
O'Neill, Sir H.Savery, S. S.Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon
Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. WilliamShakespeare, Geoffrey H.Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. Lambert
Peake, Captain OsbertShepperson, Sir Ernest WhittomeWarrender, Sir Victor
Penny, Sir GeorgeSkelton, A. N.Waterhouse, Captain Charles
Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)Wayland, Sir William A.
Perkins, W. R. D.Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)Wells, Sydney R.
Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)Smith-Carington, Neville W.Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)
Pownall, Sir AsshetonSmithers, WaldronWilson, G. H. A. (Cambridge U.)
Preston, Sir Walter RuebenSomerset, ThomasWindsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Purbrick, R.Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Pybus, Percy JohnSomerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)Withers, Sir John James
Ramsbotham, H.Southby, Commander A. R. J.Wolmer, Rt. Hon. Viscount
Rathbone, EleanorSpender-Clay, Colonel H.Womersley, W. J.
Reid, David D. (County Down)Stanley, Lord (Fylde)Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Klngsley
Remer, John R.Stanley, Hon. O. (Westmorland)Wright, Brig.-Gen. W. D. (Tavist'k)
Rentoul, Sir Gervals S.Steel-Maitland, Rt. Hon. Sir ArthurYoung, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton
Reynolds, Col. Sir JamesStewart, W. J. (Belfast, South)
Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)TELLERS FOR THE AYES.
Roberts, Sir Samuel (Ecciesall)Sueter, Rear-Admiral M. F.Major Sir George Hennessy and Captain Euan Wallace.
NOES.
Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (File, West)Edwards, E. (Morpeth)Jowitt, Rt. Hon. Sir W. A. (Preston)
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)Egan, W. H.Kelly, W. T.
Altchison, Rt. Hon. Cralgie M.Elmley, ViscountKennedy, Rt. Hon. Thomas
Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (Hillsbro')Foot, IsaacKinley, J.
Alpass, J. H.Gardner, B. W. (West Ham, Upton)Kirkwood, D.
Amnion, Charles GeorgeGeorge, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)Lang, Gordon
Angell, Sir NormanGeorge, Megan Lloyd (Anglesea)Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George
Arnott, JohnGibbins, JosephLathan, G. (Sheffield, Park)
Ayles, WalterGibson, H. M. (Lancs, Mossley)Law, Albert (Bolton)
Baldwin, Oliver (Dudley)Gill, T. H.Law, A. (Rosendale)
Barnes, Alfred JohnGillett, George M.Lawrence, Susan
Barr, JamesGlassey, A. E.Lawrle, Hugh Hartley (Stalybridge)
Batey, JosephGossling, A. G.Lawson, John James
Benn, Rt. Hon. WedgwoodGould, F.Lawther, W. (Barnard Castle)
Bennett, Sir E. N. (Cardiff, Central)Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)Leach, W.
Bennett, William (Battersea, South)Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edln., Cent.)Lee, Frank (Derby, N. E.)
Benson, G.Gray, MilnerLee, Jennie (Lanark, Northern)
Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A. (Colne)Lees, J.
Bondfield, Rt. Hon. MargaretGrenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)Leonard, W.
Bowen, J. W.Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro' W.)Lewis, T. (Southampton)
Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)Lindley, Fred W.
Broad, Francis AlfredGroves, Thomas E.Logan, David Gilbert
Brockway, A. FennerGrundy, Thomas W.Longbottom, A. W.
Bromfield, WilliamHall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)Longden, F.
Bromley, J.Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel)Lovat-Fraser, J. A.
Brooke, W.Hall, Capt. W. G. (Portsmouth, C.)Lunn, William
Brothers, M.Hamilton, Mary Agnes (Blackburn)Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)
Brown, C. W. E. (Notts. Mansfield)Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Zetland)MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Seaham)
Brown, Rt. Hon. J. (South Ayrshire)Hardie, David (Rutherglen)McElwee, A.
Buchanan, G.Hardie, G. D. (Springburn)McEntee, V. L.
Burgess, F. G.Harris, Percy A.McGovern, J. (Glasgow, Shettleston)
Calne, Hall-, DerwentHastings, Dr. SomervilleMcKinlay, A.
Cape, ThomasHaycock, A. W.MacLaren, Andrew
Carter, W. (St. Pancras, S. W.)Hayday, ArthurMaclean, Sir Donald (Cornwall, N.)
Charleton, H. C.Hayes, John HenryMaclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)
Chater, DanielHenderson, Right Hon. A. (Burnley)MacNeill-Weir, L.
Clarke, J. S.Henderson, Thomas (Glasgow)McShane, John James
Cluse, W. S.Henderson, W. W. (Middx., Enfield)Malone, C. L'Estrange (N'thampton)
Cocks, Frederick SeymourHerriotts, J.Mander, Geoffrey le M.
Cove, William G.Hicks, Ernest GeorgeManning, E. L.
Cripps, Sir StaffordHirst, G. H. (York W. R. Wentworth)Mansfield, W.
Daggar, GeorgeHirst, W. (Bradford, South)Marcus, M.
Dallas, GeorgeHoffman, P. C.Markham, S. F.
Dalton, HughHollins, A.Marley, J.
Davies, D. L. (Pontypridd)Hopkin, DanielMarshall, Fred
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)Hudson, James H. (Huddersfield)Mathers, George
Day, HarryHunter, Dr. JosephMatters, L. W.
Denman, Hon. R. D.John, William (Rhondda, West)Maxton, James
Devlin, JosephJohnston, Rt. Hon. ThomasMesser, Fred
Dudgeon, Major C. R.Jones, Llewellyn-, F.Middleton, G.
Duncan, CharlesJones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)Mills, J. E.
Ede, James ChuterJones, Rt. Hon. Leif (Camborne)Milner, Major J.
Edge, Sir WilliamJones, Morgan (Caerphilly)Montague, Frederick
Edmunds, J. E.Jowett, Rt. Hon. F. W.Morgan, Dr. H. B.
Morley, RalphSamuel, H. Walter (Swansea, West)Tout, W. J.
Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Hackney, S.)Sanders, W. S.Townend, A. E.
Morrison, Robert C. (Tottenham, N.)Sandham, E.Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles
Mort, D. L.Sawyer, G. F.Vaughan, David
Muff, G.Scurr, JohnViant, S. P.
Muggeridge, H. T.Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)Walker, J.
Murnin, HughShepherd, Arthur LewisWallace, H. W.
Naylor, T. E.Sherwood, G. H.Watkins, F. C.
Noel Baker, P. J.Shield, George WilliamWatson, W. M. (Dunfermline)
Oldfield, J. R.Shiels, Dr. DrummondWatts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)
Oliver, George Harold (Ilkeston)Shillaker, J. F.Wellock, Wiltred
Owen, Major G- (Carnarvon)Shinwell, E.Welsh, James (Paisley)
Owen, K. F. (Hereford)Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)Welsh, James C. (Coatbridge)
Palin, John HenrySimmons, C. J.West, F. R.
Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)Sinclair, Sir A. (Caithness)Westwood, Joseph
Perry, S. F.Sinkinson, GeorgeWhite, H. G.
Puthick-Lawrence, F. W.Sitch, Charles H.Whiteley, Wilfrid (Birm., Ladywood)
Phillips, Dr. MarlonSmith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)Whiteley, William (Blaydon)
Potts, John S.Smith, Frank (Nuneaton)Wilkinson, Ellen C.
Price, M. P.Smith, Tom (Pontefract)Williams, David (Swansea, East)
Quibell, D. J. K.Smith, W. R. (Norwich)Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)
Ramsay, T. B. WilsonSnowden, Rt. Hon. PhilipWilliams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)
Raynes, W. R.Snowden, Thomas (Accrilngton)Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)
Richards, R.Sorensen, R.Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)
Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)Stamford, Thomas W.Wilson, J. (Oldham)
Riley, Ben (Dewsbury)Stephen, CampbellWilson, R. J. (Jarrow)
Ritson, J.Strauss, G. R.Wood, Major McKenzie (Banff)
Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O.(W. Bromwich)Sullivan, J.Young, R. S. (Islington, North)
Romerll, H. G.Sutton, J. E.
Rosbotham, D. S. T.Taylor, R. A. (Lincoln)TELLERS FOR THE NOES.
Rowson, GuyTaylor, W. B. (Norfolk, S. W.)Mr. Charles Edwards and Mr. Paling.
Suiter, Dr. AlfredThurtle, Ernest
Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Darwen)Tinker, John Joseph

Motion made, and Question, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again," put, and agreed to.—[Mr. T. Kennedy.]

Committee report Progress: to sit again To-morrow.