Minor Reforms

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 11th March 1952.

Alert me about debates like this

Before I consider how we can raise or save some money this year there are a number of minor reforms to be mentioned. The Finance Bill will, in any case, be very long this year, and so I cannot do as much as I should have liked. I have, therefore, been able to take only the most urgent of the recommendations from the Report of the Millard Tucker Committee.

For example, United Kingdom mining ventures in the Colonies and elsewhere overseas will be helped in various ways. Businesses will be able to set off losses against subsequent profits without time limit. Brewers will no longer get a special deduction for tax purposes when they let tied houses for less than their full value. I am also revising the arrangements for relief from Estate Duty on the estates of members of the Forces. The present distinction between lower and higher ranks is quite unjustifiable. My proposal is to treat all ranks alike and, broadly speaking, to give total exemption from Estate Duty in time of war or in warlike operations and no relief at all in time of peace.

Another small matter. Stamp duty on conveyances of small property other than stocks or marketable securities will be reduced. Where the price does not exceed £3,000 the duty will be reduced to 1 per cent. and where the price lies between £3,000 and £3,450 there will be some relief from the 2 per cent. now chargeable. Further, the relief from surtax granted to Lloyd's in 1949 will be extended, anomalies relating to allowances for plant, machinery and patents will be removed, and the taxation position of radio relay companies and bodies such as the British Wool Marketing Board will be dealt with.

A technical defect in the law on Surtax will be corrected. A gap in our defences against avoidance of Estate Duty will be closed. An ingenious method of avoiding Pool Betting Duty will be stopped. A hardship arising from the method of assessing certain types of investment income will be relieved. The net effect of all these minor reforms is a loss of about £2 million in 1952–53. and about £4 million in a full year.