Orders of the Day — Clause 4. — (Annual Duties (Continuation).)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 24th July 1952.

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Photo of Mr Charles Hale Mr Charles Hale , Oldham West 12:00 am, 24th July 1952

I hope that the right hon. Gentleman is not going to intervene. We are quite near the end, and I think I can deal with a matter of some substance in a few sentences. The Financial Secretary has been very accommodating, and we are anxious not to embarrass him; what I have to say on this Clause will be a complete answer to the intervention by the right hon. Gentleman the other night. The history of the collection of this tax is that up to the war of 1914–18 it was found by a number of people who studied this matter in the Library that the Isle of Man paid to the Exchequer £10,000 a year. That was when the National Debt was about £8,000 million. As a result of that, negotiations were commenced and the Isle of Man made itself voluntarily responsible for the repayment of £250,000 of War Debt. That was not a small but substantial contribution.

Later, when the matter was again raised by negotiation they made themselves responsible for the further repayment of £500,000. As a result of the labours of a few people in the Library looking into this fiscal system the National Exchequer gained by £700,000. We have had another war, and the National Debt now totals about £25,000 million, a fantastic sum, yet the annual sum payable by the Isle of Man is still £10,000.

Negotiations are now going on, and it is suggested that they should pay 5 per cent. of the common pool. But they have been going on for three years, and we hope they soon come to a conclusion. These are not small matters. We maintain the cost of collection of the taxes, the cost of the defence of the island, and that ought to be conveyed to the Tynwald very forcibly. These are substantial services as a result of which they are able to give the inhabitants of that island specialised advantages—Income Tax of from 2s. 6d. to 3s. in the £ until 1948, when it was contemplated to raise it to 4s.

These are exceptionally important matters which it is our duty to raise. It is our duty to raise them. The time has come when the attention of the islanders should be called to the fact that we do bear a very heavy burden in relation to the defence of the island. Of course, their population has not increased greatly and they may have special representations to make. But we do feel that this is an opportunity of calling the attention of the island to the need for a reconsideration of the fiscal arrangements of the island.