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Estate Duty

Oral Answers to Questions — National Finance – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 19th November 1957.

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Photo of Mr Eric Johnson Mr Eric Johnson , Manchester, Blackley 12:00 am, 19th November 1957

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer why certain works of art and real estate were accepted from the executors of the late Duke of Devonshire in settlement of Estate Duty; what was the value of the works of art, houses, and land, respectively; and how the valuation was made.

Photo of Mr Peter Thorneycroft Mr Peter Thorneycroft , Monmouth

The acquisition of these items through the National Land Fund was considered to be desirable under the terms of the relevant Finance Acts. The works of art were valued at £1,195,000 and Hardwick Hall and Park at £34,000. These figures were reached by negotiation between the executors and the Commissioners of Inland Revenue.

Photo of Mr Eric Johnson Mr Eric Johnson , Manchester, Blackley

May I ask my right hon. Friend if it is not a fact that two of these pictures were found to be in a very unsatisfactory condition, that extensive work had to be carried out on them and that they now have to be kept in special scientifically-controlled conditions? May I further ask my right hon. Friend whether the condition of the pictures was known when they were taken over and whether it is not most unsatisfactory, at a time when economy is needed, to spend over £1 million for a purpose of this kind?

Photo of Mr Peter Thorneycroft Mr Peter Thorneycroft , Monmouth

I do not think so. Parliament has approved this particular method of paying Estate Duty and though these pictures needed repair, and are being most carefully repaired by experts, they are a great acquisition to the nation.

Photo of Mr John Cronin Mr John Cronin , Loughborough

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will take action to alleviate the hardship suffered by children when their parents have died simultaneously yet it is nevertheless presumed for the purpose of collecting Estate Duty that there has been an interval of time between the deaths of the parents with a consequent double payment of Estate Duty.

Photo of Mr Peter Thorneycroft Mr Peter Thorneycroft , Monmouth

I will consider the hon. Member's suggestion when I am making my general review of taxation in connection with next year's Budget.

Photo of Mr John Cronin Mr John Cronin , Loughborough

Does the right hon. Gentleman appreciate that sympathetic consideration of this matter by him would bring him universal accord?