If the Amendment is not accepted, the Clause starts off by saying that the Commission shall be relieved of Stamp Duty on its documents. Then it makes a lot of exceptions and goes to the extent of charging duty on the counterpart when the Commission is let off on the original. There are many stupid provisions which will not bring the Chancellor a lot of money. Far better make a clean sweep of the thing and say that any instrument to which the Commission is a party shall be free from Stamp Duty. If the Commission has to pay Stamp Duty, it is only taking the money from one pocket and putting it in another.
The Clause relieves the Commission in most cases, but it is rather unfair if, when the function of the Commission is being carried out, just because the Commission is purchasing property, no Stamp Duty is payable, but when it is carrying out its functions and disposing of property the purchaser has to pay Stamp Duty. It is far better to wipe out Stamp Duty altogether, and simplify the Clause to the two lines as I suggest.
This is not right. We have had great play made of the fact that we have here a generous Land Commission which will sell off crownholds and grant concessions worth goodness knows how much money, and here in this Clause the Commission is asking for five bobs on the counterparts. It is silly. I submit that there is a reasonable basis for this Amendment.
It is extremely petty to ask for these little bits of Stamp Duty. It may well be that the Minister has to placate the Treasury and that it does not want to see too much Stamp Duty lost. But when, with one breath, he says he is going to give concessions to people and then, with the other, that he is going to charge Stamp Duty in doing so, the whole thing becomes nonsense. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will have another look at this.