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Taxation And Franchise

Volume 149: debated on Friday 16 December 1921

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether the white settlers in Kenya are refusing to pay Income Tax because they were not consenting parties to the tax; whether the Income Tax law was passed in 1919 and never yet enforced; how much direct taxation is levied upon settlers, Indians, and natives, respectively, in Kenya; and whether he will consider the advisability of widening the franchise to Indians and natives in order that all parties may be consenting parties to the taxation they bear?


asked the Prime Minister whether His Majesty's Government endorse the recommendation of the recent Conference of Premiers respecting equality of status for British citizens, whether Indian or European; and whether any steps have yet been taken to carry out this new doctrine in British Crown Colonies and especially in the matter of the Kenya franchise and segregation?

I understand that a motion for the removal of the Income Tax in Kenya has been moved in the Legislative Council and defeated, and that further opposition to the tax on constitutional grounds has been raised and will probably be tested in the Courts. I have no other information on this part of the hon. Member's question. The Income Tax Ordinance was passed on 7th December, 1920. It was not found possible to complete the necessary arrangements within the financial year 1920–21, and, as there would have been hardship in collecting two years' tax in one year, it was decided not to proceed with the levy of the tax for the financial year 1920–21. I have no information as to the direct taxation of Europeans and Indians separately, but taken together, the estimate for 1922 is £169,442, representing about five pounds per head. The direct taxation on natives is expected to bring in £656,070, representing about 5s. per head. The question of the Indian franchise is engaging my careful consideration. I am not satisfied that any form of elective representation of natives is necessary or would serve any useful purpose.

Does not the constitutional objection to paying taxes for which they have not voted also extend to the native Indians in the Kenya collieries?

I think that is a question which, if answered at all, would require to be answered with very considerable modification.


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will lay Papers or inform the House as to the present position of the franchise and segregation question in Kenya Colony, including his instructions to the Governor and the correspondence with the India Office?

I will consider the question of publication in connection with the presentation to Parliament of next year's Estimates.