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National Trust (Gifts Of Estates)

Volume 387: debated on Tuesday 16 March 1943

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54.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what loss of revenue has resulted by gifts of estates to the National Trust in the last three years and the consequent saving of taxation to donors?

I am not in a position to say what loss of revenue present or prospective may result from gifts of property to the National Trust, and I do not think that it would accord with the secrecy that obtains in matters of direct taxation to disclose any figure that might reflect the liability of particular individuals. It is, of course, inherent in any gift that the taxation liability of the donor may be reduced, but I do not think that any such consideration should be allowed to detract from the merits of a public benefaction.

In view of statements that have been made in the Press that these are methods, not of philanthropy but for evading tax liabilities, would the right hon. Gentleman consider the matter further and make a more explicit statement, as it is very unfair to the donors that such suggestions as I have mentioned should be made?