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Stamp Duties

Volume 436: debated on Tuesday 15 April 1947

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I turn next to the Stamp Duties, in which there has been no important change since the late Mr. Austen Chamberlain, as he then was, doubled most of the rates in his Budget of 1920, two years after the end of the first World War. I now propose, following his example, at this corresponding point after the second World War, to double a number of the Stamp Duties, which I shall specify in a moment, though over a less wide field. than Mr. Austen Chamberlain did. Mr. Austen Chamberlain doubled the duty on cheques and receipts; I think that is a futile proceeding, and I do not propose to repeat it. I start with Stock Exchange transactions. I propose to double all the Stamp Duties relating to stocks and shares, namely the Contract Note Duties, the Transfer Duty, and the duties on bearer securities, debentures and Letters of Allotment. Most of these duties are payable on graduated scales. Full details of the changes will be found in the White Paper.

I propose also, subject to relief for small transactions, to double the Stamp Duty on transfer of property. This duty was not doubled by Mr. Austen Chamberlain in 1920, because it had been doubled in 1909 by Mr. Lloyd George, who then increased it from 10s. per cent. to £1 per cent. On small transfers, of £500 or less, the Stamp Duty has stood for nearly a century at 10s. per cent., and I propose to leave it there, and also to leave the present duty on transfers of between £500 and £1,500 unchanged at the existing rate of per cent. Above £1,500, the rate will rise gradually up to £2,000 when the new full rate of £2 per cent. as against £1 per cent. will become payable. I propose likewise to double the present Stamp Duty on leases and mortgages, except on ordinary tenancy agreements at a rental of less than £100 a year on which the existing rate of duty will be continued. I estimate that these various increases in Stamp Duties which I have so far mentioned—I have another to come—will produce another £20 million in a full year, and about £12 million this year. These increases cannot come into force until the passage of the Finance Bill into law, and I propose that they shall operate from 1st August next, by which time, I hope, the Bill will have become law.