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New Clause—(Real Property Compulsorily Acquired)

Volume 529: debated on Monday 28 June 1954

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Where any real property falls to be valued for estate duty purposes then if within three years after the death such property is compulsorily acquired by any public authority possessing compulsory purchase powers and the compensation payable on compulsory acquisition is less than the value assessed for estate duty purposes, there shall be substituted for that value the amount of compensation received, and subsection (5) of section seven of the Finance Act. 1894, shall be construed accordingly.—[ Major W. Hicks Beach.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."

The Committee will remember that this afternoon we approved Clause 27 of the Bill, where there is provision that, where there is a sale within three years of death, then the taxpayer has the right to say that if the sale price was lower than the valuation at the date of death, he could be given the benefit. All we ask in this Clause is that where compulsory purchase takes place within three years of the date of death, and the compensation is less than the value for Estate Duty purposes, there shall be substituted for that value the amount of compensation received. I hope my right hon. Friend can accept this new Clause, which seeks only to clear up an anomaly so far as real estate is concerned.

I am sorry to have to say that we cannot accept this Clause. The reason is that it does not go far enough; it deals only with land compulsorily acquired, and does not make provision for land acquired by agreement by an authority possessing powers of compulsory purchase. There is a precedent under the Finance (No. 2) Act, 1945, for a Clause of this character, which my hon. and gallant Friend will see is a very long and complicated one.

To deal with the problem, we should also require a long and complicated Clause. The Town and Country Planning Bill and the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Bill are not passed yet, and it would be better for us to wait until we can see the final form of those Measures before inserting a Clause in the Finance Bill to meet my hon. and gallant Friend's desires.

The Chancellor proposes to include in the Finance Bill next year a provision dealing with this point, and such provision will be retrospective to the date when the development value was abolished, namely, 18th November, 1952. The Clause is also defective in that it is not retrospective to that date. I hope that, with that explanation, my hon. and gallant Friend will be content to withdraw his Motion.

In view of the very satisfactory explanation from the Solicitor-General, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Motion.

Motion and Clause, by leave, withdrawn.

To report Progress, and ask leave to sit again.—[ Mr. T. G. D. Galbraith.]

Committee report Progress; to sit again Tomorrow.