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Exempt Transfers

Volume 888: debated on Monday 10 March 1975

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

I beg to move Amendment No. 215, in page 92, line 17, leave out from beginning to ' are '.

With this it will be convenient to consider the following amendments:

No. 216, in page 92, line 17, leave out from beginning to ' are ' and insert:

'unless exempt by virtue of any other paragraph of this Schedule'.

No. 218, in page 92, line 20, after ' values ', insert:

'(if any) fall short of £1,000, the amount by which they so fall short shall, in relation to the next following year, be added to the £1,000 mentioned in sub-paragraph (1) above; and where they'.

Amendment ( a), in line 2, leave out' the next following year ' and insert ' succeeding years'.

Amendment ( b), in line 3, after ' above ', insert:

' and if in the following year relief has not been fully given for the amount by which these values fall short of £1,000 on the basis that all transfers of value in that year are first attributed to the sum of £1,000 applicable to that year a person may make a claim requiring any portion by which those values fell short to be carried forward and, as far as may be, deducted from chargeable transfers made in any of the six subsequent years'.

No. 443, in page 92, line 21, after ' made ', insert ' in the year '.

No. 444, in page 92, line 26, at end insert:

' and
(c) shall be attributed to amounts brought forward from an earlier year rather than a later year'.

No. 459, in page 92, line 29, at end insert:

' (4) For the avoidance of doubt the exemption contained in this paragraph is in addition to those contained elsewhere in this Act and is not to be restricted by virtue of any other transfers of value which are exempt transfers by virtue of any other section of this Act or paragraph of any Schedule to this Act having been made within the same year'.

No. 224, in page 92, line 45, at end insert:

' Small gifts to same person

3A.—(1) Transfers of value made by a transferor in any one year by outright gifts to any one person are exempt to the extent that the values transferred by them (calculated as values on which no tax is chargeable) do not exceed £100.

(2) In this paragraph "year" has the same meaning as in paragraph 2 above '.

Amendment ( a), in line 1, leave out ' outright'.

Amendment ( c), in line 2, leave out' by outright gifts'.

Amendment ( b), in line 3, after ' £100 ', insert:

' or in the case of persons not connected with the transferor £200'.

Amendment ( e), in line 3, at end insert:

'and this exemption will be additional to all the exemptions in this Part of this Act.'.

No. 808, in page 93, line 6, leave out sub-paragraph ( a).

No. 403, in page 93, line 9, at end insert:

' and this exemption will be additional to all the exemptions in this Part of this Act'.

No. 747, in page 93, line 42, at end insert:

' and these exemptions will be additional to all other exemptions in this Part of this Act.'.

No. 746, in page 93, line 43, at end insert:

' and this exemption will be additional to all the exemptions in this Part of this Act.'.

No. 748, in page 98, line 30, at end insert:

' 13A. Where on the death of any spouse, the transfer of value chargeable under section 22(1) of this Act does not exceed £15,000, the amount of the difference between the amount chargeable and £15,000 shall be deducted from the transfer of value chargeable under section 22(1) of this Act on the death of the other spouse.'

Amendment No. 215 is essentially a drafting amendment. Paragraph 2(1) of Schedule 6 provides that transfers of value made by transferors in any one year and not exempt under any other provision are to be exempt if they are under £1,000. The amendment deletes

" and not exempt under any other provision "
The amendment clarifies a point raised in Committee. I shall be happy to deal with other matters if hon. Gentlemen refer to them.

The amendment is one of a series of important Government amendments. I hope that in due course we shall be able to make the Chief Secretary happy by allowing him to elaborate upon them, if that is what makes him happy.

The Chief Secretary said that Amendment No. 215 is just a drafting amendment. I hope he is right about that. I raised this matter earlier as a puzzling amendment which we looked forward to discussing when we reached Schedule 6, if we did. With a few minutes in hand we shall have the privilege, by courtesy of the Government, of being allowed to discuss the schedule.

It is a little puzzling. It has attracted outside comment, too. It could be that this amendment, which is said to be purely a drafting amendment, could have a devastating effect. The way it has been read by expert commentators, and by some of my right hon. and hon. Friends is not as being a drafting amendment at all but as an amendment which would have the effect of excluding some of the other provisions under which small gifts are exempt from capital transfer tax.

For instance, another Government amendment, to which the Chief Secretary did not refer, makes a provision for small gifts of £100 to be relieved. We would like to be absolutely sure that this omission of the words
" and not exempt under any other provision "
does not knock out Amendment No. 224 which is included in this group. We would like elaboration on this in due course.

This set of amendments also includes an important amendment, No. 218, to which my right hon. and hon. Friends have tabled a number of amendments proposing that its effect be modestly extended. In particular, we have tabled Amendment (b) which makes the modest proposal that the roll-over for the first £1,000 of gifts from the transferor, which is currently exempt, should be extended not merely into "the following year, as by Government Amendment No. 218, but for the subsequent six years. This is a reasonable addition to an amendment which in itself is obviously an improvement on a situation in which there was no roll-over.

Those are our initial reactions to an extensive set of Government amendments on which we would like to hear more in due course. With the leave of the House, I will make some final comments after my right hon. and hon. Friends have spoken.

I am sorry that Conservative Members think that this amendment goes wider than I have indicated. The words we are deleting:

" "and not exempt under any other provision "
are, we are advised, unnecessary. What they say goes without saying. The Bill provides a range of exemptions which is increased with the amendments we have tabled on Report. Any transfer which is exempted by any of the other provisions of the Bill is left out of account and does not, therefore, come within the ambit of the £1,000 annual exemption.

Government Amendment No. 218 allows unused amounts of the £1,000 annual exemption to be carried forward for one year. This again arises out of discussion in Committee when it was suggested that without some kind of rollover for succeeding years, it would be hard on a man who did not have the £1,000 in a given year.

The hon. Member for Guildford (Mr. Howell) referred to the Opposition amendment which would roll over the figure for six years. That goes much further. There are two amendments, one of which would roll it forward indefinitely. That would be wholly unacceptable. The second one turns it into a six-year roll-over. This would be excessive in addition to the exemptions already in the Bill.

Amendment No. 224 provides for the exemption of outright gifts not exceeding £100 to any one recipient in the tax year. The example was advanced in Committee that some Opposition Members were likely to make gifts of up to £100 a year, say, to the dustman or some such recipient, and that that might be subject to CTT. We arranged to table an amendment to help those hon. Gentlemen who might have been so caught.

If there are any other points, I should be happy to deal with them.

Will the Chief Secretary explain the point of principle which lies behind the denial of roll-over for a period of six years? It is incomprehensible. If one taxpayer is able to give away £6,000 in slices of £1,000 a year but another taxpayer, because of the form in which he holds the assets and his circumstances, cannot give £1,000 a year in those slices but can give only £6,000 at the end of six years, why should the second taxpayer be put in a much worse position than that in which the first taxpayer finds himself?

The Chief Secretary will remember from the example quoted in Standing Committee involving the famous shop that it is intended that the money should be transferred in slices. It might be difficult for some people to do it in slices of £1,000 and thereby incur unneces- sary stamp duty. Therefore, why is there discrimination between one taxpayer and another?

I should like to follow up what has been said so far, before dealing specifically with Amendment No. 808.

It would appear that there is discrimination in applying the principle of rollover as between those whose assets are tied up and those who may not be so well off. I can envisage the situation in which those who are most able to take advantage of the £1,000-a-year exemption are those who are wealthy enough to give away £1,000 each year. Our proposal, which seeks to give roll-over for six years, will ease the problem of those who have their assets tied up.

The provision still does not go beyond what the Government wish to do. The Government have accepted the principle of £1,000 in any one year. However, our suggestion eases the position and removes some of the discrimination against those in less favourable situations to take advantage of situation.

I wish to refer to Amendment No. 808, which was tabled following the debate in Committee on normal expenditure made out of income. The amendment seeks to remove the condition that it must be normal expenditure by the transferor. It was made clear that "normal" would be interpreted as "habitual ". I have a slight worry that the transferor who is giving some transfer out of his income but who is giving it for only one or two years will not get the exemption out of this provision because he will not have done it as part of normal expenditure, and will receive exemption only if he is shown to have given that type of gift for a number of years habitually.

It would appear that for the purposes of CTT all that one needs to be concerned with is that the expenditure was made out of income and was in accordance with the usual standard of living. I wish to ask whether it is necessary to include the fact that this should be part of the normal expenditure of the transferor. It will favour those who are in the habit of giving regular gifts, but for those who wish to give sums out of income for a brief period it appears that they will not be able to do so because of the reference of the need to be part of the normal expenditure. If I am wrong, I hope that the Chief Secretary will say so. Since we have not been able to debate the matter fully on Report, I believe the matter deserves to be examined in time for the next Finance Bill.

11.15 p.m.

I suppose that I must give grudging thanks that at least the point has been met to the extent that the £1,000 can be rolled over for an extra year. It was part of my case in Committee that it should be accumulatable—if that is the right word—and should be available for each year. That would have made a great difference to those who may not have so much money and who have their money invested long term. It would have given them an advantage at the expense of the very rich person, who could easily find £1,000 every year out of his capital. I cannot see why the Government will not accept the six-year proposal, which would involve no loss to the Revenue but which would greatly ease the problems of some people who are far from liquid and who will not be able to find the money easily.

Paradoxically, I think that the effect of the £1,000 allowance will be to cause practically everybody who can find it to give £1,000 a year to his children which he would not otherwise have given. There are already advertisements in the newspapers saying how to claim the £1,000 allowance for capital transfer. This rush to distribute £1,000, which in many cases should not be distributed, is a result of this evil legislation. It would have been much better not to have it, but the Government have insisted on doing it. I believe that shares, money and business will start to be broken up. to be cut into small salami slices and distributed to children long before it is necessary, so that the annual £1,000 allowance may be claimed. I ask the Government to reconsider the matter. Why it should not be accumulated is beyond me.

Another point is that the fact that the £1,000 is available to both parents effectively means that with a little manipulation each parent can give £1.000 for each year without any trouble, if they have the money. But it is hard on one- parent families. There are many reasons —divorce, death or sometimes failure to marry in the first place—why one-parent families exist. For them, the relief is effectively halved.

My hon. Friend the Member for Blaby (Mr. Lawson) said that he had one wife and four children. It would clearly be more advantageous if he had four wives and no children. There will be four-parent families, where the original parents have been divorced and have re-married. Four sets of allowances will be available to them.

That is the sort of muddle and unhappy situation into which the Government have got us through the whole structure of the tax. I ask the Government to make a special concession in the next stage of the Bill, which starts next month, to allow one-parent families to have a double concession. On all grounds of equity it will be unfair if they do not do that.

The £1,000 will become worth much less every year as a result of inflation. I hope that there will be a proper review of the figure, and that it will be changed as the value of money falls. I know that the Government's intention is to inflate merrily and busily destroy the value of our money, so that even the meagre £1,000 a year will become virtually valueless. We have seen many figures in our tax law eroded by inflation, and the Government do nothing to change them. It is difficult to find an opportunity to make the necessary changes.

I hope that the Government will give an undertaking to keep these figures under review. I hope that they will change them frequently and make them worth what they are intended to be worth. I am grateful for the small concession that has been obtained, but I hope that the Government will go further and deal with the problem of one-parent families. That should find favour in their eyes.

This group of amendments deals with the roll-over and the accumulation during the one year. As regards the roll-over of £1,000, it can be taken forward for the next year and £2,000 can be given in one year. Am I correct in thinking that the 24th March 1974 to 5th April 1974 was one year under the Bill? If that is so, for this year, and before 5th April, we can give £2,000. I do not know whether the Chief Secretary can confirm that. It seems that that can happen from the terms of the Bill.

I now turn to the accumulation for one year. It is not clear from the Bill and the amendments whether Amendment No. 224 allows gifts of £100 and whether we have to take those sums of £100 into account against the £1,000 gifts which are already exempt by the Bill. That is what I mean by the accumulation for this year. That must apply to all other exemptions under Schedule 6. Are we to add them all together or take one from the other? If 10 instalments of £100 are given, does that make up the £1,000 under the Bill as it stands? I hope that that is not so. I hope that all the exemptions apply consecutively and that they are not to be lumped together.

I have an inbuilt prejudice against the indexation of taxation. Despite that prejudice, when we have inflation running at its present rates I agree with the suggestion made by my hon. Friend the Member for Cirencester and Tewkesbury (Mr. Ridley) about the exemption figure of £1,000 which appears in Schedule 6. The provisions of the Bill are retrospective to 26th March. They are retrospective to a date practically a year ago. If we take the purchasing value of £1,000 on 26th March 1974 and we take its purchasing value today we shall find that it has declined by rather more than 20 per cent.

I hope that the Chief Secretary, for the limited period during which the present administration is in office, will give an undertaking that the limits in the Bill will be indexed to take account of the appalling rates of inflation which we are suffering under the disgraceful administration of this Government. It is all very well for the right hon. Gentleman to nod his head in the way to which we have become accustomed, but this is a serious matter. If the Government were saying that a correct figure for the exemption was £1,000 on 26th March 1974, how can the Chief Secretary say that the same figure is the correct exemption today?

My right hon. Friend the Member for Crosby (Mr. Page) had an extremely important point to raise when he referred to the concession to which the Chief Secretary referred—namely, a gift to a transferee not being a person connected with the transferor. My right hon. Friend made a point about the number of wives and children that we have. I suffer from the misfortune—

Just the one wife and two children. It would have been very much better if I had been able to reverse the process. I hope that the Chief Secretary will address himself seriously to this matter when he replies.

The more I listen to this short debate, the more I become concerned about the concessions which my right hon. and hon. Friends appear to have made as a result of the debates in Standing Committee. I am tempted to say to my hon. Friend that, when we come to the "roll-over" amendment and Amendment No. 224, we should plead with the Chief Secretary to withdraw these concessions. if he does not, I shall be tempted to go into the Division Lobby against them.

It appears from many of the speeches to which we have listened to be almost a yearly occurrence in some quarters to pass to one's children in cash the sum of £1,000. I must confess that I know of no one within my immediate circle of acquaintances who is so endowed with the good fruits of this earth that he can do that. What is more, when I come to the wrong concession in Amendment No. 224, I can think of no one working in the factories of Erith and Crayford on the shop floor who could even make a gift of £100 to his children. I hope that my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary can be persuaded to withdraw these concessions. If he does not, it may be that sufficient of us will go into the "No" Lobby to ensure that the Government do not implement these two concessions.

I came into the Chamber prepared to accept that my right hon. and hon. Friends had their responsibilities to those people who voted Labour in the last General Election in the right perspective. But when I see them bowled over—

My right hon. Friend says "No ". but there must have been some pretty heavy pressure put on him. I remind him that, at a time when he is saying that there is not sufficient public money available for some extremely desirable projects in my own area, he is making a concession of this kind. I come from an area where a Conservative-controlled council only last week decided to deny opportunities for retired citizens to have five meals a week at a pop-in luncheon parlour and reduced it to one. I feel a little bitter when I hear hon. Members asking for people to have the right to roll over for three, four, five or six years the ability to pass over £1,000 a year as and when they can lay their hands on the necessary liquid assets. When I think of the disadvantages endured by working people in my constituency and those of others of my hon. Friends, I say in all seriousness to my right hon. and hon. Friends that they have made unreasonable and unnecessary concessions to the Opposition. I hope that my hon. Friends will join me in opposing them.

The hon. Member for Erith and Crayford (Mr. Wellbeloved) has made an extraordinary attack on the Bill, which is a tax on generosity. I do not see why he should choose this moment to launch his attack, and I have no intention of spending time on what he said, except to say that in the view of most hon. Members on the Opposition benches the Chief Secretary has made all too few concessions.

It is about one of the right hon. Friend's so-called concessions that I am particularly concerned. I doubt very much whether Amendment No. 215 is a concession at all. I cannot understand what the right hon. Gentleman feels he has done by leaving out the words

"… and not exempt under any other provision."
The trouble is that the reasons which the Chief Secretary has advanced and the explanations which he has given are entirely opposite to the advice of a very large number of people outside this House who specialise in these matters.

Therefore, it would be helpful, other than the speech made by the right hon. Gentleman and the explanation that he has given, if we could have some. detailed explanation by the Inland Revenue in the form of this extra-statutory explanation—namely, Press releases through the Press Office—of how the Government see the £1,000 if this amendment is carried.

11.30 p.m.

I am sorry that the outside advice tendered to the hon. Member for Cornwall, North (Mr. Pardoe) is that the £1,000 exemption will not stand on its own. My inside advice is that it is exactly as I told the House earlier. The Revenue will be putting out an explanatory note on the Bill when we have Third Reading shortly. Therefore, I shall be happy for him to look at it with his outside advisers.

Does the Chief Secretary agree that there would be no misunderstanding at all if he left the Bill as it was, because it was crystal clear to everyone?

That was not what was said in Committee upstairs. It was the reverse there. Because of what was said in Committee upstairs we had another look at this matter and found that the words which are to be removed by Amendment No. 215 were unnecessary. I assure the hon. Gentleman that, on the best advice I have received, the effect of Amendment No. 215 will be that the £1,000 will stand on its own. I cannot go beyond that.

Will the right hon. Gentleman consider amendment No. 216, which is linked with this amendment, which will make the whole matter clear? Amendment No. 216 seeks to insert,

" unless exempt by virtue of any other paragraph of this Schedule ".

I do not know what virtue the hon. Gentleman sees in that amendment. In any event the phrase now in the Bill will be removed by Amendment No. 215. It may be that the hon. Gentleman has not had an opportunity to take further advice. I see the hon. Member for Blaby (Mr. Lawson), always ready to help in these matters, is helping him a little further.

We have again come back to whether £1,000 a year is sufficient or should be allowed to accumulate over the years because of the man who would not have £1,000 in a given year. This matter arose over what hon. Gentlemen were inclined to call the Gilbert and Sullivan shop, about which they had a lot of fun upstairs. The only reason that they found it so amusing was that they genuinely did not understand the problems of the small shopkeeper. This has become clear throughout our debates. Indeed, it has become even more clear to my hon. Friends who have heard this on Report, particularly those who heard it upstairs.

As is made clear in Clause 39, which will be in operation from 1976—we must not get too excited—interest-free loans would not be subject to capital transfer tax. It would be a simple matter to make a nominal loan of £1,000 and for the recipient—that is, the shop or small business—to lend it back again interest-free and there would be no liability to capital transfer tax. There is no need to spread the loan over six years or more. Indeed, that would be tantamount to increasing the £15,000 exemption which is already in the Bill. I know that even if I were mindful to make such a further concession, I should have considerable trouble from some of my hon. Friends. I assure them that I have no such intention.

The hon. Member for Cirencester and Tewkesbury (Mr. Ridley), always good measure, excelled himself when he talked about the meagre £1,000 a year. That is not enough for the hon. Gentleman. Indeed, he finds it a trifling sum. Hon. Gentlemen opposite live in some strange world where everybody is in a position to give £1,000 a year quite easily. Indeed, he said "Everybody is now giving away £1,000 a year. Who is not giving away £1,000 a year? "In Cirencester and Tewkesbury this must be happening every year, but in Heywood and Royton and most points north of Watford that does not happen all that often. [Interruption.] It is true that we do not generally understand the hon. Gentleman. It is difficult to follow the point of his argument. I thought that we had been pretty lair—indeed, as my hon. Friend said, more than reasonable.

The right hon. Member for Crosby (Mr. Page) talked about the gifts of up to £100 not being taken against the £1,000 a year allowance. I am happy to say that that cannot happen, because the £1,000 will stand on its own. The right hon. Gentleman, with his usual perception—this comes of sleeping with the Bill day and night over the weeks and months —made it clear that, as the tax came into operation before 5th April 1974, there are two years up to 5th April 1975.

The hon. Member for Eastbourne (Mr. Gow), who does not like indexation, wants indexation for this tax. I have a feeling that that was only because he did not like to incur the displeasure of his hon. Friend the Member for Blaby. Indeed, I saw the hon. Member for Blaby scowling at him. We all know the obsession of the hon. Member for Blaby with indexation. He thinks that it is a panacea for all our problems.

The Chief Secretary is wrong. I said that I objected to indexation in principle because it tends to condone inflation as a permanent evil, but I argued in favour of indexation while we have the present Government in office.

That is a very strange argument. Even the lion. Member for Blaby is glowering at the hon. Gentleman. That was an absolutely disgraceful comment. I cannot accept the argument for indexing the tax, but, as my hon. Friend and I have indicated all along, the rates will be kept under constant review and we will be coming back to the tax again and again in future Finance Bills, so we shall have opportunities to consider the matter. The Government will review these matters regularly.

We kept coming back to estate duty time and again for 80 years, and Conservative Governments always failed to do anything about it. It is now clear that Conservatives are delighted not to have done anything about it. Indeed, they would have preferred to have kept it.

I hope that my right hon. and hon. Friends will resist the Opposition amendments. I think we have been very fair already—indeed, as my hon. Friend said, probably too fair.

We are running true to form at 20 minutes to the twelfth hour, in the t we are busy having to postpone further consideration of aspects of this Bill to the next stage—that is, to the next Finance Bill, which is already looming up. It looks as though that will be handled with exemplary skill by my right hon. and hon. Friends in instructing Treasury Ministers what it is about.

These several amendments bring home better than anything has so far done the complete schizophrenia of the Labour administration in dealing with tax administration. On the one hand, throughout the Bill everyone from the Chancellor downwards, or "alongwards ", has been sneering at the vast sums of £1,000 a year which so few people have to pass on.

On the other hand, the Chancellor has been telling us in the Daily Express—the Chancellor is not here very much, but he speaks in the Daily Express occasionally—that it is through the agency of the provision for the £1,000 a year exemption and now the roll-over to £2,000 a year that it will be possible for the small trader, for the garage owner, for the owners of the shop in the High Street, for the owner of the small business in the market town, to hand on his business to his son without incurring a prohibitive liability to tax. Indeed, the Chancellor, the Chief Secretary and the Financial Secretary have made a virtue of this loophole. Here we have the schizophrenia. On the one hand £1,000 is a criminally large amount of money to have. On the other hand, it is the only means by which, according to the Government, the worst iniquities of this tax can be avoided.

We have amendment (b) which would slightly alleviate the matter by extending the roll-over to six years. It will not remove the worst effects of this tax for the very good reason, which hon. Members opposite have difficulty in understanding, that one cannot unscramble a business and dish out the so-called wealth involved in productive assets, thousand by thousand or five thousand by five thou-

Division No. 137.]

AYES

[10.40 p.m.

Adley, RobertBennett, Dr Reginald (Fareham)Brittan, Leon
Aitken, JonathanBenyon, W.Brotherton, Michael
Alison, MichaelBerry, Hon AnthonyBrown, Sir Edward (Bath)
Arnold, TomBitten, JohnBryan, Sir Paul
Atkins, Rt Hon H. (Spelthorne)Biggs-Davison, JohnBuchanan-Smith, Alick
Awdry, DanielBlaker, PeterBuck, Antony
Baker, KennethBoscawen, Hon. RobertBudgen, Nick
Banks, RobertBowden, A. (Brighton, Kemptown)Bulmer, Esmond
Beith, A. J.Boyson, Dr. Rhodes (Brent)Burden, F. A.
Bell, RonaldBradford, Rev RobertCarlisle, Mark
Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torbay)Braine, Sir BernardCarson, John

sand. It is not possible to pull down a wall or demolish a counter in a shop or sell a petrol pump and dispose of the proceeds to one's children. This gives rise to the fatuities of the Gilbert and Sullivan shop.

The Labour administration do not begin to understand what immense damage this tax will do to small and medium-sized private family businesses in the constituencies of hon. Members, but they will know about it when the letters come in about the redundancies. Be sure of that. They will know about it when the unemployment starts in the family businesses in their constituencies.

In the meantime, we have other business to turn to in the remaining minutes allowed us by this vicious guillotine. I therefore urge my hon. Friends to vote on Amendment ( b) which we shall move when we are allowed to do so to show our rejection of the spirit and intention behind this amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendment proposed : No. 218, in page 92, line 20, after ' values ', insert

' (if any) fall short of £1,000, the amount by which they so fall short shall, in relation to the next following year, be added to the £1,000 mentioned in sub-paragraph (1) above ; and where they '.—[Mr. Joel Barnett.]

Amendment proposed to the proposed amendment : ( b), in line 3, after ' above ', insert

'and if in the following year relief has not been fully given for the amount by which these values fall short of £1,000 on the basis that all transfers of value in that year are first attributed to the sum of £1,000 applicable to that year a person may make a claim requiring any portion by which those values fell short to be carried forward and, as far as may be, deducted from chargeable transfers made in any of the six subsequent years '.—[Mr. David Howell.]

Question put, That the amendment to the proposed amendment be made :—

The House divided : Ayes 246, Noes 293.

Chalker, Mrs LyndaHunt, JohnParkinson, Cecil
Channon, PaulHurd, DouglasPenhaligon, David
Clark, Alan (Plymouth, Sutton)Irving, Charles (Cheltenham)Percival, Ian
Clark, William (Croydon S)James, DavidPeyton, Rt Hon John
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe)Jenkin, Rt Hon P. (Wanst'd & W'df'd;Pink, R. Bonner
Clegg, WalterJessel, TobyPowell, Rt Hon J. Enoch
Cockcroft, JohnJohnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead)Pym, Rt Hon Francis
Cooke, Robert (Bristol W)Jones, Arthur (Daventry)Raison, Timothy
Cope, JohnJopling, MichaelRathbone, Tim
Cormack, PatrickJoseph, Rt Hon Sir KeithRawlinson, Rt Hon Sir Peter
Costain, A. P.Kaberry, Sir DonaldRees, Peter (Dover & Deal)
Craig, Rt Hon W. (Belfast E)Kershaw, AnthonyRees-Davies, W. R.
Critchley, JulianKilfedder, JamesRenton, Rt Hon Sir D. (Hunts)
Crowder, F. P.Kimball, MarcusRenton, Tim (Mid-Sussex)
Dean, Paul (N Somerset)King, Evelyn (South Dorset)Ridley, Hon Nicholas
Dodsworth, GeoffreyKing, Tom (Bridgwater)Ridsdale, Julian
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord JamesKnight, Mrs JillRifkind, Malcolm
du Cann, Rt Hon EdwardKnox, DavidRoberts, Michael (Cardiff NW)
Durant, TonyLamont, NormanRoberts, Wyn (Conway)
Eden, Rt Hon Sir JohnLane, DavidRoss, Stephen (Isle of Wight)
Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke)Langford-Holt, Sir JohnRoss, William (Londonderry)
Elliott, Sir WilliamLatham, Michael (Melton)Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)
Emery, PeterLawrence, IvanRost, Peter (SE Derbyshire)
Eyre ReginaldLawson, NigelRoyle, Sir Anthony
Fairbairn, NicholasLe Marchant, SpencerSainsbury, Tim
Fairgrieve, RussellLester, Jim (Beeston)St. John-Stevas, Norman
Farr, JohnLewis, Kenneth (Rutland)Shaw, Giles (Pudsey)
Fell, AnthonyLloyd, IanShelton, William (Streatham)
Finsberg, GeoffreyLoveridge, JohnShepherd, Colin
Fletcher, Alex (Edinburgh N)Luce, RichardShersby, Michael
Fletcher-Cooke, CharlesMcCrindle, RobertSims, Roger
Fookes, Miss JanetMcCusker, H.Sinclair, Sir George
Fowler, Norman (Sutton C'f'd)Macfarlane, NeilSkeet, T. H. H.
Fox, MarcusMacGregor, JohnSmith, Cyril (Rochdale)
Fraser, Rt Hon H. (Stafford & St)Macmillan, Rt Hon M. (Farnham)Smith, Dudley (Warwick)
Freud, ClementMcNair-Wilson, M. (Newbury)Speed, Keith
Fry, PeterMcNair-Wilson, P. (New Forest)Spence, John
Gardiner, George (Reigate)Marshall, Michael (Arundel)Spicer, Michael (S Worcester)
Gardner, Edward (S Fylde)Marten, NeilSproat, Iain
Gilmour, Rt Hon Ian (Chesham)Mates, MichaelStainton, Keith
Gilmour, Sir John (East Fife)Mather, CarolStanbrook, Ivor
Glyn, Dr AlanMaude, AngusStanley, John
Goodhart PhilipMaudling, Rt Hon ReginaldSteel, David (Roxburgh)
Goodhew, VictorMawby, RaySteen, Anthony (Wavertree)
Goodlad, AlastairMaxwell-Hyslop, RobinStewart, Ian (Hitchin)
Gorst, JohnMayhew, PatrickStokes, John
Gow, Ian (Eastbourne)Meyer, Sir AnthonyStradling Thomas, J.
Gower, Sir Raymond (Barry)Miller, Hal (Bromsgrove)Tapsell, Peter
Grant, Anthony (Harrow C)Mills, PeterTaylor, Teddy (Cathcart)
Gray, HamishMiscampbell, NormanTebbit, Norman
Grieve, PercyMitchell, David (Basingstoke)Temple-Morris, Peter
Griffiths, EldonMoate, RogerThatcher, Rt Hon Margaret
Grimond, Rt Hon J.Molyneaux, JamesTownsend, Cyril D.
Grist, IanMonro HectorTrotter, Neville
Grylls, MichaelMontgomery, FergusTugendhat, Christopher
Hall, Sir JohnMoore, John (Croydon C)van Straubenzee, W. R.
Hall-Davis, A. G. F.More, Jasper (Ludlow)Vaughan, Dr. Gerard
Hampson, Dr KeithMorgan, GeraintViggers, Peter
Hannam, JohnMorgan-Giles, Rear-AdmiralWainwright, Richard (Colne V)
Harrison, Col Sir Harwood (Eye)Morris, Michael (Northampton S)Wakeham. John
Harvie Anderson, Rt Hon MissMorrison, Charles (Devizes)Walker, Rt Hon P. (Worcester)
Havers, Sir MichaelMorrison, Hon Peter (Chester)Walters, Dennis
Hawkins, PaulNeave, AireyWeatherill, Bernard
Hayhoe, BarneyNelson, AnthonyWells, John
Heseltine, MichaelNeubert, MichaelWhitelaw, Rt Hon William
Hicks, RobertNewton, TonyWiggin, Jerry
Higgins, Terence L.Nott, JohnWinterton, Nicholas
Holland, PhilipOnslow, CranleyWood, Rt Hon Richard
Hordern, PeterOppenheim, Mrs SallyYoung, Sir G. (Ealing, Acton)
Howe, Rt Hn Sir GeoffreyPage, John (Harrow West)TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Howell, David (Guildford)Page, Rt Hon R. Graham (Crosby)Mr. Adam Butler and
Howells, Geraint (Cardigan)Pardoe, JohnMr. Fred Silvester.

NOES

Abse, LeoBarnett, Guy (Greenwich)Booth, Albert
Allaun, FrankBarnett, Rt Hon Joel (Heywood)Boothroyd, Miss Betty
Anderson, DonaldBates, AltBottomley, Rt Hon Arthur
Archer, PeterBean, R. E.Boyden, James (Bish Auck)
Ashley, JackBenn, Rt Hon Anthony WedgwoodBradley, Tom
Ashton, JoeBennett, Andrew (Stockport N)Bray, Dr Jeremy
Atkins, Ronald (Preston N)Bidwell, SydneyBrown, Hugh D. (Provan)
Atkinson, NormanBishop, E. S.Brown, Robert C. (Newcastle W)
Bagier, Gordon A. T.Blenkinsop, ArthurBrown, Ronald (Hackney S)
Bain, Mrs MargaretBoardman, H.Buchan, Norman

Buchanan, RichardHeffer, Eric S.Ovenden, John
Butler, Mrs Joyce (Wood Green)Henderson, DouglasPadley, Walter
Callaghan, Jim (Middleton & P)Hooley, FrankPark, George
Campbell, IanHoram, JohnParker, John
Canavan, DennisHowell, Denis (B'ham, Sm H)Parry, Robert
Cant, R. B.Hoyle, Doug (Nelson)Pendry, Tom
Carmichael, NeilHuckfield, LesPerry, Ernest
Carter, RayHughes, Rt Hon C. (Anglesey)Phipps, Dr Colin
Carter-Jones, LewisHughes, Mark (Durham)Prentice, Rt Hon Reg
Cartwright, JohnHughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)Prescott, John
Castle, Rt Hon BarbaraHughes, Roy (Newport)Price, C. (Lewisham W)
Clemitson, IvorHunter, AdamPrice, William (Rugby)
Cocks, Michael (Bristol S)Irving, Rt Hon S. (Dartford)Radice, Giles
Cohen, StanleyJackson, Colin (Brighouse)Reid, George
Coleman, DonaldJackson, Miss Margaret (Lincoln)Richardson, Miss Jo
Colquhoun, Mrs MaureenJay, Rt Hon DouglasRoberts, Albert (Normanton)
Concannon, J. D.Jeger, Mrs LenaRoberts, Gwilym (Cannock)
Conlan, BernardJenkins, Hugh (Putney)Robertson, John (Paisley)
Cook, Robin F. (Edin C)Jenkins, Rt Hon Roy (Stechford)Roderick, Caerwyn
Corbett, RobinJohn, BrynmorRodgers, George (Chorley)
Cox, Thomas (Tooting)Johnson, James (Hull West)Rodgers, William (Stockton)
Craigen, J. M. (Maryhill)Johnson, Walter (Derby S)Rooker, J. W.
Crawford, DouglasJones, Alec (Rhondda)Roper, John
Cronin, JohnJones, Barry (East Flint)Rose, Paul B.
Crosland, Rt Hon AnthonyJones, Dan (Burnley)Ross, Rt Hon W. (Kilmarnock)
Cryer, BobJudd, FrankRowlands, Ted
Cunningham, G. (Islington)Kaufman, GeraldRyman, John
Cunningham, Dr J. (Whiteh)Kelley, RichardSandelson, Neville
Dalyell, TamKerr, RussellSedgemore, Brian
Davidson, ArthurKilroy-Silk, RobertSelby, Harry
Davies, Bryan (Enfield N)Kinnock, NeilShaw, Arnold (Ilford South)
Davies, Denzil (Llanelli)Lambie, DavidSheldon, Robert (Ashton-u-Lyne)
Davies, Ifor (Gower)Lamborn, HarryShore, Rt Hon Peter
Davis, Clinton (Hackney C)Lamond, JamesShort, Rt Hon E. (Newcastle C)
Deakins, EricLatham, Arthur (Paddington)Short, Mrs Renée (Wolv NE)
Dean, Joseph (Leeds West)Leadbitter, TedSilkin, Rt Hon John (Deptford)
Delargy, HughLee, JohnSilkin, Rt Hon S. C. (Dulwich)
Dell, Rt Hon EdmundLewis, Arthur (Newham N)Sillars, James
Dempsey, JamesLewis, Ron (Carlisle)Silverman, Julius
Doig, PeterLipton, MarcusSkinner, Dennis
Dormand, J. D.Litterick, TomSmall, William
Douglas-Mann, BruceLoyden. EddieSmith, John (N Lanarkshire)
Duffy, A. E. P.Luard, EvanSnape, Peter
Dunn, James A.yon, Alexander (York)Spearing, Nigel
Dunnett, JackLyons, Edward (Bradford W)Spriggs, Leslie
Dunwoody, Mrs GwynethMabon, Dr J. DicksonStallard, A. W.
Eadie, AlexMcCartney, HughStewart, Donald (Western Isles)
Edge, GeoffMacCormick, IainStewart, Rt Hon M. (Fulham)
Ellis, John (Brigg & Scun)McElhone, FrankStott, Roger
Ellis, Tom (Wrexham)MacFarquhar, RoderickStrang, Gavin
English, MichaelMcGuire, Michael (Ince)Strauss, Rt Hon G. R.
Ennals, DavidMackenzie, GregorTaylor, Mrs Ann (Bolton W)
Evans, Gwynfor (Carmarthen)Mackintosh, John PThomas, Dafydd (Merioneth)
Evans, John (Newton)Maclennan, RobertThomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)
Ewing, Harry (Stirling)McMillan, Tom (Glasgow C)Thomas, Mike (Newcastle E)
Ewing, Mrs Winifred (Moray)McNamara, KevinThomas, Ron (Bristol NW)
Faulds, AndrewMadden, MaxThompson, George
Fernyhough, Rt Hon E.Magee, BryanThorne, Stan (Preston South)
Flannery, MartinMahon, SimonTierney, Sydney
Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston)Marks, KennethTinn, James
Fletcher Ted (Darlington)Marquand, DavidTomlinson, John
Foot, Rt Hon MichaelMarshall, Dr Edmund (Goole)Torney, Tom
Ford, BenMarshall, Jim (Leicester S)Urwin, T. W.
Forrester, JohnMason, Rt Hon RoyVarley, Rt Hon Eric G.
Fowler, Gerald (The Wrekin)Meacher, MichaelWainwright, Edwin (Dearne V)
Fraser, John (Lambeth, N'w'd)Mellish, Rt Hon RobertWalden, Brian (B'ham, L'dyw'd)
Freeson, ReginaldMikardo, IanWalker, Harold (Doncaster)
Garrett John(Norwich S)Millan, BruceWalker, Terry (Kingswood)
Garrett, W. E. (Wallsend)Miller, Dr M. S. (E Kilbride)Ward, Michael
George, BruceMiller Mrs Millie (Ilford N)Watkins, David
Gilbert, Dr JohnMitchell, R. C. (Soton, Itchen)Watkinson, John
Ginsburg, DavidMoiloy, WilliamWatt, Hamish
Golding, JohnMoonman, EricWeetch, Ken
Gould, BryanMorris, Alfred(wythenshawe)Weitzman, David
Gourlay, HarryMorris, Charles R. (Openshaw)Wellbeloved, James
Graham, TedMorris, Rt Hon J(Aberavon)Welsh, Andrew
Grant, George (Morpeth)Mulley, Rt Hon FrederickWhite, Frank R. (Bury)
Hamilton, James (Bothwell)Murway, Rt Hon Ronald KingWhite, James (Pollok)
Hamilton, W. W. (Central Fife)Newens, StanleyWhitehead, Phillip
Hardy, PeterNoble, MikeWhitlock William
Harper, JosephOakes, GordonWigley, Dafydd
Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)Ogden, EricWilley, Rt Hon Frederick
Hatton, FrankO'Halloran, MichaelWilliams, Alan(Swansea W)
Hayman, Mrs HelenaO'Malley, Rt Hon Brian
Healey, Fit Hon DenisOrbach, MauriceWilliams, Alan Lee(Hornch'ch)

Williams, Rt Hon Shirley (Hertford)Wilson, William (Coventry SE)Young, David (Bolton E)
Williams, W. T. (Warrington)Wise, Mrs AudreyTELLERS FOR THE NOES
Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)Woodall, AlecMr. Laurie Pavitt and
Wilson, Gordon (Dundee E)Wrigglssworth. IanMr. David Stoddart.

Question accordingly negatived.

Amendment agreed to.

I beg to move Amendment No. 220, in page 92, line 28, leave out 26th ' and insert 27th '.

This amendment ensures that this excellent tax will start on 27th March, If it had not been for the irresponsibility of the Opposition, we should have had a proper debate on Third Reading. Instead, we have wasted two days of the Report stage because of the antics of the Opposition.

There was every opportunity for the Opposition to debate the Bill and this tax properly. They refused to do so. They did not want to do so. What they have sought to do has been to keep estate duty, a tax that had been steadily avoided. Capital transfer tax is an excellent tax. What is more, by their procedures and antics over the past few months, the Opposition—

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I cannot connect anything that the Chief Secretary is saying at the moment with the amendment that he is proposing.

I am sorry that the right hon. Gentleman does not like to hear about this tax. It will start on 27th March. It will help small shopkeepers.

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. The amendment now being moved by the Chief Secretary manifests that the debate is ending, as it began, with a correction by the Government.

Order. There is no need to get excited. I am sure that the right hon. and learned Gentleman will come to a point of order.

Debating points are not made points of order. If it is a point of order, I shall, of course take it, but not ii it is a debating point.

The point I am making is this. This; is one of a long series of Government amendments to the same effect—it replaces one date by another. We have dealt with all those preceding it as a matter of routine and each and every one ha ; been moved formally This is an acknowledgement that the Government made z profound mistake even as to the date when the tax would begin.

Order. It is not fair to draw the Chair into the argument betweer the two sides as to which shall have tie last word. If the right hon. and learned Gentleman has a point of order, he should quickly make it or sit down.

Thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker. As this is a routine admission that this is a 5overnment mistake, one of many that they have made, is it in order for the Chief Secretary—

Order. Right hon. and hon. Members should resume their seats when the occupant of the Chair stands up.

On a point of order. Can you advise the House, Mr. Deputy Speaker, how the rights of hon. Members are to be safeguarded? You will be aware that the Report stage—

It being Twelve o'clock Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER proceeded pursuant to the order[4th March], to put forthwith the Questions an amendments to the Bill, moved by a Minister of the Crown, of which notice had been given.

Amendments made : No. 220, in page 92, line 28, leave out ' 26th' and insert 27th '.

No. 222, in line 30, leave out 26th' and insert 27th '.

No. 224, in line 45, at end insert:

' Small gifts to same person

3A.—(1) Transfers of value made by a transferor in any one year by outright gifts to any one person are exempt to the extent that the values transferred by them (calculated as values on which no tax is chargeable) do not exceed £100.

(2) In this paragraph "year" has the same meaning as in paragraph 2 above '.

No. 226, in page 93, line 6, after that ', insert (taking one year with another) '

No. 228, in line 38, at end insert :

'(a) in the case of gifts within sub-paragraph (2) below by a parent of a party to the marriage, £5,000 ; '

No. 230, in line 39, after of ', insert other '.

No. 233, in page 94, line I, leave out sub-paragraph ' and insert paragraph '.

No. 237, in page 95, line 9, leave out made by any one transferor '.

No. 239, in page 95, leave out lines 12 to 17 and insert:

(b) so far as made on or within one year of the death of the transferor, do not exceed £100,000.
(2) Notwithstanding anything in paragraph 6 of Schedule 5 to this Act, where property is given to a charity by the making of a distribution payment within the meaning of that paragraph, the distribution payment is not a capital distribution for the purposes of that Schedule '.

No. 243, in line 27, leave out £50,000 ' and insert £100,000 '.

No. 244, in line 27, at end insert :

' (5) In its application to Northern Ireland, sub-paragraph (4) above shall have effect as if for the references to section 121 of and Schedule 26 to the Finance Act 1972 there were substituted references to Article 5 of and Schedule 2 to the Finance (Northern Ireland) Order 1972 '.

No. 794, in line 27, at end insert:

` Gifts to political parties

9A.—(1) Subject to the provisions of Part II of this Schedule, transfers of value are exempt to the extent that the values transferred by them—

  • (a) are attributable to property which becomes the property of a political party qualifying for exemption under this paragraph ; and
  • (b) so far as made on or within one year of the death of the transferor, do not exceed £100,000.
  • (2) A political party qualifies for exemption under this paragraph if, at the last general election preceding the transfer of value, —

  • (a) two members of that party were elected to the House of Commons ; or
  • (b) one member of that party was elected to the House of Commons and not less than one hundred and fifty thousand votes were given to candidates who were members of that party '.
  • No. 793, in page 96, line 34, leave out preceding '.

    No. 795, in page 98, line 15, after ' paragraph ', insert 9A '. —[ Mr. Joel Barnett.]