New CLAUSE. — (Exemption of profits of agricultural and forestry societies from Income Tax.)

Orders of the Day — Finance Bill. – in the House of Commons am ar 8 Gorffennaf 1924.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

No Income Tax shall be payable on the profits of any society or institution carried on for the sole purpose of promoting the advance and improvement of agriculture, livestock breeding, horticulture, or forestry.—[Mr. Hothouse.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

Photo of Mr Arthur Hobhouse Mr Arthur Hobhouse , Wells

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

This Clause is to exempt the profits of agricultural societies from Income Tax. I believe I speak not only for the hon. and right hon. Gentlemen in whose names this Clause stands, but for Members in every part of the House. This matter is not unknown to the Financial Secretary, who recently received a deputation from the Agricultural Committee of the House of Commons with a view to setting right this hardship to agricultural societies. The object aimed at is to exempt the surplus profits of agricultural shows from Income Tax. These profits are not profits in the ordinary sense. They are never distributed to members of the societies and they may be said to be used as reserve funds against future losses which they may sustain. I might give an example, in the case of the Three Counties Show this year, when the weather landed the society in a total loss. As these so-called profits are devoted to the improvement of agriculture, through agricultural shows, it seems to me the Chancellor of the Exchequer might well consider whether this Clause might not be accepted. I would like to refer to a case which came before the High Court recently in which the Royal Agricultural Society appealed against a decision of the Commissioners of Income Tax, in which case it was held that a surplus income amounting to not much more than £3,000 was subject to Income Tax claim. I mention that to show that the amount involved was not great. I should like, in conclusion, to say that if the principle of this new Clause can be accepted it would not only remove this hardship, which is felt by many agricultural societies throughout the country, but it would be appreciated by the agricultural Members of this House.

Photo of Mr Philip Snowden Mr Philip Snowden , Colne Valley

This is one of a number of Amendments on the Paper aiming at the exemption of agricultural and other societies from Income Tax. I think we may assume that these Amendments are supported by Members from ail parts of the House with considerable sympathy. I am prepared to consider the matter, but I could not possibly accept the Amendment moved by the hon. Member, because, if I may be permitted to say so, it is by far the worst of the Amendments dealing with this matter. If the hon. Member who moved the Amendment is prepared to withdraw it, I will consider some Amendment, or form of words, which I hope will meet the wishes of the Committee.

Photo of Mr Arthur Hobhouse Mr Arthur Hobhouse , Wells

In view of that assurance, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Clause.

Motion and Clause, by leave, withdrawn.