§ MR. SEARS (Cheltenham)
I beg to ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will state what was the class and rank of the officers in the Civil Service who were responsible for the assessment of the dog tax prior to 1867, and what was the class and rank of the officers to whom the duties were transferred, which transference led to the increase in the number of dog licences issued from 445,000 to 828,000 in 10 months and to 1,362,000 in 10 years; what steps the Board took in dealing with officers who had been negligent in the discharge of their duties, and can he give a reference to any Parliamentary Paper in which the circumstances are mentioned; is he aware 30 that the Board of Inland Revenue in their twelfth Report stated that the transfer of duties took place under an Act of Parliament passed in March, 1867, and that it was a transfer of duties from parochial to Government officers.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER (Mr. ASQUITH,) Fifeshire, E.
The transfer of 1867 was a transfer from one set of Government officials to another, viz., from Tax officials to Excise officials. I find, however, though I regret the fact was overlooked in my reply to my hon. friend on the 21st ultimo, † that under the Tax officials parochial assessors had been employed, and that their employment ceased on the transfer to the Excise. The Question relates to a past which is now very remote, and the Board of Inland Revenue are not aware of any action taken by their predecessors with reference to any neglect that may have occurred on the part of parochial assessors or collectors, nor can they give a reference to any Parliamentary Paper in which such action is mentioned. But, when the results of the Act of 1867 are cited, it should not be overlooked that, by that Act, the duty on dog licences was reduced from 12s. to 5s., and that the beneficial results that followed may have been due to their reduction quite as much as, or even more than, they were due to the change in the machinery of assessment and collection.