Page:Problems of Empire.djvu/122

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.

PROBLEMS OF EMPIRE.

proceeds of the estate duty on personalty in Ireland were insufficient for the purpose in view. The result is that there is one arrangement in force in England, and another in Scotland and Ireland. The present system of assigned revenues therefore confuses the public accounts, which consequently do not show the expenditure for which the State has made itself responsible, and also the local accounts, making it difficult to ascertain the relief afforded to the ratepayers by the Exchequer.

Local Taxation Account.For the above reasons we may conclude that there is no advantage in continuing the present system of assigned revenues, under which the surtaxes on beer and spirits, the licence duties, and a proportion of the estate duties, are earmarked for the local taxation account, and that the grants now given from these sources in aid of local taxation can be as well or better met by a contribution from general revenue. If this be the case, it follows that such grants can be made from the revenues handed over to the national authorities just as well as from Imperial funds, and that there will be no necessity, under a scheme of Federal Government, for complicating Imperial finance with a local taxation account. It has been necessary to make this point clear, so that we may not be prevented from dealing with customs, excise, and estate duties, as seems best, when we come to suggesting an adjustment of the financial relations between the Imperial and local authorities.

Customs and Excise.6. The control of Customs and Excise Duties on Beer and Spirits must be reserved to the Imperial Parliament.—Customs duties appear clearly to belong to the province of the Imperial authority; though it

104