Skip to main content

Full text of "War-time financial problems"

See other formats

68               A LEVY ON CAPITAL

principle of what is called ''the Conscription of
Wealth," and the publication at or soon after that
time, which was about the middle of November, of
a pamphlet on the subject of the " Conscription of
Riches/' by the War Emergency Workers* National
Committee, i, Victoria Street, S.W. Among what
this pamphlet describes as " the three practicable
methods of conscripting wealth" No. i is as

A Capital Tax, on the lines of the present Death
Duties, which are graduated from nothing (on estates
under 300, and legacies under 20) up to about 20 per
cent, (on very large estates left as legacies to strangers).

If a <f Death Duty " at the existing rates were now
levied simultaneously on every person in the kingdom
possessing over 300 wealth (every person might be
legally deemed to have died, and to be his own heir),
it might yield to the Chancellor of the Exchequer about
900,000,000. It would be necessary to offer a discount
for payment in cash ; and in order to avoid simultaneous
forced sales, to accept, in lieu of cash, securities at a
valuation ; and to take mortgages on land.

Here it will be seen that the Emergency Workers
had improved on the Round Table, and agreed with
Mr Gardiner, by providing that the Government
should take securities at a valuation and mortgages
on land in lieu of cash in order to avoid simultaneous
forced sales. But they do not seem to have per-
ceived that, in so far as the Government took secu-
rities or accepted mortgages on land, it would not
be getting money to pay for the war, which was the
object of the proposed Conscription of Wealth, but
would only be obtaining property from which the