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Cripps, Sir Richard Stafford (1889–1952), knight, politician and lawyer Imagen Con objetos digitales
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Carbon copy of a letter from Lord Pethick-Lawrence to W. Glenvil Hall

Is broadly in support of the Government’s financial policy. Would like to hear his views on (1) further postponing the adjourned CPA meeting till the accounts are ready, and moving the room of the General Council’s secretary; (2) an anomaly in the calculation of estate duty; and (3) his own article in the Contemporary Review.

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Transcript

8th. April, 1949.

My dear Glenvil,

I listened to the Chancellor’s speech on Wednesday with great interest and with the admiration which he always commands for his pellucid exposition. I also attended the party meeting yesterday and now have read your speech of last night with my usual interest, pleasure and substantial agreement.

Broadly I find myself in full support of the Government’s standpoint, though naturally there are one or two small matters which I do not like quite so much. I though Mrs. Mann was particularly happy in what she said yesterday at the party meeting.

You are of course tremendously busy at the moment, but if you have a little leisure I should be interested to hear from you on three matters:—1) Sir Howard D’Egville told me that he had had a talk with you and explained to you that the accounts that were on the table at the C.P.A. meeting, only went up to the end of 1947. You will remember he interrupted me in the middle of my speech at the meeting and, incidentally, mislead† me as to the dates of the accounts. In all the circumstances I hope you agree that it is better to postpone the adjourned meeting of the members until we have got the 1948 accounts also to give to them. I am afraid it will not be until the end of June or the beginning of July. I daresay you and I shall be meeting one day in the House of Commons before then; and I would also like to discuss with you this question of whether the room for the General Council’s Secretary should be in future actually adjoining the rooms of the United Kingdom Branch or nearby.

2) I am rather sorry that when the Chancellor was tidying up the death duties (and incidentally making a considerable increase in the estate duty which will involve substantial alterations in wills of large testators who leave specified sums to various persons, and particularly to widows) that he did not rectify an anomaly which causes testators a good deal of inconvenience. I refer to the different method of dealing with slices of the gross amount for estate duty and surtax respectively. In the latter, the taxpayer has no particular interest in getting his gross figure below certain limits, whereas in the former the higher rate is charged not only on the slice but on the gross total so that a very small change makes a great deal of difference. I am aware of course that adjustments are made, but in view of the present high rates of taxation, this method is surely both inconvenient and unsatisfactory. Consider for instance the case of a man whose gross estate is in the neighbourhood of a hundred thousand pounds. If it is just below a hundred thousand pounds, he pays tax under the new scheme at 45% leaving him for distribution fifty-five thousand pounds. As I understand it, it is not until he reaches over a hundred and ten thousand pounds gross (which will pay 50%) that he obtains any larger sum for distribution. Similar anomalies occur on other marginal figures. The net result is surely not very healthy because a testator with assets close to one of the marginal figures is deprived of all incentive to save as the tax amounts to 100% on part of the capital.

Would it not be better to adopt the surtax method on slices for death duties? In any case will you consider this, and will you consider whether some explanation might be given of how the prospective tax works out on successive slices. It is quite true that the big fry might be alarmed at the very large proportion which the higher slices will have to pay, but some of our labour supporters may be equally satisfied that the rich are contributing so much. I hope however that if this is done next year the Chancellor will not take the opportunity of putting up still further the rates. Will you also consider, unless it has already been made fully clear, precisely when all the changes in death duties come into operation so that testators will know just what they have to face and when. For instance what about the case of A deceased in 1948 leaving a life interest to B who dies in 1950. What does C the remainderman have to pay?

3) When I last saw you, you were good enough to say that you would look at my article in the January issue of the “Contemporary Review”. If you have managed in your busy life to do so I should be interested to know how it struck you.

Yours sincerely,
[blank]

The Rt. Hon. W. Glenvil Hall, M.P.,
Financial Secretary to the Treasury,
Treasury Chambers,
S.W.1.

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† Sic.

Letter from W. Glenvil Hall to Lord Pethick-Lawrence

Treasury Chambers.—Responds to Pethick-Lawrence’s remarks on estate duty (see 2/26), which he has discussed with the Chancellor (Cripps) and the Inland Revenue.

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Transcript

Treasury Chambers, | Great George Street, | S.W.1.
29 April, 1949.

My dear Pethick,

I promised to write you again on the Estate Duty points you raised in your letter to me, after I had consulted the Inland Revenue and the Chancellor on them.

As you point out, the Estate Duty scale has always been such that at a point where the rate increases there is a margin within which, whatever the value of the estate, the amount left after payment of duty is the same. At the new rates there will be a margin of £10,000 between £100,000 and £110,000. We have from time to time considered the possibility of changing, as you suggest, to a slice scale on the Sur-tax principle to avoid this particular difficulty, but the Inland Revenue tell me such a change would bring very considerable new difficulties of its own. It would for example add to the complexities of the administration of estates where property passed on a death under more than one title. Every time any adjustment were made in the value of the property passing under one of the titles the amount of duty payable on the property passing under each title would be affected.

The Chancellor proposes to increase the yield from death duties because, as he stated in his Budget statement, there is still a degree of inequality in the ownership of property which could be the subject of adjustment. The various changes in the death duties will not, of course, come into effect until the passing of the Finance Act. This will give testators some opportunity of altering their wills if they so wish. They will be able to see the detailed proposals in the Finance Bill—we have in mind, for example, the point you mention about the remainder-man—and they will be able to make their plans accordingly.

In the light of what I say above about the difficulties, you will gather that there seems little possibility of the suggestion you make about the slice system being adopted. Nevertheless you will like to know that the Chancellor is having the point looked at again, though, as I say, it appears that whatever system were adopted some anomalies are bound to occur.

With kind regards and all good wishes.

Yours sincerely,
W Glenvil Hall

The Rt. Hon. Lord Pethick-Lawrence of Peaslake,
11, Old Square,
Lincoln’s Inn,
W.C.2.

Letter from Humayun Kabir to Lord Pethick-Lawrence

2 York Place, New Delhi.—Asks him to contribute an article to a volume to be presented to Maulana Azad on the occasion of his seventieth birthday.

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Transcript

2, York Place,
New Delhi,
22 NOV 1957

Dear Lord Pethick Lawrence

Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, a great national leader of India, will be completing his 70th year in November 1958. It is proposed that on this occasion, an Abhinandan Granth (Birthday Volume) be presented to him as a mark of our appreciation of his services to the nation for nearly fifty years.

Maulana Azad attained eminence as a brilliant writer and theologian in his early youth. The spirit of free enquiry and search for truth which characterised him from those days soon led him into the political movement as he realised that man cannot attain a true and full development except in an atmosphere of freedom. From his early twenties, he has been a fighter for Indian freedom and his contribution to the cause of Indian nationalism has been widely acknowledged. The Indian nation did him the honour of electing him the President of the Indian National Congress when he was 35. Later during the most critical period of the struggle for freedom, he guided the destinies of the Congress for six momentous years and conducted the negotiations with Sir Stafford Cripps, Lord Wavell and the British Cabinet Mission which resulted in the attainment of Indian independence in 1947.

Apart from his contribution to the Indian national struggle, Maulana Azad has also been an outspoken champion of rationalism and progressiveness in all spheres of Indian life. He has sought to approach religious, moral, social, economic and political questions from a detailed and dispassionate point of view and worked for securing justice and fairplay for all sections of the Indian people.

It is proposed that the Abhinandan Granth should include assessments of his contribution to different aspects of Indian life or studies in various fields in which he has taken a keen interest. On behalf of the Committee, I have great pleasure in requesting you to be so kind as to make a contribution either on some aspect of Maulana Azad’s life and personality or in a subject of your special study. The articles should ordinarily be from 2000 to 3000 words and should reach the undersigned by the 31st March 1958 at the latest.

I shall be grateful for a line in reply indicating your consent and the title of the subject on which you would like to write.

Yours sincerely {1}
Humayun Kabir
(HUMAYUN KABIR)

Lord Pethick-Lawrence,
C/o Rashtrapati Bhavan,
NEW DELHI.

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Letter-head of the Maulana Azad 70th Birthday Committee. The letter is typed, except the opening and closing greetings, which are handwritten, and the date, which is stamped. Presumably the same message was sent to other potential contributors to the projected volume. At the foot has been added ‘Ld P will send a short message of tribute.’ (‘Ld P’ is a conjectural reading; what is written is indistinct.)

{1} These two words are indistinct.

Carbon copy of a letter from Lord Pethick-Lawrence to Clement Attlee

The Cabinet Mission have been refreshed by their stay in Kashmir. Encloses a copy of a proposal put before Jinnah, and gives an account of negotiations on the composition of an interim Government.

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Transcript

25th April, 1946.

Personal and Secret

My dear Clem,

Your good wishes for our Kashmir trip were amply fulfilled. We had a thorough break physical and mental and a most enjoyable time. The Maharaja and his Prime Minister were most assiduous in providing us with entertainment.

While there, we made up our minds to try one more expedient to achieve agreement which Stafford put before Jinnah informally last night. I enclose a copy of this and you will see that it is a partial return to the Cripps proposals of 1942. Jinnah was noncommittal and there is a remote possibility that it will find acceptance by both sides. Otherwise it will go into the limbo of fruitless efforts.

Failing success in that we shall revert to the need for formulating proposals of our own. These will recite our attempts to obtain agreement and make an award which we shall submit to you before publication.

Apart from the communal difficulty over Pakistan, there will arise certain grave difficulties over the Interim Government which I feel it is important you should appreciate in advance. The first point is the composition of the Executive (communally and otherwise) on which I need not dilate. The second point is the quantum of power which the Executive will possess.

I have told Congress that in the interim period the existing constitution must remain. That is to say that constitutional safeguards will continue—the Viceroy’s discretionary powers and his power of veto and the Secretary of State’s overriding authority. The reaction of Maulana Azad (President of Congress) to this announcement was one of violent dissent. “Plenary power must be transferred immediately”. “The India Office must cease to exist forthwith”. “All contracts must be instantly transferred to the ministerial Government”.

I explained very politely to Azad (too politely the Viceroy told me afterwards) and later to Gandhi how unreal their attitude was. Not only must the Government of India operate under the existing constitution until it is changed by Parliament, but the vast machinery of Government of the India Office could not physically be transferred to a newly installed Government in India in a moment. I could not divest myself of my responsibility for the I. C. S. and others without a proper agreement. Other matters will also require adjustment etc. One of the functions of the Interim Government will be to reach a settlement for orderly transfer of powers at the proper time. I appeared to make no impression and I am convinced this matter is likely to be a serious bone of contention when the Pakistan issue is finally settled.

On the principle of the matter I do not see how we can possibly give way particularly if Jinnah does not come into the Executive or is in a minority on it for in such a case the Viceroy’s veto will be essential to protect Muslim interests in the interim period. But it may be that Congress would be willing to accept some comforting assurances regarding the use of the powers of the Viceroy and the Secretary of State. Stafford and I are disposed, when the time arrives, to consider carefully how far we can go to meet Congress susceptibilities in this matter. Alexander will probably not dissent from our view. The Viceroy appears to think that he can stand pat on an unequivocal refusal to budge an inch.

It is plain to me that if and when the Interim Executive comes into being (with or without any such assurances) the position of the Viceroy during the year or more of its existence will be one of extraordinary delicacy. He may be periodically threatened with the resignation of his ministers, and all the time the essential administration will have to be carried on.

(SGD.) PETHICK-LAWRENCE.

P.S. Since the above was typed Nehru has told Stafford that there would not be the least chance of Congress agreeing to the enclosed proposal.

Telegram from Viscount Wavell to Lord Pethick-Lawrence

New Delhi.—It is reported in the Indian press that Pethick-Lawrence is about to retire, to be replaced by Cripps. He trusts this is not true, as the appointment of Cripps would destroy any hope of securing the co-operation of the Muslim League. If Pethick-Lawrence is indeed retiring, he would prefer that Alexander should succeed him.

Letter from Sir Stafford Cripps to F. W. Pethick-Lawrence

Suggests that Frank Turnbull should be with them when they meet at Chequers, and that Maurice Gwyer should be Pethick-Lawrence’s legal adviser while he is in India. Intends to ask Short to come with him, instead of Moore, whom he would like to see re-employed in India.

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