9 November 2013

For duchy exemption from corporation and capital gains taxes see the update at the foot of this post.

The second reading of Tony Berkeley’s bill to reform aspects of the duchy of Cornwall, the Rights of the sovereign and the duchy of Cornwall bill, had its second reading in the Lords on 8 November 2013. It will now be considered by a committee of the whole house. Current proposed amendments are here.

Berkeley accepted that his private member’s bill was an inappropriate means of effect change. He said his purpose was “to start a debate” about the duchy and in that necessary task I think he has succeeded.

Berkeley repeated his arguments and received some support from Robin Teverson, a Libdem member from Cornwall. Labour offered somewhat tepid support to look at the issues raised. The Tory/Libdem government seemed to oppose the bill’s most revolutionary and useful proposal, putting the duchy assets into a trust – “an unacceptable encroachment on private property rights”.

Michael Forsyth noted (column 449) the irony of “a hereditary peer given a life peerage attending a house which is not subject to democratic accountability and in which we are given tax-free allowances complaining about tax privileges and a lack of accountability”. Ouch.

Update 19 November 2013
In the Commons the Treasury said that it had made no estimate of the loss to tax revenue of the exemption of the duchy of Cornwall from corporation tax and capital gains tax (Hansard 18 November 2013 column 774W).

Earlier post
Curate’s egg duchy bill 16 April 2013