LibLink: Mark Pack – The secret concessions behind the 1911 Parliament Act

Before he departed for his blogging holiday, The Voice’s Mark Pack had an interesting piece on the Total Politics site looking at the 100-year history of the 1911 Parliament Act.

Here’s an extract from Mark’s piece:

The 1911 Act had its immediate cause in the 1909 People’s Budget from Liberal Chancellor of the Exchequer, David Lloyd George, which raised taxes for the richest to pay for military armaments and social works. As he put it:

“This is a war Budget. It is for raising money to wage implacable warfare against poverty and squalidness.”

The sums now seem modest – including the equivalent in today’s terms of introducing an extra 2.5% (2.5%, not 25%) on the income tax rate for incomes above £285,000. But at the time they triggered outrage amongst many Conservatives and a three year political struggle, which included two general elections called as the Lords first tried to block the Liberal Party’s financial plans and then attempted to see off a Liberal Party assault on its powers.

Eventually, faced with the threat of 250 new hereditary Liberal peers being created to remove the Conservative party’s large permanent majority in the Lords, Conservative peers agreed to the 1911 Parliament Act. It ended their power to block financial measures that  had a majority in the Commons and also replaced their ability to block other legislation with the power to delay it.

However, in return the Conservative peers managed to retain their permanent majority and also a purely hereditary basis for the Lords. Moreover, one of the major elements of that 1909 Budget was seen off – a land tax.

You can read Mark’s piece in full here.

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