Howard Kingsley Wood

(1881—1943) politician

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(b. Hull, 19 Aug. 1881; d. London, 21 Sept. 1943) British; Chancellor of the Exchequer 1940 –3; Kt. 1918 The son of a Wesleyan minister, Wood was educated at Central Foundation Boys' School and trained as a solicitor. An expert in insurance matters, he was appointed chairman of the Old Age Pensions Committee in 1915 and the London Insurance Committee in 1916. He entered parliament in 1918 as Conservative MP for Woolwich West and served in a number of junior minister posts between 1924 and 1931. In 1931 he was appointed Postmaster-General and raised to Cabinet rank in 1933. He was subsequently to serve as Minister of Health (1935 –8) and Secretary of State for Air (1938 –40). He was briefly Lord Privy Seal before being appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer, a post in which he proved highly competent. Wood died suddenly in office in September 1943.

As Air Secretary, he objected to plans to bomb German forests on the grounds that they were private property. A Chamberlain supporter, in 1940 he told Chamberlain it was time for him to go. His most enduring legacy is his introduction, as Chancellor, of the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) scheme for income tax.

From A Dictionary of Political Biography in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Politics.

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