HC Deb 05 July 1917 vol 95 cc1378-80

In addition to the statutory abatements allowed to all persons, officers serving in His Majesty's naval and military forces shall be entitled to a deduction from their pay or other income, in the assessment of their liability to Income Tax, of a sum of £50 annually in respect of expenditure necessarily incurred in the purchase of uniform.— [Mr. Peto.]

Brought up, and read the first time.


I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a second time."

I think that the Chancellor of the Exchequer has been looking into the matter, and is prepared to accept this proposal.


In principle.


I am very much obliged to him for doing so. It is not merely a special concession to officers, much as they would deserve it. When we consider that when we decided to pay salaries to Members of the House a sum of £100 a year was set aside as representing the necessary expenses, and therefore free from Income Tax, and that only £50 is given by the Government to an officer to pay for his uniform in the first place, and that on active service a uniform has to be replaced at least once a year, and then, bearing in mind the immense number of non-commissioned officers who have been promoted to commissioned rank, who have no resources whatever beyond their pay, the Committee will realise that although we are very grateful to the Chancellor of the Exchequer for accepting the proposal in principle, we hope he will not do anything that will whittle down the very bare minimum which I have suggested to meet the absolute net cost out-of-pocket for uniform, which it would not be unreasonable if the Government themselves supplied annually as in the first instance. Expenses of this sort ought not to bear Income Tax when they are required to be expended in the service of the country and not for the officer's benefit at all.


I would ask the hon. Member to be good enough not to press this Clause. Under Section 3 of the Finance Act, 1913, the Treasury have power to make a regulation. The exact words are fix such sum as in their opinion represents a fair equivalent of the average annual amount laid out and expended. We are going to consult with the War Office as to what would be a reasonable amount to lay down.

AN HON. MEMBER: And the Admiralty.


Yes, certainly.


In asking leave to withdraw the Motion, may I hope that the War Office will take the same view as that which the Committee obviously takes in this matter, that the sum named in my proposed Clause is the absolute minimum?

Motion and Clause, by leave, withdrawn.


The next three new-Clauses deal with matters already disposed of. The fourth, standing in the name of the hon. Member for West Islington (Mr. Lough) [Amendment of Part III. of the Fourth Schedule to the Finance (No. 2) Act, 1915] is a matter we have dealt with in an Amendment to a Clause. The next one, in the name of the hon. Member for Devizes (Mr. Peto) [Abatement of Income Tax for Officers in the Navy and Army in Respect of Expenses Necessarily Incurred in Purchase of Uniform] is a matter that has been already settled. The next three, standing in the names of the hon. Member for York (Mr. Rowntree [Postponement of Collection of Income Taxi, the hon. Member for North Somerset (Mr. King) [Trusts for Infants], and the hon. Member for Devizes [Right of Soldiers and Sailors to Pay Reduced Rates of Income Tax in Respect of their Pay] have all been settled.