- (1) If the claimant proves that he maintains at his own expense any person, being a relative of his or of his wife who is incapacitated by old age or infirmity from maintaining himself, or his or his wife's widowed mother, and being a person whose total income from all sources does not exceed twenty-five pounds a year, he shall be entitled to a deduction of twenty-five pounds in respect of each person whom he so maintains.
- (2) Where two or more persons jointly maintain any such person as aforesaid the deduction to be made under this Section shall be apportioned between them in proportion to the amount or value of their respective contributions towards the maintenance of that person.
- (3) This Section shall apply to a claimant being a female person as it applies to a claimant being a male person with the substitution of "husband" for "wife."
§ Sir R. NEWMAN
I beg to move, in in Sub-section (1), to leave out the word "widowed" ["wife's widowed mother"].
I hope the Chancellor of the Exchequer will be able to accept this proposal. I understand that a man who has an aged mother, or his wife's mother, 1545 can obtain certain relief, but if the mother or mother-in-law happens to be a widow he cannot get this deduction. There are many cases I could mention of the same character and my proposal would not make any difference to the principle of the Budget, and it would meet cases which at present are inflicting a very great hardship.
The Royal Commission after considering this question recommended an extension in one respect, that the law should be that where a taxpayer maintains his widowed mother, the allowance should be granted, even if the mother is not aged or infirm. That is in the Royal Commission's Report and that is what I have embodied in this Clause. This proposal is one more illustration that every one of these concessions may be treated as a precedent for asking for more, but I am bound to stand in this matter where the Royal Commission drew the line.
§ Sir D. MACLEAN
May I suggest, for the purpose of clearing up what may be a point of doubt in the minds of the authorities who have to administer this Section, that words be added after the words "widowed mother" as follows: "if not incapacitated as aforesaid"? As it stands it is rather difficult to gather really what the Clause means. As it runs it reads:If the claimant proves that he maintains at his own expense any person being a relative of his or of his wife who is incapacitated by old age or by infirmity from maintaining himself, or his or his wife's widowed mother—and so on. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has explained to us he means that the man's mother or his wife's widowed mother, although not incapacitated by old age or infirmity, shall still be entitled to the benefits of the Clause. But that is by no means clear. It is not only the experts in Income Tax who will have to deal with this matter; it will have to be dealt with by people who are by no means trained in the law, and if we can, without introducing undue verbiage, assist to make the Clause a little more clear, I think we should do so.
The right hon. Gentleman is dealing, not with the Amendment now before the Committee, but with a quite different Amendment. I suggest we should dispose of the Amend- 1546 ment first. I may say that, subject to consultation with my legal advisers, I shall be prepared to accept some form of words either now or on Report, although I believe them, personally, to be wholly unnecessary.
Sir F. HALL
I am glad the right hon. Gentleman has been able to make this concession, I hope he will not think that because we have got a certain concession we are therefore necessarily going to press for more. It is all very well to say that this matter has been before the Royal Commission on Income Tax. I do not like the right hon. Gentleman to come down here and say we must take the Report of the Royal Commission and nothing more. I quite realise that a great deal of care and attention has been given to this matter by the members of the Royal Commission, but there are heaps of cases which could not possibly have been presented to that body, and if hon. Members are able to bring forward reasonable suggestions, I do think they are justified in expecting they shall receive due consideration at the hands of the right hon. Gentleman and of the Committee
§ Sir R. NEWMAN
I do not propose to divide the Committee on this Amendment, but I would like to say, with all due respect to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, that I cannot be accused of wishing to ask for more. I want the right hon. Gentleman to face a particular position, the position of the son who is maintaining a deserted mother. That position is just as difficult as that of the man who is maintaining his mother who happens to be a widow. If we may take it that the Chancellor of the Exchequer is willing to consider how that case can be met, I will withdraw my Amendment.
I object to the withdrawal. This is a very small matter, but surely the Chancellor of the Exchequer might undertake to consider the point between now and the Report stage. There cannot be very many cases of this nature, but I do suggest that the deserted wife is in practically the same position financially as the woman who is a widow. The right hon. Gentleman yesterday made a concession in regard to cigars, and surely a deserted wife is equally entitled to consideration.
§ Amendment negatived.1547
§ Sir D. MACLEAN
May I now move the insertion of the words which I suggested just now? I am not particular as to the exact form.
I am willing to accept the Amendment on the Paper—to add the words, "whether incapacitated or not".
Amendment made: In Sub-section (1), after the word "mother" ["wife's widowed mother"] insert the words "whether incapacitated or not".—[Sir D. Maclean.]
§ Colonel NEWMAN
I beg to move, in Sub-section (1), to leave out the word "twenty-five" ["twenty-five pounds a year"] and to insert instead thereof the word "thirty".
I do not know whether the Royal Commission on Income Tax laid down any dictum with regard to these figures. I do not think they did, but I want to get some reason why "twenty-five" was inserted. It seems to some of us a very insidious and unfair figure, because it just cuts out the old age pensioner. We do not want him to be cut out. It seems rather cruel that because he gets a pension of 10s. a week, which brings him £1 over the £25, this particular relief should be withheld.
I do not know whether I am rash, but I am inclined to accept the Amendment standing in the name of the right hon. Gentleman for Platting (Mr. Clynes), which proposes to substitute "fifty" for "twenty-five".
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Colonel NEWMAN
In the absence of the right hon. Member for Platting, I beg to move, in Sub-section (1), to leave out the word "twenty-five" ["twenty-five pounds a year"] and to insert instead thereof the word "fifty".
I should like to thank the Chancellor of the Exchequer for this concession. It is a very important one, and it will be received with gratitude by a large number of people.
§ Mr. WATERSON
As my name is down as one of the supporters of this Amendment, I also would like to thank the right 1548 hon. Gentleman for what he has done in, this direction, and also the hon. and gallant Member for Finchley (Colonel Newman) for his support.
§ Amendment agreed to.
I beg to move, in Subsection (1), to leave out the word "twenty-five" ["deduction of twenty-five pounds"] and to insert instead thereof the word "fifty".
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
Ought not the Amendment to be moved by the right hon. Member for Miles Platting in whose name it is down, or by one of the other hon. Members whose name is attached to it?
I do not know whether it is being assumed that this is a correlative Amendment to the one we have just passed, but I should like to inform the Committee that it constitutes an entirely different proposition.
§ Mr. WATERSON
I beg to support the Amendment. I believe it is absolutely essential that these words should be put in, seeing that we have altered the figure in the preceding line of the Sub-section. We look upon it merely as a case of grammatical phrasing.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
It seems to be of Vital importance that the allowance made in these cases should be a substantial allowance, and that is why we ask that it should be raised from "twenty-five" to "fifty." It is true it is something different from what the Chancellor of the Exchequer has already agreed to, but I hope he will admit that this is a natural corollary of his concession. We want to make that concession very real.
The concession I made on the previous Amendment was gratefully accepted by hon. Members, who cordially recognised my readiness to make it, but that is no reason why I should be expected to support an absolutely different proposition. I am 1549 not sure that the hon. and gallant Member (Colonel Wedgwood) has taken the trouble to find out either what the first Amendment was or what the present one is. He says it is a natural corollary, but I can assure the Committee it is not. The argument he has put forward is not an encouragement to make further concessions. The Amendment, certainly, could not be supported by the line of argument which would have been advanced in support of the last Amendment had I put hon. Members to the trouble of arguing it.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ Sir H. NIELD
I beg to move, at the end of Sub-section (1) to insert the wordsAnd the like reduction shall be made in the case of a claimant who by reason of old age or infirmity is compelled to depend upon the services of a daughter resident with and maintained by him or her.8.0 P. M.
The Royal Commission are not omniscient, and, therefore, I think I can safely state that such a case as this was not considered by them. We are dealing now with people who have to eke out an existence in these days of high prices, which make life intolerable to them. The object of this Amendment is that, in the case of an old man or an old woman, so old that they cannot look after themselves, and are bound to bring in a female relative—I have limited it to a daughter—to look after them, they shall be given an allowance on their meagre income, reduced as it is by direct and indirect taxation. It is only the smaller allowance of the Income Tax on £25 that will operate here. It will not go far towards maintaining an able-bodied person, but it makes a great difference to poor people.
Again I say that am not sure whether I am wise, but, if the Committee are pleased to accept this Amendment, I shall not oppose it.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Clause, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.