HC Deb 26 May 1921 vol 142 cc308-10
40. Major KELLEY

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer when the House of Commons will have an opportunity to decide if free railway passes shall be granted to Members?


I would refer my hon. and gallant Friend to the answers given by the Leader of the House on Tuesday last in reply to questions addressed to him on this subject by the hon. and gallant Member for Wood Green and the Noble Lord the Member for Hitchin.


On a point of Order. May I ask whether it is contrary to the privileges of this House for a Member of this House, under the protection of his wife's name, to write to the Press characterising as barefaced robbery the action of Members of this House who, on the invitation of the Government, accepted travelling passes?


I have not seen the letter to which the hon. Member refers, and therefore I cannot express any opinion upon it.

43. Sir J. BUTCHER

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will revert to the ancient practice of limiting the payment of Members of Parliament to the period during which they are attending to their Parliamentary duties in London; and whether he will take steps to ensure that only such part of the salary now received by Members of Parliament is paid to them as is proportionate to the number of days on which they attend the House of Commons?


I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House to the hon. and gallant Member for Finchley on the 13th of this month.

Colonel NEWMAN

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that that answer was no answer at all?


What was the answer, because it is a matter of some interest?

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that there are scores of Members of this House who never come near it for months at a time? Is not the situation in this Parliament quite different from that in previous Parliaments; and will he consider the matter from that point of view?


On a point of Order. What is the answer, as nobody knows what it is?

Mr. ALFRED DAVIES (Clitheroe)

Is there anything to prevent those Members returning either part or the whole of their salaries if they do not desire to take it?


We are stinking with money.


The answer referred to will appear upon the record.

44. Captain MARTIN

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, having regard to the fact that the cost of railway season tickets as an essential incident to earning a livelihood presses heavily upon the less wealthy classes and restricts the usefulness of housing developments at a distance from business centres, he will consider the possibility of allowing such cost to count for abatement of Income Tax assessments?


My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer is unable to accept my hon. and gallant Friend's premiss and he cannot see his way to propose an alteration of the Income Tax law in the direction which he desires. In this connection I would refer him to paragraph 236 (c) of the Report of the Royal Commission on the Income Tax, of which I am sending him a copy.


Will the Department not take into consideration the very heavy cost added to the travelling expenses of men engaged in the City of London, and of the professional classes, who suffer extremely from this form of incidence, so that the hardship may be alleviated?


The facts are as my hon. Friend states, but if he will refer to the recommendations of the Income Tax Commission he will see that this matter was decided by them on a question of general principle and that the actual degree of the expense is not relevant.

Captain MARTIN

Am I to understand that the hon. Gentleman thinks it less just to give freedom from Income Tax in respect of travelling expenses than to allow travelling expenses to Members of this House?


That is a matter of debate.