HC Deb 12 July 1922 vol 156 cc1320-5

If the claimant proves that he is a widower and that a daughter over sixteen years of age gives her full time to the duties of housekeeper, he shall, subject to the other provisions of Section nineteen, Sub-section (1), of the Finance Act, 1920, be entitled to a deduction of ninety pounds in respect of that daughter.—[Mr. Holmes.]

Brought up, and read the First time.


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

The object of this Clause is to provide, that where a man is a widower and finds himself compelled to arrange for a daughter to act as housekeeper, he shall still be able to claim the same deduction for Income Tax purposes as if his wife were still living. As I said in Committee, this is not an infrequent case. A considerable amount of hardship is caused when a man finds that, on the death of his wife, he is compelled to take his daughter from work to subscribe to her maintenance at home, and, at the same time, has his Income Tax allowance reduced from £225 to £135. We discussed this at some length in Committee, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, after refusing in any way to accept the Clause, as the result, I think, of the Debate and the expressions of opinion from all parts of the Committee, agreed to re-consider the matter before the Report stage. The ease has been brought up for three years before the House, and there is no need for me to dwell upon it. I hope, after his consideration, the Chancellor of the Exchequer looks with as much favour on it as he has on a number of other cases where he himself has put down new Clauses.


I rise only to anticipate the argument which has been used against us on many occasions in the past, when we have supported this Clause. On almost all occasions the Government have replied that they were bound to give attention to the recommendations of the Royal Commission, and that, as they had introduced various changes in Income Tax allowances and abatements, they could not properly make the concession which my hon. Friend has just recommended. May I reply to that argument to-night, that I do hope on this occasion the Chancellor of the Exchequer will meet us by saying at once, that, obviously, within the limit of one year, and pressed as it was for the publication of its report, the Royal Commission could not. go into all these details of individual cases of hardship? We recommended certain broad concessions which, I am glad to acknowledge, the Government, in the main, adopted, but I think that many members of the Royal Commission feel that this was one of the hardships which we did not touch, and it is the duty of the Government, in common fairness, to put the widower in these circumstances in the position which he would occupy if his wife had been spared. It is a very great Hardship and one which is not confined to any particular section of the community. I hope the Chancellor of the Exchequer on this occasion will remember that we were pressed to publish our Report for a certain date in order that our recommendations might be incorporated in the Finance Bill of that year, and that he will give us the benefit of this very small concession.


I should always be very ready to assent, if it were in my power, to a proposal made by my hon. Friend the Member for Central Edinburgh (Mr. Graham) in regard to a matter with which he is so cognisant, and on which he always exercises so fair-minded a judgment. It is true that it is our duty to give independent consideration to matters which experience since the Royal Commission reported may have shown have been treated by them in a way not entirely in consonance with the facts as we now know them; but I would remind my hon. Friend that the Royal Commission gave special attention to this class of case, and reported specifically upon it. In paragraph 278 of their Report they say: We sec no reason for proposing an increase of the housekeeper allowance and we suggest that it should be confined to (a widower (or a widow) with children; and (b)an unmarried person who maintains a widowed mother or other female relative to look after his young brothers and sisters or adopted children. On the other hand, they did provide for the case of a widower who is infirm, or a widower with children. They provided that if a. widower is infirm an allowance of £25 should be given if he is compelled to depend upon the services of a daughter, resident with him and maintained by him. Similarly, in the case where a widower has children, an allowance is made of £45 for a daughter who acts as housekeeper and looks after the children. These are two very serious cases, and for these the Royal Commission provided, and the Government adopted the proposals which they made.

Where are you going to stop if once you start upon this road? I see no halting place. Supposing the widower has an orphan niece staying with him as housekeeper. She would be ruled out by my hon. Friend's Amendment. What is the case for a daughter whom the widower is bound to support which cannot be made also for the niece?


In most cases where a man gets his niece to keep house for him the niece has been living previously with her own father, and, therefore, has not contributed to the household of the widower.


It makes absolutely no difference so far as the widower is concerned. The expense to which he is put is the same whatever the relationship of the girl who remains with him. Once you go as far as the niece, the sister has a case. Why should not the granddaughter be equally considered in a matter of this kind 2 If you once begin upon this road there is no point at which you can stop. One could put in a plea for the bachelor who finds himself bound to have somebody look after his house. Why, in those circumstances, should he not be equally favoured with the widower? He has precisely the same difficulties to meet, so far as maintenance is concerned, upon an income which he does not enjoy in any greater measure than the widower. [HON. MEMBERS: "He should get married!"] There is the spinster. Her case is worthy of equal consideration. The result of my reflection since the Debate in Committee is that I have come to the conclusion that this is a concession which I cannot make. Even in the narrow and restricted form of my hon. Friend's Amendment it would cost £140,000. In these circumstances I cannot accept the Amendment.


The pathetic and moving claim which the Chancellor of the Exchequer made for the bachelor is one which he is peculiarly entitled to make; but there is a very easy remedy for that position, which has been suggested by all the married Members of the House, and we hope that the right hon. Gentleman will follow the scriptural precept: "Go thou and do likewise." The argument which the Chancellor of the Exchequer has addressed to the House, as to the point at which we could stop, is very familiar, but the proposal here is strictly limited to a relative so near in blood as the daughter. Let us take the other question as to the daughter being properly maintainable, in any event, by the father. That is disposed of to some extent by the limitation to the age of 16. It might very easily be raised to the age of 18. That would be a further mitigation of the loss to the revenue which, no doubt, my right hon. Friend would be glad to accept. If the man marries, he immediately gets an allowance for the wife. Why, if he chooses to remain single, and his daughter keeps house for him, a young woman of 18 years of age, should he not receive this concession? I should be quite willing to raise the age even further than 18, so as to entirely eliminate the question as to the father's moral liability to maintain his daughter. That being the case, and

seeing that the father could at once get exemption by marrying again, surely this. concession ought to be allowed in the case indicated.


In regard to the argument of the right hon. Gentleman that the niece, the sister and the granddaughter are comparable cases, I suggest that whereas the daughter who is housekeeper has been adding to the income of the widower, neither his niece nor his sister nor his granddaughter would in any circumstances have been adding to the income of that particular family. Therefore, there is a considerable difference between the case raised by this Amendment and the case which the right hon. Gentleman has suggested. That is a good reason why he should grant this concession. Because you cannot redress all grievances, that is no reason why you should not redress the more pressing ones.


What about the rating of machinery?

Question put, "That the Clause be read a Second time."

The House divided: Ayes. 92; Noes, 190.

Division No. 219.] AYES. [7.58 p.m.
Adamson, Rt. Hon. William Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool) Robinson, S. (Brecon and Radnor)
Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. Christopher Grundy, T. W. Royce, William Stapleton
Ammon, Charles George Guest, J. (York, W. R., Hemsworth) Sexton, James
Banton, George Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton) Shaw, Hon. Alex. (Kilmarnock)
Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery) Hallas, Eidred Simm, M. T.
Barnes, Major H. (Newcastle, E.) Halls, Walter Sitch, Charles H.
Barrie, Sir Charles Coupar (Banff) Hayday, Arthur Smith, Sir Malcolm (Orkney)
Barton, Sir William (Oldham) Hayward, Evan Smith, W. R. (Wellingborough)
Bell, James (Lancaster, Ormskirk) Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Widnes) Spoor, B. G.
Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith) Hirst, G. H. Sutton, John Edward
Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish- Hogge, James Myles Swan, J. E.
Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W. Inskip, Thomas Walker H. Taylor, J.
Bromfield, William Irving, Dan Thomas, Sir Robert J. (Wrexham)
Brown, James (Ayr and Bute) Jephcott, A. R. Thomson, T. (Middlesbrough, West)
Cairns, John Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)
Cape, Thomas Kennedy, Thomas Waddington. R
Carter. W. (Nottingham, Mansfield) Kenworthy, Lieut.-Commander J. M. Waterson, A. E
Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord R. (Hitchin) Kenyon. Barnet Watts-Morgan, Lieut.-Col. D.
Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R. Kiley, James Daniel Wedgwood, Colonel Josiah C.
Collins, Sir Godfrey (Greenock) Lambert, Rt. Hon. George White, Charles F. (Derby, Western)
Davies, A. (Lancaster, Ciltheroe) Lawson, John James Willey, Lieut-Colonel F. V.
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Lunn, William Williams, Aneurin (Durham, Consett)
Davison, J, E. (Smethwick) Maclean, Nell (Glasgow. Govan) Williams, Penry (Middlesbrough, E.)
Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwelity) Maclean, Rt. Hon. Sir D.(Midlothian) Wilson, James (Dudley)
Edwards, G. (Norfolk, South) Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel- Wilson. Rt. Hon. J. W. (Stourbridge)
Edwards, Hugh (Glam., Neath) Murray, Dr. D. (Inverness & Ross) Wintringham, Margaret
Foot, Isaac Myers. Thomas Wood, Major M. M. (Aberdeen, C.)
Galbraith, Samuel Newbould, Alfred Ernest Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)
Gilbert, James Daniel Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)
Gillis, William Poison, Sir Thomas A. TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton) Raffan, Peter Wilson Mr. Holmes and Mr. Wignall.
Graham, W. (Edinburgh, Central) Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)
Agg-Gardner, Sir James Tynte Atkey, A. R. Barrand, A. R.
Ainsworth, Captain Charles Bagley, Captain E. Ashton Betterton, Henry B.
Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S. Baird, Sir John Lawrence Birchall, J. Dearman
Astbury, Lieut.-Com. Frederick W. Barnston, Major Harry Bird. Sir William B. M. (Chichester)
Blair, Sir Reginald Hope, Sir H. (Stirling & Cl'ckm'nn'n, W.) Pollock, Rt. Hon. Sir Ernest Murray
Bowyer, Captain G. W. E. Hope, Lt.-Col. Sir J. A. (Midlothian; Pratt, John William
Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive Hopkins, John W. W. Purchase, H. G.
Briggs, Harold Hopkinton, A. (Lancaster, Mossley) Rae, Sir Henry N.
Broad, Thomas Tucker Horne, Sir R. S. (Glasgow, Hillhead) Ramsden, G. T.
Brown, Major D. C. Hotchkin, Captain Stafford Vere Randles, Sir John Scurrah
Brown, Brig.-Gen. Clifton (Newbury) Houtton, John Plowright Rankin, Captain James Stuart
Bruton, sir James Houston, Sir Robert Patterson Ratcliffe, Henry Butler
Buckley, Lieut.-Colonel A. Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen, Sir Ayimer Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel
Butcher, Sir John George Hurd. Percy A. Remer, J. R.
Campion, Lieut.-Colonel W. R. Hurst, Lieut.-Colonel Gerald B. Remnant, Sir James
Carr, W. Theodore Jodrell, Neville Paul Renwick, Sir George
Casey, T. W. Johnson, Sir Stanley Richardson, Sir Alex. (Gravesend)
Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S. Johnstone, Joseph Richardson, Lt.-Col. Sir P. (Chertsey)
Clay, Lieut.-Colonel H. H. Spender Jones, Sir Edgar R. (Merthyr Tydvil) Roberts, Rt. Hon. G. H. (Norwich)
Clough, Sir Robert Jones. Sir Evan (Pembroke) Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)
Cobb, Sir Cyril Kellaway, Rt. Hon. Fredk. George Robinson, Sir T. (Lancs., Stretford)
Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips King, Captain Henry Douglas Rodger, A. K.
Colvin, Brig.-General Richard Beale Lane-Fox, G. R. Roundell, Colonel R. F.
Conway, Sir W. Martin Larmor, Sir Joseph Royds, Lieut.-Colonel Edmund
Cooper, Sir Richard Ashmole Law, Alfred J. (Rochdale) Rutherford, Sir W. W. (Edge Hill)
Cope, Major William Lewis, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Univ., Wales) Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)
Cory, Sir J. H. (Cardiff, South) Lindsay, William Arthur Sanders, Colonel Sir Robert Arthur
Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities) Lister, Sir R. Ashton Scott, A. M. (Glasgow, Bridgeton)
Davidson,J. C. C. (Hemel Hempstead) Lloyd, George Butler Scott, Sir Leslie (Liverp'l, Exchange)
Davies, Sir David Sanders (Denbigh) Locker-Lampson, Com. O. (H'tingd'n) Seager, Sir William
Dawson, Sir Philip Lorden, John William Seddon, J. A.
Dockrell, Sir Maurice Lort-Williams, J. Seely, Major-General Rt. Hon. John
Du Pre, Colonel William Baring Loseby, Captain C. E. Shaw, William T. (Forfar)
Evans, Ernest Loyd, Arthur Thomas (Abingdon) Smith, Sir Allan M. (Croydon, South)
Eyres-Monsell, Com. Bolton M. Macdonald, Rt. Hon. John Murray Stanley, Major Hon. G. (Preston)
Falle, Major Sir Bertram Godfray Mackinder, Sir H. J. (Camlachie) Stanton, Charles Butt
Fell, Sir Arthur McMicking, Major Gilbert Starkey, Captain John Ralph
Flannery, Sir James Fortescue Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I. Stephenson, Lieut.-Colonel H K.
Forrest, Walter Mallalieu, Frederick William Sturrock, J. Leng
Frece, Sir Walter de Malone, Major P. B. (Tottenham, S.) Surtees, Brigadier-General H. C.
Gee, Captain Robert Marks, Sir George Croydon Sutherland, Sir William
Gibbs, Colonel George Abraham Martin, A. E. Terrell, Captain R. (Oxford, Henley)
Gilmour, Lieut.-Colonel Sir John Matthews, David Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)
Glyn. Major Ralph Middlebrook, Sir William Thomson, Sir W. Mitchell- (Maryhill)
Gray. Major Ernest (Accrington) Mitchell, Sir William Lane Thorpe, Captain John Henry
Green, Joseph F. (Leicester, W.) Molson, Major John Eisdale Tickler, Thomas George
Greene, Lt.-Col- Sir W. (Hack'y, N.) Morden, Col. W. Grant Tryon, Major George Clement
Greenwood, William (Stockport) Munro, Rt. Hon. Robert Walton, J. (York, W. R. Don Valley)
Gregory, Holman Murchison, C. K. Weston, Colonel John Wakefield
Greig, Colonel Sir James William Murray, Rt. Hon. C. D. (Edinburgh) Wheler, Col. Granville C. H.
Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. Frederick E Murray. John (Leeds, West) Williams, C. (Tavistock)
Guinness, Lieut.-Col. Hon. W. E. Neal, Arthur Willoughby, Lieut.-Col. Hon. Claud
Guthrie, Thomas Maule Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter) Windsor, Viscount
Hallwood, Augustine Nicholson, Brig.-Gen. J. (Westminster) Wise, Frederick
Hamilton, Sir George C. Nicholson, Reginald (Doncaster) Wood, Hon. Edward F. L. (Ripon)
Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry Norris, Colonel Sir Henry G. Wood, Sir H. K. (Woolwich, West)
Harmsworth, C. B. (Bedford, Luton) Norton-Griffiths, Lieut.-Col. Sir John Woolcock, William James U.
Harris, Sir Henry Percy Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William Worsfold, T. Cato
Haslam, Lewis Palmer, Brigadier-General G. L. Yeo, Sir Alfred William
Henderson, Lt.-Col. V. L. (Tradeston) Parker, James Young, Sir Frederick W. (Swindon)
Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford) Pearce, Sir William
Hilder, Lieut.-Colonel Frank Pease, Rt. Hon. Herbert Pike TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Hills. Major John Waller Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings) Colonel Leslie Wilson and Mr.
Hinds, John Perkins, Walter Frank Dudley Ward.
Hood, Sir Joseph Pickering, Colonel Emil W.