HC Deb 28 June 1928 vol 219 cc697-9
49. Lieut.-Colonel JAMES

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury what allowance, if any, was made to Mr. Martin Hale on the legal expenses incurred by him in the prosecution of his claim for an award before the Royal Commission; whether Mr. Hale has made any declaration to the Treasury as to the amount of legal expenses thus incurred by him, and if the figure may be given to the House; and whether he will state the sum awarded to Mr. Hale by the Commission and the figures deducted or claimed on account of Income Tax and Super-tax, respectively?


No allowance of Income Tax has been, or could be, made in respect of the legal expenses to which my hon. and gallant Friend refers. The awards made to Mr. Hale by the Royal Commission amount to £22,000, and a sum of £4,400 has been deducted therefrom on account of Income Tax. Super-tax is charged, not on specific items of income, but by reference to the total income of the individual. Information on this point cannot, of course, be disclosed by the taxing authority. As regards the second part of the question, Mr. Hale has stated in a letter to the Press that he incurred costs on litigation, etc., amounting to £10,413 in establishing the validity of his patents in the Law Courts.


Is my hon. Friend aware that Income Tax is taken off all the awards made by the Royal Commission automatically, and will he favourably consider a new Clause in the Finance Bill in order to get over that difficulty?


The law is as I have stated, and we have to obey it. We are advised that the law does not allow expenses of this nature to be deducted for Income Tax purposes at all.


Will my hon. Friend say on what grounds that advice is given?


On the grounds of the law of the land.

Lieut.-Colonel JAMES

Can my hon. Friend say whether the Department or this House interprets the law?


We have to turn for advice to our legal advisers, and they have advised us that the law is as I have stated.


Is it not a fact that this gentleman, who has rendered great services to the country, is losing rather than getting any reward for all these services?


That may be so; I cannot say. But we have to obey the law.


Can my hon. Friend say what is the cost under this head?


I cannot give that information without notice.