§ 56. Mr. SUMMERSBY
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, with a view to discouraging the extension of the activities of chain stores and co-operative societies, he will look into the possibility of imposing some special tax upon such businesses graduated according to the number of premises occupied by them?
I doubt whether multiplicity of branches affords any ground for the special taxation of business.
§ Mr. SUMMERSBY
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that such taxation is working with great advantage in another very large and important country?
§ 62. Mr. SUMMERSBY
asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury the approximate amount contributed in taxation during the past financial year by co-operative societies and by private firms and individuals engaged in the wholesale and retail business; and whether a co-operative society pays on the same scale of profits tax as a private trader?
§ The FINANCIAL SECRETARY to the TREASURY (Mr. Hore-Belisha)
Co-operative societies no longer enjoy any privileged position in relation to the Income Tax. The Finance Act of 1933 has placed the societies in precisely the same position as any ordinary trading company, and the societies bear exactly the same Income Tax on the profits arising from their trading operations as would be borne by any company carrying on the same trade. As regards the tax paid by the societies before the alteration in the law made in 1933, I would refer my hon. Friend to paragraph 38 of the Minutes of Evidence of the Committee of Enquiry into the position of the co-operative societies in relation to the Income Tax (Command Paper No. 4260). The statistics collected in relation to the Income Tax do not distinguish the Income Tax payable by private firms and individuals engaged in wholesale and retail business.
§ Mr. SUMMERSBY
Does the hon. Member appreciate that there is very strong feeling among the traders of the country that they are paying a higher rate of taxation on their net profits than the co-operative societies, and that if the co-operative societies paid at the same 542 rate as the private traders the Chancellor of the Exchequer would be able to restore the cuts?