§ 48. Sir F. Sanderson
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that parents of small means are finding themselves compelled to limit their families due to the high cost of rearing and educating children; and whether he will consider increasing the Income Tax allowance in respect to children in order to encourage larger families in that section of the community where it is most to be desired?
I cannot anticipate my Budget statement, but I may remind my hon. Friend that the allowances in respect of children were increased in both the 1935 and 1936 Budgets and are now higher than they ever have been in the history of the Income Tax.
§ Sir F. Sanderson
Is it not a fact that the Government are gravely disturbed at the continued decline in the birth rate, and does not the Chancellor of the Exchequer consider that by increasing the Income Tax allotments even considerably in respect to children in order to encourage larger families in that section of the community to which my question refers—would be the most practical contribution the Government could make, and will he undertake to give this suggestion his most serious consideration?
§ Mr. H. G. Williams
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the allowance he made in his last Budget was much more than offset by the fact that certain settlements were made illegal?
§ 49. Sir F. Sanderson
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that, while an Income Tax allowance is granted in respect of each child who is receiving full-time instruction at a school or other educational establishment, no allowance is granted in respect of the same child if he is apprenticed to a trade, even though a premium equivalent to an educational fee is charged in respect of his training in that trade; and whether he will consider extending the children's allowance to apprentices in all cases where a premium is paid?
The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. A proposal to extend the children allowance so as to cover the case of apprentices was fully debated on the 215 Committee stage of last year's Finance Bill, but was not accepted. While I sympathise with the object of the proposal, I am afraid that, for the reasons which I gave on that occasion, I could not undertake to propose an amendment of the law on the lines suggested.
§ 52. Colonel Ropner
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that there is no provision in the Income Tax Acts for relief in respect of the costs of demolition of property; and whether he will accordingly consider an alteration in the law?
The allowance of capital expenditure to which my hon. and gallant Friend refers would be contrary to the general principles underlying the scheme of the Income Tax; and in these circumstances I regret that I am unable to adopt his suggestion.