HC Deb 05 April 1938 vol 334 cc188-9
46. Colonel Nathan

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether, before the date of opening his Budget, he will publish in a White Paper or other convenient form a statement showing the burden, apart from death duties, of direct and indirect taxation, respectively, on various grades of income?

The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Sir John Simon)

The amount of indirect taxation borne by individuals depends largely on their different personal tastes. In view of the great labour involved in the calculations suggested by the hon. and gallant Member, and of the hypothetical character of the ultimate result, I do not feel justified in having the preparation of such a statement undertaken.

Colonel Nathan

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that such calculations have been made unofficially by members of various bodies; and could not the facilities given by those bodies for the instruction of the public be equally given by the Treasury?

Sir J. Simon

As the hon. and gallant Gentleman says, a number of calculations have been made by unofficial bodies, but in making such calculations a great many different hypotheses could be made, and I think the answer I have given stands, that there is no official basis.

Colonel Nathan

Is it not desirable that the public should be informed as to what the Government themselves conceive to be the burden of direct and indirect taxation respectively?

Mr. H. G. Williams

Does the assessment of people depend in any way upon the degree of prosperity which they appear to exude?

47. Colonel Nathan

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the approximate proportions that direct taxation, indirect taxation, and local rates, respectively, in respect of the revenue year 1937–38 bear to the national income for the same year?

Sir J. Simon

I regret that no official estimates of the national income are available, and that, therefore, the desired proportions cannot be given.

Colonel Nathan

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that when the late Lord Snowden was Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Labour administration, a statement was made as to the Government's assumption with regard to the national income and the proportion which taxation bore to that income; and cannot the present Chancellor of the Exchequer do, for the information of the House and of the public, what the late Lord Snowden did in 1930?

Sir J. Simon

I was not aware that such a statement had been made, but, even so, if an assumption as to the total figure has to be made, the figures for the proportions will also be on an assumed basis.

Mr. Thorne

Is it not better to take money from people after they are dead than when they are alive?

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