HC Deb 18 June 1941 vol 372 cc785-8
Mr. Graham White

I beg to move, in page 37, line 29, after "nature,") to insert: including contributions made and indemnities given under Part I of the War Damage Act, 1941, and premiums paid under policies issued under Part II of the said Act so far as the same are attributable to the buildings, plant and machinery, respectively. This will enable my right hon. Friend to remove an anomaly in the treatment of contributions under the War Damage Act and, at the same time, enable him to close our session to-day on the general note of concession and conciliation. Briefly, the anomaly to which I wish to draw his attention and which, in the minds of some people at all events, is inequitable, is that in Section 82 of the War Damage Act contributions are stated to be regarded as capital outlays in every case and are not therefore chargeable for taxation purposes. I do not propose for a moment to argue that very important consequences do flow from it from the point of view of various countries, many individuals and, may I add, of the Treasury itself. That is the way those charges are treated under the War Damage Act, but when we come to the Third Schedule of the Finance Bill, now under discussion, we find that quite a different treatment is followed. This Schedule gives an allowance for wear and tear calculated at net cost which does not include war damage contributions. That is, as I said, considered by many people to be Inadequate. Briefly, treatment ought to be the same under these two Acts, and it is for that reason and to allow the matter to be cleared up that I have moved the Amendment.

Sir K. Wood

I wish I was able to make the concession to my hon. Friend on personal grounds, as he knows. He and I had very happy associations many years ago. But I have to keep in the stern path of duty to the end, and do justice and safeguard the revenue to the end of this Bill. I regret that I cannot accept this Amendment. What it is in fact seeking to do is to override Section 84 of the War Damage Act of 1941, which we passed only a short time ago. That Section, I would remind my hon. Friend, provided that no payment or premium under Parts I or II of the Act shall be allowed as a deduction in computing profits for the purpose of Excess Profits Tax or any other taxation amendment. The Amendment he proposes would in fact increase the net cost of buildings, plant and machinery by the amount of contribution given and the indemnities given under Part I of the War Damage Act and premiums paid under policies issued under Part II so far as they are attributable to the buildings, plant and machinery respectively. It is under these circum- stances that I feel I cannot, after this matter has been so recently considered by the House, now ask the Committee to reverse the decision to which we came.

Mr. White

Having regard to the tone in which the Chancellor referred to this matter, and his explanation, and in the hope that at some later stage he will give attention to it, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Schedule agreed to.

Fourth and Fifth Schedules agreed to.

Bill reported, with Amendments; as amended, to be considered upon the next Sitting Day, and to be printed. —[Bill 36.]

The remaining Orders were read, and postponed.

It being after the hour appointed for the Adjournment of the House, Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER adjourned the House, without Question put, pursuant to the Standing Order.