HC Deb 02 May 1944 vol 399 cc1223-38

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution."

Dr. Russell Thomas (Southampton)

I want to put forward a plea on behalf of the small rentier class and other people of very limited incomes, people with about £200 a year. Under former Finance Acts these people used to get an allowance on unearned income of £100 a year on Income Tax assessments but that has since been reduced to £8o a year, and has remained at that figure for some time now. Those for whom I am appealing are a fairly varied class. First of all, there is the person who has worked hard all his life and who has been thrifty and of value to his country; he has asked no charity from anyone and he has saved for his old age and that of his wife. Perhaps he has put some of his money into property which has been destroyed in the blitz, but there may be a small mortgage on it which still has to be paid. Such people are the salt of the earth. Another class are those who have been engaged in affairs and business throughout the Empire and in that way have been of great benefit to their fellow countrymen. Very often these people by the nature of their lives were not able to save a great deal of money, but towards the end of their days they may have just enough to give them about £200 a year or a little more. There are many, like scientific workers, who have devoted their lives to their work and have done great service without thinking too much of their income, but nevertheless, have managed possibly to save just a little. These are the classes of people who are affected by what I am proposing. I have made appeals on their behalf before. I made one during the proceedings on the Finance Act, 1942, and during the Budget proposals of 1943, and I am doing it again to-day, because the reply I got from the Financial Secretary to the Treasury last year was that these people benefited by the action the Government had taken in regard to the stabilisation of prices and therefore nothing further could be done. The Financial Secretary stated that in the House and—I think I may repeat this—he confirmed it to me privately afterwards.

That was the reason given to me then by the Financial Secretary, but I think the Chancellor has made it clear to us, in submitting his present Budget, that prices are going to rise and that we can no longer depend on them being stabilised at 30 points above the pre-war level and that possibly during this year they will rise to 35 points. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Edinburgh (Mr. Pethick-Lawrence), who is always so fair and just in these matters, has already spoken of this, and I admit that the Chancellor was very reasonable in his reply and said that he hoped to be able to put the brake on, so that prices do not rise too rapidly. However, many hon. Members opposite are getting alarmed, and there has already been objections from trade unions although I fail to see with rising wages how this could be avoided. The people for whom I am pleading will now suffer both ways. They have had their allowance in respect of Income Tax dropped from £100 to £80, which is a serious matter when their income is only £200 a year and they are now to feel the effect of rising prices. I would repeat, if I may, that the stabilisation of prices was the only reason given by the Financial Secretary for not taking action, and I would point out that that reason no longer exists.

These people have been in this position now for three or four years, and many of them are getting to the end of their tether, and I feel that if prices do rise they will have to seek financial assistance from the State, and I suggest that the assistance which the State will have to give them will to some extent offset what the State is gaining by taxing them. I am rather surprised that this House has not made more appeals in support of the case I am now presenting. Many hon. Members have put forward the case of certain pensioners, and they have had their position improved in several ways—indeed I have supported and agreed with it—but nothing has been done for the people for whom I am pleading, who are the salt of the earth. Their background and their breeding prevent them from pleading their case, they bite their lips, but we ought not to take advantage of their reticence.

I would like to give an example of the type of person I mean. I put forward this case very dubiously, because I fear that I may get some private castigation for mentioning it. Perhaps the House will think me mawkish or sentimental, but I am not either but merely sympathetic. I am aware of an old lady, getting on in years and living in a small cottage, who is infirm and whose neighbour, in a similar financial condition to herself, though not so infirm, comes in to help her to do her housework, fetch, carry, chop her wood and so on. That old lady—and this is perhaps where I shall be liable to the castigation of my friends, but I shall risk it to bring my point home—is the grand-daughter of a former Prime Minister of England. That is the type of person for whom I am pleading. I am sure that the Chancellor, now that he is no longer able to put forward the stabilisation of prices as a justification, will examine this plea carefully, and I trust that he will belie the words written by John Ruskin many years ago on a matter not unlike this, when he said: England of the iron heart, you have much to answer for.

Mr. Tinker (Leigh)

I wish to bring forward a point to which the attention of the Chancellor of the Exchequer ought to be directed. While on a journey I bought a Sunday newspaper and read in it a statement that thousands of people were dodging the Pay-as-you-earn tax. The Chancellor of the Exchequer in his speech gave great credit to all concerned in bringing that system into operation and when one sees a statement such as I have mentioned one wonders what is happening. In the "Sunday Dispatch" of 3oth April the following statement is made under the heading "Thousands are dodging pay as you earn": Thousands of private employers have not yet begun to deduct P.A.Y.E. income tax from their employees. These are not heads of firms, but people who employ private secretaries, part-time clerical workers, gardeners, cooks and domestic helps. They are bound under law to provide the Inspector of Taxes with a full list of the names, addresses, and salaries of those they employ. But at present no action has been taken against those who have neglected to comply with the order. An Income Tax official told me yesterday: Hundreds of these people do not realise their obligation. We therefore ask everyone who is an employer to come forward now. If they apply at once to their local Inspector of Taxes no difficulty will arise, but we advise them that it will be extremely unwise to leave notification until later.' Scores of employers of part-time gardeners, cooks, etc., do not realise that P.A.Y.E. cards have to be obtained for these. In the case of domestic servants and others the employer has to collect and remit the tax to the collector monthly.' If that statement is true it will have a bad effect upon those who are willingly paying what they are called upon to pay, and I ask the Chancellor to look into this point and see if there is anything in these allegations. If it is not true some correc- tion ought to go out, and if it is true then close attention ought to be given to this matter, so that we may be assured that everyone who is liable to pay does pay.

Another point I want to raise concerns the Chancellor's statement indicating that the cost of living would rise. I hope that before the Chancellor does anything to change the present level at which prices have been stabilised he will give full information to the House on what it is that he proposes. It will be very unwise at the present stage to raise prices in any way without full information being given. Throughout the country people have regarded the Budget statement as a good one, but there is a feeling of bitterness over the announcement that prices may have to be allowed to rise. I know that when he made his speech the Chancellor was feeling his way and giving a warning against wages being raised too much, but I hope that after that warning and the reception it met with from Members of the House he will not attempt anything until full information has been given to the House.

Sir Robert Tasker (Holborn)

In reference to the first point which was raised by the hon. Member for Leigh (Mr. Tinker) I would like to suggest that one way of dealing with it is the way adopted by me. I at once wrote to His Majesty's Inspector of Taxes to know what procedure should be adopted. But my object in rising was to support my hon. Friend the Member for Southampton (Dr. R. Thomas) and to call attention to the parlous condition of people whose incomes are small. There seems to be no uniformity about the manner in which taxation is demanded and collected on some of these incomes of about £200 a year. If the £200 is derived from investments and annuities tax at l0s. is deducted at source, then the incomes from the various investments and annuities are added together. If they exceed £8o a year, 6s. 6d. is charged on the excess of go wrongly I think, and if the amount exceeds £165 a year the balance is taxed at l0s. in the £ Surely, that cannot be right. Further on properly it works out like this, the charge which the Budget says should be at l0s. in the £ actually works out at 11s. 8d. in the £. In another case, it will work out partly at 11s. 8d. and partly at 13s. 3d., and, in another case, you will find that the first £80 is tax free, the next £165 is charged at 6s. 6d., and above £165 at 15s. I am sorry. The 6s. 6d. should be halved—13s. 3d. Thus you get three different taxes on one small income. In point of fact, you can get four different rates—los., 11s. 8d., 13s. 3d., and 15s. [HON.MEMBERS: "NO, no."] I am perfectly willing to send a case to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, but it would be too late once this Resolution has been passed, for a whole year will have gone. What I am really appealing for is the reinstatement of the £100 a year free of tax and the raising of the amount before charging 6s. 6d. in the £.

Let me compare the case quoted by my hon. Friend the Member for Southampton with the case of the people who are getting public assistance. In the case of the person getting £200 a year, it is admitted that that is subject to Income Tax, but the person who is receiving more than £4 a week from the public assistance contributes nothing at all. Of the two cases, surely, if sympathetic consideration is to be given, it should be given to the person who has never been a charge on public funds, who has worked all his life and, perhaps, accumulated a little capital and enjoys an income of roughly £4 a week. Compare that person with the individual who, perhaps through no fault of his own or perhaps because of his improvidence, or whatever the case may be, is receiving public assistance, and I think it will be agreed that greater sympathy should be extended to the person who has never been a public charge. I ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer to consider whether, having regard to the cost of living and other circumstances, some relief ought not to be given, and also to consider going back to, the figure of £100 a year free of tax.

Major Woolley (Spen Valley)

I should like to support my hon. Friend the Member for Southampton (Dr. Thomas) in his plea. I can quite imagine that my right hon. Friend the Financial Secretary might very properly say that the Chancellor has no intention of allowing the cost of living to get out of hand. That may well be his reply to my hon. Friend. But may I suggest that all these little extras that are falling on the back of the comparatively small taxpayer do, when added together, make a consider- able burden? Let us not forget that, in addition to the comparatively small rise in the official cost of living, there is another rise in the cost of living which is outside the official figures of the Ministry of Labour and which makes a very considerable demand upon the purse of the person of comparatively small means.

May I mention one other type of person? The person I have in mind is the widow who only gets an allowance of £80, the same as the spinster who may have no domestic responsibilities. During the past week I have had several representations made to me on behalf of the widow who has household responsibilities and who is not granted any differentiation by comparison with the spinster who has no children or other domestic responsibilities. I feel that such are very hard cases. I sympathise with the Chancellor of the Exchequer in that he has to draw a line of demarcation somewhere, but I think that if we bring these cases to his notice perhaps, like little drops of water, they may make some impression. I heartily support the case which has been put forward by my hon. Friend.

Mr. Evelyn Walkden (Doncaster)

The hon. Member for Southampton (Dr. Thomas) has indeed done well to raise this point in the way he has done, and I welcome it, but for an entirely different reason from any given up to the present. I have no friends who are either daughters, grand-daughters or relatives of ex-Prime Ministers, but I am very conversant with many thousands of working-class girls who, at the moment, are being referred to so frequently, both in this House and in the Press, as earning £4, £5, £6 or £7 a week, and who are often maligned or rebuked, as it were, by some of those journalists who do not understand what is happening in industrial areas. They call them "good-time girls." I wish to say to the Chancellor of the Exchequer that the experience of some of us in working-class districts in recent months, and the knowledge we are gaining, cause us to review some of the figures published in recent weeks, of the earnings of many of these girls, the allowances that he makes to them for Income Tax purposes, and the actual small amount of money they have left at the end of the week. I refer, in particular, to those girls who are directed into employment away from their own homes.

May I put the position as I see it? It is fairly true to say that for something like three years good wages were being earned in the factories. There was plenty of overtime, and probably large sums of money were paid in Royal Ordnance factories on the piece-work basis. Consequently, the wage packet was fairly well sized and, I should say, the employees were able to do quite a lot with the money they received. But many of the former kinds of production have closed down. Many thousands of girls are being directed from their own towns and their own homesteads into neighbouring towns or, it may be, 20, 3o, 5o or even 100 miles away from home. For a time after they have been directed to employment away from home, they receive a little consideration from the Minister of Labour for billeting purposes, but when they settle down—or "settle in" as the Ministry describes it, I believe—they find that they have no allowances whatever. Instead of living in their own homes they are billeted with someone else at, probably, 3os. or 35s. a week. Consequently, instead of having £3 or £4 a week with which to have a good time, they have only 3s. or 4s., or, sometimes, only a few coppers left at the end of the week. Under the Pay-as-you-earn scheme, they are very conscious of this. I notice the Chancellor of the Exchequer smiling, but let me bring to his notice the hard facts which I know so well.

Girls working in small munition factories in my division have been earning fairly good money, but they have been working very hard and working overtime whenever that was demanded. Now they are being diverted from home and directed to laundry work. I sent three cases recently to the Ministry of Labour. They do not mind being directed into laundries; in fact, they rather welcome the opportunity to serve, in whatever capacity the Ministry demands of them. But they find that when they go into laundries some 20 or 3o miles away they are working at trade board rates. Let the House understand that trade board rates are not what can be called magnificent. Trade board rates represent the two-foot rule to measure wages below which no sweater can go. It is not a trade union rate; it is a legal. minimum. Many of these girls from my division are being paid according to that legal minimum. They are receiving round about 5os., 52s., or 53S. a week. I put it to any Member here to-day, "Can your daughters, if sent away from home, exist on 53s. a week to-day after paying the just demands of the Chancellor of the Exchequer? Could they have a good time on 53s. a week to-day?" That is the challenge.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer says that we cannot treat these girls any differently. I would like the Chancellor to realise that they are feeling this position very strongly. Girls sent from my division into Luton, in Bedfordshire, have told me their weekly Budget. After working for 47 or 48 hours, and paying for board and lodging and their normal expenses, they have less than 2s. 6d. a week to spend after Pay-as-you-earn deductions. That is very serious. The position has to be re-examined. We are given figures and statistics and we believe that in the war factories—the soldiers in the Army think the same—everybody is earning good money. It is not true. Owing to the changes in industry and the different directions received by these young girls, which they comply with uncomplainingly, they find that they cannot live on the wages being offered, although they do their best. The Chancellor of the Exchequer must be aware that he has in no way made allowance for these girls who are transferred from their homesteads to be billeted with somebody else perhaps so miles away.

I am pleading that the Chancellor of the Exchequer should make a review of the whole incidence of direction, in relation to the war factories, especially where wages are low. He can, if he likes, review the trade board rates. If he does, he will find that in recent months the Minister of Labour has directed in Lancashire and Yorkshire anything up to 150,000 girls. These girls are by no means able to eke out a normal existence, because of the low rates of pay, no matter how many hours of work they try to put in. Therefore, whilst I support the plea of the hon. Member for Southampton, I appeal in the name of these girls for more considerate treatment. One of the great fallacies of to-day is the idea, generally accepted both in the Press in this House, that everybody in industry is earning big money, the girls in particular. The hon. Lady the Member for the Sutton Division of Plymouth (Viscountess Astor) has said on more than one occasion that these girls spend their time drinking and have far too much money. Quite frankly I say to the Chancellor of the Exchequer that, in the main, our girls are now being punished very severely as a result of the depletion in their wage packets, and the Pay-as-you-earn system is bringing it home to them. I would like the Chancellor to review these allowances as generously as he can.

Sir Waldron Smithers (Chislehurst)

I want to address the House for only a very few minutes to support the plea made by the hon. Member for Southampton (Dr. Thomas) on behalf of the people with small fixed incomes and old age pensions. If the danger of inflation is not realised, the difficulties will spread from the small income people and the old age pensioners to the whole country—to all the citizens, to all the taxpayers. May I give the House, quite shortly, a few figures. Since the war, the currency note issue has more than doubled. Bank deposits have increased by 75 per cent. There are £1,300,000,000 in Treasury deposit receipts, and the £600,000,000 of notes, All that means so much forced borrowing and is purely inflationary.

Mr. Speaker

I must remind the hon. Member that we are discussing Income Tax.

Sir W. Smithers

With great respect, Mr. Speaker, I was trying to show the reason why these small people are put in this position. All this means that although the cost of living is held, down by a stabilisation fund of £200,000,000, it does come very hard on the Income Tax liabilities of the small people referred to by the hon. Member below the Gangway. What this inflationary process does is to force any surplus money there may be into the uncontrolled markets, and the prices in the uncontrolled markets have gone up some four or five times. That creates an impossible situation for these small people. That is why we are pleading for some relief in Income Tax to enable them to buy things that are really necesary, although they may happen to be uncontrolled. I ask the Chancellor to consider again this case both of these small people with fixed incomes and of the old age pensioners. In one word I would say that there is a splendid article on this matter in to-day's "Daily Sketch" by Candidus which I would recommend to the attention of all hon. Members.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Sir John Anderson)

Several hon. Members have referred to the difficulty of people with small incomes. My hon. Friend the Member for Southampton (Dr. Thomas) referred in particular to people with small fixed incomes derived from investments. He reminded the House of an answer given last year by the Financial Secretary which relied on the fact that the cost of living was being stabilised. I will refer to that point before I sit down. Other hon. Members have spoken of the hardship which present rates of Income Tax involve in the case of another class of taxpayer, the wage-earner. I am afraid this is a matter on which we can all make common cause. Undoubtedly, the present high rates of Income Tax hit heavily at people of all classes, and one must have particularly in mind the position of people in the lower ranges of income. That is a matter, I suggest, that can only be dealt with in practice on very broad lines, as indeed the Income Tax code seeks, to deal with it. The Income Tax code looks at income and draws a distinction between earned and unearned income. There are then various allowances, the wife's allowance, the housekeeper's allowance, children's allowance, other dependants' allowances, and so on. Then there is a portion of income which is free from tax. Then there is a further slab of income higher up, which is subject to tax at a modified rate, and then you come to tax at the full rate. Higher in the scale you have ascending levels of what used to be called Super-tax.

I think it would be extremely difficult to devise a system on the whole more equitable, granted the necessity for raising revenue, and the fact that the revenue from Income Tax can only be raised to the extent to which it must be raised under present conditions, by making a very wide sweep and going down to a fairly low level. Unfortunately, all experience shows that it is quite impossible, in the levying and collection of Income Tax, to take account of all sorts of variations in the economic condition of the individual taxpayer, which one would wish to take into account if it were possible, because they result in the tax falling with varying severity on various individuals. Experience shows that an attempt to do anything of that kind involves the taxing authority in such complications that the whole thing would undoubtedly break down.

The hon. Member for Holborn (Sir R. Tasker) drew a distinction between the position of an Income Tax payer on a low rate of income, and a person receiving assistance from the public assistance authority or from the Assistance Board. I assure the House that when proposals are made to me, as they constantly are, for increased grants in this direction or in that, I always try to keep in my mind that very contrast between the recipient of benefits from the State, and the position of those who have to provide the wherewithal. I think it is a balance which one must constantly keep in view. I have said before in this House that we should not long succeed in maintaining a system if we did in fact reach such a position which appeared to be collecting taxation in order to provide benefits for people who are already better off than those who are paying the taxes. But of course the Assistance Board only makes its grants on the basis of need after a careful investigation and after taking everything into account. That, I think the House agrees, is the only way in practice that that can be done.

My hon. Friend the Member for Leigh (Mr. Tinker) raised two points, and the first I will deal with is the point which was also raised by the hon. Member for Southampton, about the level of the cost of living. I was not quite sure, listening to the hon. Member for Leigh, whether I had succeeded, if he was present when I wound up the Debate last Thursday, in making quite clear to his mind what exactly is my position in this matter. I am anxious, I am desperately anxious, to maintain the price stabilisation policy, and nothing I have said I intend to do is designed to depart in any way from that policy, nor will any increase in the cost of living that may come about be due to anything done by me. What happens is this: There are changes which result in some class of goods or services going up in price. I have nothing to do with that. I have no hand in that at all. If these goods and services come within the range of the cost-of-living index the automatic effect is to put up the cost-of-living index.

It has been the policy of the Government, and it is still the policy of the Government, when that sort of thing happens, whatever the cause may be, whether increased wages, or the increased cost of goods coming in from abroad, the prices of which we do not control, to look at the whole set-up of the cost-of-living index. We have, from time to time, selected, quite arbitrarily, certain components in the cost-of-living index, and have deliberately and rather artificially lowered, by means of subsidies, the cost of these components in order to offset increases that have taken place in other directions. What I seek to impress on this House is the fact that that is a process that cannot go on indefinitely. It is because it cannot go on indefinitely, that I am anxious to make clear to all those who might be able to influence the factors that lead to an increase in the cost of certain components, to take thought and see what in fact is the inevitable result of what they are doing, because to go on cutting the connection between increased costs and increased prices indefinitely is bound to lead us sooner or later into serious trouble. We are going to keep the thing very carefully under control, I certainly assure my hon. Friend, who, I think, will now see that it is not a question of my doing something which results in an increase, but that I may find myself unable to do something which will prevent an increase.

That is the warning I want to convey. If there was any question of this matter getting out of hand, I would be the first to wish to take hon. Members into my confidence, and seek the support of their influence in checking tendencies which, in the end, might be so disastrous to us all. I hope I have succeeded in making clear just where I stand in this matter. I thought it was necessary, I still think it was necessary, that a warning should be conveyed in the only way it can be conveyed, of what might happen if people did not exercise prudence and restraint, as they have done in the past; I do recognise that. But there is a danger, as I pointed out in my Budget speech, that if a thing goes on indefinitely, with no apparent change, people come to take it for granted. They suppose it can go on for ever. I should be neglecting my duty if I did not bring this home. It is my duty to see that the working of this whole mechanism on which we rely to keep the cost of living down, to keep it stable, should be made clear, not only in this House but in the country.

Sir W. Smithers

Would the Chancellor point out, in view of what he has said, that to continue to demand increases in wages in present circumstances does no good to anybody?

Mr. Gallacher (Fife, West)

Will the Chancellor not recognise that the feeling on this side of the House is that in dealing with this question he concentrates on wages, whereas the big factor in costs is the enormous profits being made by many big concerns?

Mr. Speaker

I must remind the House that we are discussing Income Tax.

Sir J. Anderson

I did not concentrate unduly on wages. My purpose was to call attention to factors which might be controllable. There are other factors which are uncontrollable. As regards profits, Mr. Speaker would pull me up if I went further into that matter.

I pass to the second point which was made by the hon. Member for Leigh about the working of the Pay-as-you-earn system. He read something, which I also saw in the newspapers, suggesting that there was extensive evasion. I want to make this perfectly clear: I have no doubt at all that the introduction of Pay-as-you-earn will have the effect of reducing the existing evasion of tax liabilities to very small dimensions. It is probably the case that as regards a quite limited class of taxpayers and their employers, the new system of Pay-as-you-earn has not yet got quite fully into its stride. I am very glad indeed that attention should be called, as it was called by my hon. Friend opposite, to any classes of case in which the necessary formalities may not perhaps be as strictly observed at the moment as they should be. The Inland Revenue authorities have no doubt whatever that that is only a passing phase, and that the result of the introduction of Pay-as-you-earn, which was so warmly welcomed in the House, will be a great improvement in the efficiency of collection, just as it will be a very great im- provement in the adjustment of the burden of the tax progressively, week by week, to the means of the taxpayer. It is true that when people with weekly earnings have fluctuating rates, the amounts taken off them by deduction show sharp variations, but that is inherent in a scheme of Pay-as-you-earn, and it is that particular feature which caused justifiable and frequent complaint in regard to the working of the earlier system, by which taxation on a considerable payment often came to be made after an interval of months by way of deduction from sums which were smaller. I hope that I have succeeded in carrying hon. Members with me in justification of this Resolution, which is the one on which we depend, under our constitutional system, for the extension into the current year of those provisions of the Income Tax law on which we have relied on the year just passed.

Colonel Sir A. Lambert Ward (Kingston-upon-Hull, North West)

I would ask my right hon. Friend either to confirm or to deny the statement, which was made by several hon. Gentlemen to-day, that all income in excess of £8o a year is liable to Income Tax. My impression always was that, although there was an abatement of £80 a year, any income up to £100 a year was entirely free from tax.

Sir J. Anderson

I am obliged to my hon. and gallant Friend. Perhaps I ought to have made some comment on that part of the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Holborn (Sir R. Tasker) in which he dealt with the incidence of taxation on small incomes of various amounts, and seemed to get rather involved in his calculations. There is a substantial part of income which is free from tax altogether, and up to a further limit the rate of taxation is lower than the standard rate. After that point, taxation begins, for the first time, to be collected at the standard rate. Where the tax is collected at the source at the full standard rate, as it must be, an adjustment is made by way of repayment. To ease the position of people whose income is, wholly or to a high degree, subject to deduction at the source, the authorities have made arrangements whereby claims for repayment can be made at short intervals; and they can be dealt with all the more expeditiously if they are recurrent claims, put forward at periodic intervals, on the same kind of evidence.

Sir R. Tasker

Was I wrong in saying that the first £8o was free of tax and that the next £165 was taxed at 6s. 6d. in the £?

Dr. Russell Thomas

I agree with what my right hon. Friend said about stabilisation and wages, but I believe he implied that it was difficult for the Inland Revenue Department to administer changes of any kind. But would he not consider, in the case of unearned incomes up to £200 a year, putting back the free allowance from £80 to £100?Would this offer much difficulty?

Sir J. Anderson

The free allowance is £110 [Interruption.] The allowance is £8o, but up to £110 there is no tax. My hon. Friend the Member for Holborn is quite wrong, I am sure, in the calculation which he made, but I confess that I had some difficulty in following exactly what his calculation was. It certainly is not the case that the tax which is levied goes up beyond l0s., as he suggests.

Major Woolley

Is there any hope that the right hon. Gentleman will give some consideration to the widow, by comparison with other persons who may have no domestic responsibilities?

Sir J. Anderson

I am very willing to consider any point of this kind. I tried to make it clear that the structure of the Income Tax has been the subject of very close and continuous investigation over a long period of years. There is very great practical difficulty, and there are objections in principle to adjusting the structure of a tax so as to take into account small changes in circumstances affecting individuals. I will certainly have a look at the matter.

Question, "That this House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution," put, and agreed to.

Fifth Resolution agreed to.