HC Deb 16 June 1948 vol 452 cc427-9
41. Lieut.-Commander Gurney Braithwaite

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty whether on the demobilisation of temporary officers, the Inland Revenue authorities are immediately notified by D.N.A. of any outstanding Income Tax liabilities or what is the average period of delay.

Mr. Dugdale

Details of naval emoluments and tax deductions are now generally sent to the Inland Revenue Authorities very shortly after the officer's final date of release. When demobilisation was at its height, staff difficulties, both in the Fleet and in the Admiralty, made some delay unavoidable. The average period of delay at that time could not be given without a great deal of work, but it is thought that, apart from exceptional cases of difficulty, it was about two months.

42. Lieut. - Commander Braithwaite

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty whether he is aware that temporary officers demobilised in 1945 are now receiving Income Tax claims covering the financial years 1939–40 and 1940–41; and why the necessary deductions were not made from their pay prior to discharge.

Mr. Dugdale

Adjustment of tax after officers have left the Service is a matter for the Board of Inland Revenue, and claims are not made by the Admiralty. Before the introduction of P.A.Y.E. last year it was the normal practice, during an officer's service, for tax deductions to be made from his naval pay by the Supply Officer on a provisional basis and for adjustments to be made on receipt of Inland Revenue assessments. It is not possible to say why the necessary deductions were not made in the cases referred to by the hon. and gallant Member without knowing the names of the officers concerned and the amounts involved.

Lieut. - Commander Braithwaite

Will the Minister accept my assurance that such cases do exist, as I have seen the correspondence; and will he convey to his right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer that as it has taken the Government eight years to make the claims, these gentlemen should be allowed eight years in which to make the payments?

Mrs. Leah Manning

Will the hon. Gentleman say whether an opportunity will be given to these men if they so desire to make these back payments out of their post-war credits?

Mr. Dugdale

That is another Question.

Vice-Admiral Taylor

Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that great hardship has been caused by the delay over these Income Tax liabilities?

Mr. Dugdale

Yes, Sir. I realise that hardship may be caused in certain cases, but taxes have to be paid—[HON. MEMBERS: "Why?"]—strange though it may seem to some people. Even if there is a delay, these taxes will have to be paid whatever the difficulties may be. However, I will look into the matter and will naturally bring it to the attention of my right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, but I can give absolutely no guarantee that they will be remitted.

Mr. Wadsworth

Would the Parliamentary Secretary agree that the responsibility for this is in the period of the Caretaker Government which the hon. and gallant Member supported?

Lieut.-Commander Braithwaite

This was eight years ago. Most likely it was the last Liberal Government.

Mr. Douglas Marshall

Is the Minister aware that a great deal of responsibility, either for the delay or for the inaccuracy, must lie with the Admiralty, and will the Admiralty therefore consult with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on this matter, which is causing great hardship?

Mr. Dugdale

I am aware that the responsibility is that of the Admiralty, and in any case, as has already been quite rightly pointed out by another hon. Member, it is the Admiralty of the previous Administration.