§ Captain Crookshank
I beg to move, in page 12, line 29, at the end, to insert:(3) Subsection (1) of section fifteen of the Finance Act, 1925 (which, as amended by subsequent enactments, provides for a deduction of tax on an amount equal to one-fifth of the amount of earned income but not exceeding four hundred pounds) and subsection (2) of the said section fifteen (which, as amended by subsequent enactments, provides, in a case where an individual or his wife has attained the age of sixty-five years and his total income does not exceed five hundred pounds, for a deduction of tax on an amount equal to one-fifth of his income) shall have effect as if—Anyone who has been listening to the Debate on the last two Clauses will have realised that we on this side of the Committee are very worried at the high rate of direct taxation which we are now called upon to bear. While I have no intention of going back over the ground which has already been covered, I must point out that out of every £ of national income the basic horrible figure of 8s. 9d. is taken in tax and rates. The question we are bringing before the Committee is whether anything can be done this year further to alleviate the burden. The right hon. and learned Gentleman has, of course, done something in this Clause, but we are not satisfied that that is all that might be done. As has been pointed out by various hon. Members, there are tremendous disadvantages which come from the very high level of direct taxation, of which the example quoted by my hon. Friend the Member for Bury 672 and Radcliffe (Mr. W. Fletcher) is only one.
- (a) the words "one quarter" were substituted for the words "one-fifth" in each of those subsections; and
- (b) the words "six hundred and twenty-five pounds" were substituted in the said subsection (1) for the words "four hundred pounds"; and
- (c) the word "one-half" were substituted in the said subsection (2) of the word "five-eighths."
I think everyone is agreed that high direct taxation is a direct disincentive to further effort and it is in recognition of that fact that recent Budgets, including this one, have removed the tax more and more from the lower levels of Income Tax payers because, as was pointed out in the Budget speech, this would help those who might otherwise have been a bit dubious about the value to themselves of overtime or increased piecework, and it was to help with that problem that this Clause was largely drafted. The second thing we are all agreed about is that the high rate of taxation is particularly severe upon all industry today, and, as in the Debate on the Clause before the last one, we have had views expressed from this side of the Committee pointing out how it was adverse to savings.
Taking those propositions that we should do something even more as an incentive for increased production that we should do something which at any rate would not discourage savings and do something which might help industry, we on this side of the Committee have looked round to see what we could suggest should be done in present circumstances over and above what the Chancellor is suggesting. This Amendment has nothing to do with the industrial part of the problem. We have one in the form of a new Clause with further relief from Profits Tax, but, having seen the kind of suggestions this Clause makes for helping by relief, we seek to extend it further.
I think it is just as well to point out that, although this change in this Clause, which is to be paid for by the Petrol Duty, represents a good deal of money, and although the Chancellor of the Exchequer himself used what I thought were very extravagant words about it when he spoke yesterday and said:the people, who, everyone agrees, most desire and deserve it, get this large remission of Income Tax."—[REPORT, 14th June, 1950; Vol. 476, c. 341.]that is putting it very high. It is not a large remission of Income Tax at all. It is a relief, but the maximum that it ever becomes in any individual case is £11 5s. a year and, if hon. Members look at the tables circulated at the time of the Budget, it is interesting to see what happens to cases under this Clause.
673 9.30 p.m.
The man with an earned income of £400 a year receives a reduction of his tax to £46 5s. instead of having to pay £55 10s. He gets the maximum reduction of £11 5s. But he is still left, although earning £400 per year, with £46 5s. to pay. On the other hand, all that the married man with two children and earning £400 a year, gets out of this concession is a reduction in tax from £3 to £2 10s., that is to say, 10s. When the Chancellor talks about this as a large remission of Income Tax, it is really rather forcing the words.
But these figures do reinforce the argument we were putting all yesterday, which I do not intend, of course, to traverse again. When the right hon. and learned Gentleman is trying to make out that the remission in Income Tax will be an equivalent advantage for any extra expenditure that might arise from the Petrol Duty, I would point out that in the case of the married man with two children, whom I instanced, the Income Tax remission of 10s. or 120d. per year, will go a very small way towards paying the increased cost which he will inevitably have to suffer as a result of the Petrol Duty. A third of a penny per day will not begin to deal with the problem raised by the Petrol Duty.
§ Sir S. Cripps
Why not take as an example the man who pays nothing? The man who pays £2 10s. can obviously only have a very small remission.
§ Captain Crookshank
The man who pays nothing is the man who will be grievously injured by the Petrol Duty, which is supposed to be set off by the reduction in Income Tax. The fact that such a man is not able to secure a remission because his income is not sufficiently high makes the burden upon him very grievous.
Having seen that the Chancellor's proposal is an advantage but not so immense an advantage, and not immense at all when viewed in the light of the increased Petrol Duty, we seek to increase the reliefs in respect of earned income. The language of a provision like this is rather difficult to understand if one is not really well up in what it all means. The effect of our Amendment is that we seek to help three different classes. First, the Amendment would increase the earned income allowance from one-fifth to one-fourth. Secondly, under paragraph (b) it would 674 increase the limit of the amount which may be deducted in calculating taxable income from £400 to £625. That, in effect, means that the maximum income which could benefit would be raised from £2,000 to £2,500. Thirdly, under paragraph (c) the Amendment seeks to increase the age allowance from one-fifth to one-quarter.
The group of people who would benefit by this Amendment is very comprehensive. First, by the raising from one-fifth to one-quarter of the earned income allowance we should be extending the benefit to a very large number of wage earners who are now caught under the new scale of the right hon. and learned Gentleman. Granted he has already lifted the scale this year; this would lift it considerably more. The second group would be those who would benefit because this allowance would operate in respect of incomes up to £2,500 instead of £2,000. That is to say, it would be some advantage to the professional and official classes, the Civil Service, the higher ranks of the trade union world and all sorts of middle income groups.
Thirdly, under paragraph (c), the remaining group of persons who would be assisted would be the older, retired people. In their case again we would have the increased age allowance raised from one-fifth to one-quarter. That is a group of persons who for a long time have had Income Tax advantage on the grounds that the House and the Committee have taken in the past that they were largely persons living on their savings; and that those savings represent, in the majority of cases, what they have earned by hard work, and by thrift put away, during their working lives; and should be considered as something akin to the deferred pay theory of the Service pension.
Those are the groups whom we seek to benefit by this Amendment—the higher wage earning sections of the community, the middle income group and the older people who are living in retirement. No one can say that any of these classes is not deserving of assistance in view of the very high rate of Income Tax, and we think that that is where the benefit this year might very well be put, coupled of course, as this proposition must be coupled, with our proposal about the Profits Tax in the new Clause.
I hope that the right hon. and learned Gentleman will say that he can do this. 675 It will, of course, cost money. I do not know what it will cost; would it cost £50 million?
§ Captain Crookshank
As much as that? [Laughter.] There is no means by which a private Member can possibly assess the amount. It is no good hon. Gentlemen laughing. The figure is rather higher than I thought, but that does not affect the point, because in a matter like this the right hon. and learned Gentleman has to face up to the fact that he has probably, even in a Budget of the size of this one, something to "play with" as Chancellor during the Debates on the Finance Bill. I refuse, as so many of my hon. Friends have refused—and every time they have said it they have been pulled up as being out of order so I shall not pursue it—to believe that in a Budget so huge as this there is absolutely nothing which may be given.
I am fortified in that belief when I remember what did in fact happen or was said to be going to happen—although we never found out whether the economies were achieved—at the time of the devaluation crisis. I remember that the Lord President of the Council said that if anyone imagined that the present list represented the end of the efforts of the Government to achieve economies, he was going to be undeceived before long. That is what the Lord President said a few months ago, and basing myself upon that, it seems to me that it is up to the right hon. and learned Gentleman, now that he has secured for one more year this enormously high standard rate of Income Tax by the Clause we have just passed, to try to see how much alleviation, further than he has already proposed in this Clause, can be brought forward. Basing myself on what the Lord President said, I urge the right hon. and learned Gentleman to press on with that sort of economy which the Lord President had in view, and as a result make it possible for these benefits to be paid to these sections of the community which so richly deserve them; that is to say, the higher wage earners, the middle income group and the old people.
§ Mr. Jenkins (Birmingham, Stetchford)
Despite the almost minor key in which the right hon. and gallant Member for 676 Gainsborough (Captain Crookshank) has moved this Amendment, it appears from the Order Paper that it does constitute the major Opposition attack upon the Income Tax Clauses in this year's Finance Bill. On other Clauses in the Bill we have heard a great deal from the other side about attempts to read what was in the Chancellor's mind when he was bringing forward this or that proposal. It is worth while our thinking at the moment what changes occurred in the mind of the Opposition so that this year they bring forward, as a major Income Tax Amendment, such a very different proposal from the one they brought forward last year.
I am sure many hon. Members on both sides will remember how last year the hon. Member for Chippenham (Mr. Eccles)—whom we are all sorry not to have with us in our Debate—moved as a major attack, a reduction by 6d. in the standard rate of Income Tax. He moved it in strong language. He said it was a token Amendment, a declaration of war upon Socialist finances. It seems strange that the Opposition should have changed their attitude so much in the course of 12 months that they now bring forward this very different, and, to my mind, substantially better Amendment than that of last year. The Amendment last year was wildly regressive in that it offered no relief at all to those who were not earning fairly substantial amounts, and very big reliefs to those who had very large incomes indeed. It was, from that point of view, a very bad proposal.
They seem to have been chastened by the events of the election year, just as they accused us of having been chastened. So this time we hear nothing at all about last year's proposal to cut the standard rate by 6d. Instead, we have in this Amendment a major proposal for an increase in the earned income allowance. That seems to me a better proposal than the one we had last year although, of course, it is also somewhat regressive in its effects. That is to say, the scale of benefits people would get would increase quite sharply as their income increased.
I have worked out the figures only roughly. I have not had them checked by anyone else but, as far as I can see, these are the benefits that would accrue to people from this Amendment, taking, in all classes, a married man with two 677 children. He would need to earn £375 a year before he got anything. At £400 a year it would save him £2 10s. a year. At £500 it would save him £6 10s., at £1,000 it would save £22 10s., and at £2,500 it would save £101 5s.
We see, therefore, that the amount of relief which would accrue from this Amendment would increase very sharply as we went up the income scale. While it would bring very small relief indeed to professional people who are not too well off, it would bring a very substantial amount of relief—£2 a week net of tax—to those earning £2,500 a year. It is an Amendment which, from that point of view, has serious disadvantages at the present time. It compares unfavourably with the proposal for relief contained in the Budget which gives £11 5s. a year. It does not give that quite to everybody but it gives the same amount to all those people fully affected by it.
The right hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. C. Davies) was complaining yesterday that this relief was only a sectional relief and that it affected a small number of people. He was being cheered by the Conservative Party when he said it. The relief he was then attacking is a relief which brings a far more widespread benefit than the relief contained in this Amendment. Therefore, quite apart from the fact that, as the Chancellor will no doubt argue, we could not afford the Amendment, costing roughly £103 million at the present time, it is, while a great improvement on the comparable one we had last year from the Opposition, still not one we could put at the head of the list for priority in tax concessions. If we could get into the position, into which I would like to get, in which we had a better distribution of income at source—a fairer distribution— and also a slightly easier general financial situation, then this might be a good Amendment, but that time has not yet come.
§ 9.45 p.m.
§ Mr. I. J. Pitman (Bath)
I think that the hon. Member for Stechford (Mr. Jenkins) is quite wrong in alleging that this is a new departure for hon. Members on this side of the Committee. In many Finance Bills I have put down Amendments or added my name to Front Bench Amendments on all these three 678 special sections so ably put forward by my right hon. and gallant Friend. The point is that the Government have not made up their mind as to their policy in regard to priorities between direct taxation and indirect taxation. For the hon. Member for Stechford to refer to the fact that we complained yesterday that indirect taxation was falling most heavily on the lowest paid workers in this country, shows that he, too, has failed to sort out in his mind the fundamental difference between direct and indirect taxation.
§ Mr. Jenkins
I am sorry to interrupt, but I do not think I referred at all to indirect taxation. I referred exclusively to the remarks of the Leader of the Liberal Party about the direct taxation concessions which the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced in his Budget statement.
§ Mr. Pitman
My recollection is very definitely that the right hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. C. Davies) was talking about the Petrol Duty and the fact that that would increase bus fares for the smallest income groups.
§ Sir S. Cripps
What the right hon. and learned Member for Montgomery was saying was that we were getting the money by means of a widely dispersed indirect tax, the Petrol Duty, and were appropriating it to give a concession to a limited class within the Income Tax group.
§ Mr. Pitman
I accept that, for I was listening very carefully at the time the right hon. and learned Member for Montgomery was speaking. Nevertheless, it is a fact that the part of his speech which we cheered was his appreciation of the fact that the indirect tax was very bad because it was falling not on luxuries like beer and tobacco but on necessities like the transport of the working man to his job. Quite clearly there can be no difference except one of degree. The hon. Member for Stechford and the Chancellor of the Exchequer will agree that this Amendment is taking just one stage further the principle of relief for earned income and for retired pay for the people of this country.
I should like to plead the case of the Civil Service of this country, as I have done in previous years. On both sides of the Committee we know what an extraordinarily poor deal they have had from 679 the Chancellor in connection with their pay and we appreciate that one of the best ways in which that situation can immediately be met is by the terms of this Amendment. The terms which increase the allowance from one-fifth to one-quarter would benefit all civil servants, right up to the highest Permanent Secretary to the Treasury, and starting at a relatively low level. The increase from £400 to £625 would benefit those civil servants who are paid at a rate between £2,000 and £2,500 a year.
It must be particularly galling in the Ministry of Fuel and Power to be a member of the staff of one of His Majesty's Ministers putting out advertisements to obtain staff for the highly paid posts in these great nationalised undertakings. There must be a still further galling sensation when those highly paid, semi-civil servants in nationalised undertakings are put into their jobs and when the civil servant, who is paid very much less, has virtually to wet-nurse them and to give them administrative advice and experience from his great back-log of knowledge. It seems to me that this Amendment does really give a very substantial—not enough, but a very substantial—benefit in the solution of this problem.
Moreover, let us face the fact that one of the reasons these nationalised undertakings, in such jobs as they give, have got to make them really "plum" jobs, is that the taxation system has made the take-home pay so ridiculously low, that people are not attracted away from a job which they are doing, to move house and take another one. If the Minister of Health would improve housing conditions and the interchangeability of houses, it would go a long way to help, but even then, in many cases, by the time the take-home pay in the old job was compared with the take-home pay in the new job, it would not pay to incur the cost of moving.
This proposal, therefore, by making the take-home pay relatively more for those accountants and administrators in the big nationalised industries, will, in point of practical effect, make it easier and better for Ministers to recruit first-class men for their jobs, without having to quote these fantastically high salaries which are so completely out of line with what they 680 themselves are paying to their own Civil Servants.
I maintain that, equally in the case of retired pay, we have a very important principle. In those cases it does represent a pension fund. It is a self-administered, self-saved pension fund—the very sort of thing which we in this Committee would wish to encourage. Yet there is, in point of fact, a quite wicked discrimination against the man who does his own saving for his years of retirement as compared with the man who pays in a premium each year through his firm or separately in an insurance company. This Amendment will go a great deal of the way towards making these two relatively fair one beside the other.
So that whether it is from the point of view of the fraction of the income from one-fifth to one-quarter, whether it is in the lump sum limit from £2,000 to £2,500, or whether it is in the improvement of the lot of the man who has retired and is over the age limit, I think all of these, being within the field of earned income, are definitely stimulative of what is desired by this Committee at this time in our history.
§ Sir S. Cripps rose—
§ Lieut.-Commander Braithwaite
I am very grateful to the right hon. and learned Gentleman, who was about to reply to the Debate, for giving way. I merely wanted to say a very few words in reply to the hon. Member for Stechford (Mr. Jenkins) who sits behind him, and who a few minutes ago made the perfectly fair point that last year the Opposition directed their attention to the standard rates, and that my hon. Friend the Member for Chippenham (Mr. Eccles), whose absence we regret even more than he does on this occasion this year, did move what he described as a token Amendment to focus attention upon the issue of direct taxation.
Let me explain to the hon. Gentleman opposite why it is that the Opposition angle is a rather different one this year. First, it is customary, as I am sure he realises, when one is engaged in amending a Bill, to follow to a certain extent the shape of that Bill. Clause 19 reveals the Chancellor's objective this year, which is concentrated upon relief, earned income allowances and the like This 681 Amendment shows a difference of degree. The same people will be affected by our Amendment as would be affected by the Chancellor's proposal. In other words, this assists those who are within the Income Tax zone. There is another fundamental difference between this year's discussion and the Debate last year. The hon. Gentleman will remember that last year, for reasons which I will not elaborate again tonight, the Committee were prevented from having any discussion of any sort or kind upon the whole vast field of Purchase Tax. It was therefore necessary to concentrate, in order to focus the attention of the Committee and the country, upon the high rate of Government expenditure last year and to use the medium of the token Amendment on the subject of the standard rate.
This year it is possible to put down Amendments which cover Purchase Tax. This Amendment is not by any means the only approach towards taxation relief which the Opposition have to submit to the Committee. We have a double-barrelled gun. I am sure that the hon. Gentleman has studied the Order Paper, but if he will refresh his memory he will find that this year there is a large number of proposals in the names of hon. and right hon. Gentlemen on this side of the Committee which come under the general heading of Purchase Tax and which will give relief to the vast number of people who are outside the Income Tax zone altogether and who are not covered by any proposition of the right hon. and learned Gentleman in his Budget this year. I thought that I would take the opportunity to explain to the hon. Gentleman why it is that this year the field of play is somewhat different, because it is wider and we are taking advantage of that for this purpose
§ Mr. Jenkins
I am most grateful to the hon. and gallant Gentleman for giving me this long explanation. Are we to believe from what he says that this Amendment on the standard rate of Income Tax last year, about which great play was made and on which we had a long Debate—it was almost the major Debate on the Committee stage of the Finance Bill last year—was purely a stop-gap Amendment?
§ Sir H. Williams
On a point of order. Is it competent to discuss Clause 17? The hon. Member for Stechford (Mr. 682 Jenkins) started it and my hon. and gallant Friend followed, but surely it is out of order?
§ The Chairman
Clearly, we have passed Clause 17, but there is no objection to a passing reference to it.
§ Lieut.-Commander Braithwaite
With great respect, both to you and to my hon. Friend the Member for Croydon, East, (Sir H. Williams), I never mentioned Clause 17. I was careful to point out that this Amendment sought to amend Clause 19, in which the Chancellor is seeking to give certain reliefs. In reply to the intervention of the hon. Member for Stechford, it would be intolerable to everybody in the Committee were I to repeat the arguments adduced by my hon. Friend the Member for Chippenham a year ago. The whole matter was then clearly set forth, and I think that we might leave the question there.
§ 10.0 p.m.
§ Sir S. Cripps
This Amendment as I understand it is, in form, an addition to what is in Clause 19 already. That is to say, it is proposed under this Amendment, if I may put it in terms of money, to transform what was a remission of £82 million into one of 185 million. So far as the actual form of the Amendment goes—the manner in which it is proposed to give that relief—it is along lines of continuing what we have in fact done fairly extensively in the various years since the end of the war.
The Committee will remember that in 1945 the position was still as it had been in 1941—an earned income allowance of one-tenth with a maximum of £150. In 1946, the rate was increased to one-eighth and the maximum remained at £150. That had the effect of reducing the maximum income qualifying for relief to £1,200. In 1947, the rate was increased to one-sixth with a maximum of £250 and that was restoring the income limit to £1,500, and in 1948 there was a further increase to one-fifth with a maximum of £400, that is one-fifth on £2,000. So this form of alleviation we have in fact followed over successive years ever since we came into office in 1945.
When we came to consider what we could best do this year, we considered again this question of whether we should try to take this a stage further or whether we would adopt the alternative of dimin- 683 ishing the two lower rates of Income Tax, the two-thirds and the one-third rates—the 6s. and the 3s.—and we came to the conclusion—and I think that everyone in the Committee agrees with this— that that would give the maximum benefit in that range which was covered most closely by the overtime rates. That is to say, it took the maximum number of people possible as regards their overtime and reduced the rate which would be payable upon the overtime part of their income. From that point of view, we felt that it was desirable, and it also covered a very wide range of persons.
The fact that this Amendment pursues the same path that we had been following before shows in itself that, as a method of relief, it is something with which we should not quarrel. Similarly, as regards the allowance for age, that also we had improved and increased, and, in 1948 we again made an adjustment there which did improve the position, so that in fact the allowance was effective, partially anyway, up to £750 a year for the single man and £720 for the married man. There again, it is obvious that that kind of relief is something which is quite consistent with the view that we hold as regards the sort of people who should be relieved.
If there were an extra £103 million to be devoted to tax relief this is obviously one of the methods, or rather two of the methods, that would qualify for high consideration. I would draw the attention of the Committee to what I think the hon. and gallant Member for Bristol, North-West (Lieut.-Colonel Braithwaite), referred to as a double barrelled gun; but I would point out that it has six barrels and that yesterday he referred to it as a parade, which has rather less reality perhaps than a gun.
Let me recite what it is, because it amounts in total to £400 million in remissions which are suggested by the Opposition. There was petrol £73 million, white spirit, commercial vehicles, earned income £103 million, Purchase Tax £73 million, profits tax £60½ million and tobacco £70 million. These are all quite substantial sums.
§ Sir S. Cripps
Tobacco, yes. One of the Front Bench Members opposite has down a new Clause on tobacco which would cost £70 million. It is suggested that these are some of the alternatives; I naturally do not know which of them are alternatives.
§ Mr. Lyttelton
It is quite obvious that when the Committee has voted against the tax on petrol, the Chancellor is not justified in adding that to the total.
§ Sir S. Cripps
If the Opposition as a result of the vote have changed their views, I should not be entitled to add it in, but if this is the programme they are putting forward of what they would wish to do, as I assumed it was, suppose that the Committee had supported them yesterday. Would they now say they would withdraw some of their Amendments?
§ Sir S. Cripps
Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will tell me which. I am only trying to be helpful.
§ Mr. Lyttelton
I am rather interested in this, because it would seem from what the Chancellor is saying that he is about to accept our Amendment. I assure him that if he does, we shall revise our attitude towards the Purchase Tax. Is he about to give us this concession? If not, this is simply shadow-boxing.
§ Sir S. Cripps
Not at all. What the right hon. Gentleman has said is very revealing. I do not know whether he was in the Committee a few moments ago when we were told that this is integrated with the Purchase Tax. We have just been told that that was so from the benches opposite, and I am glad that I have the support of hon. Members behind the right hon. Gentleman. They agree that the Purchase Tax was intended to be a relief for those who do not get Income Tax relief, and that this was Income Tax relief, and therefore these two went together to make one total picture, together with the petrol and no doubt the Profits Tax, which we were told was an integral part of this, because this did not relate to company profits. And so, we get the general picture of £400 million to be saved or provided in some way.
§ Sir S. Cripps
This is a very easy exercise. I could very easily have made quite as attractive proposals as this if I had £400 million to play with.
§ Sir S. Cripps
I am glad that the right hon. Gentleman knows so definitely that I shall be here next year.
§ Sir S. Cripps
It is too late. The right hon. Gentleman ought to have thought of that sooner. The real point is that on the merits this is not anything to which anyone could object, but that financially it is impossible. Therefore, I must ask the Committee to reject the Amendment.
§ Sir H. Williams
I have listened with interest to the Chancellor. He told us that this Amendment would cost £103 million. When the hon. Member for Stechford (Mr. Jenkins) was speaking, he said that the Amendment was of no value at all —the figures were so trifling that is was not worth considering. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] That is the impression he conveyed to my mind, and if he cannot convey a clear impression to the ordinary person of what he means, that is not my fault.
The Chancellor rejects the Amendment on the ground that he has not the money. Surely that is a condemnation of his own financial policy. Everyone knows that there is the most fantastic waste taking place in almost every direction. It is no longer a case in which the Chancellor can say he cannot afford it. Surely the time has come to make expenditure fit the available taxation, instead of the reverse.
I am getting tired of the Chancellor thinking that the income he allows us is our pocket money. The Exchequer now think they own all our income and that what we are allowed to keep is a great favour. That is all right for those in the happy position of inheriting a good fortune or who accumulated wealth before this oppressive system of taxation came along, but the great mass of the people I represent now see no opportunity of ever saving enough to retire. They are sentenced to death for life. [Laughter.] The phrase is much more explicit than hon. Members opposite seem to think, 686 because life under the jurisdiction of the present Chancellor of the Exchequer is so near to death that it is an accurate description. [Interruption.] I am merely correcting misapprehensions in the minds of hon. Gentleman opposite.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer cannot say all the time that he cannot afford these concessions. Everybody can look at the Budget proposals. I have been in the House longer than the Chancellor of the Exchequer. [HON. MEMBERS: "Question?"] Certainly I have been here longer, and what is more I have always retained the same identity of principle. I have exactly the same principles today as I had when I addressed the most important meeting of my life 41 years ago in support of the right hon. and learned Gentleman's father in Buckinghamshire. That is one case when we were in agreement.
It is quite intolerable for the Chancellor to ride against every Amendment on the grounds that he cannot afford it. Surely it is time for us to try to adjust our expenditure so that life shall again become tolerable to the great mass of our people. In the days when I was a junior Minister, no Minister of the Crown had a motor car. [HON. MEMBERS: "What about the unemployed?"] Unemployment was not too bad. It only increased by three times in the two years after I ceased to be a Minister. I know that I am getting a bit out of order, but I was provoked. When people make disorderly interruptions, surely it is not unreasonable that there should be comments on those disorderly interruptions.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer cannot object to every Amendment on the ground that he cannot afford it. That is the least form of resistance to an intelligent Amendment. I am not surprised. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has got a completely false reputation as a financier. The only thing he was ever good at was patent law, and he was rather good at that; but when he gets up to lecture me on economics and when he issues a paper called the Economic Survey, it shows how poor his powers are. Should he ever have the opportunity to bring in Clause 19 again, I hope it will be much different, and when we come to the Question that the Clause stand part of the Bill, I shall have a few observations to make on that aspect.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted."688
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 278; Noes, 292.691
|Division No. 27.]||AYES||[10.17 p.m.|
|Aitken, W. T.||Fort, R.||Macdonald, A. J. F. (Roxburgh)|
|Alport, C. J. M.||Foster, J. G.||Macdonald, Sir P. (I. of Wight)|
|Amery, J. (Preston, N.)||Fraser, Hon. H. C. P. (Stone)||McKibbin, A.|
|Amory, D. Heathcoat (Tiverton)||Fraser, Sir I. (Lonsdale)||McKie, J. H. (Galloway)|
|Arbuthnot, John||Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir D. P. M.||Maclay, Hon. J. S.|
|Athton, H. (Chelmsford)||Gage, C. H.||Maclean, F. H. R.|
|Assheton, Rt. Hon. R. (Blackburn, W.)||Galbraith, Cmdr. T. D. (Pollok)||MacLeod, Iain (Enfield, W.)|
|Baker, P.||Galbraith, T. G. D. (Hillhead)||MacLeod, John (Ross and Cromarty)|
|Baldock, J. M.||Gammans, L. D.||Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley)|
|Baldwin, A. E.||Garner-Evans, E. H. (Denbigh)||Macpherson, N (Dumfries)|
|Banks, Col. C.||Gates, Maj. E. E.||Maitland, Comdr. J. W.|
|Baxter, A. B.||Glyn, Sir R.||Manningham-Buller, R E|
|Beamish, Maj. T. V. H||Gomme-Duncan, Col. A.||Marlowe, A. A. H.|
|Bell, R. M.||Gridley, Sir A.||Marples, A. E.|
|Bennett, Sir P. (Edgbaston)||Grimston, Hon. J. (St. Albans)||Marshall, D. (Bodmin)|
|Bennett, R. F. B. (Gosport)||Grimston, R. V. (Westbury)||Marshall, S. H. (Sutton)|
|Bennett, W. G, (Woodside)||Harden, J. R. E.||Maude, A. E. U. (Ealing, S.)|
|Bevins, J. R. (Liverpool, Toxteth)||Hare, Hon. J. H. (Woodbridge)||Maude, J. C. (Exeter)|
|Birch, Nigel||Harris, F. W. (Croydon, N.)||Maudling, R.|
|Bishop, F. P.||Harris, R. R. (Heston)||Medlicott, Brigadier F|
|Black, C. W.||Harvey, Air-Codre. A. V. (Macclesfield)||Mellor, Sir J.|
|Boles, Lt.-Col. D. C. (Wells)||Harvey, I. (Harrow, E)||Molson, A. H. E.|
|Boothby, R.||Hay, John||Moore, Lt.-Col. Sir T.|
|Bossom, A. C||Heald, L. F.||Morrison, Maj. J. G. (Salisbury)|
|Bowen, R.||Heath, Col. E. R.||Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Lewisham, S.)|
|Bower, N.||Henderson, John (Cathcart)||Mott-Radclyffe, C. E.|
|Boyd-Carpenter, J. A.||Hicks-Beach, Maj. W. W||Nabarro, G.|
|Bracken, Rt. Hon. Brendan||Higgs, J. M. C.||Nicholls, H.|
|Braine, B.||Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe)||Nicholson, G.|
|Braithwaite, Lt.-Comdr. J. G.||Hill, Dr. C. (Luton)||Nield, B. (Chester)|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W.||Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Noble, Comdr. A. H. P.|
|Brooke, H. (Hampstead)||Hirst, Geoffrey||Nugent, G. R. H.|
|Browne, J. N. (Govan)||Hogg, Hon. Q.||Oakshott, H. D.|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T||Hollis, M. C.||Odey, G. W.|
|Bullock, Capt. M.||Holmes, Sir J. Stanley (Harwich)||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D.|
|Bullus, Wing-Commander E. E.||Hope, Lord J.||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.|
|Burden, Squadron-Leader F. A||Hopkinson, H. L. D'A.||Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.)|
|Butcher, H. W.||Hornsby-Smith, Miss P.||Orr-Ewing, Ian L. (Weston-super-Mare)|
|Butler, Rt. Hon. R. A. (S'ffr'n W'ld'n)||Horsbrugh, Miss F.||Osborne, C.|
|Carr, L. R. (Mitcham)||Howard, G. R. (St. Ives)||Perkins, W. R. D.|
|Carson, Hon. E.||Howard, S. G. (Cambridgeshire)||Peto, Brig. C. H. M.|
|Channon, H||Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.)||Pickthorn, K.|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. W. S.||Hudson, Rt. Hon. R. S. (Southport)||Pitman, I J.|
|Clarke, Col. R. S. (East Grinstead)||Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.)||Powell, J. Enoch|
|Hulbert, Wing-Cdr. N. J.|
|Clarke, Brig. T. H. (Portsmouth, W.)||Hurd, A. R.||Prescott, Stanley|
|Clyde, J. L.||Hutchinson, Geoffrey (Ilford, N.)||Price, H. A. (Lewisham, W.)|
|Colegate, A.||Hutchison, Lt.-Com. Clark (E'b'rgh W.)||Prior-Palmer, Brig, O.|
|Conant, Maj. R. J. E.||Hyde, H. M.||Profumo, J. D.|
|Cooper, A. E. (Ilford, S.)||Hylton-Foster, H. B.||Raikes, H. V.|
|Cooper-Key, E. M.||Jeffreys, General Sir G.||Rayner, Brig, R.|
|Corbett, Lieut.-Col. U. (Ludlow)||Jennings, R.||Redmayne, M.|
|Craddock, G. B. (Spelthorne)||Johnson, Howard S. (Kemptown)||Remnant, Hon. P.|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Joynson-Hicks, Hon L W||Renton, D. L. M.|
|Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C||Kaberry, D.||Roberts, P. G. (Heeley)|
|Cross, Rt. Hon. Sir R.||Keeling, E H.||Robertson, Sir D. (Caithness)|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E||Kerr, H W. (Cambridge)||Robinson, J. Roland (Blackpool, S.)|
|Crouch, R. F.||Kingsmill, Lt.-Col. W. H.||Robson-Brown, W. (Esher)|
|Crowder, Capt. John F. E. (Finchley)||Lambert, Hon. G.||Rodgers, J. (Sevenoaks)|
|Crowder, F. P. (Ruislip-Northwood)||Lancaster, Col. C. G||Roper, Sir H.|
|Cundiff, F. W.||Langford-Holt, J.||Ropner, Col. L.|
|Cuthbert, W. N.||Law, Rt. Hon. R. K.||Ross, Sir R. D. (Londonderry)|
|Darling, Sir W. Y. (Edinburgh, S.)||Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H||Russell, R. S.|
|Davidson, Viscountess||Lennox-Boyd, A. T.||Ryder, Capt. R. D|
|Davies, Nigel (Epping)||Lindsay, Martin||Sandys, Rt. Hon. D|
|Deedes. W. F.||Linstead, H. N||Savory, Prof. D. L.|
|Digby, S. Wingfield||Llewellyn, D.||Scott, Donald|
|Dodds-Parker, A D||Lloyd, Rt. Hon. G. (King's Norton)||Shepherd, W. S (Cheadle)|
|Donner, P. W.||Lloyd, Maj. Guy (Renfrew, E.)||Smiles, Lt.-Col. Sir W.|
|Douglas-Hamilton, Lord M||Lloyd, Selwyn (Wirral)||Smith, E. Martin (Grantham)|
|Drayson, G. B.||Lockwood, Lt.-Col. J. C.||Smithers, Peter H. B. (Winchester)|
|Drewe, C||Longden, G. J. M. (Herts, S. W.)||Smithers, Sir W. (Orpington)|
|Dugdale, Maj. Sir T. (Richmond).||Lucas, Major Sir J. (Portsmouth, S.)||Smyth, Brig. J. G. (Norwood)|
|Duncan, Capt. J. A. L||Lucas, P. B. (Brentford)||Snadden, W. McN|
|Duthie, W. S.||Lucas-Tooth, Sir H.||Soames, Capt. C.|
|Elliot, Lieut.-Col. Rt Hon. Walter||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon O||Spearman, A. C. M|
|Erroll, F. J.||McAdden, S. J.||Spence, H. R. (Aberdeenshire, W.)|
|Fisher, Nigel||McCallum, Maj. D.||Spens, Sir P. (Kensington, S.)|
|Fletcher, W. (Bury)||McCorquodale, Rt Hon. M. S||Stanley, Capt. Hon R. (N. Fylde)|
|Stevens, G. P.||Thorp, Brigadier R. A. F.||Wheatley, Major M. J. (Poole)|
|Steward, W. A. (Woolwich, W.)||Tilney, John||White, J. Baker (Canterbury)|
|Stewart, J. Henderson (Fife, E.)||Turton, R. H.||Williams, C. (Torquay)|
|Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.||Tweedsmuir, Lady||Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)|
|Storey, S.||Vane, W. M. F.||Williams, Sir H. G. (Croydon, E.)|
|Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S)||Vaughan-Morgan, J K||Wills, G.|
|Stuart, Rt. Hon. J. (Moray)||Vosper, D F.||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Summers G. S||Wakefield. E. B. (Derbyshire, W.)||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Sort|
|Sutcliffe, H.||Wakefield, Sir W. W. (St. Marylebone)||Wood, Hon R.|
|Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)||Walker-Smith, D. C.||York, C.|
|Taylor, W. J. (Bradford, N.)||Ward, Hon. G. R. (Worcester)||Young, Sir A. S L|
|Teeling, William||Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth)|
|Thompson, K. P. (Walton)||Waterhouse, Capt. C||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Thompson, R. H. M. (Croydon, W.)||Watkinson, H.||Brigadier Mackeson and|
|Thorneycroft, G. E. P. (Monmouth)||Watt, Sir G. S. Harvie||Mr. Studholme|
|Thornton-Kemsley, C. N.||Webbe, Sir H. (London)|
|Acland, Sir Richard||Delargy, H. J.||Hughes, Moelwyn (Islington, N.)|
|Adams, Richard||Diamond J.||Hynd, H. (Accrington)|
|Albu, A. H.||Dodds, N. N.||Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)|
|Allen, A. C. (Bosworth)||Donnelly, D.||Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)|
|Anderson, F. (Whitehaven)||Donovan, T. N||Irving, W. J. (Wood Green)|
|Attlee, Rt Hon. C. R||Driberg, T. E. N||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.|
|Awbery, S. S.||Dugdale, Rt. Hon. J. (W. Bromwich)||Janner, B.|
|Ayles, W. H.||Dye, S.||Jay, D. P. T.|
|Bacon, Miss A.||Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||Jeger, G (Goole)|
|Baird, J.||Edelman, M.||Jeger, Dr. S. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Balfour, A.||Edwards, Rt. Hon. N. (Caerphilly)||Jenkins, R. H.|
|Barnes, Rt. Hon. A. J||Edwards, W. J. (Stepney)||Johnson, James (Rugby)|
|Bartley, P.||Edwards, John (Brighouse)||Johnston, Douglas (Paisley)|
|Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J.||Evans, Albert (Islington, S. W.)||Jones, D. T. (Hartlepool)|
|Benson, G.||Evans, E. (Lowestoft)||Jones, Frederick Elwyn (West Ham, S.)|
|Beswick, F.||Evans, S. N. (Wednesbury)||Jones, Jack (Rotherham)|
|Bevan, Rt. Hon A (Ebbw Vale)||Ewart, R.||Jones, William Elwyn (Conway)|
|Bing, G. H. C.||Fernyhough, E.||Keenan, W|
|Blackburn, A. R.||Field, Capt. W. J.||Kenyon, C.|
|Blenkinsop, A.||Finch, H. J.||Key, Rt. Hon C. W.|
|Blyton, W. R.||Fletcher, E. G. M. (Islington, E.)||King, H. M.|
|Boardman, H.||Follick, M.||Kinghorn, Sqn.-Ldr. E.|
|Booth, A.||Foot, M. M.||Kinley, J.|
|Bottomley, A. G.||Forman, J. C.||Lang, Rev. G.|
|Bowden, H. W.||Fraser, T. (Hamilton)||Lee, F. (Newton)|
|Bowles, F. G. (Nuneaton)||Freeman, J. (Watford)||Lee, Miss J. (Cannock)|
|Braddock, Mrs. E. M.||Freeman, Peter (Newport)||Lever, L. M. (Ardwick)|
|Brockway, A. Fernner||Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N||Lewis, A. W. J. (West Ham, N.)|
|Brook, D. (Halifax)||Ganley, Mrs. C. S.||Lewis, J. (Bolton, W.)|
|Brooks, T. J. (Normanton)||Gibson, C. W.||Lindgren, G. S.|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Gilzean, A.||Lipton, Lt.-Col. M|
|Brown, George (Belper)||Glanville, J. E. (Consett)||Logan, D. G.|
|Brown, T. J. (Ince)||Gooch, E. G.||Longden, F. (Small Heath)|
|Burke, W. A.||Gordon. Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.||McAllister, G.|
|Burton, Miss E.||Greenwood, A. W. J. (Rossendale)||MacColl, J. E.|
|Butler, H. W. (Hackney, S.)||Greenwood, Rt. Hn. Arthur (Wakefield)||McGhee, H. G.|
|Callaghan, James||Grenfell, D. R.||McGovern, J.|
|Carmichael, James||Grey, C. F.||McInnes, J.|
|Castle, Mrs. B. A.||Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley)||Mack, J. D.|
|Champion, A. J.||Griffiths, Rt. Hon. J. (Llanelly)||McKay, J. (Wallsend)|
|Chetwynd, G. R.||Griffiths, W. D. (Exchange)||Mackay, R. W. G. (Reading, N.)|
|Clunie, J.||Gunter, R. J.||McLeavy, F.|
|Cooks, F. S.||Hale, J. (Rochdale)||MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles)|
|Coldrick, W.||Hale, Leslie (Oldham, W.)||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)|
|Collick, P.||Hall, J. (Gateshead, W.)||Mainwaring, W. H.|
|Collindridge, F.||Hall, Rt. Hn. W. Glenvil (Colne V'll'v)||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)|
|Cook, T. F.||Hamilton, W. W.||Mallalieu, J. P W. (Huddersfield, E.)|
|Cooper, G. (Middlesbrough, W.)||Hannan, W||Mann, Mrs. J.|
|Cooper, J. (Deptford)||Hardman, D. R||Manuel, A. C.|
|Corbet, Mrs. F. K. (Peckham)||Hardy, E A.||Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A|
|Cove, W. G.||Hargreaves, A.||Mathers, Rt. Hon. George|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Harrison, J.||Mellish, R. J.|
|Crawley, A.||Hastings, Dr. Somerville||Messer, F.|
|Cripps, Rt. Hon. Sir S||Hayman, F. H.||Middleton, Mrs. L.|
|Crosland, C. A. R.||Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Rowley Regis)||Mikardo, Ian|
|Cullen, Mrs. A.||Herbison, Miss M.||Mitchison, G. R.|
|Daines, P.||Hewitson, Capt. M.||Moeran, E. W.|
|Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.||Hobson, C. R||Monslow, W.|
|Darling, G. (Hillsboro')||Holman, P.||Moody, A. S.|
|Davies, A. Edward (Stoke, N.)||Holmes, H. E (Hemsworth)||Morgan, Dr. H. B.|
|Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.)||Hoy, J.||Morley, R.|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||Hubbard, T.||Morris, P. (Swansea, W.)|
|Davies, R. J. (Westhoughton)||Hudson, J. H. (Ealing, N.)||Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Lewisham, S.)|
|de Freitas, Geoffrey||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayr)||Mort, D. L.|
|Deer, G.||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Moyle, A|
|Mulley, F. W.||Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)||Usborne, Henry|
|Murray, J. D.||Rogers, G. H. R. (Kensington, N.)||Vernon, Maj. W. F.|
|Nally, W.||Ross, William (Kilmarnock)||Viant, S. P.|
|Neal, H.||Royle, C.||Wallace, H. W.|
|Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. J.||Shacketon, E. A. A.||Watkins, T. E.|
|O'Brien, T.||Shawcross, Rt. Hon. Sir H.||Webb, Rt. Hon. M (Bradford, C.)|
|Oldfield, W. H||Shinwell, Rt Hon. E.||Weitzman, D.|
|Oliver, G. H.||Shurmer, P. L. E.||Wells, P. L. (Faversham)|
|Orbach, M.||Silverman, J. (Erdington)||Wells, W. T (Walsall)|
|Padley, W. E.||Simmons, C. J||West, D. G.|
|Paling, Rt. Hon. Wilfred (Dearne V'lly)||Slater, J.||Wheatley, Rt. Hn. John (Edinb'gh, E.)|
|Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)||White, Mrs. E. (E. Flint)|
|Pannell, T C.||Snow, J. W.||White, H. (Derbyshire, N. E.)|
|Pargiter, G A||Sorensen, R. W.||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W|
|Parker, J.||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir F.||Wigg, George|
|Paton, J.||Steele, T.||Wilcock, Group-Capt. C. A. B.|
|Pearson, A||Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)||Wilkes, L.|
|Peart, T. F.||Stokes, Rt. Hon R. R.||Willey, F. T (Sunderland)|
|Poole, Cecil||Strauss, Rt. Hon. G. R (Vauxhall)||Willey, O. G. (Cleveland)|
|Price, M. Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)||Stross, Dr. B.||Williams, D. J. (Neath)|
|Proctor, W. T.||Summerskill, Rt Hon. Edith||Williams, Ronald (Wigan)|
|Pryde, D. J.||Sylvester, G. O.||Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)|
|Pursey, Comdr. H.||Taylor, H. B. (Mansfield)||Williams, W. T. (Hammersmith, S.)|
|Rankin, J.||Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)||Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Huyton)|
|Rees, Mrs. D.||Thomas, D. E. (Aberdare)||Winterbottom, I. (Nottingham, C.)|
|Reeves, J.||Thomas, George (Cardiff)||Winterbottom, R. E. (Brightside)|
|Reid T. (Swindon)||Thomas, I O. (Wrekin)||Wise, Major F. J.|
|Reid, W. (Camlachie)||Thomas, I R. (Rhondda, W.)||Woods, Rev. G. S.|
|Rhodes, H.||Thorneycroft, Harry (Clayton)||Wyatt, W. L.|
|Richards, R.||Thurtle, Ernest||Yates, V. F.|
|Robens, A.||Tomlinson, Rt. Hon. G.||Younger, Hon. Kenneth|
|Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire)||Tomney, F.|
|Robertson, J. J. (Berwick)||Turner-Samuels, M||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Mr. Popplewell and Mr. Sparks.|
Motion made and Question, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again"—[Mr. Whiteley]—put and agreed to.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."
§ Mr. Geoffrey Hutchinson (Ilford, North)
Everybody will welcome this Clause. We on this side of the Committee certainly welcome it warmly because this is the sort of thing we have been pressing the right hon. and learned Gentleman to do for some time past. We are glad that he has decided at last to accept the good advice we have offered to him, and we are not without hope that in the future he may accept our advice in other directions.
If in what I am about to say I appear to be critical of these concessions, I hope the right hon. and learned Gentleman will bear in mind that they are after all substantially the only concessions which he has found it possible to make; and that even they have had to be purchased at the price of a tax which will enter into the budget of every home in the country. Indeed, the right hon. and learned Gentleman—[Interruption]—appears to have got himself into a frame of mind in which he is not able to conceive of any reduction in taxation unless there is some corresponding increase. Therefore, we are bound to look at these remissions of taxation rather critically. [Interruption.]
§ 10.30 p.m.692
§ Mr. Hutchinson
For a moment I thought this enthusiasm was intended for me, but I find it is intended for my right hon. Friend. I was about to say that these concessions are only made at the expense of the taxpayers in other directions. We are bound, therefore, to examine them critically, I hope not unduly critically, and compare them with the cost of which they have been obtained. [Interruption.]
§ Mr. Hutchinson
I was endeavouring to say, I hope at no great length, that I propose to invite the Committee to examine these tax concessions, of which the right hon. and learned Gentleman is extremely proud, to see what real advantage they will confer on those whom he is most anxious to help. I am not going to investigate the effect which they are likely to have upon the lowest income groups.
The average earnings of persons employed in industry are about £7 2s. 6d. a week. I propose, therefore, to examine the effect of these concessions upon that average group of industrial workers. First, take a married man, with one child, who earns a weekly wage of £6 17s. 8d. The Income Tax relief which this Clause gives to him amounts to £1 2s. 6d. a year, 693 or about 9d. a week. Take a married man with two children, who earns £7 5s. a week; he will receive no benefit at all from these concessions. The most remarkable thing about the method of granting concessions which the right hon. and learned Gentleman has selected is that those persons whose need would appear to be greatest are precisely the persons to whom the smallest benefits are given.
Take the case of a married man earning £7 10s. weekly, who has no children. He will benefit, through this remission, to the extent of £4 7s. a year, or 1s. 8d. weekly. That is not a great deal. It is perhaps enough to buy him 50 cigarettes, so he is better off than the man who has two children. Now take the case of a single man who earns £6 16s. 2d. a week. I am taking actual cases. He will benefit to the extent of £6 10s. a year, or 2s. 6d. a week. What one of my hon. Friends said is clearly borne out, that the persons whom one would have expected that the right hon. and learned Gentleman was anxious to benefit are precisely those who get the smallest advantage under this arrangement which he has selected. Let me give another case. This man is in the class which will receive the full benefit of these concessions, amounting to £11 a year. He happens to own a motorcar. I asked what was the benefit which he would receive. He said that he calculated that the extra 9d. a gallon on the petrol which he used would cost him exactly £11. So what he gains in one pocket he loses from the other.
Those are the sort of things which the right hon. and learned Gentleman proposes to do. In his speech earlier this evening the right hon. and learned Gentleman said that a tax reduction of £400 million was something which he could not entertain. If the people of this country are really to enjoy some relief which is worth while from the present burden of taxation, we shall have to find a Chancellor of the Exchequer who is able to contemplate with greater equanimity a tax reduction of this order.
We welcome these concessions, but there is no reason for the right hon. and learned Gentleman to be unduly proud of them. The Minister for Economic Affairs complained in his speech that my right hon. Friend had described the 694 policy of the Chancellor as silly. I really do not see why he should have complained about that. If my right hon. Friend had used a much stronger expression, he would have been fully justified. However, I will content myself with saying that if these remissions of taxation are the best that the Government can give, they are totally inadequate.
§ Sir H. Williams
I have a few observations to make on the Clause. I want to draw the Committee's attention to something quite different on which I hope there will be a certain amount of unanimity. The Income Tax law has become so complicated that no ordinary citizen can understand it. We have to hire accountants for every kind of purpose. Hon. Members who read Clauses 17 and 18 will find them quite simple and easy to understand, but now hon. Members opposite have given a vote to the effect that they entirely believe in Clause 19.
I want to draw attention to the difference in the drafting of subsections (1) and (2). I will read them. Subsection (1) says:In subsection (2) of section forty of the Finance Act, 1927 (which as amended by section seventeen of the Finance (No. 2) Act, 1945, and section twenty-eight of the Finance Act, 1948, provides for the relief from income tax commonly known as the reduced rate relief), the words 'thirteen-eighteenths' shall throughout be substituted for the words 'two-thirds' and the words 'four-ninths' shall throughout be substituted for the words 'one-third'.I think it is an absolute scandal that in due course that will go out to the world and people will go to public libraries and try to understand it. They will fail, because we have a bad system of draftsmanship and fail to consolidate Income Tax law. Under subsection (2) entirely different principles of drafting have been adopted. Subsection (2) may be in the right form, but if so, subsection (1) is in the wrong form. Subsection (2) says:In subsection (2) of section nineteen of the Finance Act, 1935 (which, as amended by subsequent enactments, limits the tax on incomes exceeding one hundred and thirty-five pounds but less than one hundred and sixty pounds to three-tenths of the excess) the words 'one-quarter' shall be substituted for the words 'three-tenths'.In the previous subsection all the previous enactments are specified, but in subsection (2) they are not specified, and therefore if any hon. Member wants to find 695 out precisely what the subsection will mean he has to spend many weary hours in the Library trying to find out precisely what enactments there have been which modify subsection (2) of Section 19 of the Finance Act, 1935. That is sloppy, or slipshod, or something. I can only assume that one draftsman drafted subsection (1) and another draftsman drafted subsection (2).
I do not think it is fair to this Committee or to the nation, that we should draft Acts of Parliament in this quite inconsistent, sloppy way which people do not understand. It is a scandal that our laws are so abstruse. The time has come to spend money in one direction, namely, by increasing very largely the staff of Parliamentary draftsmen, so that we can have first-class work done on this sort of thing and consolidate the law.
§ Clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.