HC Deb 22 June 1950 vol 476 cc1620-2

Subsection (2) of section fifteen of the Finance Act, 1925, shall be amended by the substitution of the words "by the end of," for "at the commencement of."—[Mr. Carr.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

Mr. Carr (Mitcham)

I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."

This is a simple matter over which I need not detain the Committee. All I need do is briefly explain the purpose of it and the reasons why I am moving it. The purpose is to give a small help in respect of age allowances to elderly people with small incomes. When a man reaches the age of 65, and has an income of less than £500 a year, he receives an age allowance. There is one feature about age allowances which I wish to change in this new Clause. At the moment the allowance takes effect only from the beginning of the following financial year; that is to say, if a man becomes 65 in May, he has to wait until the financial year beginning the following April before he gets the allowance. This new Clause seeks to change that so that he gets it from the beginning of the year in which he reaches qualifying age.

I submit the Clause for the Committee's approval because it is in line with other Income Tax allowances. Marriage allowance and children's allowance are both-back-dated to the beginning of the year in which the event occurs. It is a highly profitable thing, from the point of view of Income Tax, to be married or to have a baby before the end of March. I hope that the Minister of Health does not find himself faced with a highly seasonal trade for maternity beds. If these allowances can start from the beginning of the year in which the event occurs, the same should apply to the other allowances.

It may be argued that marriage and the arrival of children are specific events, involving specific expenditure which is not the case in retirement on reaching the age of 65. I submit that there are peculiar difficulties and worries associated with the time of retirement at that age, and I feel that we can give a small help in this direction. That help would be appreciated by the persons concerned, and could be given at a small cost to the Exchequer. I hope that hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite will share this view and that the Solicitor-General will see his way to accept the Clause.

The Solicitor-General

The Government are prepared to accept the proposal embodied in this new Clause, and if the hon. Gentleman who moved it will be good enough to ask the leave of the Committee to withdraw it, I will put down an Amendment on the Report stage which will carry out the purpose of the Clause.

Mr. Carr

I am sure I speak on behalf of hon. Members on all sides of the Committee when I thank the right hon. and learned Gentleman for his attitude to this Clause, and I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Motion.

Motion and Clause, by leave, withdrawn.