HC Deb 09 May 1950 vol 475 cc194-5
45. Mr. Osborne

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how he reconciles his recent estimate that dividends and interest distributions represent 14s. 6d. per week on wages and salaries with the previous estimate that 25 per cent. of profits would represent a rise of 4d. in the pound to wage earners; and on what data were the two estimates based.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Sir Stafford Cripps)

The answer I gave the hon. Member on 25th April was that the total payments of dividends and interest by companies and public enterprises in the calendar year 1949, when divided by the total number of wage and salary earners in 1949, gave a figure per head of 14s. 6d. per week. The statement I made to the T.U.C. in September, 1948, was that a quarter of distributed corporation profits, after deduction of tax, in 1947 was equivalent to an average addition to wages and salaries after deduction of tax of 4d. in the pound. The figures are calculated from estimates in the latest White Paper on National Income and Expenditure as regards 1949, and from similar estimates as regards 1947.

Mr. Osborne

Are not these two statements quite contradictory; and is not the second statement likely to induce the industrial worker to think that there are large sums of money which he could have as wages, whereas the right hon. and learned Gentleman's previous statement to the T.U.C. pointed out that there was only 4d. in the pound extra that could be had if they took the whole of the distributed profits?

Sir S. Cripps

The answer to the hon. Gentleman, of course, was made to comply with the Question as he put it, and I was obliged to give the answer in that form. There is nothing inconsistent between the two. If the calculations are made upon the same basis, they come to roughly 4d, in each case.

Mr. Manuel

Do these increases apply to Scotland?

Mr. Awbery

Is not this an argument for the "freezing" of profits and wages?