HC Deb 17 June 1952 vol 502 cc964-5
14. Mr. W. T. Williams

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the disparity of income between the average income in the highest and the lowest income groups, respectively, at the end of each financial year 1937–38, 1948–49 and 1951–52.

Mr. R. A. Butler

I am not sure what the hon. Member means by highest and lowest income groups. Figures relating to the financial years 1938–39 and 1948–49 are given in the Report of the Commissioners of Inland Revenue for 1949 (Cmd. 8052). This shows that in 1938–39, there were 2,100 incomes over £20,000 and in 1948–49, 2,300. In 1938–39, there were 2,483,000 incomes between £125 and £150. In 1948–49, there were 975,000 incomes between £135 and £150. Corresponding figures for 1951–52 are not yet available.

Mr. Williams

While appreciating that there is a remarkable change in the distribution of income, may I ask the Chancellor to observe that there are still many people with very small incomes and a large number with very high incomes? Will he not consider the possibility of reducing the disparity still further?

Mr. Butler

Every effort has been made to examine, in the light of the hon. Member's representations, the material which we have collected from this paper, but I think it would be a pity to draw any generalisation from it. If we are to achieve any results we had better have a little discussion together.

15. Mr. W. T. Williams

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what share of the national income was taken, after direct taxation, by the recipients of rent, interest and profits in 1938, 1950 and March, 1952, respectively; and what was the share going to wages.

Mr. R. A. Butler

The proportion of total personal income after tax represented by rent, dividends, interest and profits is estimated to have been 32 per cent. in 1938 and 23 per cent. in 1950. The comparable figures for wages were 37 per cent., and 43 per cent. respectively. Estimates are not available for March, 1952, but figures for 1951 will be published next month.

Sir H. Williams

Can my right hon. Friend say whether, in the term "profits," professional earnings or only strictly commercial profits are included?

Mr. Butler

I should want notice of that question.