HC Deb 27 May 1952 vol 501 cc1268-9

Subsection (3) of section forty of the Finance Act, 1947 (which provided, among other things, that certain payments made by Area Electricity Boards to the British Electricity Authority should not be allowed as a deduction in computing the profits of the said boards for the purpose of the profits tax and should not be taken into account in computing the profits of the said authority for those purposes), shall apply, and be deemed always to have applied, in relation to Area Gas Boards, the Gas Council and payments of the like nature made by Area Gas Boards to the Gas Council, as it would apply to the first-mentioned boards, authority and payments but for section seventy-nine of the Finance Act, 1948 (under which profits tax is chargeable as if any trade or business carried on by an Area Electricity Board were part of the trade or business carried on by the British Electricity Authority).—[Mr. Boyd-Carpenter.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

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

This Clause deals with a somewhat technical point relating to the debentures of the Gas Council and the area gas boards. Some difficulty has arisen by reason of the fact that the area gas boards, in remitting funds for the purpose of payment on the compensation stock, remit them through the Gas Council and not direct.

For that reason there is at least a doubt whether the general treatment for the nationalised industries—which, as the Committee is aware, make use of the provisions of Section 40 of the 1947 Act—applies, in this case, and to make sure that it does, and to deal with the doubt that has arisen in this case, it is intended that the Gas Council and the area gas boards shall be treated for Profits Tax and E.P.L. purposes on the same basis as the British Electricity Authority and the area electricity boards.

Mr. Gaitskell

In view of the length of time spent on the Committee stage of the Gas Bill it is surprising that there should be anything wrong with the Gas Act, especially as the Financial Secretary took part in the proceedings on behalf of the Opposition at that time; but I suppose that we must accept his view that there is at least a doubt whether the area gas boards are placed in exactly the same position as the area electricity boards. We agree that it would be very wrong if they were not in the same position as the electricity boards and we shall not oppose this new Clause.

Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill.