§ 22. Mr. Osborne
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much was distributed in dividends after payment of Income Tax during the last financial year; how much was paid in wages and salaries; and how much per week the total dividend distributions represent spread over the 23,478,000 total working population.
§ Mr. R. A. Butler
Estimates of dividends paid and of wages and salaries are not available for the last financial year. For the calendar year 1951, debenture interest and dividends on preference and ordinary shares paid by companies are estimated to have been £596 million 13 before tax and wages and salaries £7,735 million. No estimate is available of the amount of Income Tax attributable to debenture interest and dividends. The total of £596 million, if spread over 23,478,000 persons, would represent 9s. 9d. per week per head.
§ Mr. Osborne
Is that figure of 9s. 9d. not misleading, in so far as the £596 million paid out by way of interest on dividends would be subject to the deduction of more than half for Income Tax and Surtax, and could the Chancellor give us the net figure?
§ Mr. Butler
It has taken me quite a long time to prepare that answer, but I will certainly see if I can improve upon it next time.
§ Mr. Erroll
Is it not the case that a large amount of debenture and preference interest finds its way back to the working population in the form of pensions scheme payments?
§ Mr. Nicholson
Would it extend the Chancellor's mathematical powers too much to ask him to break down that figure as between, on the one hand, debenture and preference shares, and, on the other, ordinary share dividends?
§ Mr. Butler
I will do my best to recalculate, if not break down, the figure, if my hon. Friend will put down a Question.