HC Deb 01 December 1953 vol 521 cc944-5
40. Mr. J. Johnson

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the total amount of tax which he gleans from football pools; and what is the total sum on which this tax is levied.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. R. A. Butler)

The amount of Pool Betting Duty collected in respect of football and similar pools in the financial year 1952–53 was £20,403,503, levied on gross stake money of £68,011,677. Separate figures for Income and Profits Tax are not available.

Mr. Johnson

Is the Chancellor aware that of this turnover of £60 million, Littlewoods, Vernons and similar pools get £8 million to £10 million? Will the right hon. Gentleman take note of the excellent example of Sweden where, under public ownership, they plough back something like £8 million for the sake of physical education? Is he further aware that the Players' Union have suggested that we should plough back some of these profits for the good of the game itself?

Mr. Butler

I am naturally ready to examine any submissions which the hon. Member makes to me.

Mr. Hamilton

Would it not be a measure of justice to return a little of this money to the men who make this income for the Treasury possible—namely, professional footballers—by remitting Income Tax on their benefits?

Mr. Butler

This matter has been frequently debated, but the Government's case has proved to be almost unanswerable.

Mr. Albu

Has the Chancellor observed that in Norway profits from football pools are used to finance scientific research? Does he not think that a better way of using the profits than by the establishment of further chain stores?

Mr. Butler

While we have no earmarking of the sources of revenue in the British system, it is quite clear that a certain amount accrues to the British Treasury and is used in the most benign way possible by Her Majesty's Government.

Mr. Noel-Baker

Will the Chancellor consider taking more of this money from the promoters of pools and using it for the benefit of physical education? Will he also reconsider the question of taxation of football benefits, which is a grave injustice?

Mr. Butler

The latter matter is quite separate from the original Question, and the former matter is covered by the statement that I will give the question further consideration.