HC Deb 07 December 1954 vol 535 cc748-50
2. Miss Burton

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is now in a position to make a statement concerning his investigation of the circulation of soap coupons to housewives; and how far the money spent in that way is chargeable against Income Tax.

11. Mr. P. Morris

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer to what extent his regulations provide that bonus schemes or free gifts offered by soap manufacturers shall be treated as legitimate trading expenses.

Mr. H. Brooke

I am advised that money spent in this way is admissible as a deduction in computing trading profits for Income Tax purposes if, not being of a capital nature, it is wholly and exclusively incurred for the purpose of the trade.

Miss Burton

Is the Minister aware that it is reputed that Unilever has spent at least £1 million in this year alone on this form of advertising, and would he not agree that it would benefit the cost of living if prices were brought down instead of money being spent in this way on advertising?

Mr. Brooke

It may help prices to be brought down if production and sales are stimulated; but the original Question referred to the state of the law, and I have informed the hon. Lady of the advice I received as to the proper Income Tax situation.

Mr. Morris

Does the Minister not agree that it would be in the public interest for the prices to be reduced instead of there being these large advertising schemes for which the consumer always pays?

Mr. Brooke

I am very glad indeed whenever I hear of prices being reduced.

Mr. W. G. Bennett

Is the Minister aware that the housewife is delighted to get these free coupons?

Mr. Brooke

Since my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer referred to this matter in a speech the other day, I understand that he has received spontaneously several pounds' worth of coupons.

5. Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will introduce legislation to ensure that, for Income Tax purposes, money spent on advertising is either wholly, or in part, not an admissible deduction from company profits.

Mr. H. Brooke

No, Sir.

Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that £230 million per year is being spent on advertising and that half that vast expenditure is, an effect, paid by the Exchequer in the form of tax rebates? When will he set the Treasury cat among the fat advertising pigeons, some of whom are resting snugly in the ranks of the Tory Party?

Mr. Brooke

I do not know about the Treasury cat, but the hon. and gallant Member will remember that in 1947 Sir Stafford Cripps proposed certain changes in the law relating to advertising expenditure but, on reconsideration, they were withdrawn.

Mr. J. R. H. Hutchison

Does not my hon. Friend agree that properly conducted advertising is one of the essential ingredients of success in business?