HC Deb 04 November 1954 vol 532 cc580-1
19. Mr. Bowles

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, in view of the difficulty in applying Pay As You Earn to the entertainment profession, because of the Inland Revenue Department's finding that, in the main, the theatrical profession have no employers, he will consider holding theatrical agents who make bookings and collect fees responsible for their clients' Income Tax.

Mr. H. Brooke

The hon. Member's suggestion could not be implemented without further legislation. The whole question to which he refers is within the terms of reference of the Royal Commission on the Taxation of Profits and Income, and my right hon. Friend will give careful consideration to anything they may say about it in their forthcoming Report.

Mr. Bowles

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the disclosures of tax evasion in this House last week have shocked the country, and that I came across many cases of anger among my constituents during the weekend? Can he give us any idea how much is lost by evasion?

Mr. Brooke

I could not say, without notice, how much is lost by evasion, but, of course, some of these large sums mentioned in the papers do get collected in due course. I thought I made clear to the House a week ago how strongly I personally feel on this question of tax evasion.

Mr. Bowles

Does not the hon. Gentleman realise that this ignorance on his part is a mockery to every taxpayer in the country?

Mr. Jay

Even though there are great practical difficulties in the matter, will not the hon. Gentleman nevertheless look at it very seriously to see if some improvement can be made?

Mr. Brooke

Yes, Sir; I should like to tell the House that I was looking into this matter before the Question appeared on the Order Paper.