HC Deb 09 November 1954 vol 532 cc1036-7
38. Mr. H. A. Price

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what gross income is required, at the present level of taxation, to leave a net income, after tax, of £200 per week.

Mr. R. A. Butler

In the absence of any indication as to the personal circumstances of the hypothetical taxpayer, I am assuming that my hon. Friend has in mind a single person without dependants who qualifies for the maximum earned income relief. The answer is £140,570 per annum.

Mr. Price

Does this not mean that an actor, an actress or a variety artiste in receipt of £200 per week, a substantial portion of which is claimed as expenses, free of Income Tax, and who evades payment of Income Tax on the rest, is in receipt of an effective income 28 times as great as those of my right hon. Friends, the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Foreign Secretary, and does he really think that any of them are worth that?

Mr. Hale

Would the right hon. Gentleman make it clear that so far as earned income is concerned, the sense of deprivation of these unhappy people, who have only 70 times as much as an old-age pensioner, can generally be mitigated by living in a house at the expense of the firm, driving in a car at the expense of the firm, dictating to a secretary employed by the firm and entertaining their friends at the expense of the firm, while having a large untaxed capital appreciation?

Mr. Butler

I shall be glad if the hon. Gentleman will give us evidence of any further experiences in this direction because, as he knows, we are rather hard on expenses at the present time. In reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Lewisham, West (Mr. H. A. Price) the figure is so very hypothetical, both personally and in numerals, that I think we cannot draw these conclusions.