HC Deb 19 July 1955 vol 544 cc182-3
5. Mr. Hector Hughes

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he has considered the financial handicaps suffered by persons who, because of physical disability, have to incur extra expense not incurred by persons free from disability; and what regulations on Income Tax allowance or other relief he now makes and intends to make to such disabled persons in respect of such extra expense.

Mr. R. A. Butler

The only provision of this nature is Section 217 of the Income Tax Act, 1952, which grants an allowance of £40 to a taxpayer who, by reason of old age or infirmity, has to depend on the services of a daughter resident with and maintained by him. The Royal Commission made certain recommendations on this matter which will be considered before next year with its other recommendations.

Mr. Hughes

Does not the Chancellor realise that the Section to which he refers is quite inadequate to deal with the injustices envisaged in the Question? From his comprehensive knowledge of financial matters, does not he know that these injustices have been dealt with satisfactorily in other countries? Cannot Britain do as well as other countries in this matter?

Mr. Butler

The hon. and learned Gentleman does me too much honour in saying that I have a comprehensive knowledge of these matters. My knowledge is only relative, but it is supplemented by that of the Royal Commission which, as I have said, has made certain recommendations which it is important that we should have time to consider.

Mr. Gaitskell

Is the Chancellor aware that if he decides to follow the very reasonable recommendations of the Royal Commission upon this matter of disabled persons, he will have the support of hon. Members on this side of the House?

Mr. Butler

I am glad to be aware of that attitude of mind on the part of the right hon. Gentleman and his hon. Friends.