§ The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. R. A. Butler)
About 16½ million people—counting husband and wife as one—paid tax in 1954–55. Recent wage increases and increased employment would have brought this figure up to about 17½ million, or about 19½ million, counting married women separately, in 1955–56. The Budget proposals will take nearly 2½ million individual taxpayers out of taxation, or about 2 million people, counting husband and wife as one. The number left paying tax in 1955–56 will, therefore, be about 15½ million, counting husband and wife as one, or about 17 million, counting married women separately.
§ Mr. Jay
Does this mean that the figure of nearly 2½ million given by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in his Budget speech for those exempted from Income Tax is not really firm but is a hypothetical figure for those who would be exempted if there were no further increases in wages and salaries during the coming year?
§ Mr. Butler
First, it proves that the answer which I gave the right hon. Gentleman was correct. Secondly, it proves that the figure which I gave in my Budget speech was correct. I have set this out at some length owing to the difficulty in the figures about counting married women separately or not. That is why I gave as full an answer as I could to the right hon. Gentleman.