HC Deb 03 May 1955 vol 540 cc1507-8
42. Mr. Jay

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what he estimates will be the change in the number of persons paying Income Tax in 1955–56, compared with 1954–55, allowing both for increasing wages and salaries, and for the tax remissions in this year's Budget.

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.