HC Deb 11 December 1956 vol 562 cc213-4
32. Mr. Roy Jenkins

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what changes he proposes to make in the Profits Tax, the Purchase Tax and the tobacco and beer duties in his next Budget.

Mr. H. Brooke

I do not propose to anticipate my right hon. Friend's next Budget.

Mr. Jenkins

In that case, can the right hon. Gentleman tell us why Income Tax is to be singled out, and why we were given last week an indication of his right hon. Friend's intention about that, and not about other taxes? Will he please explain the logical distinction which his right hon. Friend made in his mind?

Mr. Brooke

My right hon. Friend explained that the Income Tax was the traditional first weapon first used on these occasions. I know of the Socialist devotion to high taxation, but I should not have thought that the hon. Member would wish the Chancellor to increase all these taxes simultaneously.

Mr. H. Wilson

Is the extraordinary reference made by the Chancellor to the Income Tax—marking a very great contrast to what the Lord Privy Seal did on the eve on the last Election—in any way connected with the Financial Secretary's statement last night, when, quite suddenly, he told us that there was not to be an Election in 1957? Are we to take it, therefore, that in 1957 there will be no question of following the Lord Privy Seal's example?

Mr. Brooke

I have already said that I do not propose to anticipate my right hon. Friend's Budget, but I do not see why I should not anticipate General Election prospects.

Lieut.-Colonel Bromley-Davenport

In view of the fact that the Chancellor of the Exchequer can never anticipate his Budget statement, is not the asinine Question on the Order Paper typical of the oaflike Opposition opposite?

Mr. Brooke

I can add nothing to the cogency of my hon. and gallant Friend's question.

Mr. Jay

Even if the Financial Secretary is unable to answer that question, can he, at least, give an assurance that, after this week, there will be no further Budget until April?

Mr. Brooke

I am not proposing to anticipate anything, but the Financial Secretary has a personal interest in avoiding Budgets.

Mr. Jenkins

In view of what the Financial Secretary has said, and despite the fact that it clearly contradicts everything which the Lord Privy Seal did in his last Budget, can we have an assurance that it is clearly the Chancellor's intention to consider increasing the Income Tax before he considers any changes in the taxes which I have mentioned?

Mr. Nabarro

Certainly not.

Mr. Brooke

My right hon. Friend the Chancellor indicated that he had reviewed the tax field. He made certain statements on Tuesday last week. I have nothing to add to them.