HC Deb 10 July 1956 vol 556 cc307-9

(1) The Income Tax Acts shall have effect, and be deemed always to have had effect, as if in subsection (2) of section seven of the Income Tax Act, 1945 (which provides that the allowances under section fifteen of the Finance Act, 1937, in respect of mills, factories and other similar premises shall cease in all cases after the year 1955–56), for the words "the next nine years of assessment" there had in both places been substituted the words "the next twelve years of assessment".

(2) The reference in this section to section seven of the Income Tax Act, 1945 shall be construed as referring to that section as set out in Part I of the Eleventh Schedule to the Income Tax Act, 1952.—[Sir E. Boyle.]

Brought up and read the First time.

Sir E. Boyle

I beg to move, That the Clause be read a Second time.

The object of the Clause is to implement the decision of my right hon. Friend that the mills and factories' allowance should be continued for a further, and final, period of three years. I think that, without discourtesy to the House, I can be brief in moving the Clause.

The allowance was extended by the former Chancellor, Sir Stafford Cripps, in 1950 for a further period of five years, and it was designed to end on 5th April, 1956. A new Clause designed to continue the allowance for a further five years was moved in Committee by my hon. Friend the Member for Dover (Mr. Arbuthnot), and I then said that I was instructed to say that we would look into this allowance and see whether there was a case for a further extension. My right hon. Friend has examined this question, and he thinks that in present circumstances there is a case for an absolutely final extension of three years. It is for that reason that this new Clause has been tabled.

Mr. Mitchison

On the whole, we regard the principle of this new Clause as reasonable. I need not go into it again, because it was discussed at an earlier stage. What was originally suggested, I believe, was the next 15 years instead of the next nine years, and the Treasury, which really at times becomes almost understandable, performed the operation known to the vulgar as splitting the difference, and this appears to be the result. In that spirit, and recognising that noble minds occasionally do quite ordinary things, we offer no objection whatever to this provision.

Mr. Stevens

I rise on behalf of my hon. Friend the Member for Dover (Mr. Arbuthnot), who cannot be here, once again to thank my hon. Friend the Economic Secretary and my right hon. Friend the Chancellor for rather more than splitting the difference in this new Clause. Originally, my hon. Friend asked for five years, and we have got three years, which is three-fifths of what we want, or rather more than 50 per cent. Actually, it is 60 per cent. In any case, I am very grateful and offer my sincere thanks.

Clause read a second time and added to the Bill.