HC Deb 11 July 1956 vol 556 cc462-83
Mr. Gordon Walker

I beg to move, in page 24, line 21, at the end to insert: five hundred pounds or, in the case of an individual who has attained the age of fifty before or during that year". I think that this Amendment could be considered with that which we propose in page 24, line 26.

The two Amendments go with the Schedule we discussed yesterday, when we reserved our position in Committee about some Amendments. The Amendment is to deal with the question of late entrants into the Millard Tucker Clauses of the Bill, a matter which was raised, and very ably raised, by the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Kensington, South (Sir P. Spens). I hope that we may, perhaps, have his support for the Amendment because, on the whole, we think that this proposal deals better with the question of late entrants than the Government's proposals do, and in one respect is more generous, as I shall point out, than the Government's proposals. It is certainly more restrictive in one respect, but it is more generous in another.

It is more restrictive because the effect of the Amendment would be to retain the £500 upper limit as the general limit. On that, as I have explained several times during our consideration of the Bill, we feel very strongly, and we continue to feel very strongly about it. It would also be more restrictive than the Government's proposals in that it would limit the rate of the higher benefits to those over the age of 50, whereas that would not apply under the Government's proposals.

However, I would draw to the attention of the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Kensington, South that this is in one respect more generous than the Government's proposals, because it would deal with all late entrants for ever. Anyone who reaches the age of 50 any time from now on, if our Amendment were accepted, could qualify for certain benefits because of his age; whereas the Government's proposals are for those only who are now of a certain age. The people who will benefit from the Chancellor's proposals will diminish until, finally, they disappear when the last of them dies.

Under our proposals anybody who, for one reason or another, had not been able to come into the scheme before the age of 50 would at that age be able to do so if he chose, and we think that that is right. There will be people who, for quite proper reasons, cannot come into the scheme, cannot buy these annuities, until the age of 50, and who will thus certainly suffer very much if our Amendment is not accepted.

We are in agreement with the main principle, and against this one question of the limit only, and we think that it would be better to let everybody come in, even if they came in over the age of 50. The effect of our Amendment would be to make a distinction hereafter between people under 50 and over 50. The benefit of the larger percentages of their incomes that they can spend on buying annuities, which is provided for in the Schedule we passed yesterday, would, under our Amendment, be limited to people over 50, but they would go on getting it. A person who became 50 could get that benefit.

It would not be a tapering benefit. It would be a permanent benefit. Some of those who entered the scheme would get a proportionately smaller benefit under our Amendment, two-thirds of the benefit the Chancellor is proposing in the Schedule to give to late entrants, but we think that our Amendment is just and right.

I hope it will be supported on the other side of the House as well as on ours because it is a genuine attempt to meet fairly the problem of late entry, and, although it does make the general level £500, it would lift that level for late entrants. It would lift that level for any late entrant at any time in the future. It shows how eager we are to make the scheme fair and effective. Despite out great distaste for the raising of the limit in general, we see the case for the late entrant, and for providing for him for the future and not merely once for all, as the Chancellor has proposed.

Sir Patrick Spens (Kensington, South)

I appreciate that this indicates a rather different attitude of mind from that which we saw on this subject earlier, but, of course, the Amendment does not cover the class I had in mind when I pressed the original Amendment, that is to say, the young professional men who were caught by the war. They are now between 35 and 45 and they are the people whom I personally, at any rate, and, I think, many of my hon. Friends, particularly want to help as late entrants. Therefore, though the Amendment does give certain advantages, I do not think that it satisfies the object which we have in mind.

I still think that the upper limit of £750 was the all-important concession which we succeeded in getting out of my right hon. Friend, and for it we are most grateful. I am not going to repeat the speech I made last night on the subject, but I think the whole attitude of the Opposition towards this matter has been taken on the assumption that people earn either steady incomes or incomes which steadily increase, whereas the incomes of the professional people whom I have in mind go up and down in no calculable fashion very often, and through no fault of the professional men themselves. From personal experience in the old days I know that that was so, and I am quite certain that those people experience the same thing now.

For instance, because of the crisis of 1929 to 1931, professional men, men who were earning substantial incomes a year or two before, found themselves, to all intents and purposes, out of work. It is in those circumstances that I think the £750 limit is so useful at the end of a career. Therefore, although a bait has been dangled before us very cleverly by the Opposition, I hope that my right hon. Friend will not accept the Amendments

6.30 p.m.

Mr. H. Macmillan

I recognise very much the spirit in which the right hon. Member for Smethwick (Mr. Gordon Walker) has put the Amendments on the Notice Paper and the words he has used in moving the Amendment. I am sure that it will be of general benefit to us all, both now and in the future, if this new and comprehensive scheme carries with it the maximum possible sympathy from all sides of the House and from both parties. Though we have had discussions and debates on what precisely the limit should be, I hope that the mere fact that the House has now decided to make it rather higher than was first suggested by the Government will not in itself, as things settle down, be regarded as a serious breach of that spirit of co-operation which has marked discussions of this part of the Finance Bill.

I recognise that the main purpose of the Amendment is to try to undo what the House has done in raising the £500 limit to £750 and yet deal with the problem of those who are over 50. It is quite true that this problem of the men over 50 was brought very much to our notice by a large number of hon. Members on both sides of the House and by outside organisations. I had that impression and I tried to meet it in the way in which we have met it, but this case of the man over 50 was not the only type of case that we decided to meet by increasing the limit.

My right hon. Friend the Financial Secretary specifically mentioned the man whose income fluctuated. That was another type of case with which we had to try to deal. There is no logical reason why a handicap suffered by men under 50 in respect of such fluctuation should be left and it should be removed from men who are over 50. There are those whose maximum earnings are achieved before 50 and then decline. There are professions—happily, politics is not one of them—in which men reach a very high earning point at an earlier age and then sometimes lose their earning power. That might be true sometimes of actors, even of musicians, and certainly of singers, and of other people. Therefore, these were the type of cases which we had in mind, which would not be covered if I accepted the Amendments.

The right hon. Member for Smethwick said, very fairly, that his system would go on whereas our plans for late entrants are to deal with a specific problem, but I think that that is the way to deal with it. The reason why I think it right to deal with late entrants is that we are introducing a new scheme. Hon. Members know that when a pension scheme is introduced in a business there is the problem that the day it is introduced there are a tremendous number of people who cannot take advantage of it because they are too old. Therefore, arrangements have to be made to deal with them, but thereafter people are expected to go into the general plan.

I do not believe that it is wrong, therefore, to make a special arrangement to deal with the older people when one starts a new idea and then to say that that arrangement must come to an end and as the plan becomes part of the working system people must take advantage of it in the ordinary way. I recognise the spirit in which the Amendments are put forward, but I hope that the House will feel that we ought to stick to the plan which has been decided upon and not introduce complications into it.

Question put, That those words be there inserted in the Bill:—

The House divided: Ayes 195, Noes 236.

Division No. 262.] AYES [6.35 p.m.
Ainsley, J. W. Greenwood, Anthony Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)
Albu, A. H. Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R. Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.)
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Grey, C. F. Parker, J.
Allen, Arthur (Bosworth) Hale, Leslie Parkin, B. T.
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe) Hall, Rt. Hn. Glenvil (Colne Valley) Pearson, A.
Anderson, Frank Hamilton, W. W. Plummer, Sir Leslie
Awbery, S. S. Hannan, W. Popplewell, E.
Bacon, Miss Alice Harrison, J. (Nottingham, N.) Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)
Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J. Hastings, S. Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)
Bence, C. R. (Dunbartonshire, E.) Hayman, F. H. Probert, A. R.
Benson, G. Healey, Denis Proctor, W. T.
Beswick, F. Henderson, Rt. Hn. A. (Rwly Regis) Pryde, D. J.
Blackburn, F. Herbison, Miss M. Randall, H. E.
Blenkinsop, A. Hobson, C. R. Rankin, John
Boardman, H. Holman, P. Redhead, E. C.
Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G. Holmes, Horace Reeves, J.
Bowden, H. W. (Leicester, S.W.) Howell, Charles (Perry Barr) Reid, William
Bowles, F. G. Howell, Denis (All Saints) Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Boyd, T. C. Hoy, J. H. Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)
Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth Hubbard, T. F. Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)
Brockway, A. F. Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire) Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Royle, C.
Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper) Hunter, A. E. Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.
Brown, Thomas (Ince) Hynd, H. (Accrington) Silverman, Julius (Aston)
Burke, W. A. Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe) Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)
Burton, Miss F. E. Irving, S. (Dartford) Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Janner, B. Skeffington, A. M.
Callaghan, L. J. Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T. Slater, J. (Sedgefield)
Castle, Mrs. B. A. Jeger, George (Goole) Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)
Champion, A. J. Jeger, Mrs. Lena (Holbn & St. Pncs, S.) Snow, J. W.
Chapman, W. D. Jenkins, Roy (Stechford) Sorensen, R. W.
Chetwynd, G. R. Johnson, James (Rugby) Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank
Clunie, J. Jones, David (The Hartlepools) Steele, T.
Coldrick, W. Key, Rt. Hon. C. W. Stewart, Michael (Fulham)
Collick, P. H. (Birkenhead) King, Dr. H. M. Stokes, Rt. Hon. R. R. (Ipswich)
Collins, V. J. (Shoreditch & Finsbury) Lawson, G. M. Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall)
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Ledger, R. J. Stross, Dr. Barnett (Stoke-on-Trent, C.)
Crossman, R. H. S. Lee, Frederick (Newton) Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.
Cullen, Mrs. A. Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock) Swingler, S. T.
Daines, P. Lever, Leslie (Ardwick) Taylor, John (West Lothian)
Dalton, Rt. Hon. H. Lindgren, G. S. Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)
Darling, George (Hillsborough) Lipton, Lt.-Col. M. Timmons, J.
Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.) Logan, D. G. Tomney, F.
Davies, Harold (Leek) Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn
Davies, Stephen (Merthyr) MacColl, J. E. Usborne, H. C.
de Freitas, Geoffrey McInnes, J. Wells, Percy (Faversham)
Delargy, H. J. McKay, John (Wallsend) Wells, William (Walsall, N.)
Dodds, N. N. McLeavy, Frank West, D. G.
Dye, S. MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling) Wheeldon, W. E.
Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C. Mahon, Simon White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)
Edwards, Rt. Hon. John (Brighouse) Mann, Mrs. Jean White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)
Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly) Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A. Wilkins, W. A.
Edwards, W. J. (Stepney) Mayhew, C. P. Williams, David (Neath)
Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.) Messer, Sir F. Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Ab'tillery)
Evans, Edward (Lowestoft) Mitchison, G. R. Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)
Evans, Stanley (Wednesbury) Moody, A. S. Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)
Fernyhough, E. Morrison, Rt. Hn. Herbert (Lewis'm, S.) Williams, W. T. (Barons Court)
Fienburgh, W. Mort, D. L. Willis, Eustace (Edinburgh, E.)
Finch, H. J. Moss, R. Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)
Fletcher, Eric Mulley, F. W. Winterbottom, Richard
Forman, J. C. Oliver, G. H. Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton) Oram, A. E. Yates, V. (Ladywood)
Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N. Orbach, M. Zilliacus, K.
Gibson, C. W. Oswald, T.
Gooch, E. G. Owen, W. J. TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C. Padley, W. E. Mr. Deer and Mr. Short.
Agnew, Cmdr. P. G. Barter, John Bossom, Sir Alfred
Aitken, W. T. Baxter, Sir Beverley Boyle, Sir Edward
Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.) Beamish, Maj. Tufton Braine, B. R.
Alport, C. J. M. Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.) Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H.
Amory, Rt. Hn. Heathcoat (Tiverton) Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.) Brooke, Rt. Hon. Henry
Armstrong, C. W. Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth) Brooman-White, R. C.
Ashton, H. Bidgood, J. C. Browne, J. Nixon (Craigton)
Astor, Hon. J. J. Biggs-Davison, J. A. Bryan, P.
Atkins, H. E. Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel Bullus, Wing Commander E. E.
Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J.M. Bishop, F. P. Burden, F. F. A.
Baldwin, A. E. Black, C. W. Channon, H.
Balniel, Lord Body, R. F. Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.)
Cole, Norman Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.) Partridge, E.
Conant, Maj. Sir Roger Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral J. Pilkington, Capt. R. A.
Cooper, A. E. Hughes-Young, M. H. C. Pitman, I. J.
Cooper-Key, E. M. Hulbert, Sir Norman Pitt, Miss E. M.
Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K. Hurd, A. R. Pott, H. P.
Corfield, Capt. F. V. Hutchison, Sir Ian Clark (E'b'gh, W.) Powell, J. Enoch
Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne) Hutchison, Sir James (Scotstoun) Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)
Crowder, Sir John (Finchley) Iremonger, T. L. Profumo, J. D.
Dance, J. C. G. Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Raikes, Sir Victor
Davidson, Viscountess Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich) Ramsden, J. E.
D'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Jennings, J. C. (Burton) Rawlinson, Peter
Deedes, W. F. Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle) Redmayne, M.
Digby, Simon Wingfield Johnson, Eric (Blackley) Pees-Davies, W. R.
Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA. Joynson-Hicks, Hon. Sir Lancelot Remnant, Hon. P.
du Cann, E. D. L. Keegan, D. Ridsdale, J. E.
Dugdale, Rt. Hn. Sir T. (Richmond) Kerby, Capt. H. B. Rippon, A. G. F.
Duncan, Capt. J. A. L. Kerr, H. W. Robertson, Sir David
Duthie, W. S. Kershaw, J. A. Roper, Sir Harold
Eccles, Rt. Hon. Sir David Kimball, M. Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard
Eden, Rt. Hn. Sir A. (Warwick & L'm'tn) Kirk, P. M. Russell, R. S.
Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West) Lagden, G. W. Sandys, Rt. Hon. D.
Errington, Sir Eric Lambert, Hon. G. Schofield, Lt.-Col, W.
Erroll, F. J. Lancaster, Col. C. G. Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.
Farey-Jones, F. W. Leavey, J. A. Sharples, R. C.
Finlay, Graeme Leburn, W. G. Shepherd, William
Fisher, Nigel Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H. Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)
Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. F. Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield) Spens, Rt. Hn. Sir P. (Kens'gt'n, S.)
Fletcher-Cooke, C. Lindsay, Hon. James (Devon, N.) Stevens, Geoffrey
Foster, John Lindsay, Martin (Solihull) Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)
Galbraith, Hon. T. G. D. Linstead, Sir H. N. Steward, Sir William (Woolwich, W.)
Gammans, Sir David Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.) Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.
George, J. C. (Pollok) Lloyd-George, Maj. Rt. Hon. G. Studholme, Sir Henry
Gibson-Watt, D. Longden, Gilbert Summers, Sir Spencer
Glover, D. Lucas, P. B. (Brantford & Chiswick) Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Godber, J. B. Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)
Gomme-Duncan, Col. Sir Alan McAdden, S. J. Teeling, W.
Gough, C. F. H. Mackie, J. H. (Galloway) Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)
Gower, H. R. Maclay, Rt. Hon. John Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)
Graham, Sir Fergus McLean, Neil (Inverness) Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)
Grant, W. (Woodside) MacLeod, John (Ross & Cromarty) Thompson, Lt.-Cdr. R. (Croydon, S.)
Grant-Ferris, Wg. Cdr. R. (Nantwich) Macmillan, Rt. Hn. Harold (Bromley) Thornton-Kemsley, C. N.
Green, A. Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries) Tiley, A. (Bradford, W.)
Grimond, J. Maitland, Cdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle) Tilney, John (Wavertree)
Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans) Maitland, Hon. Patrick (Lanark) Touche, Sir Gordon
Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury) Markham, Major Sir Frank Turner, H. F. L.
Gurden, Harold Marlowe, A. A. H. Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.
Hall, John (Wycombe) Marshall, Douglas Vickers, Miss J. H.
Hare, Rt. Hon. J. H. Mathew, R. Vosper, D. F.
Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.) Mawby, R. L. Wade, D. W.
Harris, Reader (Heston) Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C. Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)
Harrison, A. B. C. (Maldon) Medlicott, Sir Frank Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. M'lebone)
Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.) Milligan, Rt. Hon. W. R. Walker-Smith, D. C.
Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.) Molson, Rt. Hon. Hugh Wall, Major Patrick
Harvie-Watt, Sir George Moore, Sir Thomas Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)
Hay, John Mott-Radclyffe, C. E. Ward, Dame Irene (Tynemouth)
Head, Rt. Hon. A. H. Nabarro, G. D. N. Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C.
Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel Nairn, D. L. S. Watkinson, Rt. Hon. Harold
Heath, Rt. Hon. E. R. G. Neave, Airey Whitelaw, W.S.I. (Penrith & Border)
Hill, Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton) Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham) Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)
Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe) Nicolson, N. (B'n'm'th, E. & Chr'ch) Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)
Hill, John (S. Norfolk) Nield, Basil (Chester) Wills, G. (Bridgwater)
Hirst, Geoffrey Noble, Comdr. A. H. P. Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Holland-Martin, C. J. Oakshott, H. D. Woollam, John Victor
Holt, A. F. Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D. Yates, William (The Wrekin)
Hope, Lord John Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.)
Hornby, R. P. Orr-Ewing, Sir Ian (Weston-S-Mare) TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Dame Florence Osborne, C. Colonel J. H. Harrison and
Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives) Page, R. G. Mr. Barber.

6.45 p.m.

Mr. Gordon Walker

I beg to move, in page 24, line 23, after "year" to insert: nor more than the sum of five thousand pounds in any ten consecutive years". I regard this Amendment as of much greater importance than the one we have just dealt with, although I thought that that was important. This one ought to appeal to the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Kensington, South (Sir P. Spens) and maybe to the hon. Gentleman the Member for Cheadle (Mr. Shepherd), and even to the Chancellor. I say that because in the course of the previous debate the right hon. Gentleman pointed to the case of someone whose earnings might fluctuate, or might even reach their maximum before the age of 50, and for such people this would be a benefit.

This Amendment deals with the late earners, if I may so describe them, rather than the late entrants, and late earners will, presumably, be with us for ever. They are not a problem which arises only at the beginning of a scheme. Clearly, there is a case, which was made by the hon. Member for Cheadle among others, for the late earner, the man who reaches his highest earning capacity towards the end of his life but, because he was not earning much before, the one-tenth of his income he was able to put in did not add up to much. Even then he is still allowed only to pay up to £500 a year which, relative to someone who had been earning a higher average all through his working life, would make him less well off.

This point was well put, we appreciated it ourselves from the beginning, and there is a case for it. However, I do not think that there is any case for the Chancellor's way of dealing with it. What the right hon. Gentleman has done is to raise the limit for everybody, including his own category of people who reach their maximum earning capacity before the age of 50, either at 40 or even 35. In the case of athletes it may be even earlier.

The Chancellor has raised the limit for everybody regardless of whether they are late earners, early earners or steady earners, in order to benefit the one class of late earners. The burden of the representations made to him was that these people whose interests were represented were late earners. But the proposal of the right hon. Gentleman benefits all men, though, of course, only all rich men, earning over £5,000 a year net relevant earnings, regardless of the point at which they reach their full earnings.

Our Amendment is designed, and, I think, succeeds in hitting just the class we are talking about, namely, those who reach a high earning capacity at a relatively late age. Our Amendment would enable such late earners to catch up with other people who had been earning a more even income through the whole or the greater part of their earning life, because it would enable such a late earner to go over the £500 a year limit, but only in so far that if that were averaged over ten years it would still reach an annual average of £500.

The late earner would not, therefore, get ahead of other people, but would be able to catch them up. After all, that is the intent and purpose behind all the suggestions that have been made on behalf of the late earner. It means that the late earner would be able to get an annual average spread over ten years of £500 a year, and this is exactly what he ought to get in justice, and it would avoid the raising of the limit for everybody—late, early, anybody—as long as they were rich enough to enjoy it.

Under our Amendment, in a particular year a late earner could go even above the Chancellor's £750 as long as the annual average over ten years was only £500. In certain respects this might benefit a late earner even more than the Chancellor does, but it would not enable him in the end to get above the general level allowed to all other people.

It seems to me that the cost would be considerably less than the cost of the Chancellor's proposal. I do not doubt that the right hon. Gentleman, in his usual courteous way, will give us the cost, but I imagine it would be less because the general raising of the limit would be avoided by this means and would be concentrated upon late earners.

This is a compromise we could accept, and that is why we are putting it forward. I hope very much that the Chancellor will look at it in that way, because we have gone very far to try to get a reasonable compromise by which, as a result of giving way somewhat on points we are not really sure about, we can achieve a real unity of both sides of the House on this important matter.

I must tell the Chancellor that we are still bitterly opposed to his remedy of raising the limit from £500 to £750. The Chancellor must not deduce from the tone in which we moved the previous Amendment, and from our desire to arrive at a compromise here, that we are in the slightest degree weakening in our complete objection to his remedy of raising the limit for everybody from £500 to £750. We are opposed to that whatever representations are made and by whomever they are made, and we shall continue to be opposed to it. If the Chancellor insists upon it, and the Amendment is rejected, the scheme will not be able to be considered as one which, in this respect, is based on common agreement in the House. That applies to the rest of the scheme, but if the Chancellor does not accept the Amendment we shall retain strong and lasting objection to his raising of the limit.

I hope that the right hon. Gentleman, for the sake of unity, for the reason which he gave on the last Amendment, that of the need to get maximum sympathy from both sides of the House for the launching of this kind of experiment, can come the halfway that is necessary to meet those on this side who have gone halfway to meet him. As I have often said to him, we would sooner not have a party issue on this point, but the Chancellor must not think that, because our words have been moderate, we have weakened in the slightest degree in our very strong, bitter and lasting opposition to the raising of the limit.

We put forward our proposal as a compromise. There is more to be said on the merits, but none the less, it is a compromise which would enable us to proceed with sympathy on both sides of the House. If the Amendment is rejected, that chance will be destroyed, and we shall retain our feeling that this is wrong and our liberty to put it right when the chance comes to us to do so.

Mr. H. Brooke

I am sure it is recognised that the right hon. Member for Smethwick (Mr. Gordon Walker) spoke with sincerity when he said that he was opposed to the £750 limit which has now been written into the Bill. However, I hope he will take the view, as we on the Government side of the House have done, that the whole Millard Tucker scheme is experimental and we must see how we get on. I trust that experience will show that his right hon. and learned Friend the Member for St. Helens (Sir H. Shawcross) was correct in the view that he expressed and that the other members of the Labour Party were wrong.

The Amendment would—indeed, this is its intention—whittle down the value of the £750 limit which has now been inserted in the Bill. The right hon. Gentleman said the Amendment would help the late earners, but that is not so. If the Bill were amended in this way, it would restrict the late earners. It would have helped the late earners only if the Bill had not previously been amended by substituting £750 for £500.

I listened with care to the arguments on which the right hon. Gentleman based his case. I thought he was going to face me, on the Amendment, with a complete answer to something that I had said in Committee, because one of the reasons which I had given for accepting the Amendment to alter the limit from £500 to £750 was that that would help the man whose earnings fluctuated. I want to do the right hon. Gentleman full justice, and I must say that I thought the Amendment was a very clever form of words in reply to that part of the argument which I had adduced. I stress "that part", because other considerations were raised in Committee, and we must see how the Amendment would affect them also.

Several hon. Members have referred at various times to the case of the professional man who has a considerable struggle in his early years and then reaches, for a short period in later life, a high rate of earnings. That is the type of man who can afford to save relatively little until he reaches middle life. At that point, he is faced with the necessity of making provision out of savings for his retirement at a time when each £100 that he can put aside by way of premium to acquire a pension policy for his retirement will have much less value in terms of the annuity that it will purchase than £100 paid, say, twenty years earlier.

That type of man will be hit by the Amendment. The right hon. Gentleman said that the Amendment would succeed in hitting "just the class we are aiming at." I thought he meant hitting to their advantage, but "hit" is ambiguous, and I will show that the Amendment would hit them gravely to their disadvantage. The people who in their later life before retirement are able for a short time to enjoy substantial incomes would, if the Amendment were accepted, be restricted to tax relief on an average of £500 a year for the ten years of their highest earnings. The total relief that such a man would be able to get in the ten years would be only £5,000, which, of course, is just what it would have been for him if the limit had never been raised in Committee from £500 to £750.

There is a further objection, and I think that hon. Members opposite, although they are strongly prejudiced in favour of the Amendment, will recognise the force of what I am about to say. The proposed limit of £5,000 in any ten-year period would apply so as to cut down the additional tax relief to which the late entrants would otherwise be entitled. As the Bill stands, the maximum for those born in 1907 or earlier is £1,125. Indeed, if we had never accepted the Amendment to change the limit from £500 to £750, the tax relief under the comparable Amendment, to which I am sure the Committee would have agreed for the benefit of the late entrants, would have given the man who was born before 1907 the right to tax relief on £750 a year. Those people—my argument is equally applicable whether the limit is £500 or £750—would be harshly hit by the Amendment, because they would find that they had exhausted their tax relief before the end of the ten years.

Indeed, with the Bill as it stands, the person who was born before 1907 and is fortunate enough to be earning £7,500 a year, would be able to get tax relief on £1,125 a year. In four years that would amount to £4,500, and then he would find, under the Amendment, that he was left with a further £500 only for the remaining six years of the ten-year period. Although the right hon. Gentleman believes that he and his hon. Friends have devised a skilful and unobjectionable way of meeting the difficulty that otherwise arises over fluctuating earnings, what has really happened is that he has moved an Amendment which would not help but harm both the late earners and the late entrants. For those reasons I could not possibly advise the House to accept the Amendment.

7.0 p.m.

Mr. Mitchison

My right hon. and learned Friend the Member for St. Helens (Sir H. Shawcross) was speaking, on the occasion to which the Financial Secretary took yet another opportunity to refer, as Chairman of the Bar Council. If he is the Chairman of the Bar Council, he has to represent the views of the Council and to represent them fairly and fully. It seems to me inviting very unfortunate consequences to the future of the House if observations and representations, which are made in that representative capacity, are confused with something entirely different, the political and perhaps personal views—I do not know about that—of the right hon. and learned Member.

If it is desired that right hon. and hon. Members shall occupy positions of that importance in their professions—as I hope they still may—then I suggest that it is up to all responsible Members, including for that purpose members of the Government, to make it particularly clear in what capacity that kind of statement is made. I regard it as unfortunate, to say the least of it, that that matter, which was clearly stated yesterday and cleared up in an exchange between the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who, originally, put the matter far more fairly than did the right hon. Gentleman, and my right hon. Friend the Member for Huyton (Mr. H. Wilson), should have further reference made to it which can only have the effect of obscuring what was said yesterday.

Now I turn to the merits of the Amendment. We have always taken the view that £500 and not £750 was the right limit. That was the view of the Government. That was the figure which they put into the Bill. A great deal of the procedural difficulty in which we have been involved has been due to the fact that the Government, under pressure from their own supporters in the course of the Committee stage, at a very late hour of the night accepted an Amendment which it never occured to me they would accept.

It did not occur to me because I certainly imagined that, when making up their minds on a matter of considerable importance, something which involved many millions of public money, the Government would at least have decided what limit they would have before coming to the House. It is with some impatience that I now hear the kind of comment which the right hon. Gentleman is now able to make, that the matter has not been sufficiently thought out by the Opposition. We have done a little better than he gives us credit for having done.

Let us see what the effect of the Amendment will be. It is intended to meet a particular type of case, the type of person, usually a professional man, who makes high earnings in a short period, but who very often has to wait for a long time before he makes them. It is only out of those earnings that he is able to save. The period over which he can make them varies in different professions. It is probably particularly short—although I speak without expert knowledge of these matters—in the case of a highly skilled surgeon. It may be a little longer in the case of a highly learned and expert lawyer. It may be a little more in the case of an actor, to take a rather different type of occupation.

When we are considering a tax concession of this magnitude—and it is considerable—we feel that we ought not to use that particular case to justify a general increase which will be for the benefit only of people who make between £5,000 and £7,500 a year and who are to have a tax concession at a moment when the Chancellor is telling us that the country is in considerable financial difficulties. That is our broad line of approach.

What we suggest is not a very complicated matter. It may be that we have gone too far, but I do not think that we have. Let us take the example of a person who, during a quite short period, makes phenomenally high earnings. During that short period he will get the benefit of the £750—or of the £7,500 to put it the other way. No doubt during the preparatory years, or in retirement, because his skill has lessened, he will not be in a position to save so much that he will reach even the £500 limit. Any hon. Member can work out for himself the various combinations of figures—a limit of £250 followed by a limit of £750 and numerous other combinations.

However, the principle is perfectly clear and it is that if, contrary to our view, we are to have a high limit at all in the circumstances of the moment, then we should at least confine it to the type of case for which something plausible was said during our discussions in Committee. It is for that reason that we have a spread of this amount over a term of years.

It is said that the Amendment will be hard on the late entrant. It is fair to point out that we have already tried to do something about the late entrant on our own lines and we are no longer discussing that. We have been turned down and that is that. I should like to point out that the late entrant and the high casual earner are not likely to be the same sort of person. We are here trying to deal with the person who, at present, is not in a position to get much out of this concession, because he cannot save enough, but who, as time passes, will be able to get something out of it. It is quite possible to combine the two things, if that is what is really required, but at the moment we are left with the question of whether or not we ought to accept the Amendment as it stands.

I say without hesitation that in the financial circumstances of the moment I prefer to have this broad limit of £5,000 over ten years, even though the late entrants will not get as much out of it as they will from the Chancellor's concession to them in the Schedule. The class of person with whom we are trying to deal seems to be a class which invites more attention and requires more to be done for it than the late entrants to whom reference was made. I do not regard the late entrants as so badly off, because if they are a separate class then they will get the benefit of the £750. As we already say that, in general, the £750 is too high, we cannot be expected to agree with any great satisfaction to yet further additions to that sum on behalf of this particular class.

I repeat, finally, that there is only one real moral case for raising this limit. That is the case of the man who can make much, but only for a short time. When I listened yesterday to the right hon. and learned Member for Kensington, South (Sir P. Spens) pleading generally in support of the £750 limit, I thought it highly significant that the instance he took was just that of the man who earns a great deal for a short time and who has to wait long for it, or, to take the other end of the scale, has to retire early.

It therefore seems to me that this Amendment raises a question of principle, a question of fairness, a question of the duty of the Government, in the financial circumstances of the time, towards people generally and of how far a Government, who have already refused concessions for tobacco and other similar concessions, which would have helped really poor people, are justified in making this general concession without limit and without provision for its not being abused in favour of the class of people who earn between £5,000 and £7,500 a year. I say that that is giving too much and that this Amendment would meet the one case of real—I will not say hardship because, after all, we have got a little bit beyond hardship—unfairness that might have arisen and that it ought to be accepted.

Question put, That those words be there inserted in the Bill:—

The House divided: Ayes 185, Noes 224.

Division No. 263.] AYES [7.12 p.m.
Ainsley, J. W. Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C. Oswald, T.
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Greenwood, Anthony Owen, W. J.
Allen, Arthur (Bosworth) Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R. Padley, W. E.
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe) Grey, C. F. Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)
Anderson, Frank Griffiths, David (Rother Valley) Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.)
Awbery, S. S. Hale, Leslie Parker, J.
Bacon, Miss Alice Hamilton, W. W. Parkin, B. T.
Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J. Hannan, W. Pearson, A.
Bence, C. R. (Dunbartonshire, E.) Harrison, J. (Nottingham, N.) Plummer, Sir Leslie
Benson, G. Hastings, S. Popplewell, E.
Beswick, F. Hayman, F. H. Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)
Blackburn, F. Heeley, Denis Probert, A. R.
Blenkinsop, A. Henderson, Rt. Hn. A. (Rwly Regis) Proctor, W. T.
Boardman, H. Herbison, Miss M. Pryde, D. J.
Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G. Hewitson, Capt. M. Randall, H. E.
Bowden, H. W. (Leicester, S. W.) Hobson, C. R. Rankin, John
Boyd, T. C. Holman, P. Redhead, E. C.
Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth Howell, Charles (Perry Barr) Reeves, J.
Brockway, A. F. Howell, Denis (All Saints) Reid, William
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Hoy. J. H. Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper) Hubbard, T. F. Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)
Brown, Thomas (Ince) Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire) Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)
Burke, W. A. Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Royle, C.
Burton, Miss F. E. Hunter, A. E. Short, E. W.
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Hynd, H. (Acorington) Silverman, Julius (Aston)
Callaghan, L. J. Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe) Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)
Castle, Mrs. B. A. Irving, S. (Dartford) Skeffington, A. M.
Champion, A. J. Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T. Slater, J. (Sedgefield)
Chapman, W. D. Jeger, Mrs. Lena (Holbn & St. Pncs, S.) Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)
Chetwynd, G. R. Jenkins, Roy (Stechford) Sorensen, R. W.
Clunie, J. Johnson, James (Rugby) Steele, T.
Coldrick, W. Jones, David (The Hartlepools) Stewart, Michael (Fulham)
Collick, P. H. (Birkenhead) Key, Rt. Hon. C. W. Stokes, Rt. Hon. R. R. (Ipswich)
Collins, V. J. (Shoreditch& Finsbury) King, Dr. H. M. Stross, Dr. Barnett (Stoke-on-Trent, C.)
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Lawson, G. M. Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.
Crossman, R. H. S. Ledger, R. J. Swingler, S. T.
Cullen, Mrs. A. Lee, Frederick (Newton) Taylor, John (West Lothian)
Dalton, Rt. Hon. H. Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock) Thomas, George (Cardiff)
Darling, George (Hillsborough) Lever, Leslie (Ardwick) Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)
Davies, Harold (Leek) Lindgren, G. S. Timmons, J.
Davies, Stephen (Merthyr) Lipton, Lt.-Col. M. Tomney, F.
Deer, G. Logan, D. G. Ungood-Thomas, Sir Lynn
De Freitas, Geoffrey Mahon, Dr. J. Dickson Usborne, H. C.
Delargy, H. J. MacColl, J. E. Wells, Percy (Faversham)
Dodds, N. N. McInnes, J. Wells, William (Walsall, N.)
Dye, S. McKay, John (Wallsend) Wheeldon, W. E.
Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C. McLeavy, Frank White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)
Edwards, Rt. Hon. John (Brighouse) MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling) White, Henry (Derbyshire, N. E.)
Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly) Mahon, Simon Wilkins, W. A.
Edwards, W. J. (Stepney) Mann, Mrs. Jean Williams, David (Heath)
Evans, Albert (Islington, S. W.) Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A. Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Ab'tillery)
Evans, Edward (Lowestoft) Mayhew, C. P. Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)
Evans, Stanley (Wednesbury) Messer, Sir F. Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)
Fernyhough, E. Mitchison, G. R. Williams, W. T. (Barons Court)
Fienburgh, W. Moody, A. S. Willis, Eustace (Edinburgh, E.)
Finch, H. J. Morrison, Rt. Hn. Herbert (Lewis'm, S.) Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)
Fletcher, Eric Mort, D. L. Winterbottom, Richard
Forman, J. C. Moss, R. Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton) Mulley, F. W. Yates, V. (Ladywood)
Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N. Neal, Harold (Bolsover) Zilliacus, K.
Gibson, C. W. Oliver, G. H.
Gooch, E. G. Oram, A. E. TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Orbach, M. Mr. Holmes and Mr. Simmons.
Agnew, Cmdr. P. G. Atkins, H. E. Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.)
Aitken, W. T. Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M. Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth)
Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.) Baldwin, A. E. Bidgood, J. C.
Alport, C. J. M. Balniel, Lord Biggs-Davison, J. A.
Amory, Rt. Hn. Heathcoat (Tiverton) Barber, Anthony Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel
Anstruther-Gray, Major Sir William Barter, John Bishop, F. P.
Armstrong, C. W. Baxter, Sir Beverley Black, C. W.
Ashton, H. Beamish, Maj. Tufton Body, R. F.
Astor, Hon. J. J. Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.) Bossom, Sir Alfred
Boyle, Sir Edward Holt, A. F. Page, R. G.
Braine, B. R. Hornby, R. P. Partridge, E.
Brooke, Rt. Hon. Henry Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Dame Florence Pilkington, Capt. R. A.
Brooman-White, R. C. Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives) Pitman, I. J.
Browne, J. Nixon (Craigton) Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.) Pitt, Miss E. M.
Bullus, Wing Commander E. E. Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral J. Pott, H. P.
Burden, F. F. A. Hughes-Young, M. H. C. Powell, J. Enoch
Channon, H. Hulbert, Sir Norman Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)
Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.) Hurd, A. R. Profumo, J. D.
Cole, Norman Hutchison, Sir Ian Clark(E'b'gh, W.) Raikes, Sir Victor
Conant, Maj. Sir Roger Hutchison, Sir James (Scotstoun) Ramsden, J. E.
Cooper, Sqn. Ldr. Albert Iremonger, T. L. Rawlinson, Peter
Cooper-Key, E. M. Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Redmayne, M.
Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K. Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich) Rees-Davies, W. R.
Corfield, Capt. F. V. Jennings, J. C. (Burton) Remnant, Hon. P.
Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne) Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle) Ridsdale, J. E.
Crouch, R. F. Johnson, Eric (Blackley) Rippon, A. G. F.
Crowder, Sir John (Finchley) Joynson-Hicks, Hon. Sir Lancelot Robertson, Sir David
Dance, J. C. G. Keegan, D. Roper, Sir Harold
D'Avigelor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Kerby, Capt. H. B. Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard
Deedes, W. F. Kerr, H. W. Russell, R. S.
Digby, Simon Wingfield Kershaw, J. A. Schofield, Lt.-Col. W.
Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA. Kimball, M. Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.
Drayson, G. B. Kirk, P. M. Sharples, R. C.
du Cann, E. D. L. Lagden, G. W. Shepherd, William
Dugdale, Rt. Hn. Sir T. (Richmond) Lambert, Hon. G. Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)
Duncan, Capt. J. A. L. Lancaster, Col. C. G. Spearman, Sir Alexander
Eccles, Rt. Hon. Sir David Leavey, J. A. Spens, Rt. Hn. Sir P. (Kens'gt'n, S.)
Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West) Leburn, W. G. Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard
Errington, Sir Eric Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H. Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)
Finlay, Graeme Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield) Steward, Sir William (Woolwich, W.)
Fisher, Nigel Lindsay, Hon. James (Devon, N.) Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.
Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. F. Lindsay, Martin (Solihull) Studholme, Sir Henry
Fletcher-Cooke, C, Linstead, Sir H. N. Summers, Sir Spencer.
Foster, John Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.) Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Galbraith, Hon. T. G. D. Longden, Gilbert Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)
Gammans, Sir David Lucas, P. B. (Brantford & Chiswick) Teeling, W.
George, J. C. (Pollok) Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)
Gibson-Watt, D. Mackie, J. H. (Galloway) Thomas, P. J. (M. (Conway)
Glover, D. Maclay, Rt. Hon. John Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)
Gomme-Duncan, Col. Sir Alan McLean, Neil (Inverness) Thompson, Lt.-Cdr.R. (Croydon, S.)
Gough, C. F. H. MacLeod, John (Ross & Cromarty) Thornton-Kemsley, C. N.
Gower, H. R. Macmillan, Rt. Hn. Harold (Bromley) Tiley, A. (Bradford, W.)
Graham, Sir Fergus Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries) Tilney, John (Wavertree)
Grant, W. (Woodside) Maddan, Martin Touche, Sir Gordon
Grant-Ferris, Wg. Cdr. R. (Nantwich) Maitland, Cdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle) Turner, H. F. L.
Green, A. Maitland, Hon. Patrick (Lanark) Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.
Grimond, J. Markham, Major Sir Frank Vickers, Miss J. H.
Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans) Marlowe, A. A. H. Vosper, D. F.
Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury) Marshall, Douglas Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)
Gurden, Harold Mathew, R. Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. M'lebone)
Hall, John (Wycombe) Mawby, R. L. Walker-Smith, D. C.
Hare, Rt. Hon. J. H. Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C. Wall, Major Patrick
Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N. W.) Medlicott, Sir Frank Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)
Harrison, A. B. C. (Maldon) Milligan, Rt. Hon. W. R. Ward, Dame Irene (Tynemouth)
Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye) Molson, Rt. Hon. Hugh Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C.
Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.) Moore, Sir Thomas Whitelaw, W. S. I. (Penrith & Border)
Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.) Mott-Radclyffe, C. E. Wiliams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)
Harvie-Watt, Sir George Nabarro, G. D. N. Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)
Hay, John Neave, Airey Wills, G. (Bridgwater)
Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham) Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Heath, Rt. Hon. E. R. G. Nicolson, N. (B'n'm'th, E. & Chr'ch) Woollam, John Victor
Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe) Nield, Basil (Chester)
Hill, John (S. Norfolk) Noble, Comdr. A. H. P. Yates, William (The Wrekin)
Hirst, Geoffrey Oakshott, H. D. TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Holland-Martin, C. J. Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.) Mr. Godber and Mr. Bryan.
Osborne, C.
Mr. Geoffrey Hirst (Shipley)

I beg to move, in page 27, line 8, at the end to insert: (13) Without prejudice to subsection (3) of this section, a person who pays a qualifying premium in the year 1957–58 may elect that it or part of it shall be treated for the purposes of this and the last foregoing section as a qualifying premium paid in the year 1956–57, and shall be treated (subject to subsection (2) of this section) as not paid in the year 1957–58. These rather complicated words—necessary for drafting purposes—disguise a very simple issue, and what I think the House would treat as a fair point. If I understand it correctly the Bill provides a time limit, as it must do, in which qualifying premiums for deferred annuities may rank for tax relief. This time limit, provided in an earlier part of the Clause, expires six months after the end of the year of assessment. I suggest that that is a quite understandable administrative convenience in respect of years other than the first year, but in first year, so I am advised, it will be rather a handicap, as it will allow insufficient time for the establishment of trust funds. It takes some time to set up such funds, and they are desirable in the context of the Clause.

The sole purpose of the Amendment is to extend to 5th April, 1958, the time limit for paying contributions to rank for tax relief in 1956–57. Since it is fully in the spirit of the Clause and the intentions of the Government—which I fully support—I trust that the Government will feel able to accept it.

Mr. Edward du Cann (Taunton)

I beg to second the Amendment.

As has been clearly demonstrated by my hon. Friend the Member for Shipley (Mr. Hirst), the Amendment is designed to improve the Clause, and I hope that my right hon. Friend will accept it.

Mr. Mitchison

That seems reasonable.

Mr. H. Brooke

In these happy circumstances, I should like to congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Shipley (Mr. Hirst) upon having made a good point. I have great pleasure in advising the House to accept the Amendment.

Amendment agreed to.