HC Deb 20 March 1956 vol 550 cc994-5
43. Mr. Peyton

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will give an estimate of the loss of revenue incurred if the Surtax starting point were raised from £2,000 to £4,000.

Mr. H. Brooke

The cost in a full year would be about £50 million if the rates of Surtax on the income in excess of £4,000 were left at their present level, or about £73 million if the rates now applied to successive slices of income above £2,000 were used for the corresponding slices above £4,000.

Mr. Peyton

Does my right hon. Friend agree that the punitive burden of this tax has vastly increased since the war, and does he not now think its harmful effects are out of all proportion to its yields?

Mr. Brooke

Whatever I may think, it would be better for me not to express any views so soon before the Budget.

Mr. H. Wilson

Has the right hon. Gentleman not seen some authoritative estimates recently published showing that the yield from Surtax has gone up far less than proportionately to either the national income or to the rate of Surtax? Does this not suggest that there are very large sums of potential Surtax not coming to the Revenue because of evasion?

Mr. Brooke

I do not think suggestions of that kind should be made unless there is evidence given to support them.

Mr. Wilson

Did not the right hon. Gentleman hear, when I made that suggestion, that I referred to evidence? He will find it in a very authoritative book called "An Expenditure Tax," by Mr. Nicholas Kaldor. If, when he has studied that evidence, he does not agree with it, would he please tell us why?

Mr. Brooke

I will answer any Questions that are put down, but I can say now that the Inland Revenue Department is very proficient in following up the people who are evading tax.