HC Deb 17 May 1956 vol 552 cc2193-4
24. Mr. Blenkinsop

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the estimated total expenditure on advertising allowed against tax in the financial year 1955–56.

Mr. H. Brooke

I regret that this information is not available.

Mr. Blenkinsop

Does the right hon. Gentleman not feel it is highly desirable that some estimate should be made of this expenditure in view of the very high cost to the Treasury, and also in view of the fact that this expenditure is directly contrary to what we understand to be the Government's policy of restricting home consumption?

Mr. Brooke

It is certainly not the Government's policy to close down all advertising. The Inland Revenue Department possesses a great deal of information, but I am afraid that the precise information required to answer the hon. Member's Question could not be obtained in any practicable way.

Mr. H. Wilson

Has the right hon. Gentleman not seen estimates made by the Advertising Association, quoted by the former Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade in November, 1954, when the total expenditure was over £220 million? Since that figure is now probably more like £300 million, will he not admit that the Treasury is losing a great deal of important revenue by this concession?

Mr. Brooke

I have seen a number of unofficial estimates of the total amount spent on advertising, but I would not like to give the House estimates for which I cannot vouch, and I can only say that it is not possible to state to the House with any precision the expenditure on advertising which has been allowed against tax.

Mr. Blenkinsop

Does not the right hon. Gentleman recognise that no one is suggesting at this moment the complete prohibition of advertising, but merely that the Exchequer should not pay for it?

Mr. Brooke

If the hon. Member looks in the OFFICIAL REPORT at his previous supplementary question, I think he will see that that is just what he was suggesting.

Hon. Members