HC Deb 17 May 1956 vol 552 cc2189-90
18. Mr. Gower

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will take steps to enable members of the teaching profession to be granted appropriate tax concessions in respect of books and journals needed and purchased by them on terms similar to concessions made to members of all other professions.

Mr. H. Brooke

The same expenses rules applies to teachers as to other employees assessable under Schedule E. My right hon. Friend is not proposing any change in this position.

Mr. Gower

Is it not a trifle unreal and unreasonable that a tax concession allowed to accountants, solicitors, clergymen and others, should be withheld from members of the teaching profession? If we really wish to encourage teachers to keep abreast of contemporary opinion, ought we not to instruct the Inland Revenue to alter this practice?

Mr. Brooke

These are matters which could properly be discussed in debates on the Finance Bill. I think my hon. Friend is incorrect in suggesting that there is any difference here between the treatment of teachers and the treatment of clergymen.

Mr. H. Wilson

Is not the real difficulty the anomaly as between Schedule D and Schedule E taxpayers? Is it not time that the Chancellor had a good look at the problem in view of the way in which Schedule D taxpayers are allowed generous expenses and Schedule E taxpayers are not? Is the right hon. Gentleman further aware that a very large number of employees in certain professions, and Members of Parliament and others, are not allowed to charge expenses which really are necessary in the performance of their duties, whilst, under Schedule D, a very wide range of expenses can be allowed?

Mr. Brooke

As the right hon. Member is aware, the Royal Commission made certain recommendations about Schedule E. My right hon. Friend has given very careful consideration to that, but he decided not to include any changes in the law in that respect in this Finance Bill, which, of course, we shall be debating at length.

Dr. King

Is the Minister aware that, after receiving evidence from the National Union of Teachers, the Royal Commission did recommend such a tax concession as is asked for in this Question? Will he give it his consideration when we reach the Committee stage of the Finance Bill?

Mr. Brooke

I think I made it clear that the Royal Commission made recommendations, but my right hon. Friend decided not to include any proposal for changing the law in this Finance Bill.