HC Deb 05 March 1957 vol 566 c165
19. Mr. Nabarro

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of loss of revenue to the Exchequer arising from flags of convenience.

Mr. P. Thorneycroft

None, Sir. I would remind my hon. Friend that there is a Treasury control under Section 468 of the Income Tax Act, 1952, on the transfer overseas of the business or any part of the business of a United Kingdom company and that this applies to shipping as to other businesses.

Mr. Nabarro

Will my right hon. Friend have some regard to the tremendous increase in the use of flags of convenience by such countries as Costa Rica, Liberia, Panama and Honduras, representing millions of tons of new shipping construction? As this must affect the United Kingdom Exchequer, and is now being accentuated by British shipping companies transferring their offices of registration to the Bahamas, Bermuda, and so on, will my right hon. Friend review the whole situation and perhaps reduce the incidence of direct taxation on the shipping companies?

Mr. Thorneycroft

My hon. Friend will not expect me to answer the last part of the question. I would merely say that I am very well aware of the problem. All I am saying in my Answer is that I cannot make an estimate of the loss of revenue.

Mr. Awbery

Has not the time come for the problem to be tackled seriously? Will the right hon. Gentleman give an undertaking that the matter will be considered by his Department?

Mr. Thorneycroft

It is under consideration.