HC Deb 15 April 1958 vol 586 cc63-4

I turn now to a few small changes in personal taxation. The first two affect some older members of the community, who, I think we would all agree, are, in general, having the most difficult time today. I propose to extend the Income Tax exemption limits for the elderly, which were first introduced last year, from £400 to £440 for the married couple where either husband or wife is 65 or over and from £250 to £275 for the single person who is 65 or over. Where the income is below these amounts no tax at all will be payable. There will Abe an appropriate marginal adjustment for incomes slightly above the limits I have mentioned. To avoid misunderstanding I ought to make it clear that this provision, which is deliberately designed for very small incomes, will not give any benefit where the income exceeds £492 for a married couple and £306 for a single person.

To help old people with rather larger incomes I propose to increase the income limit for the age relief, which is given where the taxpayer, or, in the case of a married couple, one of the spouses, is 65 years old or more, from £700 to £800. This means that where the total income is below £800 the whole of the income, whether earned or not, will be treated for tax purposes as if it were earned income. This change will reduce the tax on a single person with an investment income of £800 by about £27; for a married couple with the same income by about £32. Here again, there will be marginal provision for incomes a little above the limit set. The cost of these two reliefs taken together will be £2¾ million this year and £4¾ million in a full year.

I also propose to give some help to those who assist elderly or infirm relatives. At present, a taxpayer is entitled to an Income Tax allowance of £60 in such cases if the dependants' income does not exceed £105. I propose to increase that limit to £135, which is a few pounds above the new old-age pension figure of 50s. a week. This will ensure that an increase in social security benefits does not lead to a loss of tax relief.

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