HC Deb 01 May 1958 vol 587 cc552-3
7. Mr. Oliver

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that, since the coming into force of the Cheques Act, 1957, the commercial practice has now developed of failing to send receipts for payments made by cheque whether such receipts are requested by the payer or not; and whether by reason of this change of practice it is now intended to repeal or modify Section 103 of the Stamp Act, 1891, which provides a penalty of £10 for failure to give a stamped receipt for any payment when called upon; if he is further aware that this change is against the interest of the payer who is, or may be, put to the inconvenience of proving association of a paid cheque to a particular account instead of having, as hitherto, the bill returned duly receipted; and if he will now make a further statement of Government policy on this matter.

Mr. Simon

My right hon. Friend is keeping this matter under review, but the Finance Bill now before Parliament contains no proposal for changing the present law. I take this opportunity of repeating that a person who fails to give a duly stamped receipt for a payment of £2 or over, when required to do so by the payer, renders himself liable to a fine of £10.

Mr. Oliver

I thank the hon. and learned Gentleman for his reply, but does he not realise that plenty of evidence could be given—I myself could provide it—that receipts are not given when the sum is over £2? As the Department is keeping its eye on the matter, when will it be appropriate to put down another Question on the subject?

Mr. Simon

I do not want to encourage the hon. and learned Gentleman to put dawn another Question at too early a date. With regard to the first part of his supplementary question, if there is difficulty about this and if a receipt is not given when demanded, the matter should be reported to the Commissioners of Inland Revenue, who can then take appropriate action.

Mr. Page

Is my hon. and learned Friend aware that, on a very simple calculation, it can be shown that this practice of dispensing with receipts is saving commerce, industry, the professions and the local authorities about £13 million a year?

Mr. Simon

I have no statistics to support that figure, and, of course, there is a Question on the Order Paper about the possible loss of revenue; but those are the sort of considerations my right hon. Friend will take into account.