§ 4. Mr. Frank Allaun
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer to what extent in company accounts submitted to the Inland Revenue for the year ended October, 1958, anti-Labour or anti-nationalisation advertisements have been stated separately from other expenditure.
§ Mr. Allaun
Is the Chancellor of the Exchequer aware that the steel companies started their campaign in January, 1958, yet the Economic Secretary told me in February that no claims had yet been made? The Chancellor says that no information is available. Has this expenditure been separately stated or not? If not, does it not mean that the Income Tax authorities are being deliberately deceitful?
This matter has been very well explained by my hon. and learned Friend the Financial Secretary on a number of occasions. This kind of information is not centralised at the headquarters of the Inland Revenue, but my hon. and learned Friend has explained very carefully that the taxpayer makes 194 his return of income and the inspector makes such inquiries and asks such questions as are relevant. That is the practice which will be and is being carried out in the kind of case which the hon. Gentleman has in mind.
§ Sir L. Ungoed-Thomas
Is it not correct that this information is not imparted to shareholders at all? Will the Chancellor consider an amendment of the Companies Act to require information of this kind to be given to them, because the present position is that they have no opportunity of either contracting in or contracting out of what is in fact a political levy?
If the shareholders are dissatisfied or feel that they are not receiving as much information as they should, the remedy is in their hands.
If they feel that they would like some more information they can ask their management to provide it.
§ 10. Mr. Allaun
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that there is current evasion by the device of setting off expenditure on advertising campaigns attacking public ownership of the Inland Revenue Department's ruling that chargeable expenditure must be wholly for the purposes of a company's trade; and what steps he is taking to prevent such evasion.
I know of nothing which would support the hon. Member's allegation, but inquiries as to such expenditure would be made in suitable cases.
§ Mr. Allaun
Is the Chancellor aware that the Road Haulage Association has stated that £100,000 is being spent on such a campaign and that it will be deducted from company profits? Is it not intolerable that the Government will not tell Parliament or the people whether this is allowable or not?
The Government will not provide that information because it is not the job of the Government to do so. I again tell the hon. Member that I can rely on the inspectors of the Inland Revenue to make all proper inquiries in all relevant cases.