HC Deb 05 February 1959 vol 599 cc547-9
7. Mr. Gower

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many representations he has received from persons and organisations for the earlier repayment of postwar credits; and how many for the repayment of post-war credits in cases of particular hardship.

Mr. Simon

About 1,000 during the past year. A separate count has not been kept of those asking for repayment in cases of particular hardship.

Mr. Gower

While appreciating that he cannot anticipate the Budget, will my hon. and learned Friend take account of the fact that there is obviously widespread feeling that the present powers under which post-war credits are paid are somewhat too rigid?

Mr. Simon

I shall draw the observations of my hon. Friend to the attention of my right hon. Friend.

28. Mr. E. Fletcher

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that the many cases of hardship arising from the postponement of postwar credits are now aggravated by rising unemployment; and whether, in view of this and of the present state of the national finances, he will now accelerate his review of the problem and devise a new formula for quicker repayment of post-war credits, including immediate repayment in all cases of hardship.

Mr. Simon

My right hon. Friend has noted the hon. Member's suggestion.

Mr. Fletcher

Is the Minister aware of the great resentment on this subject and, in view of the current relaxation on capital expenditure, does not the Minister think it is quite immoral to continue to withhold sums due to people who are in great distress and hardship, particularly as a result of the recent unemployment for which the Government are responsible?

Mr. Simon

I certainly cannot accept the terms in which the hon. Gentleman has put his supplementary question. I know that those who have post-war credits outstanding naturally desire to have them repaid, but I would point out that the hon. Gentleman's party failed to find any way of repaying them on the basis suggested.

33. Mr. Ridsdale

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what would be the cost of repaying post-war credits to those whose incomes are under £500, £750 and £1,000 a year, respectively.

Mr. Simon

I regret that I cannot give an estimate, because the necessary information is not available.

Mr. Ridsdale

Whilst many people are hoping for a considerable reduction in Income Tax as a first priority in the coming Budget, will my hon. and learned Friend bear in mind that those who have been hardest hit by inflation do not pay a lot of tax? Would he not agree that this method is a good way of helping this section of the community?

Mr. Simon

All I can safely say is that will draw my hon. Friend's observations to the attention of my right hon. Friend.

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