HC Deb 09 July 1959 vol 608 cc1540-2
16. Mr. Osborne

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much is paid annually in taxation from profits by private industry; and how much by the nationalised industries combined.

The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. J. E. S. Simon)

I would refer the hon. Member to the figures given in the Blue Book on National Income and Expenditure 1958. Table 54 gives estimates of the tax paid by companies and public corporations; but I regret it is not possible to separate the element of tax on trading profits from that on other sources of income.

Public corporations extend beyond those commonly called the nationalised industries, but a further breakdown is contained in table 42. I regret that it is not possible to give a still further breakdown without infringing the rule against disclosure of the tax position of individual taxpayers.

Mr. Osborne

May I ask my hon. and learned Friend why, instead of giving such a long-winded reply, he did not give the two simple figures for which I asked? Would he confirm the impression that about £1,500 million a year is obtained in taxation from private industry and that nothing is drawn in taxation from the nationalised industries? What extra source of revenue does he think he could produce if private industry were nationalised and no taxation were produced by it?

Mr. Simon

If I could have given my hon. Friend two simple figures, of course I should have done so. It is true that the great bulk of the revenue of public corporations is produced by private companies.

Mr. Jay

As the Financial Secretary is in a long-winded mood, which I welcome, will he tell us what is the total of subsidies paid by the Exchequer to private industry at present? Am I not right in thinking that it is running at rather over £400 million a year?

Mr. Simon

I must ask the right hon. Member to put that question on the Order Paper, since it in no way arises out of the original Question.

Mr. Shinwell

If the hon. and learned Member is in a mood to furnish information on these matters, can he say what amount of compensation has been paid by the nationalised industries to the previous owners?

Mr. Simon

The right hon. Gentleman must put down a Question about that to one of my right hon. Friends.

Mr. Snow

Has the Minister noticed a recent tendency in company balance sheets to show a fraudulent valuation of certain assets, for instance, where valuations have not been conduced since 1929? If these had been shown at their correct valuation there would have been an accretion to the revenue of the country. Should not this fraudulent practice receive the Government's attention?

Mr. Simon

Questions as to fraudulent practices by company directors and their accountants should be put to my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade.