HC Deb 11 May 1959 vol 605 cc1007-8

Motion made, and Question proposed.

That the Post-War Credit (Income Tax) Regulations. 1959, a draft of which was laid before this House on 1st May, be approved.—[Mr. Amory.]

11.2 p.m.

Mr. Gordon Walker (Smethwick)

I will not detain the House more than a minute or two. We are glad that these Regulations are submitted under the affirmative Resolution procedure, and that the Government accepted our suggestion on that matter.

We also still greatly regret that although these Regulations contain all the things that the Chancellor said they would in his Budget speech, they still do not do anything to help the chronic sick. I want to put that again on record. We greatly regret it.

I take it that the powers under which the Regulations have been laid before us would permit of similar Regulations extending the repayment of credits to the chronic sick, defined as we defined them before—namely, that they had been for six months in receipt of sickness and corresponding benefits—and that this could be done by the submission of new Regulations, either by the present Government or by a successor Government, under the powers of the original Act under which these Regulations have been laid.

I do not know whether the Financial Secretary can give me an answer now. We do not, of course, want to oppose this Motion. We merely regret that the Regulations do not go as far with regard to the chronic sick as we wish.

11.3 p.m.

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

I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for what he has said. I know that it would have been the desire of hon. Members in all parts of the House to extend the classes to whom repayment could be made by including the chronic sick. We discussed the matter at some length when we debated the Income Tax (Repayment of Post-War Credits) Bill, and I explained then that the reason the Government could not accept the Amendment was partly the question of cost but mainly that it would have postponed the repayment to the classes who are the beneficiaries under this scheme, and that seemed to be a conclusive reason.

However, the Chancellor undertook, through me, that he would carefully consider the possibility of extending the conditions of payment so as to bring other classes in at some later date. I think that the method would be the one indicated by the right hon. Gentleman—an affirmative Resolution similar to the one I have moved and which I now commend to the House.

Question put and agreed to.