HC Deb 02 February 1960 vol 616 cc769-70
9. Mr. Cronin

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if, bearing in mind that about £5,000 million capital profits were made on industrial shares in 1959, he will institute an inquiry as to the desirability of introducing a capital gains tax.

Mr. Amory

The arguments for and against this form of tax were examined at length by the Royal Commission on the Taxation of Profits and Income which reported in 1955.

Mr. Cronin

Will the Chancellor bear in mind that it was in the early 1950s that the Royal Commission made this investigation and that there was also a minority report which came out very strongly in favour of a tax on capital profits? Will the Chancellor consider introducing a tax on capital profits, as it seems very inequitable that many workers by hand and brain should be taxed quite savagely while there remains a privileged small minority of shareholders and large property owners who are completely immune from taxation on their gains?

Mr. Amory

Important matters of that kind must be kept under review, but the hon. Member has quoted from one period and I ask him to remember that there are apt to be periods when capital losses are apt to be just as frequent as capital profits.

Mr. H. Wilson

Does not the Chancellor recognise that in the present state of industrial relations, with some extremely low wages being paid, the vast unearned capital gains which have been made are highly provocative, particularly since they do not bear tax? Secondly, in his capacity as guardian of the public revenue, will he recognise that all experience of the past few years and past few Budgets shows that nothing causes more depredations of the revenue received by the Treasury than this totally vicious taxation anomaly as between income and capital and the ingenious ways of getting out of income into capital?

Mr. Amory

I will take note of what the right bon. Gentleman has said.