HC Deb 06 July 1960 vol 626 cc645-6
Mr. Houghton

I beg to move, in page 76, line 22, column 3, at the end to insert Section 170 (2).

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

It might be convenient to discuss with this Amendment the other Amendment in the name of the hon. Member for Sowerby (Mr. Houghton), to the Seventh Schedule, in page 83, line 18, column 3, at end insert: In section one hundred and seventy, in subsection (3) the words from "and if" to the end of the subsection.

Mr. Houghton

That would be convenient, Mr. Deputy-Speaker. It is consequential on the one I am moving. This is a relatively small point, but since we are doing a cleaning-up job we might as well do it as well as we can. Much earlier in our discussion of the Bill, through the courtesy of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, I had a list of all the penalties which it was proposed to leave unchanged. The one mentioned here was excluded from the new code of penalties into which the Chancellor rightly proposes to bring as many of the existing penalty Clauses as possible.

Section 170 (2) of the Income Tax Act, 1952, deals with certain returns which have to be made of interest not wholly paid out of taxed income, and there is a penalty prescribed in Section 170 (3) for failure to deliver an account of interest not wholly paid out of taxed income, the penalty being £100. That failure can properly be brought within the provisions of Clause 44 (1, b) and it would take its place, therefore, in column 3 of the Fifth Schedule. The penalty for failure under my proposals would be £50 for the initial failure plus £10 a day on continued failure, subject to the provisions of the Clause regarding the authority for the imposition of a penalty.

This will bring into the new code of penalties something which should not be left out. Many others are being left out, but it would be out of order for me to pursue that matter now, although I hope that we shall not give up the quest for the elimination of all unnecessary stragglers throughout the Act which could be brought within the new code, or done away with altogether—some of them are survivals of almost a bygone age and can now be dispensed with completely. This clearly cannot be left out and should be brought into the new code. With others which are left out the penalties are very much heavier than anything prescribed in the new code, so clearly they must remain there.

I hope that this Amendment will be rewarded. It represents our work on and study of the penalty Clauses. Throughout our debates on the Bill I have gained only one point, and that was to double the penalty for failure to notify liability to Income Tax. That is nothing to be proud of and nothing to write home about, but still something. Bearing in mind the string of medals and trophies which hon. Members opposite have received in the course of these debates, I feel a bit deprived, a bit bereft, of proper reward for the work I have done. Here is an opportunity, in the last Amendment to be discussed, at the end of Report stage, after all our deliberations, for the Government to accept an Amendment from this side of the House. If it is accepted, I will count that as a great achievement.

The Solicitor-General

There are four reasons why this Amendment should be accepted. The first, referred to by the hon. Member for Sowerby (Mr. Houghton) as a reward which he expects for all the hard work he has done on the penalty Clauses. The second is that he feels his score should be doubled. The third is that he will feel himself otherwise a deprived person, and the fourth and perhaps most important is that his reasoning for including this penalty in the revised penalties in the Bill is quite conclusive. I therefore advise the House to accept the Amendment.

Amendment agreed to.