HC Deb 22 March 1960 vol 620 cc205-6
7. Mr. McKay

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that a large proportion of contributors to National Insurance get about 1s. 6d. per week in tax relief from their weekly contributions; and how many pay no income tax and so get no tax relief from their contributions.

Mr. Amory

Yes, but I regret that the information for which the hon. Member asks in the second part of his Question is not available.

Mr. McKay

I am rather surprised at that Answer, because a study of the Inland Revenue Reports for this year and other years gives practically full information of the conditions of taxpayers and what their incomes are. In any case, can the right hon. Gentleman tell me where the justice of this position lies? How can the Chancellor justify a situation in which people who pay tax receive about 1s. 6d. per week relief from their weekly National Insurance contributions, whereas people who pay no tax because they have low incomes receive no relief at all, in other words, pay the full contributions?

Mr. Amory

I think that there is justice in it. One cannot relieve someone of a tax which he does not pay. The information that is lacking here is not the information about those contributors who pay Income Tax or are liable for Income Tax, but those who do not do so. I regret that I have not the information available for the hon. Gentleman.

Mr. Jay

Does not my hon. Friend's point underline the fact that this very heavy National Insurance contribution causes much injustice to people in the lower income groups?

Mr. Amory

I do not think that the Answer I gave has that effect.