HC Deb 31 May 1960 vol 624 cc1399-401

In sub-paragraph (4) of paragraph 3 of the Second Schedule to the Finance Act, 1954 (which imposes a penalty equal to twenty pounds plus three times the amount of the investment allowance on a person failing to give information required under that paragraph) for the words "equal to twenty pounds plus three times" there shall be substituted the words "not exceeding fifty pounds plus".—[Mr. Barber.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

Mr. Barber

I beg to move, That the Clause be read a Second time.

Mr. H. Wilson

On a point of order. We are not quite clear about whether you put the Question on the Seventh Schedule, Sir William. Do you intend to put it after we have taken the new Clauses?

The Deputy-Chairman

My understanding is that I should put that Question after the new Clauses.

Mr. Barber

This is the first new Clause and its purpose is to reduce the penalty for a failure to give information about the events necessitating the withdrawal of an investment allowance. The penalty is reduced from £20 plus three times the amount of the allowance to a sum not exceeding £50 plus the amount of the allowance.

The Committee will remember that the law provides that in certain circumstances the investment allowance is to be withdrawn, for example, if within three years of the date when the expenditure giving rise to the allowances was incurred the asset is sold to a person resident abroad who is not liable to United Kingdom Income Tax; or, for example, if it is appropriated to some non-trading use. The person who has received the allowance has to give notice to the inspector if, to his knowledge, either of these or other specified events would entail a withdrawal of the allowance. It is thought that the penalty is too high in relation to other penalties in the Bill, and that this new penalty is right. I commend it to the Committee.

2.0 a.m.

Mr. Mitchison

There is one point which troubles me a little about this. We had the Attorney-General accepting, earlier in the day, an increase in the penalty for a person who failed to give information about his liability to tax. Of course, this is not exactly a similar case, but there is something in common between the two and the final result here is markedly different from what the Attorney-General has accepted. I should have thought that at this hour it was not a case of resisting this Clause. For one thing, I should like to see again what the Attorney-General said, but I think we must reserve our right to come back to the matter at a later stage of the Bill in the light of what has happened in the other case.

Might I also ask the Government Front Bench to look into the position in relation to the two Clauses and see if they do not think they have gone a little far in reducing the penalty in this case?

Mr. Barber

We will certainly accede to that request.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill.

Mr. H. Wilson rose

Mr. Amory

I beg to move, That the Chairman do report Progress and ask leave to sit again.

I think that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Huyton (Mr. Wilson) and I have the same idea in our heads. I think that the progress which we have made today has been extremely satisfactory, and we have dealt with several important subjects. I should like to thank the whole Committee for having helped us to make such progress, and I further think that the whole committee will be behind me in asking that the Chairman should report progress and ask to sit again.

Mr. Wilson

Obviously, we will support this motion, but it is a matter of regret to some of us that it was not put an hour or two ago. In view of the progress which we have made, I think it will gladden even the heart of the Patronage Secretary: that is, if he has a heart, for it is not an occupational disease of Patronage Secretaries.

However, the Chancellor is right. We have got through some thirty Clauses and a new Clause, on the whole in a very good tempered way, although I will not go back on one particular episode. I would have hoped that we could have got as far as we have by midnight without keeping the Chancellor out of his bed for so long. But the majority of the Amendments have come from his side of the Committee, as well as the majority of the talking. We do not object, because all hon. Members are equal in this matter, but when it was suggested that we were holding up progress on the Clause relating to Premium Bonds I thought there was some most unjustified comment from below the Gangway on the Chancellor's side.

There has been great self-denial, but the self-denial, which we exercised tended to become a little more difficult at times and that is perhaps why we went on for longer than we should. Hon. Members opposite should not test the restraint we have shown. We still have the new Clauses to deal with after the Recess.

I know that the Patronage Secretary would have liked to get some of the new Clauses disposed of before the Recess. He will now have that joy to look forward to. I hope that we shall get through them with the same expedition and thoroughness as we have shown in dealing with the Bill so far.

Question put and agreed to.

Committee report Progress; to sit again this day.

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