HC Deb 27 October 1960 vol 627 cc2561-2
19. Mr. Peyton

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what percentage of the gross national income was taken in taxation in each of the last three financial years; and how those figures compare with the United States of America, Western Germany, France, Belgium, Holland, and Italy.

Mr. Barber

As the reply contains a number of figures, I will, with permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Peyton

May I ask my hon. Friend whether those figures, which I have not yet seen, do not indicate that the Government in this country are a good deal more rapacious in their demands on the taxpayer than are the Governments of any of the other countries mentioned in the Question? Will not my hon. Friend and his right hon. and learned Friend give careful consideration to the question whether the penal rate of taxation is not mutilating the competitive power of the country and doing a good deal of damage to our export trade?

Mr. Barber

My right hon. and learned Friend has already said, a short time ago, that he takes the view that taxation in this country is too high. It is, however, fair to point out that if one looks at the percentage of gross national product at factor cost which is taken in taxation, the figure for 1959 was 29.5 per cent., and for 1951 it was 34.2 per cent. So at least we are making some progress.

Mr. Jay

Will the Minister also circulate the corresponding figures for Sweden, Norway and Denmark, which, for some reason, were omitted from the Question?

Mr. Barber

If the right hon. Gentleman will put down a Question I will do SO.

Following is the reply: The table below shows total revenue from direct and indirect taxes as a percentage of the gross national product at factor cost for the calendar years 1957, 1958 and 1959 for the United Kingdom and for 1957 and 1958 for the other countries mentioned. 1959 figures for these countries are not yet available on a comparable basis. The figures include both Central Government and local taxes, since the distinction between central and local taxation varies from one country to another. Social security contributions have not been included as taxes.
1957 1958 1959
United Kingdom 29.5 29.4 29.5
United States 25.2 24.5
Western Germany 28.1 27.9
France 26.9 28.1
Belgium 17.6 17.7
Holland 24.6 22.6
Italy 22.3 22.2