HC Deb 21 December 1961 vol 651 c1556
32. Mr. Peyton

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the total revenue received in taxation from the shipping industry during each of the past six years.

Mr. Barber

The information requested by my hon. Friend is not available but the estimated amounts of tax assessed on the profits of the shipping industry in the six years 1955–56 to 1960–61 are £17 million, £33 million, £45 million, £28 million, £5 million and £4 million respectively. The last figure is provisional.

Mr. Peyton

Those figures—I am very much obliged to my hon. Friend for giving them—must cause profound disappointment to him and to his Department. I do not ask him to anticipate his right hon. and learned Friend's Budget statement, but will he be good enough, when the Budget statement is being framed, to see that consideration is given to the basic fact that shipping is a really international industry and that British shipping cannot compete with the rest of the world's shipping when its fiscal misfortunes over the years are such as to paralyse its competitive power? Does he appreciate that it is vital that the British shipping industry should be put upon the same basis, from the taxation point of view, as the fleets of other countries, and that that alone will increase the tonnage under the British flag?

Mr. Barber

As my hon. Friend knows, the shipping industry already benefits from a favourable rate of investment allowance for new ships. I agree that the shipping industry is facing very considerable problems especially in competition with overseas shipping companies, many of whom operate under flags of convenience, and I assure him that, in the course of the various discussions which precede my hon. and learned Friend's Budget statement, the problems of the shipping industry will be taken into account.