HC Deb 07 November 1961 vol 648 cc784-5
25. Sir C. Osborne

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the extra amount available to each adult person if all personal incomes over £2,000 per annum net were redistributed to all other adult persons.

The Economic Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Anthony Barber)

The aggregate net income in excess of £2,000 each of all those whose net income after Income Tax and Surtax is £2,000 or more is estimated to be about £265 million. This would be sufficient, if confiscated and redistributed, to provide about £7 10s. 0d. a year or 2s. 10d. a week for every other adult member of the population.

Sir C. Osborne

Since these figures make it clear that a general increase in incomes is not possible merely through (redistribution, would not it be better if the Treasury told the nation that if we want higher incomes we have to work harder, longer and more efficiently.

Mr. Barber

I think that over the last few months my right hon. and learned Friend has said a good deal about the way in which to improve real living standards in this country. But I think it was valuable for my hon. Friend to elicit this Answer from me, especially when we bear in mind that in the last financial year the increase in average male weekly earnings in the manufacturing industries was no less than 18s. 11d.

Mr. Jay

But are these figures based on incomes of over £2,000 as returned to the Inland Revenue or on incomes actually received including capital gains?

Mr. Barber

Obviously these figures are based on calculations made by the Inland Revenue. There would be no other way of doing it.