HC Deb 09 June 1964 vol 696 cc371-401

(1) Subsections (1), (2) and (3) of section 9 of the Finance Act 1962 (Relief for blind persons), shall apply to a claimant who proves that he or his wife was a totally disabled person or that both of them were totally disabled persons as they apply respectively to a claimant who proves that he or his wife was a registered blind person or that both of them were registered blind persons.

(2)(a) In the said subsection as so applied "tax free disability payment" means a periodical payment receivable by a person on account of his disability and not falling to be treated as income for the purposes of income tax;

(b) in this section "totally disabled person" means a person in receipt of a war disablement pension or an industrial injury pension granted by the Ministry of Pensions and National Insurance and determined by reference to one hundred per cent. disablement; or a person who, though not in receipt of such a pension as aforesaid, nevertheless is disabled in manner and degree equivalent to one hundred per cent. disablement.

(3) In subsection (1) of section 14 of the Finance Act 1957 (under which, as amended by the Finance Act 1960 and the Finance Act 1962, certain reliefs specified in paragraphs (a) to (e) thereof by reference to the enactment conferring them are allowable for purposes of surtax), at the end of paragraph (e) there shall be inserted the following:— and (f) subsection (1) of section (Relief for totally disabled persons) of the Finance Act 1964".

(4) The Income Tax Acts, and in particular Part VIII of the Income Tax Act 1952 shall have effect as if subsections (1) and (2) of this section were contained in the said Part VIII between subsections (1) to (4) of section 9 of the Finance Act 1962 (which subsections were inserted by subsection (6) of the said section 9 between sections 218 and 219 of the said Income Tax Act 1952) and the said section 219—[Mr. Millan.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

Mr. Millan

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

The Chairman

It will be possible to discuss at the same time New Clause No. 8, "Extension of relief under Finance Act, 1960, s. 17."

Mr. Millan

The purpose of new Clause No. 7 is to introduce an Income Tax allowance for 100 per cent. disabled persons of a kind similar to that which was granted under Section 9 of the Finance Act, 1962, for blind persons.

Under the 1962 Act there is an allowance where there is one blind person in the family, either the married man or his wife, and it is also payable to a single person. It is an Income Tax allowance of £100. But there is a deduction from it of seven-ninths of any tax-free disability payment. Therefore, when there are tax-free disability payments, such as war pensions, the allowance for blind persons will in some cases be very small, and the blind person might not come under the 1962 Act at all. Where there are two blind persons in a family, a married man and his wife, there is an Income Tax allowance of £200, but, again, seven-ninths of any tax-free disability payments are deducted from it. Therefore, in many cases the allowance will either be very small or be completely wiped out.

There is a further provision in the 1962 Act which would apply if the new Clause were accepted, and that is that a blind person claiming the blind person's allowance is not able also to claim for the services of a daughter whom he might have to have living with him to look after him. If the daughter's allowance of £40 a year is claimed, the blind person's allowance is not allowed.

In short, the allowance granted to blind persons in 1962 is a very minor one. It is rather misleading to look upon it as an allowance of £100. That would be quite a major allowance in comparison with the dependent relative's and housekeeper's allowance and the rest. But in practice in many cases the allowance will be very much smaller than £100. In the case of people blinded through war service to whom war disability pensions are being paid, the allowance will not normally be granted at all, because the tax-free disability payment of war pension, once deducted from the allowance, will wipe the allowance out.

Even the very modest allowance which we got for blind persons in the 1962 Act came only after a considerable amount of pressure on the Government from both sides of the House over many years. The business of trying to persuade the Government to give additional relief to disabled persons comes up regularly each year with successive Finance Bills. Although the amounts involved are small, it was a major victory of principle when in 1962 we were able to introduce for the first time this kind of relief for a certain class of disabled person—the blind.

The new Clause would seek to extend that relief to totally disabled persons of all kinds, not just the blind. The arguments for the extension are exactly the same as those for introducing the allowance for blind persons in the first place. The basic argument is that disabled persons, for one reason or another, have additional living expenditure. They have not only all the disabilities and disadvantages of their loss of faculties but very often are placed at considerable financial disadvantage as well. I remember that, in a speech during the passage of last year's Finance Act, I drew attention to the case of a constituent of mine. She is a young woman suffering from polio. She works for her living but her disability requires her to have a vehicle to get to and from work. Yet her travelling expenses are not allowed for Income Tax purposes.

This is the kind of thing to which a disabled person is subjected in additional expenditure. All of us can recount personal cases in our own constituencies in which disabled persons are put to considerable extra expenses particularly if they are attempting to earn a living.

The purpose of this Clause is to recognise the additional expense to which the gravely disabled are put by giving them additional tax relief. The Royal Commission on Taxation which reported in 1954 accepted that the principle of giving additional relief to the gravely disabled was a good one, but it took from 1954 to 1962 to get even the modest relief for blind persons in the Finance Act, 1962.

Quite apart from the principle involved, there is also the question of practicality. This Clause repeats, with the necessary modifications, the provisions of the 1962 Act with regard to blind persons. I shall, therefore, be surprised if the Economic Secretary says that the provisions of this Clause are not practical. I think it is eminently practical. As far as I know, there has been no difficulty over the provisions for blind persons and I would not think that there would be any difficulty in this case.

The expression "totally disabled person "is defined in subsection (2, b) of the Clause and again I think that, with this definition, there would be no great difficulty in identifying those who should get the benefit. Indeed, it would be much easier to apply a relief of this sort than to apply reliefs for housekeeper allowances and dependent relative allowances where the relationship between two people is involved. In this case, only the claimant himself, or the claimant's wife, would be involved and there would be no difficulty in identifying those who should get relief.

As I have already said, the relief for blind persons which this seeks to repeat is really very minor when one takes into account all the qualifications, and I imagine that that relief has cost the Treasury virtually nothing. I do not think that this Clause would cost very much, but I should be glad if the hon. Gentleman gave the Government's calculation.

A similar Clause, though not in exactly these terms, was moved during the passage of the Finance, Act, 1963. One of the arguments of the Government then was that, if relief were given to the 100 per cent. disabled, this would be unfair to those who were perhaps only 90 per cent. disabled. That is the kind of legalistic argument that is very easy for the Government to produce. I should be delighted, if they were willing to extend this principle by giving relief to the 90 per cent. disabled and, for that matter, to the 50 and 60 per cent. disabled.

Even if the Government would not do that, it is a bad argument to say that we must not look after the 100 per cent. disabled because it might involve, by implication, some unfairness to those who are less disabled. I am quite sure that if the will to make this kind of adjustment were there, there would be no difficulty at all in drafting a suitable Clause.

10.30 p.m.

Another argument which I anticipate the Economic Secretary will use is that the right way to look after the totally disabled as well as the blind and all the rest is by means of social security benefits. Of course, that argument could equally apply to the blind, and yet we have already made special provision for the blind, and, for that matter, it could also apply to things like children's allowances, because, after all, we have family allowances for children, and if one uses this argument one could in fact abolish children's allowances for Income Tax on the ground that social security provides family allowances. So this is not really an argument which can be applied in principle. It is not a simple argument which can be applied right the way through the system of allowances, because if it were all sorts of allowances would be eliminated. It is not a particularly good argument and I hope that the Economic Secretary will not rest his case tonight simply on a repetition of it.

As I said before, this proposal or similar proposals have been put forward year after year in debates on Finance Bills. In 1962 we did make slight progress with regard to blind persons. We have waited now for two years, and this seems an appropriate opportunity for making this further extension of relief of the totally disabled. That is new Clause No. 7.

In new Clause No. 8 one is really dealing with a similar kind of situation but in rather different circumstances. The purpose of new Clause No. 8 is to make a further improvement in the allowances which are at present given for housekeepers. This is a rather complicated branch of the Income Tax law with regard to reliefs. I hope that the description I am just going to give of the present position is an accurate one. In new Clause No. 8 we are concerned with the married man whose wife is totally incapacitated either because of physical or mental infirmity.

A married man with an incapacitated wife at the minute in certain circumstances is able to get a housekeeper allowance of £75. Before he is able to get that housekeeper allowance he has to meet two conditions. First of all, he has to have a child for whom he is receiving child allowance; secondly, he must have a female either resident with him or employed by him to look after the child. That is for the £75 allowance, which was covered by the 1952 Act. There was a special allowance introduced for a married man with an incapacitated wife. By Section 17 of the 1960 Act mentioned in the new Clause a special allowance of £40 is granted to the married man with an incapacitated wife on condition that he has a child for whom he is receiving child allowance but without necessarily having to meet the condition that he employs a female person either resident or not resident to look after the child. So that £40 allowance is only to meet the condition of there being a child in the family.

The intention of this new Clause is to provide that a married man with an incapacitated wife would have the conditional personal allowance of £40 even if there were no children in the family and without regard to whether he met the normal provisions with regard to allowance for housekeepers. The argument is in principle the same kind of argument as the argument about disabled persons. However one lays down conditions in the law about this, there are bound to be additional expenses of one sort or another for a man with a totally incapacitated wife.

It is impossible for a man to run a household with a completely incapacitated wife without incurring additional expenditure in one way or another. In certain circumstances, if there are children in the family, or if a housekeeper is employed on a residential basis, a housekeeper allowance is granted, but there is still a fairly numerous category of married men with incapacitated wives who do not meet the present requirements for a housekeeper allowance, and it is to meet the circumstances of these individuals that we have suggested this new Clause with this modest allowance of £40.

There will be no difficulty about identifyng the individuals who would get the benefit of this new Clause. It would be much easier to identify them than to decide whether an individual should receive the housekeeper allowance, because one would be concerned only with determining whether the man had an incapacitated wife. Once that had been determined and no houeskeeper allowance was being paid, this allowance of £40 would be available to that married man. It would not seem to be difficult to operate the Clause in practice and it would not seem to be very costly for the Government to operate it. What cost there would be is already provided for in the various provisions for housekeeper allowances, and the comparatively small number of people who would be involved in this new Clause would not be likely to cost the Treasury very much.

Since real hardship can be involved in cases of this sort, I hope that the Government will be willing to look favourably on this as well as on the other new Clause. Once the principle has been accepted, as it has been accepted in the precedent of 1962—that when there is incapacity or disablement in the family, the Income Tax law should make special provision for additional allowances—we ought then to be concerned with seeing that that principle is extended in as humane a way as possible. The two new Clauses taken together would represent a considerable step forward.

Dr. King

I support the first of the new Clauses, that relating to 100 per cent. disablement, which my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Craigton (Mr. Millan) moved in what I am sure the whole Committee would agree to be an excellent speech. I do not propose to repeat the rather complicated formulae which he gave from the Income Tax Act, 1962, relating to blind persons, except to say that in that provision we were giving tax relief to the blind man, to the married couple one of whom was blind and to the married couple both of whom were blind, and that we did not just give a tax relief of £100, but a proportion of the tax-free income received because of the disability of blindness, doubling the £100 in the case where there were two blind persons in the family, so that the relief went most to those needing it most, doubling up where it needed to be doubled up.

This may have been only a minor concession, but it was very valuable, as those of us who know blind people are aware. What we are seeking to do is to extend the concessions which the Government gave two years ago to blind people to 100 per cent. disabled persons.

I should like to try to give the Committee a picture of what we mean by 100 per cent. disabled; what we mean by total disablement. The Ministry of Pensions and National Insurance War Pensions Book, an excellent handbook, lists those physical features which entitle a war pensioner to be regarded as 100 per cent. disabled. If he has lost both hands, or if his arms have been amputated at higher sites, or if he has a double amputation through the thigh, or if he has an amputation through one thigh and has lost the other foot, or if he has a double amputation below the thigh to 5 ins. below the knee, or if he has a double amputation through the leg lower than 5 ins. below the knee, or if he has an amputation of one leg lower than 5 ins. below the knee and has lost the other foot—incidentally, to lose two feet is not regarded as a 100 per cent. disablement—or if he has lost a hand and a foot, or if he is blind, or if he is absolutely deaf, or if he has suffered very severe facial disfigurement, he is regarded as 100 per cent. disabled.

Side by side with those almost anatomical estimates of 100 per cent. disability, there are comparable medical assessments of 100 per cent. disability, but I mention those to show how terrible the disability must be before it is regarded as 100 per cent., and we seek to tie the relief that we provide in our new Clause to the scientific estimates made by the Ministry of Pensions and National Insurance and by the Ministry of Health of 100 per cent. disability.

Such disability is clearly determined. It is almost utter disablement. I know that much has been achieved in this field by modern science. I think of one disabled ex-Service man who came to see me last week. He has one real leg, but as he walked across the Lobby to meet me nobody would have guessed that he had one artificial leg. But in spite of what modern science can do for the man who has lost an arm or a leg, it can do very little for the man who is 100 per cent. disabled. Such men find it very difficult to live anything like a real life, and all of us in this Committee admire the extraordinary courage that they show.

It is almost impertinent for an able-bodied man to compare disability and to say that one 100 per cent. disability is as grieve us as another one. The blind are at least mobile. They have their feet and hands, The limbless have the blessing of sight. It would be a very bold man who would dare to say that one of the groups is more handicapped than the others, and war pensions treat them all the same way—the blind compared with the totally maimed.

Since 1962 we have recognised the disability of blindness for tax purposes. We have recognised the sheer inability to live a full life, and the necessary dependence on others. We have recognised that blind people often have to buy what others can provide for themselves. We have recognised that blind people need to buy supplemental comforts, and also the fact that what are luxuries to most people are necessities to the blind. All this means—and the Treasury has conceded this—that the same income does not go as far for a blind person as it does for an able man. I suggest to the Committee and to the Chancellor that the argument which applies to the blind applies to the 100 per cent. disabled people in the categories which I have mentioned.

10.45 p.m.

I understand that the cost is almost negligible. The Disabled Drivers' Association puts it at £3 million, at the most. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman can confirm that that is the figure, or can give the Committee a more accurate estimate. The virtue of the relief given under the 1962 Act is that it goes to people who need it most, according to the formula, and that will be the case with the Clause. The Treasury has rightly always objected to the vagueness of a concession, but the group of people for whom we are pleading is easily identifiable. That is why the new Clause provides that the concession should be given according to the formula specified by the Ministry. Up to 1962 the Treasury always argued that we should not seek to help personal hardship cases in this way, and that the real way to deal with them was by the Welfare State, and by social security. But that principle has been breached in the case of the blind, and I cannot see any reason why the argument that we have applied to the bound should not equally be applied to other forms of 100 per cent. disability.

I can understand the Treasury's carefully examining any new proposal, watching for the implications and dangers. I suggest however, that since last year it has had a chance to look right round this one. This is a clearly-defined category, which can be absolutely limited. I suggest that the benefits that the House generously gave to the 100 per cent. disabled blind folk two years ago might now be given to all other people who are 100 per cent. disabled.

The Economic Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Maurice Macmillan)

We would all accept what the hon. Member for Southampton, Itchen (Dr. King) said about disablement, its effect on people's lives, and the total lack of right of those of us who are in no way disabled to attempt to assess, in terms of convenience, difficult and, still less, money, what it means to people's lives. I hope that the Committee will also accept that in the arguments that I put forward there will be no taint of Treasury meanness, because, as the hon. Members who have spoken have both pointed out, the cost, although difficult to be precise about, is so small as really not to come into the argument at all. The initial cost of new Clause No. 7 is under £1 million. Cost will, therefore, be no part of my argument tonight.

The hon. Member for Glasgow, Craig-ton (Mr. Millan) in talking about new Clause No. 8, put forward the argument that we should abandon the principle that this allowance depends upon a child resident with the taxpayer—that is to say, what is now called the housekeeper allowance, which, to some extent, owing to this qualification, could be more accurately described as a child minder's allowance, would be turned into a simple extra disability allowance for the wife. I hope that he will, therefore, accept that the arguments that I am about to develop will extend to that disability allowance under new Clause No. 8. This will save repetition, and will not cloud the issue in any way.

The hon. Member for Itchen said that new Clause No. 7, as drafted, provided that this allowance would go to those who needed it most. This is what I fear, in effect, it does not do. I must apologise to the hon. Member for Craigton for repeating the arguments used previously on this subject from this Box. If I am answering the same argument as that put forward in previous years, it is difficult not to give the same answer. No new point has been raised and the hon. Member cannot, therefore, expect me, in rejecting the Clause, to offer any new reply.

The reason I say that the Clause does not give relief to those who need it most is that it helps only the taxpayer and not those who are not within the Income Tax code. This applies to any tax concession, and it is part of the reason why we feel that it is better to help the disabled through direct allowances. The hon. Member for Craigton said that I would use that argument, and I do use it. It is better and fairer to help these people through direct allowances given through the social services.

I cannot accept that equity between taxpayers is a legalistic argument. It is not appropriate to make a comparison with family allowances and children allowances, since family allowances are subject to Income Tax and the allowances which would disqualify from receiving benefit under the Clause are tax free. The hon. Member quoted the Royal Commission, but the Royal Commission said that allowances should not be given in addition to tax-free disability benefits and that a person should have the right to choose between receiving benefits which are not subject to tax and receiving the proposed tax allowances in respect of disablement—proposed, that is, by the Royal Commission.

One effect of this limitation would be that war disabled and others receiving industrial injury benefits would not qualify for any tax relief since their existing tax-free benefits are more valuable to them than the tax allowance. Those who are qualified by reference to their war disability or to industrial injury would be better off under the existing arrangements than they would with the tax-free allowance envisaged under the terms of the Radcliffe Commission.

Mr. Millan

It is not a question of being better off under the existing arrangements. It is only a question that in certain circumstances they would not get the additional grant from the new Clause whereas many other people would. The Clause precisely follows the Royal Commission recommendation, as did the 1962 relief.

Mrs. Slater

Is it not a fact that the disabled person does not get as much supplementary benefit as does a blind person? The argument which the Minister is advancing does not stand up.

Mr. Macmillan

I was arguing rather narrowly on the point of the Royal Commission and the terms in which it envisaged giving this relief. I was pointing out that certain persons would not qualify for this relief because of the tax-free benefits which they were already receiving.

I hope that the Committee agrees that a tax relief is not a satisfactory method from the standpoint of seeing that the relief goes to those who need it most. The main benefit would normally go to those with higher incomes. I do not attach great weight to the administrative argument because it is not the sort of argument that should receive much consideration when talking about the disabled, but there is no doubt that it would require substantial additions to the administrative machine.

The argument put forward, apart from that on grounds of humanity, is that the disabled people referred to necessarily spend more money; but the concession is attached not to the degree of extra expenditure with which any individual may be involved but to the disability itself. I agree that anyone with a 100 per cent. disability has a great deal harder life and spends much more than anyone who is not, or who is partially disabled. But there is the whole question of illness. There are sufferers from some forms of sickness, physical and mental, who are equally totally incapacitated and must face the extra burden falling on themselves or their families. Their disability is as great and it is hard to see how one would get over that difficulty.

Some forms of chronic sickness or disability might not amount to a full disablement but might impose as much financial cost on the sufferer as a disablement due to a wholly different cause. Therefore, in treating the problem of disability, the right approach is not through a fiscal system but through the direct social service benefits and pensions. To try to do it through a fiscal system would, in the end, create more anomo-lies and unfairness between one citizen and another.

Part of the argument of hon. Members opposite is that this is precisely what the 1962 concession has done. Whereas there may be anomalies in this situation, I suggest that the state of being totally blind is one which is at least readily identifiable and is different in kind from disabilities from illness or incapacity and the extra payments due to illness, chronic sickness, mental illness and the sort of disability referred to in the Clause.

I am, therefore, not arguing that the Government could not afford it or that this is contrary to our economic policy. It is a great human problem and we believe that the social services and pensions are the best way of tackling the problem. The Government are aware that there are anomalies and my right hon. Friend the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance has these maters very much in mind On the grounds that the method is an incorrect and not altogether fair way of settling the problem, I urge the Committee to reject the new Clause

Several Hon. Members


The Chairman

Mr. Mitchison.

Mr. William Yates (The Wrekin)

On a point of order. I, too, rose to speak.

The Chairman

Is the hon. Member raising a point of order? I would remind the Committee that the debate does not necessarily close with the next speaker. Three hon. Members rose and I called the hon. and learned Member for Kettering (Mr. Mitchison).

Mr. Mitchison

I think it would be convenient if I commented now on the Economic Secretary's reply, and I have no doubt that some of my hon. Friends will have something to add.

I listened to what I thought was a most unsatisfactory answer from the Minister. We must remember that when replying to the last proposed new Clause the Financial Secretary urged us not to make a concession of any sort because it would lead to further concessions being made. That is what happened about the blind. This simply follows up what happened in that case, and follows, in that respect, the recommendations of the Radcliffe Commission.

11.0 p.m.

The point of tax-free benefits already accruing to people, the point about dealing with it by way of direct payments in respect of Income Tax concessions—all those, and other points that the Economic Secretary has made, apply just as much to the blind as they do to the totally disabled whom we are now considering. Surely, once a concession has been made in respect of the blind—and, I think, made on an experimental basis to see how it worked—there can be no logical objection to carrying it on for the disabled. All these points are exactly the same in the two cases.

It is true that the Financial Secretary, taking a broad view of these matters, explained to us that logic in this country was different from that in Germany or Canada, but I should have thought that here, whatever the nation, there could be no distinction in the two types of case we are considering. My two hon. Friends have made perfectly clear what the new Clauses are about. Is it really suggested by the Government that there is the least difficulty in identifying the people who get 100 per cent. pension? I should have thought that there was none whatever. In that case, the whole matter is concluded by the pension.

I was glad to hear from the hon. Gentleman that he did not wish to put forward the argument—indeed, I gathered that he would think it an unworthy argument—that there was such administrative difficulty in extending the concession to people under like disability as would preclude it. It must be accepted in the one case that the people are just as easy to identify as the blind, and, in the other case, the Government themselves do not wish to rely on any administrative difficulty.

In those circumstances, what is the point in refusing to make the concession? It is said that this would be unfair on the 90 per cent. or the 50 per cent. disablement pensioners, but there are various degrees of blindness. It may be that there should be some kind of extension, and there may be difficulties, and it may be that in this case it is better to have a direct pension only, but we are here concerned with one simple point. What possible ground is there for refusing to 100 per cent. disabled people what has already been accorded by way of tax relief to 100 per cent. blind people? There is no other point. I listened to the whole of the hon. Gentleman's speech and that is all there was in it, or not in it, according to the view one takes.

I agree that the other new Clause changes the nature of the relief. The relief in the other group of Sections of the 1952 Act associated with this one means that we cannot have benefit under one of those and under this new Clause, but they all depend on children. But there is a real, separate case for dealing with the disabled wife in this way. In both cases very little expenditure is involved. In one case the Government expressed their sympathy with the disabled people; they must surely extend the same sympathy to the case of the disabled wife. I can see no possible reason in logic or reason why, with the blind concession being as it is, and the plight of the disabled wife being obvious to everyone, this new Clause cannot be accepted. I hope that at the end of the debate we shall be told that the Government recognise that in this case they must make this small concession to cases which should surely have the sympathy of every hon. Member.

Mr. W. Yates

When I rose a few minutes ago, I wished only to ask the Minister whether he desires that every person disabled in this way who can earn a living should be automatically reduced to such circumstances that he would wish to use the assistance offered by the State. Surety, it would be better to allow these tax reliefs than to accept as a sort of general principle that everyone suffering disability of one kind or another should automatically become a pensioner on the State.

In principle, I could not see the logic of my hon. Friend's argument, and I should be grateful if he would be kind enough to explain why those who are blind who can earn their living or those who are disabled who can earn a living should suffer a tax disability because they are able to earn their living and should be made to want to fall back on the State social services. It seems to me to be a way of inviting the State to pay more out to these people than they could get by earning a living on their own.

I find particularly nauseating, if I may say so, the idea that a person who is either blind or disabled who wants to get to work by car should not have some tax relief to help him in getting to and from work. I cannot see why, in this particular instance, the average disabled person who can earn a living—a good job that he can—should not be one of those allowed to claim relief for Income Tax purposes rather than be a charge on the State.

I cannot understand the general principle which my hon. Friend suggested that almost all of those who are unfortunate enough to be in some way either disabled or blind should automatically want to go on the State for aid. All we are asking is that those who are competent and willing to earn their living should have tax relief. Nothing more and nothing less.

Mr. Percy Colliek (Birkenhead)

I should not have detained the Committee had it not been for what I regard, and what I hope the Committee will regard, as the shocking reply we have had from the Economic Secretary. The hon. Gentleman's distinguished father made a reputation soon after he came to the House because he took up a progressive attitude, so considered in those days, as compared with that of his colleagues sitting round him. I venture to suggest that, if the Economic Secretary reads his speeches later on, he will find little to be proud of in the one he made tonight. Some of us who had, perhaps, because of his forebears, thought that he might make his mark when he joined the Treasury have been bitterly disappointed at the way he has done nothing more; than re-read the Treasury's brief, and read it, if I may say so—I am sorry for the hon. Gentleman—not nearly so well as it was read last year.

What is the claim here? It is quite simple. I have always understood it to be a principle of our Income Tax law that Income Tax should have regard not only to a person's income but to the expenses to which he is put in getting that income. This is the whole principle of expense accounts and all the rest. A person is entitled under the Act to make certain deductions in arriving at his real income. The whole point behind the claim in new Clause No. 7 is that in the case of 100 per cent. disablement persons, there should be a remission of taxation of approximately, in round figures, £100 a year.

There is no hon. Member who is without knowledge of the position of disabled persons in his constituency. I hope that we shall find a few rebels on the benches opposite with us on this issue tonight. Every hon. Member who is knowledgeable about his constituents and his constituency must be aware that in every constituency there are 100 per cent. disabled constituents who have to meet what is to them a considerable expense. They have done all their training and the rest, and they have recovered in some degree from their disability, and when they start earning an income again in the labour market they inevitably have the problem of getting to and from the place at which they work. I know lots of them in London who, for that service, have either to depend upon the help of friends or to get a taxi. I know disabled people in London who pay 10s. daily for a taxi to take them to work because their disability prevents them from having the usual access to public transport and the like.

I ask every hon. Member on the benches opposite—because no one on this side needs converting—whether it is not perfectly proper that these disabled men should be allowed something like £00 a year to meet this increasing expenditure. Only a few weeks ago, the Government authorised London taxi drivers to increase fares by 25 per cent., which is a further burden. Is there anything more reasonable or right than that the 100 per cent. disabled should be helped in this way? Most of them were disabled either in war or in circumstances almost equivalent, perhaps, of industrial injury, with which we are all familiar. Who can stand up in the House of Commons and deny the right of these people to have their expenses—because expenses they are—taken into account in assessment for an allowance of this kind?

The Economic Secretary to the Treasury does himself no good by trying to argue from the Treasury brief with which we are harassed every year and saying that it cannot be done in the way we suggest and that it should be done in some mystical way—because it remains a mystery to me—by some other form of social services, which in this field are non-existent.

I am sorry to detain the Committee at this hour, but one must do so on an occasion like this. That is what the House of Commons is for. This matter was fully considered by the Royal Commission on the Taxation of Profits and Income, which examined Income Tax law and the whole subject in far greater detail than the Committee has the opportunity of doing tonight. After examining the matter in great detail and considering the alternatives, the Royal Commission said, at paragraph 202 of its Second Report: Our general conclusion is that grave disability ought to be the subject of allowance. It presents itself to us as a personal circumstance that sets apart those who suffer from it and directly affects their relative capacity to pay.… What we are thinking of is a range of additional expense attendant upon the conduct of their normal life, not least upon the maintenance of their earning capacity, which yet goes unrelieved under the existing code. It still goes unrelieved despite the fact that we have made this appeal year after year on the Finance Bill, and never more eloquently than it was made last year by my hon. Friend the Member for Sowerby (Mr. Houghton).

11.15 p.m.

Why do not the Government do something about this? Why is not the Economic Secretary strong enough to tell the Treasury what to do? Does he not want to distinguish himself before the House and the country? Here is a chance to do it. Nothing could be more creditable to him than to tell the Treasury, "There is no question of cost in this." Everybody knows it. The Economic Secretary himself said so. This is not a matter of great cost to the country or the Treasury. There is virtually very little cost involved. But the relief would mean an enormous amount to 100 per cent. disabled people. If the Economic Secretary were as he ought to be, he should take a strong line over this. I hope he will before the debate finishes. I hope he will tell the Committee, "We will have another think about it." We have had no concession on the Finance Bill.

Mr. Callaghan

We had one on the last Clause.

Mr. Collick

My hon. Friend tells me that we had one on the last Clause. I am sorry. But apart from that, we have had no great concession that means anything. But this means something to disabled men and women.

I hope that because of what has been said by the Royal Commission, and because those in touch with disabled people know what this means in human terms, the Economic Secretary will handle the matter in terms of humanity. He says that the Government wish to do it in some way by means of social services. Let him tell me what I am to tell the disabled men in London tomorrow about what they can do to meet the cost of their transport to and from work. Can he tell me "If an application is sent to a certain department, we will meet the cost"? But, so far, I know of no means by which the 100 per cent. disabled person can meet that situation. I hope that we shall get a concession on this.

I want only briefly to touch on the other pathetic case. It is an absolute scandal. I refer to the case of the working man who has a disabled wife, perhaps bedridden because of polio or an industrial accident. All must realise the additional expenses which the man must meet to get aid in the home. Apart from the isolated case where there are young dependent children, there can be certain forms of assistance where there are no young dependent children. But the help is not sufficient.

Why cannot we say in the Finance Bill, "Here is a £100 allowance"? I do not want to arouse bitterness, but when one thinks of the kind of things that are happening in connection with accounts for Income Tax purposes and realises what goes on—hon. Members opposite know what goes on much better than I do; I have only a fragmentary knowledge of it, but I have a little knowledge of what goes on—and what is got away with, is it beyond the Government even at this late hour in their life to offer at least to these deserving cases the £100 recommended by the Royal Commission? I ask the hon. Gentleman to have another think about this. Let him think in terms of humanity, take a stand as Economic Secretary and, on behalf of the Government, decide policy on this matter and not just let the gentlemen who advise him say what should be done on a vital matter of this kind.

Mr. Victor Goodhew (St. Albans)

The hon. Member for Birkenhead (Mr. Collick) has made an impassioned plea and it would be wrong to assume that the humanities of life are considered by hon. Members opposite only. I somewhat resented the form of his attack on my hon. Friend the Economic Secretary. There is no one on this side of the Committee who is not just as familiar as the hon. Member is with the case he has put. What he has failed to do is even to try to assess in his mind the case put by my hon. Friend the Economic Secretary.

Even my hon. Friend the Member for The Wrekin (Mr. W. Yates) jumped on one phrase used by the Economic Secretary about social services. The point overlooked by him and by the hon. Member for Birkenhead is that the Economic Secretary pointed out quite clearly that it was very difficult to try to assess the difference between the inconvenience and the extra expenses caused to people totally disabled and those incurred by the chronically sick or those who suffer some other disability.

It must be within the knowledge of hon. Members on both sides of the Committee that there are people who are 100 per cent. disabled but who are still able to drive themselves and do a full-time job and are, therefore, able to manage quite comfortably, whereas there are others who are suffering from chronic sickness and are incapacitated to a much greater degree, perhaps, and who are every bit as deserving of our consideration.

Mr. R. J. Mellish (Bermondsey)

If a person is chronically sick how can he go to work?

Mr. Goodhew

There are people in different stages of sickness who are able to do a ceratin amount of work, though not as much as those 100 per cent. disabled. [Interruption.] Hon. Members opposite are trying deliberately to mislead the Committee on this. This should be considered from the point of view of individual cases and not by categorising. That is the case made by the Economic Secretary and I support it firmly.

I am perfectly prepared to support it as an individual on the basis that, if one is to consider concessions of this sort, they should be assessed on individual cases and not on broad categorisations which do not have a definite regard to the case in point. I thoroughly support what my hon. Friend has said and I regret the intemperate attacks on him by hon. Members.

Mr. W. Yates

I hope that my hon. Friend the Economic Secretary will realise that what I said was no personal attack on him. I am sure that the Committee was only anxious to put to him the point of view that, although we naturally sympathise with those who cannot earn an income and whose circumstances, through the war, through blindness or other tragedies, require the help of the State, we believe that those who are able to earn an income and look after themselves should receive some help from the Treasury. That is the point I was advancing. If my hon. Friend the Member for St. Albans (Mr. Goodhew) thinks I made a mistake in this, then I apologise.

Mr. Mitchison

I am not rising to make another speech but surely we are to have a reply from the Government, particularly after the eloquent speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Birkenhead (Mr. Collick).

Mr. E. G. Willis (Edinburgh, East)

I am amazed at the arguments put forward by the hon. Member for St. Albans (Mr. Goodhew). As I understand it, he simply says that we must not help some people in need because we cannot help all people in need.

Mr. Goodhew

If the hon. Member had listened to me he would have known that I said that we should look at all cases and give help where it was needed most, but that I did not think it was needed most where people were simply 100 per cent. disabled—that is, not in all cases.

Mr. Willis

That is a most astonishing doctrine. It is surely an astounding thing for an hon Member to claim that we should not help some people because we cannot help others a little bit more. If the hon. Member is going into the Division Lobby to vote on the basis of what he has told the Committee tonight, then he should have put forward a new Clause of his own to cover all those people with whom he is concerned.

Of course we cannot cover all people. Hon. Members all know that there are always exceptions, cases of hardship, and so on. There are always anomalies, but for the hon. Member to have come along with the argument that he has just put forward is, in ordinary considerations of humanity, past my comprehension.

However, I did not rise in order to make a long speech but to ask if the Economic Secretary is not going to reply to that part of the debate which we have had since he spoke. I should like to ask the hon. Gentleman if he has any power to accept this new Clause and I do so because I see that the Chancellor himself is dodging about behind the Chair. Why does not the right hon. Gentleman come in himself and accept some responsibility? I think that the Economic Secretary is bound to reject us. I think that he has been given a brief to read. He has read it, and has given no answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Craig-ton (Mr. Millan) who, in a first-class speech, adduced a most logical argument to which the Economic Secretary did not apply himself at all. The hon. Gentleman had his brief prepared for him before the debate, but it is no answer to arguments adduced during the course of the debate for him to get up and merely tell hon. Members what is in his brief. He should never have attempted to answer this debate if he knew that he could not treat the Committee fairly.

I do not often take part in debates on the Finance Bill, but it so happens that I have a fairly large settlement of disabled men in my constituency. Apart from the ordinary number of disabled people, there is a very well-known disablement settlement in my own area, and I am in close touch with the problem about which we are speaking. I see it every week and, in fact, have a case before the Minister at the present time. It is the case of a man in precisely the position which has been mentioned tonight.

This man cannot get to work because he cannot afford to, and he is about to give up work. Yet he cannot get a car from the Government. Surely this man is deserving of some assistance? Do the Government want him simply to sit back and do nothing? I am talking of a man with a job who is anxious to carry on working and yet the Government are quite indifferent. Is the attitude really that the Government can do nothing at all for this man? From what the Economic Secretary has said, I understand that they cannot. Yet, there must be many cases similar to this. Mine is not the only case, and I personally have known others where men have had to give up working because they simply could not afford to bear the costs involved in getting to work.

We are concerned tonight with one of the greatest tragedies which can befall any man who is disabled. He, particularly, gets some satisfaction from his work; he looks upon it as some sort of fulfilment in his life; being able to do something gives him pride, and makes life that little more worth living. Yet the Government say that they cannot help because there is somebody else farther down the road who, according to the Economic Secretary, is also in distress. That is the hon. Gentleman's argument—"Because there is also somebody else badly off we must not help you."

11.30 p.m.

Mr. Goodhew

The hon. Gentleman is constantly trying to misrepresent what I said. What I said was that there may be cases more deserving of help among the 80 per cent. disabled, people in much more difficult circumstances than some with 100 per cent. disability. This was the case of my hon. Friend. There may be a case for looking into the matter from the point of view of individuals. In the circumstances, I do not accept that the hon. Gentleman's argument for the 100 per cent. is the right one.

Mr. Willis

The hon. Gentleman has said only what he said before, that we must not do something for someone because there is somebody else. My attitude, and the attitude of those on this side of the Committee, is not that we should not do something for one person, but that we should seek to try to do it for them all. That is the answer to the hon. Gentleman—that we should seek to try to do it for the person about whom he has spoken, and that does not mean that we must not help other persons, too. The question the new Clause is about is not whether somebody is badly off, but whether these people need help. We have not to answer whether somebody else is badly off. We are answering the question, do these people need help? On this side, we quite clearly think they do.

The hon. Gentleman said also that we should deal with it in some other way. If the hon. Gentleman had said at that Box, "We recognise this case, but we cannot accept the Clause, but we propose to do something else ", well and good, but he did not do that. Instead, he said "We recognise this case but cannot accept what you suggest, and we do not suggest anything else." That is what he said, and that is quite illogical and quite the wrong way to treat this matter.

I hope that we shall hear from the Minister again. I do not know whether he is able to say that he will accept the Clause, but I hope that he will for once take his courage in his hands, be a bit of a rebel, and say, "I will accept responsibility for accepting this new Clause."

Sir Douglas Glover (Ormskirk)

I do not suppose anybody can listen to or take part in a debate on a Clause designed to bring relief to totally disabled people and remain unmoved, but the Opposition, although quite rightly doing their job, have really put down this Clause knowing that it has not been very well thought out.—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."]—Allow me to make my speech and do not interrupt. Hon. Members opposite will then find that I am very much in agreement with them. They have proposed this all-embracing Clause. It is the duty and the right of the Opposition to raise a matter which requires looking at, to stir the public conscience and the conscience of Parliament.

This Clause deals with relief to totally disabled persons. I do not disagree with that sentiment at all, but I think that Parliament would be less than proficient if it did not take into account, if we are going to provide relief for totally disabled persons, that there is an equally strong case for providing relief for partially disabled persons—[Interruption.]—I wish that hon. Members opposite would not keep interrupting. If they do, I will lose the tenor of my speech. They will find that a great deal of what I have to say runs parallel and in sympathy with much of what they have been saying.

For instance, I have a case now of a poor chap who got polio in 1914 and who for 50 years has been wearing a caliper which goes up his leg to his seat, an iron bar jointed at the knee. He wears out a pair of trousers in three months. He thinks, and I agree with him, that the Income Tax laws should provide for a special allowance for him because of the fact that his trousers are always in holes whereas my trousers last three or four times as long as his.

This is a matter which requires a great deal of research and investigation, because in this prosperous society, very prosperous as a result of 13 years of Conservative Government, we have reached a stage when these cases should be investigated by the Treasury with a view to bringing in some system of allowances which will help not only the totally but the partially disabled, those whose earning capacity is reduced, whose joy of life is reduced. I have a great deal of sympathy with what the hon. Member for Birkenhead (Mr. Collick) said about disabled wives. The expenses of such a household are clearly higher than where there is no disabled wife.

The Opposition would have an apoplectic fit if the Government accepted the new Clause, because they know that this is a subject which needs an exhaustive inquiry into the implications and gradations of benefits and so on. I support those who have called for such an inquiry. The Royal Commission on the Taxation of Profits and Income recommended that there should be benefits for the totally disabled, but I want a wider inquiry dealing also with the partially disabled, with those in the community who do not enjoy the same happiness and joy of life which the average member of the community has.

I do not ask my hon. Friend to accept the new Clause tonight, but I ask him to consider this as an urgent problem. This is not something which would be expensive for the Treasury, but in a modern, prosperous society this is the sort of problem which should be considered with a view to dealing with it in another Finance Bill.

Mr. Callaghan

The Economic Secretary has now heard the views which have been expressed on this matter. Having read his brief, the question now arises whether, in the light of the debate that has taken place, he and his hon. Friends on the Treasury Bench have formed different conclusions. There is clearly some feeling on this matter on both sides of the Committee, and I think that it would be for our convenience if the Economic Secretary told us that he will reconsider the new Clause and that he will bring further proposals before us during the Report stage.

Mr. Macmillan

I am sorry that I was a little slow in getting to my feet.

I cannot altogether agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Ormskirk (Sir D. Glover) that what is wrong with the new Clause is that it is too widely drawn. Certainly the argument is not, as the hon Member for Edinburgh, East (Mr. Willis) put it, that we should not help some people because we cannot help them all. Indeed, the hon. Gentleman himself pointed out that, as far as he was concerned, the object was to enable those who could not afford to keep at work to be treated in a way which would enable them to carry on.

The difficulty is that a fiscal system of help must operate fairly. It is not a question of direct benefits or of pensions—which, incidentally, have been increased repeatedly in all these cases during the period of the Conservative Government. It is not a question of refusing one form of direct help to some people because one has to help everyone. It is a question of using the fiscal system as a means of giving tax relief to some people who are incapacitated and find it difficult to work as opposed to others. The new Clause argues that tax relief should be given to those who are still able to earn because it is more expensive for them to go on doing so, and it relates that tax relief to one class of those people. I am sure that the Committee will agree that although one might be able to put up with anomalies in borderline cases in direct grants, it is even more necessary for the tax system to maintain fairness as between one taxpayer and another.

The greater part of the hon. Gentleman's argument was developed on the basis that a tax allowance of this sort was some sort of compensation for disability. I am sorry to have incurred the wrath of the hon. Member for Birkenhead (Mr. Collick), but this is not so. My hon. Friend the Member for The Wrekin (Mr. W. Yates) treated it rather in that way, and the reason why his proposition was inaccurate was stated most clearly by my hon. Friend the Member for St. Albans (Mr. Goodhew).

The hon. Member for Birkenhead quoted a number of instances of totally disabled people, but those people are covered by war pensions and other forms of tax benefit. This form of tax relief pre-supposes that anyone who is to benefit from it has a taxable income over and above his pension or tax-free disability allowance. That is one reason why I suggest to the Committee that this is not a fair or equitable way of dealing with a major social problem. It is not, as the hon. and learned Member for Kettering (Mr. Mitchison) suggested, that it would lead to difficulties of administration or to difficulties of definition.

Mr. Mitchison

I said the opposite.

Mr. Macmillan

As the hon. and learned Gentleman said, there was no

logical objection to giving way on this in 1962 in regard to the blind, but it is equally true that to do so would lead to further anomalies. It is not a question of definition. The hon. Member is arguing that it is one anomaly which should be remedied, but the remedy that he puts forward could not but create worse anomalies in its turn. That is another reason for asking the Committee to reject the Clause.

It is not because of administrative inconvenience, but because the Government do not regard a tax relief of this nature as either a just or an efficient way of dealing with a major social problem that, despite the sincere and eloquent arguments put forward by hon. Members on both sides of the Committee, I must still recommend it to reject the Clause.

Question put, That the Clause be read a Second lime:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 108, Noes 152.

Division No. 103.] AYES [11.46 p.m.
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Hill, J. (Midlothian) O'Malley, B. K.
Awbery, Stan (Bristol, Central) Hilton, A. V. Oram, A. E.
Barnett, Guy Holman, Percy Oswald, Thomas
Baxter, William (Stirlingshire, W.) Holt, Arthur Pentland, Norman
Bence, Cyril Hooson, H. E. Price, J. T. (We8thoughton)
Blackburn, F. Houghton, Douglas Probert, Arthur
Blyton, William Howie, W. Redhead, E. C.
Boston, T. Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey) Rees, Merlyn (Leeds, S.)
Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G. Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)
Bowden, Rt. Hn. H. W.(Leics, S. W.) Hynd, John (Attercliffe) Robertson, John (Paisley)
Bowen, Roderio (Cardigan) Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill) Rodgers, W. T. (Stockton))
Callaghan, James Jones, Dan (Burnley) Rogers, G. H. R. (Kensington, N.)
Carmichael, Neil Jones, Elwyn (West Ham, S.) Ross, William
Cliffe, Michael Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham) Short, Edward
Collick, Percy Jones, T. W. (Merioneth) Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.)
Craddook, George (Bradford, S.) King, Dr. Horace Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield)
Crossman, R. H. S. Lawson, George Small, William
Cullen, Mrs. Alice Ledger, Ron Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)
Dalyell, Tam Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock) Springs, Leslie
Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.) Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.) Stewart, Michael (Fulham)
Davies, Harold (Leek) Loughlin, Charles Swingler, Stephen
Davies, Ifor (Gower) Lubbock, Eric Thomson, G. M. (Dundee, E.)
Dempsey, James McBride, N. Thorpe, Jeremy
Diamond, John MacColl, James Wai+nwright, Edwin
Dodds, Norman MacDermot, Niall Watkins, Tudor
Duffy, A. E. P. (Colne Valley) Mclnnes, James
Evans, Albert MacKenzie, J. G. Weitzman, David
Fernyhough, E. McLeavy, Frank Wilkins, W. A.
Foot, Dingle (Ipswich) MacPherson, Malcolm Willey, Frederick
Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton) Manuel, Archie Willis, E. G. (Edinburgh, E.)
Galpern, Sir Myer Mason, Roy Winter bottom, R. E.
Gourlay, Harry Mellish, R. J. Woof, Robert
Grey, Charles Mendelson, J. J. Yates, Victor (Ladywood)
Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Lianelly) Millan, Bruce
Hannan, William Milne, Edward TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Harper, Joseph Mitchison, G. R. Mr. Charles A. Howell and
Hayman, F. H. Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon) Mr. Whitlock.
Herbison, Miss Margaret Noel-Baker, Rt. H n. Philip (Derby, S.)
Agnew, Sir Peter Batsford, Brian Biggs-Davison, John
Allason, James Bidgood, John C, Bingham, R. M.
Awdry, Daniel (Chippenham) Biffen, John Bishop, Sir Patrick
Black, Sir Cyril Hiley, Joseph Page, Graham (Crosby)
Bossom, Hon. Clive Hill, J. E. B. (S. Norfolk) Partridge, E.
Bourne-Arton, A. Hobson, Rt. Hon. Sir John Pearson, Frank (Clitheroe)
Box, Donald Hogg, Rt. Hon. Quintin Percival, Ian
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. John Holland, Philip Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth
Boyle, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward Hollingworth, John Pounder, Rafton
Braine, Bernard Hughes-Young, Michael Powell, Rt. Hon. J. Enoch
Brewis, John Hulbert, Sir Norman Proudfoot, Wilfred
Busk, Antony Hurd, Sir Anthony Ramsden, Rt. Hon. James
Bullard, Denys Hutchison, Michael Clark Rawlinson, Rt. Hon. Sir Peter
Carr, Compton (Barons Court) Iremonger, T. L. Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin
Carr, Rt. Hon. Robert (Mitcham) Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Rees, Hugh (Swansea, W.)
Chataway, Christopher James, David Renton, Rt. Hon. David
Clark, William (Nottingham, S.) Johnson, Eric (Blackley) Roots, William
Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.) Johnson Smith, Geoffrey Scott-Hopkins, James
Cleaver, Leonard Kerr, Sir Hamilton Shaw, M.
Cooke, Robert Kirk, Peter Smith, Dudley (Br'ntfd & Chiswick)
Corfield, F. V. Kitson, Timothy Spearman, Sir Alexander
Crawley, Aidan Langford-Holt, Sir John Stainton, Keith
Curran, Charles Leavey, J. A. Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)
Currie, G. B. H. Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir Malcolm
Dalkeith, Earl of Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Studholme, Sir Henry
d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Litchfield, Capt. John Summers, Sir Spencer
Deedes, Rt. Hon. W. F. Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral) Tapsell, Peter
Doughty, Charles Loveys, Walter H. Taylor, Frank (M'ch'st'r, Moss Side)
du Cann, Edward Lucas, Sir Jocelyn Taylor, Sir William (Bradford, N.)
Duncan, Sir James Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Teeling, Sir William
Eden, Sir John Mac Arthur, Ian Temple, John M.
Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) McLaren, Martin Thomas, Sir Leslie (Canterbury)
Elliott, R. W. (Newc'tle-upon-Tyne, N.) Maclay, Rt. Hon. John Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)
Errington, Sir Eric Maomillan, Maurice (Halifax) Touche, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon
Farr, John Maddan, Martin Turner, Colin
Firnlay, Graeme Maglnnis, John E. Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.
Fletcher-Cooke, Charles Markham, Major Sir Frank Vane, W. M. F.
Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton) Marten, Neil Walder, David
Gardner, Edward Mathew, Robert (Honiton) Walker, Peter
Gibson-Watt, David Matthews, Gordon (Meriden) Webster, David
Giles, Rear-Admiral Morgan Maude, Angus (Stratford-on-Avon) Wells, John (Maidstone)
Glover, Sir Douglas Maudling, Rt. Hon. Reginald Williams, Dudley (Exeter)
Goodhew, Victor Mawby, Ray Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)
Gower, Raymond Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J. Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Green, Alan Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C. Wise, A. R.
Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds) Mills, Stratton Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Crosvenor, Lord Robert Miscampbell, Norman Woodhousc, C. M.
Gurden, Harold Montgomery, Fergus Woollam, John
Hamilton, Michael (Wellingborough) More, Jasper (Ludlow)
Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye) Morrison, Charles (Devizes) TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.) Morrison, John (Salisbury) Mr. Chichester-Clark and Mr. Pym.
Hendry, Forbes Osborn, John (Hallam)
The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Reginald Maudling)

I beg to move, That the Chairman do report Progress and ask leave to sit again. The next group of Clauses raises a new and substantial point and I think it will be generally agreed that this would not be a convenient time to start discussing that matter. I am rather disappointed at the extent of the progress made today, although I agree that the matters we have been discussing are important. I had hoped that we would have got further. However, I move this Motion in the hope that we will return tomorrow even fresher and brighter and that we will make more progress than today.

Mr. Callaghan

I hope that the Chancellor will not take it as a personal affront when I say that the benches behind him soon emptied when he uttered his first sentence and moved to

report Progress.—[Interruption.]—Hon. Members opposite tell me to look at the benches behind me. That only goes to show that our communications are even better than the Chancellor's.

We are glad to accept this Motion. I would not regard today's progress as at all disappointing. Because of the result of a long debate the Government have promised a concession on Report. Thus our time has been well spent. We could have avoided a long, four-hour debate on one new Clause had the Chancellor been ready at the beginning with the statement which was made on his behalf at the end. Any waste of time that there may have been has been because of the Chancellor and not because of my hon. Friends.

I hope that there will be no suggestion that because we have made extraordinarily rapid progress so far we must necessarily maintain the same rate of progress through the whole period. We have dealt with all the Amendments to the Finance Bill in two days and have spent one day on new Clauses, three days in all. Normally we reckon to spend eight days on the Finance Bill. I am not for a moment suggesting that it is necessary for us to spend eight days on this, but I see no reason why the Committee as a whole—and this applies to hon. Members on both sides—should have to stay here extraordinarily late. I see no reason why the current Finance Bill—which is obviously going to take much less time this year than any I recall during my 19 years in the House of Commons—should not be considered at a reasonable hour.

I trust that the usual channels will continue to flow clearly. In support of the interests of hon. Members on the back benches as well as those on the Front Benches on both sides, I hope that, as long as we continue to make such rapid progress as is being made, we will be able to get away at a reasonable and sensible time at the end of a day's work so that we may get to our homes for a night's sleep.

I can assure the Chancellor that my hon. Friends will continue to debate the Bill and the new Clauses in the way we have debated them so far, without wasting time, but pushing our points forward until we see that the Government are either in favour or not and, if we see that they are not in favour, we either acquiesce or take the matter to a Division.

Question put and agreed to.

Committee report Progress; to sit again Tomorrow.