HC Deb 03 August 1965 vol 717 cc1251-2
6. Mrs. Shirley Williams

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many taxpayers employed through labour-only sub-contractors in the engineering and building industries are listed as self-employed; and what is the estimated loss to the revenue arising from these taxpayers being listed as self-employed and not as employed persons.

Mr. MacDermot

I regret that the information is not available. I would add that a new procedure has been introduced to facilitate the taxation of the self-employed in these cases.

Mrs. Williams

I very much welcome my hon. and learned Friend's statement. I am sure that he is aware that this is an attempt to increase the revenue and not to spend it. Is he aware that there is a great increase in the number of self-employed persons in jobs otherwise identical with those of employed persons and that they are, therefore, able to claim expenses under the self-employed system which causes some resentment among those who rate purely as employed persons?

Mr. MacDermot

Yes, we are aware of this fact. The Public Accounts Committee, in its 1961–62 Report, drew attention to the difficulties which the Inland Revenue was having in following up itinerant sub-contractors. It is for this reason that the new procedures have been introduced.

Mr. Evelyn King

Is the hon and learned Gentleman aware that the productivity of self-employed persons is usually much higher than that of wage earners?

Mr. MacDermot

I do not think that that necessarily follows.