HC Deb 01 August 1966 vol 733 cc24-5
40. Mr. Worsley

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance what action she is proposing to take to integrate tax allowances and cash benefits paid under National Insurance.

Miss Herbison

I have no such proposals at the present time. Naturally, various problem about National Insurance and other social benefits which are being considered as part of the review of social security must involve consideration of the tax position as well.

Mr. Worsley

Would the right hon. Lady give an assurance that, when this review is completed, the Government intend to continue to make use of the system of tax allowances, which gives an incentive to the individual to help to provide for himself?

Miss Herbison

We said in our manifesto that we would be examining family allowances, National Insurance and tax allowances generally. No promise can be made at this stage, certainly until we have completed the work we are undertaking, particularly in this part of the review.

Mr. Lubbock

Is the Minister aware that Income Tax and Surtax allowances for dependants amount to over £500 million out of a total State benefit of about £750 million, and that it would be far better for her to envisage increasing family allowances so that those who need benefit the most obtain it and not those who have very high incomes?

Miss Herbison

When we discussed the Ministry of Social Security Bill all these matters were raised. At that time I made it perfectly clear where my own inclination was leading me. However, perhaps the House should know that one could not take away that £500 million altogether because a man's average wage is now about £20 a week and some people might be very badly hit. However, all these matters are being taken into account.