HC Deb 22 June 1966 vol 730 cc721-2

Question proposed, That the Clause stand part of the Bill.

Mr. Hirst

I should like to raise a probing point, which I do not want to press to a Division, but I would be grateful if one of the Treasury Ministers could help me. It does not appear to be quite apparent why there should be any exclusion in repect of expenditure prior to 16th January, 1966, the famous date which we have spent a long time discussing.

As I see it, the purpose of the Clause is to remove an iniquity in the terms of Section 13(1) of the Finance Act, 1965. As it stands, it would discriminate unfairly, I am informed, where expenditure was incurred between 6th April, 1965, and 15th January, 1966. I have no wish to pull a fast one, but if the explanation is available it would be nice if the Committee as a whole could have it. Otherwise, I realise that I did not give notice of the Question beforehand and I would accept an answer later.

Mr. Diamond

The hon. Member for Shipley (Mr. Hirst) has asked a perfectly reasonable question: why the change which is being made, which the hon. Member understands and which, I imagine, the whole Committee accepts, was not made retrospective to a date further back. The first answer is that—

Sir Douglas Glover (Ormskirk)

On a point of order. You called the Chief Secretary, Sir Eric, but I do not think that an Amendment has been moved.

The Chairman

The Question is, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill". The Question was proposed and the debate is continuing on that basis.

Mr. Diamond

The hon. Gentleman asked me why the capital allowance adjustment was not made retrospective to an earlier date. The answer is that it has never been the practice, when removing capital allowance anomalies to make the change retrospective. There are several precedents for that. One example is Section 22 of the Finance Act, 1959, and another is Section 40 of the Finance Act, 1963.

He may go on to ask why it is retrospective at all. The answer is that as we are making major changes in investment allowances as from this date, for other purposes which are within the recollection of the hon. Gentleman, this seemed the appropriate date to take for these purposes also.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.