HC Deb 31 October 1966 vol 735 cc20-1
28. Mr. Wolrige-Gordon

asked the Minister of Labour what has been the effect of the Selective Employment Tax on redundancy in the Highlands and the North-East of Scotland; and what alternative work is being provided for those affected.

Mrs. Shirley Williams

It is too early to assess the effect of the tax on employment in the Highlands and North-East of Scotland.

Mr. Wolrige-Gordon

Is the Minister aware that the service industries which have to pay this absurd tax are the industries which have provided a large proportion of all the employment in the area?

Mrs. Williams

Yes, we are well aware of that. But I am informed that there have been no large-scale dismissals which can be directly attributed to the imposition of the tax.

Mr. Buchan

Does not my hon. Friend agree that the working of this tax has been so unselective that it is time that we had a look at the situation, so that we might ensure that the Chancellor fully reviews it in April, from the point of view of regional or industrial differentiation?

Mrs. Williams

My right hon. Friend the Chancellor has made it clear that the tax will be reviewed after it has been in operation for a year—and that review will take place.