HC Deb 13 November 1967 vol 754 cc10-2
8. Mr. Blaker

asked the Minister of Labour whether, in view of the fact that it has now been decided that fish filleting is a manufacturing process for the purpose of refund of the Selective Employment Tax, he will take steps to ensure that other processes involved in the preparation of food for eating are similarly classified.

Mr. Hattersley

The Government are keeping questions of Selective Employment Tax classification under review, including the implications of the decision about which the hon. Member asks.

Mr. Blaker

Do not the arbitrary distinctions between tasks which are essentially similar show how ridiculous this tax is? Will the Government bear in mind in the course of their review the possibility that the right thing to do is to abolish the tax?

Mr. Hattersley

In the ruling to which the Question refers the tribunal was at great pains to point out that the distinction was not arbitrary. The distinctions drawn by the Government are totally consistent.

Mr. John Page

The Joint Parliamentry Secretary has constantly said that the S.E.T. classification is under review. Will he publish a full statement shortly about those industries which are being reviewed, such as the photographic industry and others, because there is a great deal of doubt, and I am sure that he has a great deal of correspondence on this subject?

Mr. Hattersley

We are anxious to give a comprehensive answer as soon as possible. I assure the hon. Gentleman that it will be soon. I certainly cannot give him the assurance that we will give partial answers before the full review is completed.

24. Mr. Gibson-Watt

asked the Minister of Labour what is the staff employed by his Department to administer Selective Employment Tax in Wales.

Mr. Hattersley

The equivalent of 13 staff are employed in my Department to deal with claims for premium payments and refunds of Selective Employment Tax made in Wales.

Mr. Gibson-Watt

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the Selective Employment Tax has thrown a number of people out of work in the service and tourist industries in Wales, and will he now ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer to "chucks" this most unnecessary tax?

Mr. Hattersley

I cannot believe that that question represents the views of Wales. The equivalent of 13 staff employed by my Department provide, virtually, £1 million each in premium to Wales, which, I am sure, is most welcome in the Principality.