HC Deb 02 December 1968 vol 774 cc1022-3
25. Sir B. Rhys Williams

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what studies he has made to ascertain the proportion of marginal spending power which may be withdrawn from individuals through the incidence of income tax, National Insurance contributions or through the loss of entitlement to special supplements or other benefits without any measurably depressing effect on the incentive to increase earnings.

Mr. Crossman

The points at which these widely disparate items might begin to have an adverse effect on incentives to earn more must obviously vary considerably not only from item to item, but also from individual to individual according to income, family circumstances and disposition. I doubt whether an attempt to subject them to precise measurement would assist greatly in solving the problem.

Sir B. Rhys Williams

Will not the application of selectivity in the social services always be limited by the effect on incentives? Is not this a matter which deserves widespread investigation?

Mr. Crossman

Yes, Sir. My only point was that I doubt whether the kind of investigation which the hon. Gentleman wanted would tell us a great deal about it, because I agree with the hon. Gentleman in his conclusion. I think that the application of selectivity reduces incentives, and, therefore, should be avoided wherever it is humanly possible.