HC Deb 03 July 1968 vol 767 cc1491-3
28. Mr. Buchanan-Smith

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what further representations have been made to him regarding the refund of Selective Employment Tax to employers in hotels in certain parts of Scotland; and what reply he has made.

39. Mr. Bruce-Gardyne

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the total number of representations which he has received to date regarding the proposed refund of Selective Employment Tax to employers in hotels in parts of Scotland; and how many of these representations have favoured and opposed this proposal, respectively.

Dr. Dickson Mabon

My right hon. Friend has received 49 representations about this matter, all suggesting the inclusion of further areas in Schedule 17 of the Finance Bill. The replies sent indicated that the matter would be further considered, and the hon. Gentlemen will be aware of the Amendments to the Bill put down by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, which would include all these areas.

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

Whilst welcoming the Government's admission of error and their attempt to rectify the anomalies in the Finance Bill since bowing to representations made from this side of the House and by hoteliers throughout Scotland, may I ask the hon. Gentleman to see whether he cannot extend the refund of the S.E.T. to restaurants as well as hotels, which would be of interest to the tourist industry?

Dr. Mabon

The Government are open to representations on many subjects and are willing more readily to accede to them than were the previous Government. I would not agree that this change has been due to the intensity of the Opposition. Rather it has been due to the generosity of the Government. We have considered this carefully in view of the representations made and look forward to the debate we shall have later.

Mr. Bruce-Gardyne

Pleased as we are with these belated concessions, is the hon. Gentleman aware that they only create further anomalies? Is it not outrageous that the House should be given no opportunity to discuss the way these concessions have been granted at any time during the Budget debates?

Dr. Mabon

I am sorry that the hon. Gentleman was not able to be present to discuss the matter when it arose. No doubt he will make that clear to his constituents at the appropriate time. We have carefully considered this matter and have made substantial concessions, for which I know the hon. Gentleman has expressed gratitude.

Mr. Steele

While welcoming my hon. Friend's remark that the Government are open to representations, may I ask him to note that Loch Lomond is still outwith the concessions? Can he arrange for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State to add his name to my Amendment to the Finance Bill?

Dr. Mabon

That point has been noted, but I do not think that my hon. Friend's suggestion can be acceded to.

Sir F. Maclean

Can the hon. Gentleman explain the continued omission from the list of exemptions of hotels in areas served by the labour exchanges of Ardrossan, Largs and Stevenstone?

Dr. Mabon

This is because the refunds are not being made in areas catering primarily for day trippers.

Mr. Stodart

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that justice will not have been done until the greatest tourist city in Scotland has been included—Edinburgh?

Dr. Mabon

I did not quite catch the name of the city.

Mr. Bruce-Gardyne

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the reply, I beg to give notice that I shall seek to raise the matter on the Adjournment at the earliest opportunity.