HC Deb 19 March 1968 vol 761 cc296-300

The same consideration, Mr. Deputy Speaker, does not however apply to unearned income, particularly in the higher ranges, where no one can seriously pretend that the benefits have been achieved as a result of thrift on the part of the individual concerned. On the contrary those enjoying such incomes, and even more important the possession of the large sums of capital which go with them, have mostly lived at very high standards throughout their lives. Now people in this group have not been backward in urging me to be bold, to be ruthless, and to impose the necessary sacrifices all round. I am sure that, with their high stake in the country and the genuine sense of public responsibility which activiates many of them, they would not wish to be excluded from such all-round sacrifice. And yet, were I to do nothing more, that would largely be the case. The indirect taxation I have proposed, as I have suggested, will in very considerable part fall upon those with average or somewhat above average incomes. The worst-off do not much buy furs or motor cars, or even refrigerators, washing machines and wines and spirits. But it cannot seriously be argued that indirect taxation, however non-regressive, is a significant burden upon the rich.

I have therefore been concerned lest the year or two of sacrifice which inevitably lies ahead, should result in a redistribution of real purchasing power in favour of those who are already best off. It would be intolerable for that to happen under the cloak of all-round sacrifice. And my concern has been fortified by the increase in profits, and consequently in equity prices, which is likely for this year. I have had to consider very carefully how I could best deal with this without impairing the effective functioning of a mixed economy.

  1. Corporation Tax 131 words
  2. cc297-9
  3. Capital Gains Tax 629 words
  4. cc299-300
  5. Special Charge 644 words