HC Deb 26 November 1968 vol 774 cc270-1
2. Sir B. Rhys Williams

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will take steps to simplify the calculation and collection of Income Tax by withdrawing the personal, married, child, dependent relatives', housekeeper's, age and blind persons' allowances, or any of them, and making restitution to taxpayers by the payment of positive allowances in lieu.

The Chief Secretary of the Treasury (Mr. John Diamond)

I would draw the hon. Member's attention to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Chigwell (Mr. Biggs-Davison) on 7th March, 1968. —[Vol. 760, c. 134.]

Sir B. Rhys Williams

Does the Chiet Secretary appreciate the enormous benefits he would confer on virtually every employer, in savings both of time and expense, if he were to abolish the present system of Pay-As-You-Earn? Is there a single valid reason for clinging to the existing system?

Mr. Diamond

I appreciate that the present system of Pay-As-You-Earn, which has been examined many times, imposes certain time-consuming responsibilities on employers; but it is the best method of tax collection that we have so far achieved.

Mr. Frederic Harris

Does not the Chief Secretary appreciate that the public are crying out for a simplification of the present taxation system which they do not understand and which often their advisers do not understand?

Mr. Diamond

I am crying out for a simplification of the tax system. As soon as I try to simplify it in any way, the public insists on having tailor-made tax for each individual member of the public.