HC Deb 29 April 1971 vol 816 cc701-2
Q1. Mr. Meacher

asked the Prime Minister what is the amount by which his salary is annually increased as a result of the 2½p off income tax.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Edward Heath)

There has been no increase in the salary of the Prime Minister since 1964. The net income after tax and allowances of the Prime Minister, as of any other individual, is his own private affair.

Mr. Meacher

Since the Prime Minister is so coy about his self-given gains, let me give him the felicitous news that he has awarded himself an extra £22 a week. Does the Prime Minister regard as a proper balance of priorities a 2½p cut in income tax which, with the other mini-Budget and Budget measures, has given more than 80 times more money to those with incomes over £5,000 a year than to those living beneath the supplementary benefit poverty line? Are not the statistics of Tory injustice the truth behind the Prime Minister's rhetorical charade of "one nation"?

The Prime Minister

As I said, the income of any Prime Minister, as of every right hon. and hon. Member of this House, is his own private affair, and the hon. Gentleman has no means whatever of calculating the effect of the reduction in income tax on any hon. Member.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

Is my right hon. Friend aware that on ordinary pay principles a very substantial increase would be justified in view of the big increase in productivity since his predecessor left office?

The Prime Minister

That is a view which I fully share.

Mr. Cant

Without going into the statistics, may I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether his reaction to the benefit he has received from his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer confirms or otherwise the Chancellor's belief that tax reductions produce incentives? Does he feel a great upsurge of energy? If he does, will he devote a little of his extra energy to solving the unemployment problem?

The Prime Minister

What I know from the reactions which have been given to us, particularly in N.E.D.C., is that the changes which have been made in direct taxation will deter many of the able from leaving these shores and will also give greater mobility to those who want to change their jobs in industry on promotion. I think that the hon. Gentleman, who studies these matters carefully, will agree that that is the effect.