HC Deb 18 May 1971 vol 817 cc1061-2
11. Mr. Hugh Jenkins

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what will be the net increase in income afforded by his Budget to those in receipt of gross incomes of £20,000, £30,000 and £70,000 per annum, respectively.

Mr. Maurice Macmillan

If the hon. Member means the tax benefit accruing to persons on particular incomes, the figures will depend on the personal allowances due to the individual and on the nature of his income. The hon. Member will find some information about earned incomes in Table 17 of the Financial Statement and Budget Report 1971–72.

Mr. Jenkins

Is it not the case that these incomes are typical examples of the salaries of chairmen of companies? Is it not further the case that it is in accordance with the Government's policy that the larger the income the greater the relief? Is it not a fact that the more the Government give to the wealthy the less there will be to give to the poor? Will he reconsider this policy, because if he does not, how can he blame people further down the line if they take the Government's example and endeavour to get the best they can for the people they look after?

Mr. Macmillan

It is true that in any system of progressive income tax any tax relief gives proportionately greater relief to those whose earnings are highest. They are still taxed heavily. In the group of incomes quoted by the hon. Gentleman, taking a married man with two children and earned income at the lowest, and an unmarried man with earned income at the highest, taxation varies at £20,000 between £10,000 and £15,000 and at £70,000 between £48,000 and £59,000. Those are considerable sums to pay in tax.

Sir B. Rhys Williams

Is it not the Government's duty to protect minority groups from injustices, whatever their financial status?

Mr. Macmillan

Probably the most damaging concept put across by such questions as those asked by hon. Gentlemen opposite is that there is some significant increase in yield to the Exchequer which could lead to reductions in taxation elsewhere, which, as hon. and right hon. Gentlemen know, is not the case.