HC Deb 25 January 1972 vol 829 cc1186-7
15. Mr. Meacher

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what has been the total value of tax reliefs and welfare benefits given by the Government since June 1970 to those with incomes over £5,000 a year.

Mr. Maurice Macmillan

It is not possible to provide accurate estimates.

Mr. Meacher

Does the right hon. Gentleman nevertheless agree that, on the best available evidence, combining the effects of all the Government's fiscal and welfare measures since the election, those with incomes over £5,000 a year have made roughly 25 times bigger gains per household than those with incomes under £1,000 per year? Does not this show how brazenly this is a rich man's Government?

Mr. Macmillan

I do not accept that for one moment. There is no foundation for some of the figures which the hon. Gentleman has used in argument. He has made some large assumptions, for example, about the effects of corporation tax, which suggest that all reductions go to the shareholders. That is not so. The hon. Gentleman made some assumptions about shareholdings based on 1954 figures which entirely ignored the fact that the latest year for which information is available is 1966, not 1954. At least half of company securities are held through such intermediaries as holdings of pension rights and insurance policies. Therefore, any such assumptions cannot sustain the argument which the hon. Gentleman sought to put upon them.