HC Deb 18 June 1973 vol 858 cc319-20
Mr. Maclennan

I beg to move Amendment No. 332, in page 23, line 25 leave out 'who is a councillor'.

I move this with tentativeness because I do not fully understand the Government's intention in including these points but also because it seems to me that the remuneration of members of a local authority should not vary in the way in which the clause, as I understand it, proposes that it should.

The purpose of the amendment is to provide that all members, however they become members, whether elected or otherwise, should be treated alike in their entitlement to attendance allowance.

The point made was that that was desirable, if members of local authorities were to be co-opted, and it was not entirely clear whether, under the definitions of the Bill, teachers and religious representatives on education committees would be regarded as co-opted members of the local authority. If they are, it is reasonable that they should be remunerated in the same way as those who have been elected.

Mr. Younger

I am grateful to the hon. Member for moving this amendment. There is a simple explanation. The attendance allowance is an emolument and thus subject to income tax. The Inland Revenue has, however, accepted that a councillor can be regarded as having two places of business, his home and the council chamber. This enables the councillor to receive, untaxed, travelling allowances in respect of his attendances without breach of the long-standing tax rule that journeys from one's home to one's place of business are not validly claimable against tax.

Non-elected members, however, do not have this duality of responsibility, and if they were paid an attendance allowance any travelling allowance would be taxable with the attendance allowance. This could mean that a co-opted member travelling from, say, Campbeltown to Glasgow or Skye to Inverness would have to pay tax on the amount paid to him by way of, say car mileage allowance, but if the co-opted member is entitled only to financial loss allowance, which is not taxed, he is not taxed on his travelling expenses. This is likely to be more beneficial, in financial terms, than to receive attendance allowance and travelling expenses and be taxed on both.

Mr. Maclennan

I am grateful to the Under-Secretary for that explanation, which, I have no doubt, will put him in line for promotion to the Treasury. I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

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