HC Deb 05 February 1976 vol 904 cc1403-4
11. Mr. David Mitchell

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will bring forward legislation to reduce the rate of income tax on higher incomes so as to bring down the rate of emigration from the United Kingdom of able and revenue-producing citizens.

Mr. Robert Sheldon

The hon. Gentleman will not expect me to anticipate my right hon. Friend's Budget proposals.

Mr. Mitchell

Will the hon. Gentleman give the House an indication of the revenue lost as a result of people leaving Great Britain because of excessive taxation?

Mr. Sheldon

It is very hard to give details of the increase in revenue that is obtained by taxing those who have very high earnings and who decide to stay here. We are grateful for the Diamond Report, which shows that it is unlikely that many higher income earners emigrate from the United Kingdom. That is a finding that will illuminate all our debates on the subject.

Mr. Ronald Atkins

Would it not be better for my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer to devote any available resources to the lower end of the income scale, especially to old people in need of fuel, thereby reducing their rate of emigration to the Kingdom of the Almighty above?

Mr. Sheldon

There we have it. There is the voice of those who rightly say that certain advantages claimed for higher earners should be considered in the light of those who are less well-off. What we are trying to achieve—I think that we are being successful—is a fair balance between the competing claims.