HC Deb 04 March 1976 vol 906 c1512
5. Mr. David Steel

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what are his proposals for the introduction of negative income tax.

Mr. Dell

The hon. Member will not expect me to anticipate the Budget Statement.

Mr. Steel

That is quite true, but I hope that in the Budget Statement the Government will do something to try to eradicate the expense and bureaucracy of about 40 different means-tested benefits and bring forward some proposals to simplify them, preferably through a negative income tax.

Mr. Dell

The hon. Gentleman will know about our intentions for child benefits in 1977 and he will be aware that the negative income tax system proposed by the previous Government would have eliminated one means-tested benefit. However, I shall bear the hon. Gentleman's remarks in mind.

Mr. Nott

Can the Paymaster-General say anything about the likely level of child benefits on their introduction? If they are to be merely equivalent to the existing child tax allowances, I do not know what the Government are making a song and dance about. What will be their cost when they are introduced?

Mr. Dell

I cannot at present say anything about the likely level, but child benefits will accrue irrespective of tax liabilities.