HC Deb 26 March 1981 vol 1 cc1061-2
1. Mr. Alton

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will extend the taxation of recipient declared benefits in kind to those earning less than £8,500 per annum.

The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Nigel Lawson)

No, Sir.

Mr. Alton

Is the Minister aware that his decision to tax the provision of season tickets hits not only low wage earners but those who use public transport, and is particularly unfair? Is it not time to adopt a more consistent attitude to benefits in kind?

Mr. Lawson

This is a move towards consistency. A small number of people have the benefits of credit cards and season tickets, which are so close to cash that it is anomalous for them not to be chargeable in all cases, regardless of income. They are now to be so charged.

Mr. McCrindle

I realise how attractive it is to tax "perks", not least company cars, but will my right hon. Friend consider doing that only when we can make further progress in reducing the standard rate? Otherwise, some of my middle-class constituents will feel aggrieved.

Mr. Lawson

I know my hon. Friend well, and I know the high esteem in which he is held by his constituents. I am sure that he will be able to persuade them not to feel aggrieved. He will also be aware that, contrary to many of the objective arguments that could be made and that were set out in the Inland Revenue's consultative document some time ago, the increase of 20 per cent. in the s cale charges which my right hon. and learned Friend introduced in the Budget—the same as the increase that was introduced in last year's Budget—is, in the circumstances, relatively modest and gradualist.