§ The Financial Secretary to the Treasury' (Mr. Nicholas Ridley)
Counting husbands and wives separately, the average cost per individual taxpayer for the current year is expected to be about £24. About 350,000 people have a smaller liability than this, but in a number of these cases no tax is paid because assessing tolerances apply.
§ Mr. Hardy
Is the Minister aware that among the increasingly hard-pressed ranks of standard rate taxpayers there are many low-paid workers, widows and others whose income is little above the supplementary benefit level? Will he ensure that his right hon. and learned Friend appreciably raises the threshold, because that would save a great deal of money and be a relief to the many people who are extremely hard pressed at present?
§ Mr. Ridley
I cannot anticipate my right hon. and learned Friend's Budget Statement. However, I can say that wherever the allowances are drawn some people will always fall just the wrong side of the line.
§ Mr. Wigley
Can the Minister give an assurance, however, that the Government have not ruled out the possibility of increasing the allowances by more than this year's requirement to make up for the losses sustained last year when the Rooker-Wise amendment was not followed?
§ Mr. Ridley
The hon. Gentleman will not expect me to say anything more than that nothing is ruled out and nothing is ruled in.