§ 1. Mr. David Atkinson
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many representations he has received in pursuit of the restoration of the tax exempt limits for friendly societies.
§ The Economic Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Ian Stewart)
About 60 letters have been received, nearly all of which have come from one friendly society.
§ Mr. Atkinson
Does my hon. Friend agree that the reduction two years ago in the tax exempt limits has had a most damaging effect upon the traditional social role of the friendly society movement, because the management costs of such modest family protection policies have made them very difficult to sell? Will he urge his right hon. Friend to use his forthcoming Budget to restore the tax exempt limit to the level at which he fixed it in 1980, namely, £2,000?
§ Mr. Stewart
I have no reason to think that the changes made in the Finance Act 1984 have had any such adverse consequences. However, during the passage of last year's Finance Bill I said that I should be very glad to meet the friendly societies liaison committee to discuss these matters. That statement was followed up by a letter to the committee in July 1985. Only this week have I received its response. It has accepted my invitation to discuss the future, including tax treatment. No doubt the committee will be putting points to me on that occasion.