asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if his attention has been drawn to the statements in pages 8 and 9 of Cmd. 832, that, although the actual pre-War profits of the Salt Union were between £80,000 and £90,000, 1975W the standard allowed by the Board of Inland Revenue for the purpose of computing Excess Profits Duty was £219,863, and that the latter figure was based on a share and debenture capital exceeding the actual shares and debentures "by £1,600,000; if this allowance permits the Salt Union to increase their profits above their actual pre-War profits by at least 140 per cent. before they become liable to Excess Profits Duty; what is the total amount of profits which come under the view of the Board of Inland Revenue for the purpose of levying Excess Profits Duty; what is the total amount exempted for the Duty; and by what percentage it exceeds the actual amount of pre-War profits?
My attention has not previously been specifically directed to the statements referred to by the hon. and gallant. Member. As stated in Command Paper 832, the Commissioners of Inland Revenue are precluded from disclosing information relating to the liability to Excess Profits Duty of a particular taxpayer. All that I can say is that in this as in other cases they followed the provisions of the taxing Statute which, broadly speaking, directs that the computation of the percentage standard of a business for purposes of Excess Profits Duty shall be made by reference to the cost price of its assets. The statistical information asked for in the latter part of the question is not available; nor could it be prepared without an expenditure of time and labour which I cannot see my way to authorise.