HC Deb 21 March 1951 vol 485 cc303-4W
Mr. R. Adams

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what progress has been made in the preparation of a Bill to consolidate the Income Tax Acts.

Mr. Gaitskell

A draft has been prepared which I am presenting to Parliament as a White Paper with a view to introducing a Consolidating Bill in the Autumn Session. I must emphasise that, as is more fully explained in a preliminary note to the White Paper, the Bill will be purely a consolidating Measure intended to leave the law precisely as it is. My predecessor in his Budget speech in 1949 expressed the hope that this work might be undertaken as a first step in the reform and simplification of the Income Tax Acts. It is only a first step, but, I think, a very useful one, for the provisions of the existing law are contained in upwards of 50 Acts of Parliament, and their consolidation will, I hope, be of assistance both to the Royal Commission on the Taxation of Profits and Income, which has recently started its sittings, and to others who have to deal with Income Tax matters. It will also clear the ground for codification when that can be put in hand.

As regards the particular procedure I have adopted, the object of issuing the draft as a White Paper is to give an opportunity to anyone who is interested to make any suggestions he may wish for its correction or improvement before a final draft is produced and introduced to Parliament as a Bill. I must add that suggestions that would, or might, have the effect of altering the law could not be accepted. It is the more necessary to give this warning, as the draft is far from being an ideal presentation of an Income Tax code. That, I fear, is inevitable in view of the material with which it has to deal.

I have arranged for copies of the White Paper to be available to Members in the Vote Office at 11 o'clock tomorrow.