HC Deb 29 March 1956 vol 550 cc222-3W
Dame Irene Ward

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer to give an estimate of the effect on the Revenue if the earned income of husbands and wives were taxed separately but retaining the husband's allowance in respect of the wife; and if he will show as a separate calculation the total cost to the Revenue of the present system of allowances which -include a special personal allowance to the wife, the benefit of the graded relief, the husband's allowance in respect of his wife, and thereafter a tax payment on the basis of a joint assessment.

Mr. H. Macmillan

If the earned income of a married woman were taxed as if it were, in all respects, the income of a single person, and the income of the husband were taxed as at present, the loss to the revenue would be about £6 million. The estimated cost in 1955–56 of the wife's earned income relief, including the cost of the additional reduced rate relief, is about £115 million. It does not follow, however, that if these reliefs were withdrawn there would be an increase of this amount in the total yield of tax, as many married women might give up employment.