HC Deb 09 February 1977 vol 925 cc729-30W
Mr. Ashley

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer in which countries of the Western world information on revenue foregone by tax allowances is included in publications similar to the United Kingdom public expenditure White Paper; and if he will give reasons why he has refused to do so for the United Kingdom.

Mr. Robert Sheldon,

pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 28th January 1977; Vol. 924, c. 802], gave the following information:

The USA publishes a list of "tax expenditures", and I understand that the German Federal Republic also presents figures that are similar in some respect.

While I am always ready to provide information about the cost of specific tax reliefs where information is available, I am not at present persuaded that we should undertake the work of preparing such a list for the United Kingdom. Its value would be questionable and it would give rise to both conceptual and practical difficulties—such as those of distinguishing between structural and non-structural tax reliefs, and of estimating, for example, to what extent depreciation allowed for tax exceeded the true figure.