asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will make some concession to farmers in respect of Excess Profits Tax, having regard to the fact that the basic years covered a period during which engineering, aircraft and munition industries generally had begun to make money, whereas farmers were still suffering from the pre-war slump?
The statutory options as to standard periods for Excess Profits Tax purposes are the same whatever the nature of the trade or business carried on, and I am afraid I could not accept any suggestion that an exception should be made from the general rule. I would add that, as my hon. Friend no doubt appreciates, the Excess Profits Tax legislation contains provisions under which a working farmer can claim a minimum standard of £1,500.
Will my right hon. Friend consider this anomaly, namely, that in the basic years before the war the whole of our industry had the advantage of a measure of protection. But it was not so with the farming industry and it does seem improper or at any rate inadequate that the two groups should have their taxation based on the same period of years, when the position was different?
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, in view of the fact that the provisions of the Excess Profits Tax embodied in the Finance Act, 1940, have adversely affected national output and created anomalies and hardships which have tended to encourage extravagance and restrict initiative, he will consider setting up a representative committee of a practical merchant banker, a nominee of the Investment Trust Association, the Institute of Chartered Accountants, the Institute of Incorporated Accountants and the Federation of British Industries, with the chairman of the London Chamber of Commerce, or someone in a like position, to investigate the situation and to make recommendations for the revision of the system?
I am aware of the criticisms which are from time to time put forward against the Excess Profits Tax or some of its aspects, and of course, give consideration, and will continue to give consideration, to the representations which are made. As my hon. and gallant Friend is aware, the last Finance Act embodied a number of important amendments. I regret that I do not see my way to adopt my hon. and gallant Friend's suggestion.