New Clause. — (Application of section eleven of Finance (No. 2) Act, 1939.)

Part of Orders of the Day — Finance Bill – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 16th June 1947.

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Photo of Mr William Hall Mr William Hall , Colne Valley 12:00 am, 16th June 1947

And the fuel crisis. When the hon. and gallant Gentleman began to deploy that argument I looked again at the new Clause he was moving, and I found that references to continuing the Act are not to make it applicable to circumstances arising out of floods and blizzards and the fuel crisis, but to anchor it, as on former occasions, to circumstances arising out of the war. The Inland Revenue must obey the law, and if this enactment were sent forward to another year, they would have to assign this one-fifth concession, not to what happened earlier this year, but to circumstances aris- ing out of the war. It would have been very difficult to do that. The help that the hon. and gallant Gentleman desires to give to those who are assessed under Schedule D would therefore I am afraid, not assist a good many people whom it is his desire to assist.

I would remind the Committee that, now that P.A.Y.E. has been introduced, the only people who could in any circumstances be helped are the people who are assessed under Schedule D. That, in turn, arises out of circumstances affected by the war, and even with Schedule D Income taxpayers, I imagine there can be very few who have suffered a fall in income, and who would not approach the Inland Revenue with a plea for this concession, supposing my right hon. Friend agreed to it. Quite obviously, this concession has to come to an end some time. It is unsuitable to carry a wartime and rather illogical provision of this sort too far forward into peace. We have carried it forward two years, and we think that that is long enough. If an individual has the right to go to the Revenue and demand the better of two years' assessments, surely the Revenue, on its side, would be equally entitled to go to an individual and say, "If you desire to take what you think is the best assessment this year, another time, surely, we have the right to choose between two years, too." The whole thing would become, in my view, rather a muddle. Therefore, I hope the Committee will reject this new Clause. We are sympathetic, of course; and the action of the Government shows that we sympathise with those who suffered earlier