Orders of the Day — Finance Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 25th November 1947.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Edgar Granville Mr Edgar Granville , Eye 12:00 am, 25th November 1947

The hon. Member for Wimbledon (Mr. Palmer) will forgive me if I do not follow him in his detailed argument, with much of which I would not find myself altogether in complete agreement. In any event he has beaten up a certain liveliness in the Debate in which so far a great deal of interest had not been shown. Ever since this Budget and Finance Bill were introduced, there has not been a great deal of interest, and it may be this afternoon that the Debate on the state of the nation, in another place not so many miles away, is arousing more interest than is evinced in the Debate in this House.

I wish to refer to three points, the Profits Tax as it affects production, the advertising tax, or disallowance, as we have been told by the Financial Secretary to call it, and to overheads in expenditure as they affect the Budget, which were referred to by the right hon. and gallant Member for Gainsborough (Captain Crookshank). I do not complain of the doubling of the Profits Tax. There is some question about the date of its imposition, but we accept the fact that the Chancellor of the Exchequer has to get his revenue. I criticise it because it is unimaginative. Let me suggest to the Chancellor that if production is the vital curb on inflation and exports depend upon it—and all the pundits on inflationary pressure, gaps, targets, and so on tell us that this is so—I would like to see the Treasury produce some sort of tax rebate on increased production over and above a certain amount. In association with that kind of rebate, a rebate on what is known as the overtime tax—that part of a worker's earnings which, when he is working overtime, becomes subject to taxation—could surely be devised by the experts in the Treasury. The rebate could be given the worker in the form of national bonds, which would be an additional form of savings for the country, and an incentive to increased production. I criticise the Profits Tax not so much because of its incidence, but because at this crucial period in our economic crisis, although the Budget and the Finance Bill bear all the hallmarks of having been hastily prepared and produced, something in the nature of an economic and imaginative tax should have been prepared by the Government. I am sorry that the hon. Member for Norwood (Mr. Chamberlain) is not in his place. In his speech he read from reports in the "Financial News."