Air Vice-Marshal Bennett (Compensation)

Oral Answers to Questions — National Finance – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 2nd March 1948.

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Photo of Sir Arthur Harvey Sir Arthur Harvey , Macclesfield 12:00 am, 2nd March 1948

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if the £4,500 compensation paid by B.S.A.A.C. to Air Vice-Marshal Bennett is free of tax.

Photo of Sir Stafford Cripps Sir Stafford Cripps , Bristol East

I cannot supply the hon. and gallant Member with information regarding the Income Tax affairs of a particular taxpayer.

Photo of Sir Arthur Harvey Sir Arthur Harvey , Macclesfield

Does the right hon. and learned Gentleman realise that this concerns the taxpayers' money? If a man has worked for a company for only 18 months and gets £4,500 compensation, surely the country is entitled to know whether that sum is free of tax?

Photo of Sir Stafford Cripps Sir Stafford Cripps , Bristol East

All questions of taxation are concerned with what may potentially be the public's money, but it has always been the rule that no statement will be made as regards the Income Tax affairs of an individual.

Photo of Mr Francis Bowles Mr Francis Bowles , Nuneaton

Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman tell the House whether, under the law of this country, an amount of money paid as compensation for loss of office is free of Income Tax? That is all we want to know.

Photo of Sir Stafford Cripps Sir Stafford Cripps , Bristol East

No, Sir. It is for the courts to interpret the law.

Photo of Sir Norman Hulbert Sir Norman Hulbert , Stockport

Did the right hon. and learned Gentleman, as the temporary custodian of the public purse, give his consent to this payment?

Photo of Mr Francis Bowles Mr Francis Bowles , Nuneaton

May I ask the right hon. and learned Gentleman whether, in view of his long experience of the courts, he knows what the law is on this point?

Photo of Sir Stafford Cripps Sir Stafford Cripps , Bristol East

Nobody ever knows the law until it has been declared by the supreme tribunal, the House of Lords.