Incomes and Wages

Oral Answers to Questions — National Finance – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 17th June 1952.

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Photo of Mr William Williams Mr William Williams , Droylsden 12:00 am, 17th June 1952

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the disparity of income between the average income in the highest and the lowest income groups, respectively, at the end of each financial year 1937–38, 1948–49 and 1951–52.

Photo of Mr R.A. Butler Mr R.A. Butler , Saffron Walden

I am not sure what the hon. Member means by highest and lowest income groups. Figures relating to the financial years 1938–39 and 1948–49 are given in the Report of the Commissioners of Inland Revenue for 1949 (Cmd. 8052). This shows that in 1938–39, there were 2,100 incomes over £20,000 and in 1948–49, 2,300. In 1938–39, there were 2,483,000 incomes between £125 and £150. In 1948–49, there were 975,000 incomes between £135 and £150. Corresponding figures for 1951–52 are not yet available.

Photo of Mr William Williams Mr William Williams , Droylsden

While appreciating that there is a remarkable change in the distribution of income, may I ask the Chancellor to observe that there are still many people with very small incomes and a large number with very high incomes? Will he not consider the possibility of reducing the disparity still further?

Photo of Mr R.A. Butler Mr R.A. Butler , Saffron Walden

Every effort has been made to examine, in the light of the hon. Member's representations, the material which we have collected from this paper, but I think it would be a pity to draw any generalisation from it. If we are to achieve any results we had better have a little discussion together.

Photo of Mr William Williams Mr William Williams , Droylsden

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what share of the national income was taken, after direct taxation, by the recipients of rent, interest and profits in 1938, 1950 and March, 1952, respectively; and what was the share going to wages.

Photo of Mr R.A. Butler Mr R.A. Butler , Saffron Walden

The proportion of total personal income after tax represented by rent, dividends, interest and profits is estimated to have been 32 per cent. in 1938 and 23 per cent. in 1950. The comparable figures for wages were 37 per cent., and 43 per cent. respectively. Estimates are not available for March, 1952, but figures for 1951 will be published next month.

Photo of Mr Herbert Williams Mr Herbert Williams , Croydon East

Can my right hon. Friend say whether, in the term "profits," professional earnings or only strictly commercial profits are included?

Photo of Mr R.A. Butler Mr R.A. Butler , Saffron Walden

I should want notice of that question.