Clause 1. — ;(Charge of Income Tax for 1955–56 and Surtax Rates for 1954–55.)

Part of Orders of the Day — Finance Bill – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 27th April 1955.

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Photo of Mr Cyril Osborne Mr Cyril Osborne , Louth Borough 12:00 am, 27th April 1955

That is quite true, but I was taught as a little boy that many a mickle makes a muckle, or, every little extra helps. We should be worse off if we had not got the 6d. If the hon. Gentleman is arguing that 6d. is not enough, I should be very glad if he would suggest to the Chancellor that he should double the amount.

The fear of the right hon. Member for Leeds, South is that this amount will be distributed in extra dividends. I would ask him to remember that in the last three or four years there has been developed in the City of London and throughout the country the system of take-over bids, a development which I deplore immensely. The development has been possible only because men in London, from the provinces, have seen good, old-fashioned businesses where dividends have not been paid out in anything like a proper proportion of the profits earned. They have bid for the control of companies that would be better left in the hands of the men who are running them; but it is fair evidence that the businesses have not been paying excessive dividends from their earnings. As a matter of fact, there was trouble in the Cunard Steamship Company meeting last week over this very point.

I can reassure the right hon. Gentleman that there is no danger that this money will be unwisely spent or unwisely distributed in dividends. On the other hand, there is a much greater chance of its being used for re-equipment and modernisation. I would thank my right hon. Friend for the proposals he is making, and assure him that the business community support him in what he is doing and in his efforts to raise the standard of living of the whole country over the next 25 years.