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.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr R.A. Butler Mr R.A. Butler , Saffron Walden 12:00 am, 27th April 1955

It is the net figure, yes—so I understand. If there is any mistake in my answer, I will see that it is corrected during the afternoon.

That illustrates to hon. Members that it is not the case that we are not trying to help the country as a whole. It is surprising how many families and ordinary incomes are helped in some way or another.

It has been rightly said—the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne said it—that some of the reductions are small. I said that myself. Whether they are small or not, all I can do is to take off the tax. If one's tax is small, I cannot be expected to increase it and then to take it off. I can only take it off as it stands.

I gave another interesting figure yesterday in answer to the right hon. Member for Battersea, North (Mr. Jay). He asked how many people receiving less than£10 a week had benefited, and by what amount. I said that in this Budget, the figure was about£19 million. But if one examines what has happened over the Budgets of 1952, 1953 and 1955, it will be found that families who have under£10 a week have profited to the extent of£116 million as a result of the reductions that I have made in those three Budgets. That is a reduction of 50 per cent. in the tax of such people.

The large numbers of people who are affected, the large numbers who have been excluded and the considerable benefit over these years to families of that type, who are the smallest income groups, illustrate that no other measure would have had as wide and sweeping a scope. No other measure would have done as much for the economy or have been so appropriate for this year as the one which I have suggested.

The hon. Member for Nelson and Colne said that I was trying to buy the Conservative Party