Clause 21. — (Nature and Amount of Relief for Qualifying Premiums.)

Part of Orders of the Day — FINANCE (No. 2) BILL – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 10th July 1956.

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Photo of Mr Gilbert Mitchison Mr Gilbert Mitchison , Kettering 12:00 am, 10th July 1956

I should like to direct myself to answering the right hon. and learned Member for Kensington, South (Sir P. Spens). We have had painted for us a delightful picture of the man who is not in a position to save much early on, but, later, is in a position to save more. We have also had the delightful picture of the somewhat elderly person who will no doubt benefit in certain circumstances. I merely point out to the right hon. and learned Member that there arc Amendments on the Notice Paper to Clause 21, page 24, lines 21 and 23, which provide for those two cases and upon which we shall confidently expect his support when we debate them later.

The right hon. and learned Member must remember that there are some cases which are not provided for by those two Amendments, and which are not of the character which he has so eloquently and I might almost say so pathetically described to us. There are some fortunate people who have incomes of between £5,000 and £7,500 a year for quite a long time, and we have to consider whether those persons should be entitled to a special tax concession at a time which, as we understand from the Chancellor at other moments, is one of national crisis, financial emergency, of trying to stand still on a plateau which we may or may not attain, and of a number of other remarkable difficulties.

If the change which is now appearing in the Bill, and for which he had some initial responsibility, is designed to cover the type of case for which he has so much regard why, instead of wringing our hearts at this late stage, did the right hon. and learned Member not draft the proposals to cover the type of cases which he has mentioned and limit the proposals to those cases? I would not accuse him either of laziness or of perversity, but we view with some suspicion a speech of this character from a right hon. and learned Gentleman who could, if he wanted, have limited these benefits to that class of person, and has extended them to a class of person, who—without saying anything unduly against them—are not entitled to any special benefit under these Clauses in the present state of the national finances brought about by the present Government and Chancellor.