New Clause. — (Clergy, Voluntary Offerings.)

Part of Orders of the Day — Finance Bill – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 22nd June 1960.

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Photo of Mr Enoch Powell Mr Enoch Powell , Wolverhampton South West 12:00 am, 22nd June 1960

It is part of the natural convention of these debates, especially on proposed new Clauses to the Finance Bill, that those who wish to urge an alleviation of taxation for some section of Her Majesty's subjects should occupy the debate and that it should be left to the spokesman of the Executive to explain the reasons against the proposed course, even when those reasons may appeal to many hon. Members on the back benches on both sides of the Committee, and even in some cases to a majority of them.

This is a very natural and perhaps I may say a proper convention, but I hope that I may be allowed to break it on this occasion by expressing a contrary view to those which have hitherto been expressed from both sides of the Committee. I hope it is not inconsistent for a loyal son of the Anglican Church to do so.

It seems to me that were we to add to the Bill this Clause, or a Clause having this kind of effect, we should be doing a wrong and an injustice. It seems clear to me that these payments are indisputably and unavoidably of the nature of income, and most of the arguments which have been used in favour of this Clause only strengthen the view that these payments are income. Neither their voluntary origin, nor the low pay of the recipients, nor the nature of the occasion on which the payments are made, nor any of the circumstances, alters the underlying fact that these payments are part of the income of the recipients, and would be treated as income were they similarly given to other persons.

In those circumstances, I cannot feel that it would be desired by those whom we are trying to help in this way that a discrimination should be made—and I believe it to be a discrimination—in their favour and that they should not be taxed upon what is income in the same way as the rest of Her Majesty's subjects have to be taxed.

I hope, therefore, it will not be thought that there are not very much two sides to this question.