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 Jack Diamond Mr Jack Diamond , Gloucester 12:00 am, 22nd June 1960

What I am about to say will prove unpopular. I will preface my remarks by pointing out that I learned my Socialism in a hard school, having been brought up as the son of a rabbi who had to live on very modest means.

This new Clause raises a matter of conscience. The hon. Member for Aberdeenshire, West (Mr. Hendry) moved the new Clause admirably, and I would almost say perfectly. He made the case accurately that this is a matter of differentiation and that we are entitled to differentiate in respect of this unique and special body of people.

This is a matter of conscience for two people—the conscience of the recipient and the conscience of the giver. I agree entirely with the hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell) that the conscience of the recipient ought to be such that he would not want to be in receipt of charitable and special treatment from the Inland Revenue. As for the conscience of the giver, my conscience will not be mollified because a body of important persons who are doing a unique service to this country, which needs to be done now more than ever, are to be helped in this way and because my responsibility as a giver and a provider of adequate living remuneration for them is to be fobbed off on to the Treasury. If we believe that this should be done, we should do it ourselves.