New Clause. — (Allowance for Travelling Expenses.)

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

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In connection with any assessment for liability for income tax, where a person proves that he has incurred expenditure by way of fares paid on public transport in travelling between his normal residence and the place where the income is earned he shall, subject to a maximum of one hundred and four pounds in any one year, be allowed such expenditure as an expense wholly, necessarily and exclusively incurred by him in earning such income.—[Mr. Marlowe.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

Photo of Mr Anthony Marlowe Mr Anthony Marlowe , Hove

I beg to move, That the Clause be read a Second time.

Photo of Sir William Anstruther-Gray Sir William Anstruther-Gray , Berwickshire and East Lothian

It may be convenient to the Committee also to take the new Clause in the name of the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, South (Mr. Ellis Smith)—Travelling expenses.

Photo of Mr Anthony Marlowe Mr Anthony Marlowe , Hove

I had understood that that was the intention. That is verbatim the same as mine with one exception with which I shall deal in due course.

I hope that the Clause has been drawn with sufficient clarity to make its purpose perfectly plain. The object is that people who incur expenses travelling to and from work should be able to claim at least some of that expense, up to a maximum of £2 a week, as an allowable expense.

During the course of our debates on the Finance Bill we have considered a number of cases in which people are allowed to deduct expenses incurred in their business. Perhaps the most attractive feature of my Clause is that it is wholly logical, whereas the attitude hitherto adopted by the Inland Revenue in respect of such expenses has been wholly illogical.

For instance, we have discussed the case where a business man might take a prospective customer out to lunch, perhaps an expensive lunch, because it is intended to induce business, but that might not be the result and business might not eventuate as a result of a lunch on an expense account. However, the business cannot begin until the people who work in it get to the office, factory, or wherever the business is conducted. This problem has become more and more important in recent years owing to the considerable increase in fares which people have to pay to get to and from work. There is now a good case for allowing the ordinary working man and woman some kind of expense allowance in respect of that expenditure without which the income could not be earned.

12.30 a.m.

The Inland Revenue quite wrongly adopts the principle that people live on the job, but, of course, they do not. More and more, owing to the changing circumstances of the day, people have to live further and further away from their work and have to get to it in the morning and home again in the evening. This involves them in a very important item of expenditure.

It has been said in relation to the last new Clause which we were debating that it is a hardy annual. My Clause, I think, has the merit of being on the Notice Paper for, as far as I know, the first time on record, and certainly it could not be called a hardy annual. But it does not, I believe, introduce a new principle.

I know that it is the practice of the Treasury when it wants to resist a suggestion of this kind to say that it opens a door. As we all know, officials in the Inland Revenue are terrified of opening doors because they are in perpetual terror of what they may find behind them. But, in fact, this principle has, I believe, been accepted in one respect before. Perhaps my right hon. Friend will be able to inform me about this. I have not checked it myself, but I believe that when people were directed under the Defence Regulations to work in particular places it was accepted that the expense of their travel to and from their home and the place to which they had been directed was an allowable expense.

Photo of Mr Anthony Marlowe Mr Anthony Marlowe , Hove

Yes, up to a limit.

Photo of Mr Douglas Houghton Mr Douglas Houghton , Sowerby

The limit was lower than the one proposed in the hon. and learned Gentleman's Clause.

Photo of Mr Anthony Marlowe Mr Anthony Marlowe , Hove

Times have changed and fares have gone up a good deal since then. I do not think that the limit which I have suggested is an unreasonable one. The intervention of the hon. Gentleman does not meet the argument which I was making, which is that the principle has been accepted. What, if any, limit there should be is, of course, a matter of argument. I was only propounding the idea that the principle had already been accepted. I take it from what the hon. Gentleman says—and he has more knowledge of these affairs than I—that there was a limit. But that does not affect the principle of whether such an expenditure should be an allowable expense or not.

If that principle was once accepted merely because people were directed under the Defence Regulations to work in certain places, then I think that one has to recognise that the circumstances in which people have to travel long distances from their homes to their work today are just as compulsive as any Defence Regulation ever was.

It is quite impossible for people to find residential accommodation, particularly in the big cities, and very often impossible for them to find it in the factory areas. They often have to live many miles away from where they earn their income. It is a vital part of the earning of the income that they should travel to and from the place where the income is earned. If once the principle is accepted, then I think one comes only to the question, which relates to the intervention made by the hon. Member for Sowerby (Mr. Houghton) a few moments ago, of what, if any, should be the limitation.

The other Clause on the Notice Paper, to which you referred, Sir William, exactly reproduces the wording of my Clause, but omits the upper limit of £104 a year which I introduced into mine. Without any reference to the laws of copyright, some hon. Gentlemen opposite have exactly plagiarised my Clause, subject to the question of amount. I am sorry to see that none of those hon. Gentlemen whose names appear on the Notice Paper appear to be present tonight to argue the case for it. Therefore, I shall have to argue for them in respect of so much as I agree with and against them in respect of so much as I disagree with.

Hon. Members opposite who have put their name to the new Clause—Travelling Expenses—accept the principle in toto; they say that there should be no limit. Having regard to the intervention of the hon. Member for Sowerby a moment ago, I do not think he would agree with that. I think he agrees that if we have this kind of allowance there must be a limit. He and I are at least in agreement on that point. Without a limit we should arrive at the most ridiculous situation. We could have film stars crossing the Atlantic half a dozen times a year, with expenses of £300 or £400 a time, charging those expenses as allowable for tax relief, and business tycoons going on the "Queen Elizabeth" to New York and charging the cost as an expense.

Photo of Mr Douglas Houghton Mr Douglas Houghton , Sowerby

I rather think they charge that now, but we will not go into that.

Photo of Mr Anthony Marlowe Mr Anthony Marlowe , Hove

The hon. Member may well be right, but that point is not related to the Clause. It is because I want to concentrate on the main purpose I have in mind that I have put a limitation in the Clause. It is to help the working man; it is not to help the wealthy people who may be involved in considerable expense in carrying out business transactions, even if they are only travelling between London and Manchester, Glasgow and Liverpool. The Clause seeks to help the working man who goes to and from work every day. I would have thought that a sum of about £2 a week was probably a reasonable amount.

The hon. Member for Birmingham, Northfield (Mr. Chapman) put down an Amendment to the Clause, and I will deal with that in a moment, because it also relates to the amount. He sent me a message earlier this evening to say that he would be unable to be present, and asked me to apologise to the Committee for his absence, and I gladly do so. At the same time, I must deal with his Amendment. It suggests a disregard—

Photo of Sir William Anstruther-Gray Sir William Anstruther-Gray , Berwickshire and East Lothian

The Amendment has not been selected, so the hon. and learned Member for Hove (Mr. Marlowe) is not required to deal with it.

Photo of Mr Anthony Marlowe Mr Anthony Marlowe , Hove

Without dealing with it, perhaps I may make some comment on the amount. Some people think that the first £26—on the basis of 10s. a week—should be a disregard. The argument in favour of that contention is that it is too fiddling for the Inland Revenue authorities to have to sort out the smaller amounts that people spend on bus and tube fares in getting from the suburbs of outer London into the City. That seems to be the characteristic Socialist philosophy of pretending to help the little man and yet trying to do him down at the same time. My object is really to help the little man.

Photo of Mr Douglas Houghton Mr Douglas Houghton , Sowerby

On a point of order. A moment ago, Sir William, you said that the Amendment in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Northfield (Mr. Chapman) had not been selected, and therefore the hon. and learned Member for Hove (Mr. Marlowe) was not required to deal with it. In my submission, he is dealing with the content and purpose of the Amendment in an extremely derogatory fashion, rather suggesting undesirable motives in making a proposition of this kind, when the matter is not before the Committee. Is it in order for the hon. and learned Gentleman to continue to harp on the content of an Amendment which is not before the Committee?

Photo of Mr Anthony Marlowe Mr Anthony Marlowe , Hove

I have no wish to make any derogatory observations about it. I was not dealing with the Amendment. I was trying to deal with the argument which might be advanced, if there is to be a limit at all, about whether it should be a maximum or a minimum. I can see there might be an argument for a disregard of some sort, because the amount would be too small for the Inland Revenue to deal with, but I do not think there is any substance in that argument. The Inland Revenue would know where a person lived and worked and approximately what it would cost for the person to get to and from work. In the case of a man who lives in Battersea, or Wandsworth, or Balham, Streatham or Hampstead, or anywhere in the suburbs of London, and has to travel to the City to work, there would be no great difficulty about the Inland Revenue getting a good idea of the cost of doing that.

I suppose it is arguable that there might be the occasional dishonest claim, but by and large the ordinary English citizen is pretty honest and I do not think the Treasury would suffer any substantial loss. On the question of a possible minimum as a disregard, suppose it to be 10s., I would put the case another way and suggest that the Inland Revenue should allow 10s. to any person who is earning money and has to travel to do so, without proof of expenditure.

I think that there would have to be a maximum figure and £2 a week seems to me a perfectly reasonable figure. But, of course, the taxpayer would have to establish his claim to the allowance. That is why I have included in the Clause …where a person proves that he has incurred expenditure… There is one other aspect of the Clause with which I wish to deal. I have limited this to fares paid on public transport and I think that is right. It has been represented to me that I ought to have widened the scope of the Clause to include people travelling in their own motor cars, but for a number of reasons I do not think that would be right. One reason is that many people who travel to and from their work in motor cars already have an expense allowance from their employer and there would be difficulty in sorting out particular cases. There is also the overriding consideration that to allow a rebate of £104 a year to anyone using his car to travel to and from work would amount to subsidising the private motorist and I should not feel justified in asking the Inland Revenue to allow that.

There are other considerations. Such an allowance as I suggest might encourage some people to leave their cars at home and travel by public transport in order to obtain the benefit of the allowance. That would have the advantage of keeping some cars off the road, which would be a benefit to everyone. At the same time it would help public transport. I am sure that British Railways and London public transport could do with that additional benefit. It was with those considerations in mind that I limited the Clause to public transport.

My hon. Friend the Member for Hendon, South (Sir H. Lucas-Tooth) says, "Not the rush hour", and I agree that that is a problem, but the rush hour is also made insupportable by the number of cars on the road, and no doubt if some of these cars were removed from the road at the rush hour, the buses would have a little more room in which to move.

But that is not the main consideration of the Clause. The main consideration is that many people are being put to considerable expense in travelling to and from work and, while many in business are able to claim relief on expenditure which they have incurred in their business, some of it, we often think, not wholly necessary, people are unable to claim in respect of travel which is obviously vital, because without it the work cannot be performed.

One aspect which should interest the Government concerns the earnings rule for those drawing retirement benefits. The maximum allowed under the earnings rule is £3 10s. a week. There must be many retirement beneficiaries who will not go to work because out of the maximum of £3 10s. to which they are limited they would have to spend £2 on travelling; and it is not worth their while to spend £2 to earn £3 10s. In the interests of production the Government should do all they can to encourage these people to go to work.

The main object of the Clause is to meet a situation which has arisen because of the increasing cost of fares on public transport for people who are paid weekly wages. It would help many of these people, including season ticket holders who pay large sums every year for travelling to and from their work, if the Clause were accepted.

12.45 a.m.

Photo of Mr Charles Loughlin Mr Charles Loughlin , Gloucestershire West

I appeal to the Chancellor to look a little kindly on this proposal, because his sympathetic consideration would help to redress what is becoming an injustice to a large proportion of the workers.

I want to deal briefly with two aspects. The first is that in many areas we are encouraging workers who are becoming redundant, because of the changng pattern of industry, to travel daily from their homes to a place of work possibly 20, 25 or 30 miles away and back again. In my constituency, where this problem has arisen in an acute form, over 2,000 people travel from the Forest of Dean to Gloucester every day, at their own expense, in order to get a job. Some of the workpeople who have to travel from parts of my constituency to Gloucester are having to pay—I have checked the figures—between 15s. and 30s. a week in travelling fares alone. That constitutes a substantial reduction in their wage. One way of combating it is to ensure that sufficient applications for wage increases are put in to cover the cost of travel. I am sure that the Chancellor of the Exchequer would not desire that to be a cardinal principle of trade union activity in the areas involved. It does not apply to my constituency only. It applies to an increasing number of areas.

My second point is the increasing cost of travel for workpeople in the larger cities because of the redevelopment of cities in the last few years. I know that it is customary to refer to the City of London and the distances which are travelled by workpeople living outside the City who come in to the City to work. It applies equally to cities like Birmingham, where I live, where wholesale redevelopment is taking place, and there is a movement out from the industrial parts of the City to the suburbs at a considerable cost in travel fares for the workpeople moved out. When there is a movement of people from industrial areas to the suburbs, there is inevitably an increase in the rent costs of those people. Therefore, when they have to bear additional travelling costs, it is at least fair to suggest that it is an injustice that they should have to bear the additional cost without relief by way of taxation.

I ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer to examine this. I know that he has pressure from all types of people and all groups of people when he has to look at the effects of his Budget. This is a serious injustice. Some people can manage to ensure that the Inland Revenue pays a very high proportion, if not the whole, of their travelling costs. I sometimes think that there is no substance in the argument that what is good for Jack is good for the master. In this case we think that what is good for the master is good for Jack. The only thing that we can ask the Chancellor to do is to give it sympathetic consideration, because by and large—I am not paying him any compliments—if he feels an injustice has been done it ought to be undone. I ask him on the two points I have made to give serious consideration to the Clause.

Mr. Amory:

I am unable to accept the proposal of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hove (Mr. Marlowe), who was supported by the hon. Member for Gloucestershire, West (Mr. Loughlin), both on grounds of principle and cost. In general, under the present law there is no Income Tax allowance for travelling between home and work. That applies to both Schedule D and Schedule E. It is quite essential to maintain that principle. There is one exception, which was pointed out by my hon. Friend the Member for Hove. That is Section 159 of the Income Tax Act, 1952.

Mr. Amory:

It is in the Finance Act, 1942, and also in the Income Tax Act, 1952. It dates from 1940 or 1942. An allowance was then given of up to £10 for extra travelling costs resulting from a change of residence or place of work due to the circumstances of the war. That was a temporary allowance that is gradually tapering off now. The Royal Commission considered that, and recommended that the allowance should be repealed, as it considered that as a permanent arrangement it could not be justified.

The Royal Commission very carefully considered this whole question, and decided that, in logic, the claim for an Income Tax allowance on travelling failed because the profits or remuneration were earned at the place of work. My hon. and learned Friend said that the Inland Revenue authorities regarded people as living at their work. It is not really that, but the Inland Revenue authorities regard such an Income Tax allowance as inappropriate for any part of the ordinary cost of living.

A second conclusion of the Commission was the extreme complications—

Photo of Mr Anthony Marlowe Mr Anthony Marlowe , Hove

The illogicality of this can best be emphasised by pointing out that in certain circumstances the Inland Revenue insists on a man living in two places at once. If he says that his income comes from different sources and from different places, the same principle is applied, and the Inland Revenue insists that he lives in two places at once, which is nonsensical.

Mr. Amory:

It is not that. The Revenue adheres to the principle that an Income Tax allowance is inappropriate for travelling to work. There are some modifications to that rule in the case of those who hold a number of different appointments.

The second conclusion of the Royal Commission was the extreme complications that would ensue if allowances for the cost of travelling to work were made a permanent arrangement. The Commission pointed out that most people have some element of choice in where they live and where they work. In fact, in many cases there is a wide element of choice. Some people decide to live further away and, by doing so, obtain a lower cost of living, or certain amenities. Others live closer but, in doing so, incur a higher cost. Since the tax system does not take account of variations in living costs, the Royal Commission considered that it would be wrong and inappropriate that an allowance should be given for travelling when that factor is so much bound up in other factors.

Another conclusion was that while the commission was quite satisfied as to the correctness of this general rule it recognised that with the post-war housing shortage the freedom of choice that exists in theory is, in many cases, quite seriously limited, but the Commission concluded that, even so, to identify and assess the cost in which there is no choice whatever to the individual as to where he lives or where he works, would impose an impossible administrative burden on the Revenue authorities.

I am not sure that I agree with my hon. and learned Friend when he says that if one were to give an allowance for travelling it would be entirely fair to omit travelling by car which, in some cases, is the only practical way of getting to work. Apart from this question of principle, I do not think that we could breach this principle, and start giving an allowance for travelling to work.

Apart from that, I could not possibly accept the proposal on the ground of cost. I cannot tell my hon. and learned Friend exactly what the proposal would cost, but I can tell him that it would run into tens of millions of £s—and, I would think, into many tens of millions. In any case, I am satisfied that it would impose a charge on me that I could not possibly accept this year. Therefore, on grounds both of cost and of principle, I am afraid that I cannot accept this proposal.

1.0 a.m.

Photo of Mr Douglas Houghton Mr Douglas Houghton , Sowerby

When I perused the names of the hon. Members who support this new Clause and saw the name of the hon. and learned Member for Hove (Mr. Marlowe), I thought at first that this was perhaps a constituency interest. After all, there are a number of the hon. and learned Member's constituents who travel, I understand, daily from Hove to London and who would certainly benefit from the concession that he seeks. I am not complaining about that. Indeed, when I looked further down the list I thought that perhaps Cheltenham might come in it; Nottingham I thought was doubtful; Totnes probably out of the question; Portsmouth probably in it; but Hexham, certainly not.

There is no doubt that the Chancellor is right to urge the Committee to approach this new Clause with great caution. I was rather surprised that the hon. and learned Member did not refer to the Royal Commission's examination of this proposal and mention what it said in paragraphs 236 and 237 of the Report. I apologise for the intervention that I made a moment ago. I failed to realise when the right hon. Gentleman was speaking that Section 26 of the Finance Act, 1942, had become Section 159 of the Income Tax Act, 1952.

Mr. Amory:

It is extremely seldom that the hon. Gentleman slips up. I have never known him do it before.

Photo of Mr Douglas Houghton Mr Douglas Houghton , Sowerby

I am obliged to the right hon. Gentleman. It was a wartime concession given over a much wider field than those who are directed under the Defence Regulations. It was very small, as the Chancellor has just mentioned. The limit was £10 a year. It was administratively very difficult to apply, and the Royal Commission recommended in paragraph 237 that that war-time concession had outlived its usefulness or its justification and should be repealed. That is the position as the Royal Commission left it.

The Chancellor has drawn attention to the restriction in the new Clause to fares paid on public transport. I certainly think that, in view of present traffic conditions, any discouragement to use private transport and any encouragement to use public transport might be welcomed as a means of alleviating a good deal of traffic congestion, because individual persons occupying large-sized motor cars take up an awful lot of space in a crowded city. But whether it is fair to ask the Chancellor to help solve the problems of his right hon. Friend the Minister of Transport I am not sure.

Photo of Mr Anthony Marlowe Mr Anthony Marlowe , Hove

I was not suggesting that. I was saying that this would be a consequential result.

Photo of Mr Douglas Houghton Mr Douglas Houghton , Sowerby

Yes, a by-product which the hon. and learned Gentleman thought fit to mention as an attractive aspect of his new Clause.

Reference has been made by the hon. and learned Member and the Chancellor to the use of the motor car. Neither of them mentioned the use of the bicycle and the new type of minicar, "bubble cars," Lambrettas and vehicles of that kind which are now becoming much more widely used for getting to and from work. It would be very difficult to make this concession to those who use public transport and to deny any relief whatever to those who might necessarily have to use their own transport to get to and from work. Consider, for example, night workers, many of whom feel a certain grievance about the rules as they now are. Frequently there is no public transport that they can use and they have to use their own, but no allowance is given. It would be very hard to admit fares paid on public transport for day workers and to deny any relief to shift and night workers who use their own transport.

If, however, we were to include in a relief of this kind all types of transport I would be bound to warn the Committee that the problems of administration would be positively frightening. I have said earlier that, in my view, it would be in the interests both of the individual taxpayer and of the Inland Revenue if the area of conflict between them could be reduced, and that more concessions should be given by flat-rate reliefs, with rougher justice, maybe, rather than doing on a large scale the meticulous examination of individual claims leading to the many difficulties which I need not dwell upon.

But surely in this connection literally millions of claims for relief on these grounds would be a formidable prospect for the administration; indeed, it is not too much to say that the Inland Revenue would virtually lose control over the validity of the claims made. The Revenue is almost in that position now regarding expenses claimed as being wholly, necessarily and exclusively incurred in the performance of an office. What it would be like if the area were widened to this extent I can only leave to the imagination of the Committee.

Finally, the Committee should know that those who gave evidence to the Royal Commission on behalf of the trade union movement were not in favour of a concession of this kind, because they thought that it would be opening the door to considerable abuse, would favour the better-off taxpayer in many cases and—and this is the classic argument used and demolished on these occasions—would bring no benefit to those workers who, because of their family responsibilities or otherwise, were not liable to tax. This is a tre- mendous problem and not one which I would suggest could be settled at this hour of the morning on a Clause of this nature.

Without for a moment regarding what the Royal Commission said as the last word, I suggest that it would need more careful examination before we could begin to make concession on travel to and from work. My hon. Friend, the Member for Gloucestershire, West (Mr. Loughlin), drew attention to the special hardships of people virtually forced to move because their work has moved. It may be necessary in due course to consider those special problems.

Another factor we must take into account in a changing situation is the rising cost of travel. It is a strange phenomenon to me that there is greater prejudice against a rise in the cost of transport than there is against a rise in the cost of consumer goods and other services. It may be that people resent more having to pay more to get to work than they do an increase in charges in other directions. I do not pretend to know the answer, but it is remarkable that an increase in fares should meet with sharp objection from many people when other price increases are apparently not so deeply resented. This is hard on the transport industry which is having to pay its way, and the workers in it are demanding their reasonable standard of life alongside workers in other industries.

Taking all in all, I am afraid I cannot offer to the hon. and learned Member for Hove any force of support for his Clause from this side of the Committee. I thought a moment ago I should have only one hon. Member behind me when I saw the hon. Member for Gloucestershire, West, on whose support, from what he said, I could scarcely rely at all, but I am a little more reinforced at the moment. I think I must offer the Chancellor all the support he feels in need of at this moment in saying that this is not a Clause we could recommend the Committee to accept in its present form, while we certainly think it is a matter that should be kept under review and re-examined in its wider aspects and looked at with close attention to many of its administrative and other difficulties. Perhaps we could come again to this matter when we have more time to consider it.

Photo of Mr Raymond Mawby Mr Raymond Mawby , Totnes

The hon. Member for Sowerby (Mr. Houghton) referred to me among other hon. Members as supporting the Clause and he tended to suggest that as Totnes is far away from London there was no constituency interest in the Clause for me. I do not consider, as the hon. Member seemed to suggest, that London is the centre of England. I have a constituency interest in the Clause, not because my constituents want to travel to London each day to work, but because they have to travel considerable distances to their places of employment.

We should always remember that London is not the centre of England. A great deal of industry is carried on in other parts of the country. Heaven help the country if that were ever not the case. It is largely because a number of my constituents travel considerable distances to carry on their day-to-day affairs that I put my name to the Clause. But I thought that the Chancellor's argument was a reasonable one and therefore I should not be prepared to press the Clause to a Division.

Photo of Mr Douglas Houghton Mr Douglas Houghton , Sowerby

I apologise to the hon. Member for mistakenly thinking that people came only to London to work. As a Derbyshire man representing a Yorkshire constituency I have perhaps a higher opinion of London as a centre of civilisation and of activities than it is probably entitled to. Some of the hon. Member's constituents probably travel to Hebden Bridge, which is in my constituency.

Question put and negatived.

Mr. H. Wilson:

I beg to move, That the Chairman do report Progress and ask leave to sit again.

I do this without expectation that the Motion is likely to be supported by the Chancellor. After the point which has led me to move the Motion has been dealt with, I shall be happy to withdraw it if that is the wish of the Committee. There are still a considerable number of new Clauses on the Notice Paper. If they are to be dealt with thoroughly we shall sit very late. Conscious of this, my hon. and right hon. Friends and myself have considered it desirable to desist from moving some of the new Clauses standing in our names.

I announce this in advance only so that it might make the job easier for the Chair, and I indicate that we are doing this in the very considerable hope—I cannot put it any higher—that should we re-table these Clauses on Report they might be selected on that occasion. I know that that is a question which does not lie within your discretion, Sir William. I cannot ask you to indicate whether our hopes are likely to be justified or not, but in doing this for the general convenience of the Committee we naturally hope that this will be counted favourably when the selection of new Clauses comes up on Report.

There is, for example, the very important new Clause—Exemption from ad valorem stamp duty of conveyances or transfers in satisfaction of certain legal rights—which raises some very fundamental questions of Scottish law and which I should be very happy to explain to the Committee if I understood it.

1.15 a.m.

We similarly shall not be moving our new Clauses—Increase of relief in respect of children not over the age of eleven—Increase of personal reliefs—Increase of a personal relief—which I understand, were to be debated together. They raise some very important questions, I am sure the Committee will agree, of personal reliefs. We feel they would be better debated in the full light of day.

We did give the Patronage Secretary an assurance that, as far as we were concerned, we were fully prepared to cooperate in ensuring that the Committee stage would be completed at this Sitting, and we certainly have no intention of going back on that. Indeed, by the action I have just announced to the Committee I think we are not only helping to ensure that the Patronage Secretary gets his Bill tonight but that he and others, not excluding ourselves, will get to bed a little earlier than might otherwise have been possible.

I ought to have mentioned that our new Clause—Repeal of television duty—is also one we think should be deferred to a later stage.

Mr. Amory:

I should like only to say in regard to what the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Huyton (Mr. H. Wilson) has said that I am grateful to him for the action he has proposed because, although I have no control of what new Clauses are called on Report. I believe that should his new Clauses be called we should be able to give them better consideration on that occasion than we should have been able to give them had we devoted our attention to them this morning. I should like to say that I think that he and his right hon. and hon. Friends have fully carried out the understanding we reached with them last night, that they would help us to complete the Committee stage tonight.

I should imagine that the right hon. Gentleman will shortly withdraw from the Chamber, and my hon. Friends and I will plough on with our furrow and try to complete our business. If the right hon. Gentleman is going to remain with us to help us, his presence will be very welcome, but I think that the right hon. Gentleman, having made his proposal, will probably now wish to withdraw his Motion.

Mr. Wilson:

I would just make this comment, that should I withdraw in the course of the subsequent debates on the remaining new Clauses I shall not withdraw far. I certainly shall not be going home—not till the Chancellor does. If I am absent for a few minutes it will be because of my deep concern for the Treasury's revenue from the Tobacco Duty and because the rules of this Committee make it impossible for me to help the Government with that matter here now; so I shall be out a moment or two putting that matter right.

The Chancellor's kind reference to our action does embolden me, before I seek leave to withdraw my Motion, to hope that perhaps some hon. Gentlemen opposite who have got new Clauses on the Paper may like to consider their position. I am not making an appeal to them. I think they have every right to move their new Clauses, if they are selected. I am sure many will. I am certainly not doing this in any spirit of saying to them that it is their duty to follow my suggestion—it certainly is not their duty—but from the point of view of sheer self-interest, which is an argument which may appeal to some of them, because there is something to be said for debating some of these complicated Clauses by day rather than by night. There are many advantages in that course from the Parliamentary and the extra-Parliamentary point of view. So perhaps our example will be followed; perhaps not.

I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Motion.

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.