Clause 26. — (Surcharges on Employers.)

Part of Orders of the Day — Finance Bill – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 13th June 1961.

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Photo of Sir Raymond Gower Sir Raymond Gower , Barry 12:00 am, 13th June 1961

My reply is that the maladjustment referred to in the Bill will work infinitely greater havoc in those areas than the mere imposition of a tax of this nature.

We cannot easily stop at the point suggested by hon. Members who support the Amendment. One might argue just as easily, why not have differential Purchase Tax rates in different parts of the country because the rates might result in more damage in Ulster than in England and Scotland? Why not have different rates of National Assistance and unemployment benefit in Ulster and in Scotland or England, because in some places they are needed more than in others? One could apply that argument to different forms of taxation and in respect of all forms of Excise and revenue. I suggest that it is the wrong approach to a matter of this kind.

If it be necessary we could strengthen special benefits and the sanctions in the Local Employment Act, and have stronger sanctions against the development of industry in prosperous parts of the country. But I suggest that when framing a Measure to deal with a financial crisis it is not desirable to adopt this backdoor method of supplementing the provisions in the Local Employment Act? I hope that hon. Members will not interpret my remarks as a wish to see these particular areas suffer, or that nothing should be done to help them. I believe that they need every possible help, but let it be given by legislation designed for the purpose.