Tax Allowances (School Fees)

Oral Answers to Questions — National Finance – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 22nd December 1964.

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Photo of Mr Robert Mathew Mr Robert Mathew , Honiton 12:00 am, 22nd December 1964

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will introduce appropriate tax relief for those parents who relieve the pressure of numbers on the national educational system by sending their children to independent schools.

Photo of Mr Niall MacDermot Mr Niall MacDermot , Derby North

These parents qualify for child allowance subject to the ordinary conditions; and I cannot agree that there is sufficient ground for giving them extra tax relief.

Photo of Mr Robert Mathew Mr Robert Mathew , Honiton

Will the Financial Secretary not ask his right hon. Friend to look at this matter again? Would he not agree that it is in the country's interests that these parents should put the education of their children as a first charge on what are often very slender resources, and often at great sacrifice? Is not this an object which should be encouraged by the Government, and should they not be given some incentive and encouragement by way of tax relief?

Photo of Mr Niall MacDermot Mr Niall MacDermot , Derby North

I should be content to accept the argument of my hon. Friend the present Economic Secretary on 30th May, 1963, that this proposal would amount to a tax subsidy for independent schools for the benefit of those who choose to spend their money in this way on behalf of their children, and also the argument of my predecessor the former Financial Secretary that it would be contrary to the general rule that the Income Tax system of personal allowances cannot take into account in detail the various expenses that individual taxpayers incur.

Photo of Mr Stan Orme Mr Stan Orme , Salford West

Will my hon. and learned Friend bear in mind that many of us on this side of the House feel that it is wrong that people should be able to purchase education for their children which is superior to the general rule in the country and that we advocate a State system which will give equal opportunity to all children?

Photo of Mr Niall MacDermot Mr Niall MacDermot , Derby North

Yes, Sir. I am sure that my right hon. Friend will bear these considerations in mind. Matters of educational policy are, of course, for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Science.

Photo of Sir Rolf Williams Sir Rolf Williams , Exeter

In view of the remarks made by the hon. Member for Salford, West (Mr. Orme), will the hon. and learned Gentleman consider publishing in HANSARD a list of members of the Government who did not go to a State school and of hon. and right hon. Members opposite who do not intend to send their children there?