I presume that my hon. Friend has in mind a claim to the housekeeper allowance. If so, the reason for which he asks is that the Income Tax Acts do not in general provide for relief for domestic assistance. On the second part of his Question, I have nothing to add to the Answer I gave to the Question from the hon. and gallant Member for Down, South (Captain Orr) on 10th November last.
Would not my right hon. Friend agree that the time has come to remove the distinction between widows and widowers and single persons? In the interests of sex equality, will he allow a claim where submitted on behalf of a female or male relative or housekeeper of either sex?
The position of the widow or widower has, as I indicated, in the answer to which I referred, for long been recognised as being something of an anomaly and it has never been thought right to extend it. No doubt my hon. Friend is aware that there are certain circumstances in which a single person can claim dependent relative allowances or housekeeper allowances for resident child minders.
Is the hon. and learned Gentleman aware that the non-allowance for widows acts to the detriment of hardworking women who are trying to do their best for their children? Will he not ask his right hon. Friend to have another look at this matter to see whether he can help these unfortunate people?
I am sure that my right hon. Friend will have another look at it. As I said earlier, the position of widows and widowers without young children is already considered to be anomalous in our tax law. If the widowed taxpayer has a child resident with him or her, in certain circumstances he may claim an extra allowance of £40 under Section 17 of the Finance Act, 1960.