Amendment of the Law

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 3rd May 1966.

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Photo of Mr Richard Winterbottom Mr Richard Winterbottom , Sheffield, Brightside 12:00 am, 3rd May 1966

I must get on a little further with my speech before I give way.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer has been adventurous in his introduction of the Selective Employment Tax and has taken a bold step from the known to the seemingly unknown. He has faced a dangerous situation with the greatest courage. I will argue for the tax before I put some points about it which should be considered.

One important argument in support of the Selective Employment Tax—I may not have my figures exactly right; they are only general figures—is that when I was a young man the productive workers in this country were in a ratio of one to eight compared with those in the service industries. Today that ratio is one to 21. In the industrial life of Britain the service industries have grown out of all proportion to the productive industry, and somehow something must be done by the Government to put that right. We shall never build up the export trade with barristers, lawyers, doctors, and, with respect to the hon. Member for Scarborough and Whitby, with accountants. We shall build up the export trade of the country with the products of our looms and factories and our productive workers.