Selective Employment Tax

Oral Answers to Questions — National Finance – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 18th July 1967.

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Photo of Mr Stratton Mills Mr Stratton Mills , Belfast North 12:00 am, 18th July 1967

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the effect of the Selective Employment Tax on the cost of living.

Photo of Mr Niall MacDermot Mr Niall MacDermot , Derby North

I estimate that the effect has been to raise the retail prices index by about one-half of 1 per cent.

Photo of Mr Stratton Mills Mr Stratton Mills , Belfast North

Surely the Treasury must be most concerned that the tax has a growing effect on the cost of living over the next year to 18 months? Would the Minister consider getting the Prices and Incomes Board to undertake a study of the effect on the cost of living of this ridiculous tax?

Photo of Mr Niall MacDermot Mr Niall MacDermot , Derby North

I should have thought that this figure shows how much hon. Members opposite inflated and exaggerated the effect of the tax upon the cost of living.

Photo of Mr Robert Cooke Mr Robert Cooke , Bristol West

, Has the Minister any figures of those who are drawing unemployment benefit because their jobs have disappeared because of the incidence of the tax?

Photo of Mr Niall MacDermot Mr Niall MacDermot , Derby North

No, Sir, and I should be very interested to receive any figures which the hon. Gentleman has.

Photo of Mr John Rodgers Mr John Rodgers , Sevenoaks

Is the Minister aware that the number of people employed in manufacturing industries has gone down by about 300,000, although the object of the exercise was to increase the numbers of people in manufacturing, particularly of exports?

Photo of Mr Niall MacDermot Mr Niall MacDermot , Derby North

It was not the object to achieve that in the short term. I am confident that the Selective Employment Tax will make its contribution to that objective in the long term.

Photo of Hon. Nicholas Ridley Hon. Nicholas Ridley , Cirencester and Tewkesbury

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he has considered the recommendations of the Economic Development Council for the distribution trades that nationalised industries should not receive the refund under the Selective Employment Payments Act in respect of electrical contracting staff; and what reply he has sent.

Photo of Mr Niall MacDermot Mr Niall MacDermot , Derby North

Earlier this year this Economic Development Council recommended a review of the decisions in respect of staff of nationalised industries, but it made no specific proposals in respect of electrical contracting staff.

Photo of Hon. Nicholas Ridley Hon. Nicholas Ridley , Cirencester and Tewkesbury

What is the point of setting up these development councils if the Government are not going to take any notice whatever whenever they make recommendations which are politically inconvenient to the Government

Photo of Mr Niall MacDermot Mr Niall MacDermot , Derby North

As I indicated in my original reply, the hon. Gentleman is mistaken in thinking that the Economic Development Council made a recommendation and we ignored it.