Selective Employment Tax

Oral Answers to Questions — Public Building and Works – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 3rd December 1968.

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Photo of Mr Peter Mills Mr Peter Mills , Torrington 12:00 am, 3rd December 1968

asked the Minister of Public Building and Works whether he will place in the Library a copy of his public correspondence with the President of the National Federation of Building Trades Employers regarding the increase in Selective Employment Tax and certain firm price building contracts.

Photo of Sir Walter Clegg Sir Walter Clegg , North Fylde

asked the Minister of Public Building and Works what representations he has received from the National Federation of Building Trades Employers regarding the Government's decision not to reimburse the extra cost of the increased rate of Selective Employment Tax to those contractors whose firm price contracts were adversely affected by the increase; and what reply he has sent.

Photo of Mr Robert Mellish Mr Robert Mellish , Bermondsey

Copies of my correspondence with the President of the National Federation of Building Trades Employers on the Government's decision not to reimburse any of the increased rate of Selective Employment Tax which effected firm price building contracts have been placed in the Library.

Photo of Mr Peter Mills Mr Peter Mills , Torrington

Does the Minister agree that this correspondence shows that S.E.T. is seriously affecting the industry? Will he now tell us what he has achieved for the industry rather than about representations and what he said on their behalf?

Photo of Mr Robert Mellish Mr Robert Mellish , Bermondsey

The industry's relationship with my Ministry is very good. Output is going up. S.E.T. does not seem to have made any difference.

Photo of Sir Walter Clegg Sir Walter Clegg , North Fylde

Does the Minister agree that it would take a genius to keep up with the tax changes introduced by the Government, that it is difficult for those estimating to take into account what the Government will do, and that this puts the whole business of firm price contracts at risk?

Photo of Mr Robert Mellish Mr Robert Mellish , Bermondsey

It is obvious that the hon. Gentleman is not a genius, because he does not understand what is going on.

Photo of Sir Albert Costain Sir Albert Costain , Folkestone and Hythe

asked the Minister of Public Building and Works what evidence his Department has submitted regarding the effect of Selective Employment Tax on the construction industry to the Reddaway Inquiry; and whether he will publish it.

Photo of Mr Robert Mellish Mr Robert Mellish , Bermondsey

I have nothing to add to the answer I gave to the hon. Members for Chigwell (Mr. Biggs-Davison) and for Hornsey (Mr. Rossi) on 29th April, 1968.—[Vol. 763. c. 767.]

Photo of Sir Albert Costain Sir Albert Costain , Folkestone and Hythe

As no progress has been made, can some indication be given to the House when the Report is likely to be produced and when the Report on the construction industry will be dealt with?

Photo of Mr Robert Mellish Mr Robert Mellish , Bermondsey

The industry is not making these representations to me and it is not complaining at present. The Reddaway Committee is in being to receive the industry's point of view. I take it for granted that the industry has written to the Reddaway Committee. If I can find out when the Report will come forward I will let the hon. Gentleman and the House know.

Photo of Mr Keith Speed Mr Keith Speed , Meriden

Does the Minister think it sensible that the construction industry should still be treated as a service industry rather than a manufacturing industry? He keeps talking about output from the industry.

Photo of Mr Robert Mellish Mr Robert Mellish , Bermondsey

I have great respect for the industry. A great part is manufacturing and another part should be in another category. This has been an anomaly which I have discussed with the Chancellor of the Exchequer. This is why the Reddaway Committee is considering the matter.