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Strikes (Income Tax Refunds)

Oral Answers to Questions — National Finance – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 25th November 1969.

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Photo of Mr Martin Maddan Mr Martin Maddan , Hove 12:00 am, 25th November 1969

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the amount of income tax which has been refunded consequent upon loss of earnings due to strikes, both official and unofficial, during any recent convenient 12-month period.

Photo of Mr Jack Diamond Mr Jack Diamond , Gloucester

This information is not available.

Photo of Mr Martin Maddan Mr Martin Maddan , Hove

Does not the right hon. Gentleman agree that this is an important item in relation to our national finances, and is it not important also when set alongside social security payments which arise from strikes? Should not the Government keep track of it?

Photo of Mr Jack Diamond Mr Jack Diamond , Gloucester

It is important, but the hon. Gentleman does not fully understand the method by which pay-as-you-earn taxation is operated. The refunds to which he refers are mostly made by employers in the ordinary course of events, and it is impossible for the Government, unless they obtain a return from every employer of every reason for each repayment of tax, to give the information for which he asks.

Photo of Mr Iain Macleod Mr Iain Macleod , Enfield West

But does not the right hon. Gentleman recognise that one of the anxieties which people have is that the ordinary person, if he becomes entitled to a refund, may have to wait many weeks, or sometimes months, while in these cases special arrangements are made? Will he comment on that?

Photo of Mr Jack Diamond Mr Jack Diamond , Gloucester

Yes, with pleasure. The right hon. Gentleman is not accurate in what he says. In the ordinary course of pay-as-you-earn, there is no distinction made in the rate of repayment by the employer whether the employee's entitlement to repayment arises because he is on strike, because his wife has had a baby, because he has got married, or whatever the reason may be.

Photo of Mr Will Howie Mr Will Howie , Luton

Does my right hon. Friend agree that, whenever people have overpaid tax, they are fully entitled, even if they be ordinary working men, to a refund?

Photo of Mr Jack Diamond Mr Jack Diamond , Gloucester

I agree, and that matter is not even in question.