Yes, Sir. My right hon. Friend received Professor Reddaway's initial report, which deals with the distributive trades, on 12th January. The report will be published as soon as possible. The Chancellor will review the tax and its working carefully in the light of the findings. My right hon. Friend and I should like to take this opportunity of thanking Professor Reddaway and his staff for the immense amount of work which has gone into the preparation of the report.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that his gratitude to Professor Reddaway is echoed on this side of the House? Can he give an assurance that the initial findings will be published before the Budget?
Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that this tax is affecting some areas of the country adversely and that particularly on Merseyside the unemployment figures are still well above the national average? Will the Government be prepared to adjust the tax in some areas until the unemployment figures are brought down to the national average?
Whether my hon. Friend's analysis is completely persuasive is a matter for consideration, but certainly he will not expect me to give any indication of what my right hon. Friend may care to do in his Budget.
With permission, I will circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT a list of employers' organisations and trade unions which have made representations to us since the last Budget asking for the abolition of the tax. Most of them were concerned about the position of small businesses. In our replies we emphasised the disadvantages of the practical alternatives to S.E.T.
Following is the list: