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New Clause—(Deduction In Respect Of Dependent Relatives)

Volume 155: debated on Wednesday 21 June 1922

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If a claimant proves that his widowed mother, for whose maintenance he is entitled to a deduction under Section twenty-two, Sub-section (1), of the Finance Act, 1920, is, by reason of old age or infirmity, compelled to depend on the services of a daughter, who resides with her, he shall be entitled to a further deduction of twenty-five pounds, provided the said daughter's income from all sources, does not exceed fifty pounds a year, and she is maintained at the claimant's expense.—[Dr. Murray.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."

This Amendment introduces what we may call a charitable element into taxation, and is in line with what the Chancellor has been endeavouring to do in the last year or two—that is to put some soul into the Income Tax. I think the Amendment is a quite reasonable addition to be made to the deductions in the case of a man supporting, in addition to his own responsibilities, his widowed mother. Where the widowed mother, owing to old age or infirmity finds it absolutely necessary that her daughter should reside with her, then this relief should be given. The case is plain enough. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, I am quite sure, will be quite sympathetic, and, I suppose, the matter will he whether or not he can afford it.

In supporting this Clause I desire to point out that the amount at stake, as I think the right hon. Gentleman will find, is very small indeed. I hope the matter will receive the sympathetic consideration of the right hon. Gentleman for in these cases the burden is severe. In these matters of taxation the object should be to place the burden where it will be felt least. So far as the sympathy of the Chancellor is concerned we shall have, I think, his support, and I hope it will be possible, on account of the small sum of money at stake, for him to be able to arrange this concession. The impost hits most hardly those who are least able to bear the burden. I am quite sure we must all have had individual cases brought to our notice where the burden is heavy.

Several of my colleagues have put their names down to this Amendment. We believe that a man who has the responsibility of maintaining his widowed mother takes upon himself a much greater responsibility than he has in the case of a brother, a sister, or other relative. Having regard to the greater responsibility we feel that a greater remission should be allowed in respect of such cases.

When this matter came before the Committee last year the Chancellor of the Exchequer made a reply to the observations made from this side of the House. Twelve months have passed since that time, and the difficulties which were confronting us on that occasion are to-day not.so serious. Under these circumstances I think the Chancellor of the Exchequer might, at any rate, give us the opinion of his Department, and seeing that the position has changed we ought to know whether he can justify his position for not granting this Clause.

I was intending to reply to this Amendment. One cannot help sympathising with each one of the Amendments of this kind which are down on the Paper. We all feel sympathetically towards such hard cases as these, but after all charity does not consist in A giving B something which belongs to C. After all, the whole difficult question of adjusting the Income Tax to the more difficult cases is one that cannot be considered piecemeal. In 1920 the House dealt with a considered code, so to speak, of these allowances. Certain allowances were adopted and the line was drawn there. So far as one can see it does not appear that in the various Amendments of this kind on the Paper there is any coherent scheme. Each individual case like this is put forward on its merits as a hard case, and we are asked to give just a little more to this and that.

As a matter of fact that particular Amendment would probably never have been moved to-night but for the fact that an Amendment moved in the same way in 1920 produced the Section of the Act to amend which this Amendment was put down. It was accepted by the Chancellor of the Exchequer on that occasion. The concession was granted, and what happened? Immediately one concession is embodied in the Statute people look on that allowance and say, "I know a case very like that, almost as deserving, and why should it not be extended to that case?" To adopt this Amendment would cost the Exchequer £75,000. Of course, we cannot help feeling sympathy in these individual cases, but one must remember that the Budget is a financial estimate of income and expenditure for the year based upon certain definite expectations, and if this sort of Amendment were accepted those expectations would be defeated to a very considerable extent.

Everyone must recognise the fact stated by the Solicitor-General, that when once one embarks on these concessions it is difficult to know where to draw the line. I wish I felt it were possible to devise any principle upon which a number of these concessions could be granted and the remainder excluded. The hon. and learned Gentleman spoke as if such code had been devised in 1920. and I was hoping he was going to lay down for us the general principles on whate that code was framed. I think he would have found it exceedingly difficult to do so, hut, later on, it turned out that, so far from any code having been laid down in that sense, this particular remission was the result of an Amendment moved as this has been—an Amendment for which a strong case was made out. I do not think the Solicitor-General has quite realised the strength of this case. Parliament has said that where it is necessary to provide for a widowed mother, the person who has to so provide shall be entitled to a remission of £50. But it is pointed out that in some cases the widowed mother is so infirm that she must have someone to look after her, and if it is right that her son should be allowed a remission for looking after the widowed mother, surely if she is so infirm as to require special attendance, it would appear he is entitled to some further remission. I do not want to press the case unduly. I recognise the

Division No. 172.]

AYES

10.42 p.m.

Acland, Rt. Hon. Francis D.Barnes, Major H. (Newcastle, E.)Bromfield, William
Adamson, Rt. Hon. WilliamBarrand, A. R.Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)
Ainsworth, Captain CharlesBarton, Sir William (Oldham)Cairns, John
Ammon, Charles GeorgeBenn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith)Carter, W. (Nottingham, Mansfield)
Banton, GeorgeBreese, Major Charles E.Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord R. (Hitchin)
Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertlilery)Broad, Thomas TuckerCcllins, sir Godfrey (Greenock)

difficulty of it. But it does appear to me to be impossible almost to resist the observation that if a man has to maintain two people instead of one, he should have an additional remission, and not only the same remission as if he had to maintain one only. It would seem almost clearly to follow that there should be an additional remission, and unless the Government can give some better answer I think we ought to press this Amendment.

The Government have already given to B what belongs to C by affording substantial relief to the direct taxpayer to the extent of is. in the £. These people for whom we are now pleading are in a very difficult position, and in looking after a widowed mother a person may, and often does, save the Government the Old Age Pension. Surely, if their action necessitates their maintaining a second person, the case is one which should receive consideration at the hands of the Government. I hope, therefore, this Amendment will be accepted.

I should like to point out that the Solicitor-General was making a statement quite contrary to the fact when he said this amounted to the giving by A to B what belongs to C. Here the State makes a very good bargain with the son who is supporting his mother, but in order that he may do so it is necessary in certain cases that a daughter should be at home, and, if we do not help him in some way to keep that daughter at home, he will not be able to keep his mother. The whole hypothesis here is, that if he cannot have someone at home to look after his mother, he will not be able to keep her at home. It is not a case of giving to one person what belongs to another, but a case of making a really good bargain with the son and thereby, saving the State a considerable amount of money.

Question put, "That the Clause he read a Second time."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 94; Noes, 203.

Davies, A. (Lancaster, Ciltheroe)Holmes, J. StanleyRoyce, William Stapleton
Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale)Irving, DanSexton, James
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)John, William (Rhondda, West)Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)
Davison, J. E. (Smethwick)Johnstone, JosephSitch, Charles H.
Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)Smith, W. R. (Wellingborough)
Edwards, G. (Norfolk, South)Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)Spencer, George A.
Edwards, Hugh (Glam., Neath)Kennedy, ThomasStanton, Charles Butt
Entwistle, Major C. F.Kenworthy, Lieut.-Commander J. M.Sutton, John Edward
Finney, SamuelLaw, Alfred J. (Rochdale)Swan, J. E.
Foot, IsaacLawson, John JamesThorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)
Galbraith, SamuelLister, Sir R. AshtonThorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)
Gillis, WilliamLunn, WilliamTillett, Benjamin
Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)Waddington, R.
Graham, R. (Nelson and Calne)Maitland, Sir Arthur D. SteelWalsh, Stephen (Lancaster, Ince)
Graham, W. (Edinburgh, Central)Mallaileu, Frederick WilliamWaterson, A. E.
Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)Murray, Hon. A. C. (Aberdeen)Watts-Morgan, Lieut.Col. D.
Grundy, T. W.Myers, ThomasWhite, Charles F. (Derby, Western)
Guest, J. (York, W. R., Hemsworth)Newbould, Alfred ErnestWignall, James
Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)Wintringham, Margaret
Halls, WaiterNorris, Colonel Sir Henry G.Wood, Major M. M. (Aberdeen, C.)
Hayday, ArthurParkinson, John Allen (Wigan)Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)
Hayward, EvanPennefather, De Fonblanque
Henderson, Lt.-Col. V. L. (Tradeston)Raffon, Peter Wilson

TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—

Herbert, Col. Hon. A. (Yeovil)Rendall, AthelstanMr. Trevelyan Thomson and Dr.
Hirst, G. H.Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)Murray.
Hogge, James MylesRobertson, John

NOES

Adkins, Sir William Ryland DentFell, Sir ArthurLocker-Lampoon, Com. O. (H'tingd'n)
Agg-Gardner, Sir James TynteFildes, HenryLorden, John William
Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.Flannery, Sir James FortescueLort-Williams, J.
Armitage, RobertFord, Patrick JohnstonLoseby, Captain C. E.
Armstrong, Henry BruceForeman, Sir HenryLyle, C. E. Leonard
Baird, Sir John LawrenceForestier-Walker, L.Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)
Balfour, George (Hampstead)Forrest, WalterMcLaren, Robert (Lanark, Northern)
Banbury, Rt. Hon. Sir Frederick G.Fraser, Major Sir KeithMacpherson, Rt. Hon. James I.
Barlow, Sir MontagueFrece, Sir Walter deMalone, Major P. B. (Tottenham, S.)
Barnett, Major Richard W.Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis EMarriott, John Arthur Ransome
Bartley-Denniss, Sir Edmund RobertGanzoni, Sir JohnMatthews, David
Bell, Lieut.-Col. W. C. H. (Devizes)Gilmour, Lieut.-Colonel Sir JohnMildmay, Colonel Rt. Hon. F. B.
Beilairs, Commander Canyon W.Glyn, Major RalphMitchell, Sir William Lane
Bann, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)Goff, Sir R. ParkMond, Rt. Hon. Sir Alfred Moritz
Benn, Capt. Sir I. H., Bart.(Gr'nw'h)Gould, James C.Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col, J. T. C.
Bennett, Sir Thomas JewellGrant, James AugustusMorden, Col. W. Grant
Blgiand, AlfredGreen, Joseph F. (Leicester, W.)Moreing, Captain Algernon H.
Bird, Sir R. B. (Wolverhampton, W.)Greene, Lt.-Col. Sir W. (Hack'y, N.)Murchison, C K.
Borwick, Motor G. O.Greenwood, William (Stockport)Murray, Rt. Hon. C. D. (Edinburgh)
Bowyer, Captain G. W. E.Greer, Sir HarryNall, Major Joseph
Brassey, H. L. C.Grenfell, Edward CharlesNeal, Arthur
Bridaeman, Rt. Hon. William CliveGuest, Capt. Rt. Hon. Frederick E.Newson, Sir Percy Wilson
Briggs, HaroldGuinness, Lieut.-Col. Hon. W. E.Nicholson. Brig.-Gen. J. (Westminster)
Brown, Brig.-Gen. Clifton (Newbury)Hailwood, AugustineNicholson, Reginald (Doncaster)
Bruton, Sir JamesHall, Rr-Adml Sir W. (Llv'pl,W.D'by)Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)
Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William JamesHannon, Patrick Joseph HenryNorton-Griffiths, Lieut.-Col. Sir John
Carter, R. A. D. (Man., Withington)Harmsworth, Hon. E. C. (Kent)Oman, Sir Charles William C.
Casey, T. W.Harris, Sir Henry PercyOrmsby-Gore, Hon. William
Cautley, Henry StrotherHaslam, LewisParker, James
Chamberlain, N. (Birm., Ladywood)Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)Pease, Rt. Hon. Herbert Pike
Churchman, Sir ArthurHilder, Lieut.-Colonel FrankPercy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)
Clay, Lieut.-Colonel H. H. SpenderHinds, JohnPickering, Colonel Emil W.
Clough, Sir RobertHohler, Gerald FitzroyPollock, Rt. Hon. Sir Ernest Murray
Coats, Sir StuartHolbrook, Sir Arthur RichardPratt, John William
Cobb, Sir CyrilHood, Sir JosephPretyman, Rt. Hon. Ernest G.
Colfox, Major Wm. PhillipsHope, Lt.-Col. Sir J. A. (Midlothian)Purchase, H. G.
Colvin, Brig.-General Richard BealeHope, J. D. (Berwick & Haddington)Randles, Sir John Scurrah
Conway, Sir W. MartinHopkins, John W. W.Rankin, Captain James Stuart
Cope, Major WilliamHopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)Raw, Lieutenant-Colonel Dr. N.
Cory, Sir J. H. (Cardiff, South)Horne, Edgar (Surrey, Guildford)Remer, J. R.
Cowan, Sir H. (Aberdeen and Kinc.)Horne, Sir R. S. (Glasgow, Hillhead)Richardson, Sir Alex. (Gravesend)
Cralk, Rt. Hon. Sir HenryHoward, Major S. G.Roberts, Rt. Hon. G. H. (Norwich)
Daiziel, Sir D. (Lambeth, Brixton)Hurd, Percy A.Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)
Davidson, J. C. C. (Hemel Hempstead)Jackson, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. F. S.Roberts, Sir S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)
Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H.James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. CuthbertRobinson, S. (Brecon and Radnor)
Davies, David (Montgomery)Jodrell, Neville PaulRobinson, Sir T. (Lancs., Stretford)
Davies, Thomas (Cirencester)Jones, Henry Haydn (Merloneth)Rodger, A. K.
Dawson Sir PhilipJoynson-Hicks, Sir WilliamRoundell, Colonel R. F.
Dewhurst, Lieut.-Commander HarryKellaway, Rt. Hon. Fredk. GeorgeRoyds, Lieut.-Colonel Edmund
Doyle, N. GrattanKing, Captain Henry DouglasRutherford, Colonel Sir J. (Darwee)
Du Pre, Colonel William BaringLarmor, Sir JosephSamuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)
Edge, Captain Sir WilliamLeigh, Sir John (Clapham)Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)
Elveden, ViscountLewis, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Univ., Wales)Sanders, Colonel Sir Robert Arthur
Evans, ErnestLewis, T. A. (Glam., Pontypridd)Scott, A. M. (Glasgow, Bridgeton)
Eyres-Monsell, Com. Bolton M.Lindsay, William ArthurScutt, Sir Leslie (Liverp'l, Exchange)
Falle, Major Sir Bertram GodfreyLloyd, George ButlerSeddon, J. A.

Shaw, William T. (Forfar)Terrell, Captain R. (Oxford, Henley)Willoughby, Lieut.-Col. Hon. Claud
Shortt, Rt. Hon. E. (N'castle-on-T.)Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)Wilson, Lt.-Col. Sir M. (Bethnal Gn.)
Smith, Sir Allan M. (Croydon, South)Thomson, Sir W. Mitchell- (Maryhill)Windsor, Viscount
Smith, Sir Harold (Warrington)Tryon, Major George ClementWlnterton, Earl
Sprot, Colonel Sir AlexanderTurton, Edmund RussboroughWise, Frederick
Stanley, Major Hon. G. (Preston)Ward, Col. L. (Kingston-upon-Huil)Wood, Hon. Edward F. L. (Ripon)
Stephenson, Lieut.-Colonel H. K.Warner, Sir T. Courtenay T.Wood, Sir H. K. (Woolwich, West)
Stewart, GershomWatson, Captain John BertrandWorthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.
Sturrock, J. LengWeston, Colonel John WakefieldYoung, Sir Frederick W. (Swindon)
Sugden, W. H.Wheler, Cot, Granville C. H.
Surtees, Brigadier-General H. C.White, Col. G. D. (Southport)

TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—

Sutherland, Sir WilliamWilley, Lieut.-Colonel F. V.Colonel Leslie Wilson and Mr.
Terrell, George (Wilts, Chippenham)Williams, C. (Tavistock)McCurdy.