asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he can state the approximate saving annually through free railway travelling for Members having been disallowed, and the estimated loss of revenue by remission of Income Tax on Members' allowance of £400 per annum; and if he can state how many Members, from conscientious or other reasons, have refused the Income Tax remission?
It is estimated that the cost of free railway travelling for Members between London and their constituencies would amount, under present conditions, and assuming the House to sit for 40 weeks in the year, to about £77,000 per annum. As regards the remainder of the question, it is not the case that there has been a remission of Income Tax on allowances paid to Members of this House but a Member is, equally with ally other taxpayer, entitled to claim a deduction in respect of expenses wholly, necessarily and exclusively incurred in the performance of his duties. Claims of this nature may be made at any time within three years after the end of the year of assessment to which the claim relates, and it is therefore not possible to furnish the particulars for which the hon. Member is asking.
May I bring to my right hon. Friend's notice that this allowance means to poor Members of this House a saving of less than £20 a year and to the rich Members who would not allow them to accept railway passes amounts to nearly £200 a year, and will he take into consideration the heavy expense of long distance travelling to which some Members are subject and revise the whole business in the interests of poorer Members?
That is the very matter which forms a subject of acute controversy.