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Volume 345: debated on Thursday 30 March 1939

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asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, after having given assurances to Income Tax payers that there will be no increase in direct taxation of income, he will now give an assurance to working people that indirect taxes, which fall more heavily upon them than other sections of the community, will not be increased in the forthcoming Budget?

The hon. Member is wholly mistaken if he imagines that I have given any assurances to anybody about taxation in the forthcoming Budget. I cannot anticipate the Budget statement as regards either direct or indirect taxation.

Did the right hon. Gentleman notice the shock and surprise on the faces of his followers when he made that statement, and is it not a fact that it has been generally accepted in the country that there will be no increase in taxation?

Certainly, I did not give that impression. I made it entirely clear to everybody in the House, and I thought to the country generally, that I was not anticipating the contents of the Budget, and would not dream of doing so.

Can the right hon. Gentleman give any reason why one of his ex-Private Secretaries made a statement that the right hon. Gentleman was not going to increase taxation?