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National Finance

Volume 387: debated on Tuesday 2 March 1943

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Salaried Employees (Income Tax)

48.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that a salaried employee with £419 per annum receives benefits from the National Health Insurance, including the free services of a panel doctor, whereas an employee with a salary of £421 per annum is not only excluded from these benefits but is unable to claim medical expenses as a deduction from his Income Tax assessment; and whether he will make a concession with regard to such deduction?

I am afraid that I cannot see my way to adopt the suggestion made by my hon. and gallant Friend.

Wages (Income Tax Deductions)

49.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that James Douglas, of 2, McDowall Street, Paisley, has recently been compulsorily transferred from a naval torpedo factory to a shipbuilding yard at a loss of wages amounting to about £3 per week; that Income Tax of £1 8s. 8d. per week has to be deducted from his reduced wages; and whether he will give special consideration to this case with a view to reducing this burden?

I would remind my hon. Friend that the rules governing the deduction of Income Tax from wages provide that the week's wages shall not be reduced by deduction of tax below £2 for a single man, £3 for a married man, £4 for a married man with one child and £5 for a married man with two or more children. The effect of these rules, where the limits come into operation, is to spread payment of the tax over a longer period and thus to prevent hardship.

If I show the right hon. Gentleman proof that on Friday night certain engineers went home from their work with only £1 11s. 2d., what action would he be prepared to take?

If I produce the pay dockets, what will the right hon. Gentleman do? I want to know what action he would take.

If my hon. Friend will send me the case, I will look into it willingly.

Will the right hon. Gentleman consider between now and his next Budget the possibility of a new basis of taxation on workmen's wages and not lose sight of the fact that great dissatisfaction is caused when tax is levied on past income?

Of course, I will consider anything which my hon. Friend desires, but that matter has been very carefully considered during the last 12 months.

Is it not true that I warned the right hon. Gentleman a year ago about the trouble which was going on in the shipbuilding and engineering industry, and which is still going on and has resulted in the present situation, and that nothing has been done?

War Damage (Payments)

50.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, where property has been completely demolished by enemy action, he will approve half-yearly payment to owners in needy circumstances of the interest on the total amount due to them at the end of hostilities under the War Damage Act?

I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply which I gave my hon. Friend the Member for North Tottenham (Mr. R. C. Morrison) on 18th February last.

Does not my right hon. Friend appreciate the distressing circumstances of many elderly people as a result of enemy action of this kind which often deprives them of their sole source of income?

Perhaps my hon. Friend will refer to the Debate which took place on 3rd June last year.

Would not the right hon. Gentleman consider making a more considered statement in order to meet the practical difficulties of these cases?

I would refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on the previous occasion.

Is not the right hon. Gentleman aware that there is very real hardship, and is he not going to do something to see that the injustices are put right?

Requisitioned Premises (Re-Erected Machinery)

51.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will pay the cost of re-erection of machinery on the original site in cases where premises have been requisitioned and the machinery re-erected elsewhere at public expense to fulfil Government contracts?

I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer given on 14th October last to the hon. Member for Pudsey and Otley (Sir Granville Gibson), of which I am sending him a copy.

As that answer is no more satisfactory than it was the last time this Question was put, when the same answer was given, I beg to give notice that I will raise the matter on the Adjournment.