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Building Operatives (Travel Allowance)

Volume 437: debated on Tuesday 13 May 1947

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asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if the 4½d. per mile travelling allowance to building operatives is tax free; and by what authority this concession has been made.

Threepence of the 4½d. is a time allowance and is taxed as wages. The remaining 1½d. represents additional travelling expenses and is exempt from tax under Section 26 of the Finance Act,. 1942.

Why is this concession given to one section only? Why is it not given to the black-coated workers, the clerks and others in this and other industries? Is it because they are not organised and they do not matter a tinker's cuss?

No, Sir. I am merely carrying out the law in this matter. The Finance Act of 1942 was introduced by a very distinguished Conservative Chancellor of the Exchequer, and no doubt was supported by the hon. Gentleman.

Can my right hon. Friend say what proportion of building operatives are receiving the 4½d. per mile? It must be a very small proportion indeed, and it certainly does not apply to the majority of those in the trade.

I have no knowledge of the number and have not been asked what the numbers are. I have been merely asked to define the legal position in regard to these travelling allowances and by what authority the concession is made.

Can the right hon. Gentleman say where his authority comes from to concede to Members of Parliament Income Tax relief for travelling expenses to and from their constituencies which concedes the hon. Member for Orpington (Sir W. Smithers) 9s. in the £?