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New Clause—(Exemption From Tax Of Training Expenses Allowances And Bounties To Members Of Reserve And Auxiliary Forces)

Volume 439: debated on Wednesday 9 July 1947

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The sums known as training expenses allowances payable out of the public revenue to members (whether men or women) of the reserve and auxiliary forces of the Crown, and the sums payable by way of bounty out of the public revenue to such members in consideration of their undertaking prescribed training and attaining a prescribed standard of efficiency, shall not be regarded as income for any of the purposes of the Income Tax Acts.—[ Mr. Dalton.]

Brought up and read the First time.

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

I hope that this Clause will be better received than the last, because it gives concessions for which requests were made from all parts of the House with regard to the Territorial Army. There was a unanimous desire for this, when the matter was debated before, from hon. and gallant Gentlemen with practical knowledge of the several divisions of the Armed Forces. I am not going to make a long speech. The matter is extremely simple and quite clear. I must make it clear that I shall have to resist any requests to extend it. The Clause sets out that for the purposes of the Income Tax Acts from now on, training expenses allowances and bounties are not, in future, to be subject to Income Tax. I hope that this will be welcomed, but I must emphasise that this must not be a precedent to be extended and pushed forward with regard to any other class of case. I find it difficult to distinguish and justify this.

Training allowance is subsistence allowance and, with regard to the bounty, I think we may say the concession now put forward applies only to those bounties which, like the payments to members of the Territorial Army, are given for voluntary training and efficiency gained by service in a man's own time. The concession will not apply to reserve pay and other similar payments to members of the Regular Reserve, nor will it apply to the retaining fees paid to members of the Royal Naval Reserve. Those payments are not of the same nature as the Territorial Army efficiency bounty. They are retainers paid to men for liability for service in an emergency. I use these words carefully, after consultation with my right hon. Friends the Service Ministers, including my noble Friend the First Lord of the Admiralty. I hope on the records it will be clearly shown, first, what is the scope of the concession which I am glad to make; and, second, to issue a warning not to push me to make this new Clause cover cases which it is not intended to cover.

11.30 p.m.

I should like to thank the Chancellor of the Exchequer for having met in this Clause the desires that were expressed on all sides of the House during the Committee stage of the Bill. We all recognise the reasons which have enabled the Chancellor of the Exchequer to distinguish these particular cases from other cases which are held to be part of a man's income and, therefore, subject to tax. The time may come when we shall press more concessions upon the Chancellor, but we shall not base those claims upon the way in which he has met our requests tonight. I should like to congratulate him on something else. This is the only Clause that we have reached so far, and the only Clause we shall reach for a long time in the future, which is both short and intelligable.

I should like to offer back-bench congratulations to the Chancellor on this concession. As one who is interested in the territorial Army, I could say some harsh things about the way in which it has been treated by the Government since its re-initiation, but as far as the Chancellor is concerned, may I offer my congratulations and thanks to him? He is the only Minister of the Crown who so far has done anything for the Territorial Army, and this concession will be welcome and will be of very great assistance.

Question put, and agreed to.

Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill.