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The Highlands And North Wales (Assistance)

Volume 527: debated on Tuesday 4 May 1954

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20.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, to assist the problems of areas subject to persistent depopulation, such as parts of the Highlands of Scotland and North Wales, he will consider taking steps to schedule such areas as ones in which a lower rate of Income Tax would-be payable.

Is the Financial Secretary aware that during the last 100 years, while the population of Britain has increased five times, the population of large parts of the country shows exactly the reverse trend and that some places have become derelict? In view of the enormous expenditure contemplated for new towns, does he not think that it would be to the advantage of the whole of the United Kingdom to encourage by all possible fiscal means the population to grow up spontaneously, in places where it is sparse?

My noble Friend knows very well that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scot land is taking many measures to help the aim which he shares with my noble Friend, but I doubt very much whether a system of differential Income Tax as between different parts of the United Kingdom is a very sensible way to tackle it.