asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list those tax provisions which differentiate between men and women or husbands and wives in the taxation of income and capital and in treatment as regards the offsetting for tax of charges and allowances.
The Taxes Acts do not in general differentiate between men and women. They do in certain respects distinguish between married and single women as a result of the normal income tax rule that the income and gains of a married woman are aggregated with those of her husband. Since the husband is responsible for paying the tax on their combined income he normally receives the allowances and reliefs appropriate to them. Some of the minor tax allowances—those, for example, for a housekeeper, for a dependent relative or for a daughter's services—also depend to an extent on the sex of the claimant or of the dependant.
May I declare an interest which I have registered with the Table Office. Is the Financial Secretary aware that the Treasury's January Economic Progress Report gives great prominence to the Government's intention to promote a Bill aiming at equality for women? Would it not demonstrate a desirable consistency in Government policy if the Chancellor were to introduce amendments to our tax legislation where, to quote White Paper Command 5724,
"The grounds for less favourable treatment are sex or marriage"?
I have already made clear that the discriminations work both ways in our present tax system. There are some minor anomalies to which I have drawn attention.