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Volume 927: debated on Tuesday 8 March 1977

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asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his estimate of the number of people who pay tax only because retirement pensions are a taxable form of income; what would be the loss to the revenue if such pensions were made untaxable like short-term social security benefits; and what is the number of staff needed now in Inland Revenue and Department of Health and Social Security offices who would not be needed if retirement pensions were not a taxable form of income.

pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 23rd February 1977; Vol. 926, c. 634], gave the following information:I regret that it is not possible to give the information in exactly the form required; but if both national insurance retirement pensions and widow's benefits were exempt from tax the cost for 1976–77 would be about £500 million and about 1·15 million taxpayers would be removed from liability to tax. It is estimated that the Inland Revenue staff savings would amount to about 900 units. There would be no staff savings in the Department of Health and Social Security.