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Travel-To-Work Expenses

Volume 932: debated on Thursday 26 May 1977

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asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received, since his Budget Statement, on the need to make essential travel-to-work expenses tax deductable.

My right hon. Friend has received representations on this subject from time to time and has continued to do so since the Budget.

What advice should I give to constituents who write to me and say that once they have travelled a certain distance to a low-paid job and paid tax on their earnings, it is just not worth their while to go out to work?

I have great sympathy with the hon. Gentleman's constituents. The cost of travel to work is a major problem, but I do not think that it can be dealt with through the tax system.

Is the Minister aware that some of my constituents travelling up from Brighton each day have to earn £750 a year to get to and from work? Does he understand that this is causing very real hardship, particularly for some of my constituents who are earning less than £3,500 a year?

I have accepted that this is a problem—not only for people in the South-East but also, of course, for people in some areas that are poorer than the South-East. It is a problem, but it cannot be dealt with through the tax system.