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Volume 978: debated on Thursday 14 February 1980

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asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his estimate of the cost of taxing short-term social security benefits, and the numbers of extra staff required, assuming (a) that tax thresholds remain at present levels in relation to social benefit levels, and (b) that they were raised to 25 per cent. above social benefit levels.

As we promised in our pre-election manifesto, we are actively considering possible means of bringing unemployment and short-term sickness benefits within the tax system. I must ask my hon. Friend to await the outcome of this.