§ 32. Sir BASIL PETO
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether his attention has been called to the rapid absorption by the co-operative societies of businesses established under private enterprise, and particularly the recent purchase of the business of a provision merchant, including 52 branches in Liverpool and Birkenhead; and whether he intends to take any steps to meet the diminution of revenue which arises from these transfers to co-operative societies, which continuously diminish the area of Income Tax collection?
§ The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER (Mr. Churchill)
I have heard of the transaction to which my hon. Friend refers. In reply to the second part of the question, I would invite my hon. Friend's attention to the replies which I gave on the subject of the taxation of co-operative societies to the hon. and gallant Member for Chelmsford (Lieut.-Colonel Howard-Bury) on the 17th February and the 1st March last. I am sending my hon. Friend a copy of those replies.
§ Sir B. PETO
Does not my right hon. Friend think that a new situation arises when he sees, as he does in the case referred to in these questions, that the area of taxable income is diminishing year by year, and that a greater burden is thus being imposed upon those who pay Income Tax?
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
I know that there is a great deal of anxiety about this question, both in this House and outdoors, but, having investigated it very carefully, I am of opinion that that anxiety is largely unfounded. I cannot attempt to deal with the matter at Question Time, but if in the course of the various financial Debates the matter were raised, it would be my duty to lay before the 2166 House the view which I have reached, after most careful examination of the subject.