HC Deb 21 January 1969 vol 776 cc234-5
22. Mr. Kenneth Baker

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what consideration he has given to the report on the case for capital taxes, a copy of which has been sent to him, which recommended the introduction of a new wealth tax under the title of the gratuitous enrichment tax.

Mr. Diamond

I am aware of this pamphlet and consideration is of course given to its recommendations as to the many other proposals for tax reform which we receive, particularly at this time of year.

Mr. Baker

Would not the right hon. Gentleman take this opportunity to reject the proposals by the Fabian Society for a gratuitous enrichment tax, particularly as most taxpayers have been gratuitously improverished by the Government over the last four years? Will he attempt to reconcile the statement by the Prime Minister on television last night—that savings should be encouraged—with the proposals which regularly come from the Labour Party for the introduction of another wealth tax which would be a penalty upon the results of savings?

Mr. Diamond

I confirm what my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister said last night and what my hon. Friend the Financial Secretary has just said about our interest in savings. As for the gratuitous enrichment tax, as a Treasury Minister I am always interested in the Treasury being enriched, even gratuitously.

Mr. Hugh Jenkins

Does not my right hon. Friend agree that, in this country and elsewhere, disparities between the very wealthy and the very poor are growing rather than narrowing? Is not some readjustment of property, by capital taxation or otherwise, necessary to redress that tendency?

Mr. Diamond

As my hon. Friend will recognise, my right hon. Friend's Budgets include an element of adjustment to take account of social needs.