HC Deb 03 November 1970 vol 805 cc823-4
1. Mr. David Stoddart

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is Her Majesty's Government policy regarding income tax relief to owner-occupiers.

The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Patrick Jenkin)

We have no changes in mind.

Mr. Stoddart

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that in spite of the fact that there will be a cut of 6 per cent. in income tax relief from 1st April next, owner-occupiers will breathe a sigh of relief that they do not have to go through a means test like their unfortunate brethren in council houses before they qualify for income tax relief subsidy? Is he also aware that his answer will cause a great deal of heart-searching on the part of council tenants—[HON. MEMBERS: "Too long."]—because his policy will have been shown to be completely anti-social and divisive? Is he also—

Mr. Speaker

Order. Questions must be reasonably brief. Mr. Jenkin.

Mr. Stoddart

I am coming to a conclusion—

Mr. Speaker

Order. The hon. Gentleman has asked enough. Mr. Jenkin.

Mr. Jenkin

I think that the hon. Member has gone very much wider than the Question.

Sir G. Nabarro

Will my hon. Friend remind the party opposite that the Tories abolished income tax Schedule A for owner-occupiers in 1963 in the teeth of opposition from the Labour Party?

Mr. Jenkin

I am grateful to my hon. Friend. Perhaps I can also remind the party opposite that it made a special exemption for relief from loan interest in respect of owner-occupiers.

Mr. Alfred Morris

Can the hon. Gentleman say whether the average amount of mortgage interest relief to home buyers is still considerably higher than the average amount of housing subsidy allowed to council house tenants? Has he seen the Ministerial replies I have had on this matter?

Mr. Jenkin

If the hon. Gentleman has already had the answer to his question, I do not know why he is asking me.

Mr. Denis Howell

While I agree with the Minister that the Labour Party when in power tried to encourage owner-occupiers, would he tell us on what grounds of philosophy or policy it is intended to discriminate in the tax rebate situation against the municipal tenant in favour of the owner-occupier?

Mr. Jenkin

I would not accept for one moment that there has been any discrimination against the municipal tenant. He will still be entitled to substantial rebates.

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