§ 1. Mr. Pavitt
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the annual cost of relieving blind persons of tax as a result of the decision made in 1962; and what is the amount by which an individual relief has been increased, since that time, to account for the fall in the purchasing power of money.
§ The Minister of State, Treasury (Mr. John Nott)
The estimated cost of the blind persons' allowance of £100 is about £2 million a year. The allowance has not been changed since it was introduced in 1962.
§ Mr. Pavitt
Is it not disgusting that blind people were not allowed an extra £2 million on the same day that the Chancellor of the Exchequer was able to give £2½ million for on-course betting? If it was right in 1962 to allow tax relief 1509 at a figure of £100, why is it not right to bring this up to present-day values? Blind people want to be encouraged to work; they do not want charity but prefer to earn their own living. Will the Minister look again at this matter with a view to taking speedy and urgent action?
§ Mr. Nott
I fully appreciate that the blind persons' allowance, introduced in 1962, has fallen in value, but that allowance is an extra allowance on top of the the basic personal allowances and other tax allowances given to blind persons. My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer this year gave the largest increase in personal allowances that there has even been, and blind people who are within the tax bracket will benefit.
§ Mr. Pavitt
In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the answer, I give notice that I shall seek to raise the matter on the Adjournment at the earliest possible moment.