Orders of the Day — Excess Profits Duty.

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons on 28th April 1920.

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Photo of Mr Thomas Griffiths Mr Thomas Griffiths , Pontypool

Very well, spindles, but spindles make a mill. Let me come back to the galvanising trade. We pointed out last year that the working men in these trades go to their libraries and get hold of the journals and find out exactly the returns and profits made in those trades by the employers, and that causes more unrest than anything that I know of, so far as the trade unionists of the country are concerned. What do we find? Last year as a result of the reduction of the Excess Profits Duty from 80 to 40 per cent. you presented the employers with at least £250,000,000, I think that is an under-estimate, but I want to be on the right side. That means, that with a few millions pounds more, the Chancellor of the Exchequer would have had no deficit to meet this year. Furthermore, the employers in these industries have been making bigger profits during the last year, although he reduced the Excess Profits Tax than during the period of the War. In 1914 steel, tin-plate, bars, and other sections were sold at £5 per hon. During the period of the War, when these industries were controlled, the Government fixed the price-at £15 per hon. The employers made huge profits out of that £15 per hon. Immediately steel was decontrolled, although the sliding scale in the steel industries only stood at something like 105 per cent. above pre-War rates, to-day it stands at 200 per cent. above pre-War rates.