New Clause. — (Reduced duty on certain tobacco.)

Part of Orders of the Day — Finance Bill. – in the House of Commons on 9th June 1942.

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Photo of Sir Frederick Messer Sir Frederick Messer , Tottenham South

That is a point to which I wish to make a reference. As I understood it, the whole argument of the mover of the proposed new Clause was that unless some concession were granted old people would be getting less tobacco. It was also said that there were some inmates who did a type of work which it was not easy for the authorities to get other people to do and who were bribed by an ounce of tobacco additional to the basic ration. It is true that something in addition to the basic ration is given to inmates who do certain kinds of work. It was suggested that, whatever may be the price of tobacco, that inducement ought to remain, because if it were withdrawn the work would not be done so readily. My special reason for rising is to make it plain to the House that I do not believe that the implications of the argument bear any relation to the facts or that public assistance authorities will reduce the ration of tobacco because of this added duty. I do not think public assistance committees would be so petty or small-minded as to say that an old man must have a reduced amount of tobacco merely because the Chancellor has put up the tax. I should like to see something done to meet certain aspects of the case, but this is not the way to do it.