Oral Answers to Questions — West Indies (Imported Food, Taxes)

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 28 March 1945.

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Dr. Morģan:

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether, in the case of the West Indian Crown Colonies, he will consider the desirability of recommending and urging on the local governments and the Governors the policy of abolishing all taxes on imported foodstuffs, with the exception of. alcoholic drinks, so as to ensure a uniform tax-free food system and to ease the burden of indirect taxation on the poor ill-nourished peasantry.

Photo of Hon. Oliver Stanley Hon. Oliver Stanley , Westmorland

The West Indian Governments are fully alive to the desirability of abolishing taxes on foodstuffs consumed by the poorer classes. There are revenue and other difficulties in the way of the attainment of this object, but the matter is being explored.

Dr. Morģan:

Having regard to the low Income Tax in these Colonies, would the Minister do what he can to expedite the reform of the fiscal system so that food can be imported into a Colony tax free?

Photo of Hon. Oliver Stanley Hon. Oliver Stanley , Westmorland

There are difficulties, but I would remind the hon. Member that many of the people in these Colonies are also growers of food.

Colonel Sir Arthur Evans:

Contrary to the suggestion made in the Question, will my right hon. and gallant Friend encourage the local natives to grow their own food, rather than import tinned food?

Photo of Hon. Oliver Stanley Hon. Oliver Stanley , Westmorland

In every territory it is a question of balancing food for consumption with food for export.