Clause 5. — (Increase of rates of Purchase Tax.)

Part of Orders of the Day — Finance Bill – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 2nd December 1947.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Sir William Darling Sir William Darling , Edinburgh South 12:00 am, 2nd December 1947

I am grateful to the hon. Member for pointing that out, but I would like to be excused for thinking that the main point is the one which I am making. The Chancellor should have in mind that those who use battery sets are making no demand on the diminishing resources of his colleague, the Minister of Fuel and Power. Although I believe that the amount of power which is used is an all-electric set is very small, it is only by small mercies that we can hope to get through our present economic crisis. This impost will encourage people who still intend to enjoy B.B.C. broadcasts to abandon battery sets which consume no power.

I would remind the Chancellor that he has already stumbled into this folly, or at least his predecessor did, and he is his predecesor's inheritor. The Chancellor's predecessor manipulated the Purchase Tax on electric fires, and discovered that the withdrawal of some of that tax increased the consumption of electricity. I may well be that this extraordinary paradox, which was so obscure to the ex-Chancellor, may be repeated by the present Chancellor. The right hon. and learned Gentleman's desire to put extra Purchase Tax on these batteries will encourage people to consume more power, an action which his right hon. Friend the Minister of Fuel and Power will not be inclined to encourage.