Purchase Tax

Oral Answers to Questions — National Finance – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 18th October 1949.

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Photo of Mr Robin Turton Mr Robin Turton , Thirsk and Malton 12:00 am, 18th October 1949

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that Dr. Hart, of Alne, is being pressed to pay £61 as Purchase Tax on streptomycin sent as a gift, from December, 1947, to March, 1948, from the United States in an unsuccessful attempt to save the life of his three-year-old daughter who was suffering from miliary tuberculosis; that Streptomycin was prescribed by the Streptomycin Regulations, 1948, as being within the scope of the Penicilin Act, 1947, and was exempted from Purchase Tax in April, 1948; and whether, in all the circumstances of this case, he will abandon his claim for Purchase Tax on a gift of an essential drug sent in order to save life.

Photo of Sir Stafford Cripps Sir Stafford Cripps , Bristol East

Purchase Tax was legally chargeable on Streptomycin at the time these consignments were imported, whether or not they were sent as a gift and it was duly paid by the agents who acted for Dr. Hart. No claim has been made for its refund.

Photo of Mr Robin Turton Mr Robin Turton , Thirsk and Malton

Surely the Chancellor of the Exchequer is aware that Dr Hart has protested vehemently ever since the tax was levied on this life-saving drug and that he holds letters from the Customs and Excise acknowledging the fact that he has so protested? It is quite wrong to say that he has not

Photo of Sir Stafford Cripps Sir Stafford Cripps , Bristol East

I said that no claim has been made for its refund. The tax was paid by B.O.A.C. and they have not claimed any refund.

Photo of Mr Peter Thorneycroft Mr Peter Thorneycroft , Monmouth

Are we to understand that, if a claim is now made for refund of this Purchase Tax, in these circumstances the matter will be reconsidered?

Photo of Sir Stafford Cripps Sir Stafford Cripps , Bristol East

Certainly; all claims of that type are always considered in the light of the circumstances.

Photo of Mr John Lewis Mr John Lewis , Bolton

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he is aware that retail exports involving a large number of dollars are being lost to this country because of the inability of visitors from North America to pay for their goods in retail stores and take them away with them instead of having to fill in forms and have the goods delivered to ship, and in view of the overriding necessity of obtaining dollars if he will alter the regulations so that visitors from abroad who produce their passports and pay in dollars can collect their goods in the normal way and the retailer can reclaim the Purchase Tax by producing evidence of the dollars banked and the passport number of the purchaser.

Photo of Sir Stafford Cripps Sir Stafford Cripps , Bristol East

Such a scheme already exists. Citizens of the United States or Canada who exchange dollars through a bank in this country (or draw sterling from an American or Canadian account) can, under suitable safeguards, buy limited quantities of clothing free of Purchase Tax, and collect their goods in the normal way. Full details of the scheme were published in the "Board of Trade Journal" of 20th August, 1949.

Photo of Mr John Lewis Mr John Lewis , Bolton

Would the Chancellor say what he means by "suitable safeguards" and what that involves in respect of the visitor from North America who wishes to make a purchase?

Photo of Sir Stafford Cripps Sir Stafford Cripps , Bristol East

If the hon. Member would be good enough to look at the article in the "Board of Trade Journal" to which I have drawn attention he will find the safeguards.

Photo of Mr John Lewis Mr John Lewis , Bolton

Does it mean that this visitor has to fill up some form or other or to take some irksome step other than just going into the store to purchase the goods and take them away? Is my right hon. and learned Friend aware that this has resulted in the loss of millions of dollars to this country because people do not stop here; they go to France where they do not have this difficulty.

Photo of Mr Robin Turton Mr Robin Turton , Thirsk and Malton

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the method employed between 5th December, 1947, and 13th March, 1948, in determining the value for Purchase Tax purposes of gifts of streptomycine sent from the United States of America in an attempt to save the life of a child suffering from miliary tuberculosis.

Photo of Sir Stafford Cripps Sir Stafford Cripps , Bristol East

The importer's agent declared Purchase Tax values of 16s. 3d. a gramme for three consignments and 22s. for a fourth. With the exception of one consignment declared at 16s. 3d. which was revalued at 22s., these declarations were accepted. I understand that the higher figure is in line with trade prices at about the same time.