Purchase Tax

Oral Answers to Questions — National Finance – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 28th March 1950.

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Mr. De la Bère:

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, in cases where Purchase Tax is reduced or remitted on any article and the retailer is compelled to lower the price of the article to the public, thus incurring a loss in the value of his stock, he will in future make provision whereby the retailer can recover the difference in the tax which he has already paid.

Photo of Sir Stafford Cripps Sir Stafford Cripps , Bristol South East

I fear that up to the present it has not been possible to devise in consultation with the trade a fair and workable solution of this very difficult problem. I cannot therefore at present commit myself as to the future.

Mr. De la Bère:

But does the right hon. and learned Gentleman not hold out some hope? Does he recollect that last time the answer was that it was administratively impracticable? Surely he is getting one stage better. Let us get on with the job.

Photo of Sir Stafford Cripps Sir Stafford Cripps , Bristol South East

We are certainly still using all the ingenuity of the trade as well as our own to try to devise a satisfactory system.

Photo of Mr Donald Wade Mr Donald Wade , Huddersfield West

Will the Chancellor consider granting a discount to retailers, having regard to the fact that they suffer loss not only where Purchase Tax is reduced but also where goods are damaged, broken or otherwise become unsaleable, because, tax having been paid it is irrecoverable?

Photo of Sir Stafford Cripps Sir Stafford Cripps , Bristol South East

There is another Question on that point later on the Paper.

Photo of Colonel Leonard Ropner Colonel Leonard Ropner , Barkston Ash

Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman admit that there is an unfair burden placed on retailers in an arbitrary and indiscriminate manner by the reduction of tax?

Photo of Sir Stafford Cripps Sir Stafford Cripps , Bristol South East

There has been no reduction in tax so far which has hurt anybody.

Mr. Stanley:

Could the right hon. and learned Gentleman tell us whether there is likely to be one in the immediate future?

Photo of Sir Stafford Cripps Sir Stafford Cripps , Bristol South East

That is a matter upon which everybody can take their own view.