Outsize Clothing (D Level)

Oral Answers to Questions — National Finance – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 30th October 1952.

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Photo of Mrs Bessie Braddock Mrs Bessie Braddock , Liverpool Exchange 12:00 am, 30th October 1952

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he is aware that there is concern among the outsize persons of the country that no concession was made regarding D levels for outsize clothing; which organisations he consulted in an endeavour to get agreement on a possible scheme; and if he will meet a deputation of the trade on the matter.

Photo of Mr Norman Dodds Mr Norman Dodds , Dartford

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he is aware of the disappointment that no concession has yet been made in respect to Purchase Tax on outsize garments; if he will meet a deputation of the main trade associations in an effort to find a reasonable solution to this important problem; or what other proposals he has to solve it.

Photo of Mr John Boyd-Carpenter Mr John Boyd-Carpenter , Kingston upon Thames

I appreciate the desire to seek a workable plan to deal with this problem, though I doubt whether the present position is causing undue hardship to the people concerned. But, as my right hon. Friend explained in reply to a question by the hon. Member for Dartford (Mr. Dodds) on 29th July, it has not been found possible to devise a workable plan that is not unduly complicated for giving higher D relief to outsize garments.

The list of organisations consulted for which the hon. Lady asks is rather long, and I will, therefore, with permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT. If the trade so desire I will arrange for a deputation to be received at the Treasury.

Photo of Mrs Bessie Braddock Mrs Bessie Braddock , Liverpool Exchange

In view of the statements made during the last Budget debate on this matter, that the Chancellor was anxious to get, if possible, a workable scheme, could the hon. Gentleman say what the difficulties are between his Department and the trade concerned? The trade are anxious to have a scheme that will be workable.

Photo of Mr John Boyd-Carpenter Mr John Boyd-Carpenter , Kingston upon Thames

The trade concerned are anxious to have a scheme which would be workable, but they have not been unanimous as to what scheme would be workable. In essence, the difficulty is the very great complication of the obligations that would be thrown, particularly on small retailers, by any possible way of dealing with the admittedly very difficult matter.

Photo of Mr Norman Dodds Mr Norman Dodds , Dartford

But does not the hon. Gentleman recall that in the discussions on the Finance Bill there was complete unanimity on both sides of the House about the undesirability of introducing the new fiscal policy of taxing people according to their size? Does he really believe that he can ask 14 separate organisations and not have some difference of opinion at the outset? Why, then, has he or his right hon. Friend not got them together with a view to getting a simplified version, which is possible?

Photo of Mr John Boyd-Carpenter Mr John Boyd-Carpenter , Kingston upon Thames

If the hon. Gentleman would study the practical problems which arise in this matter I do not think he would regard a solution as simple.

Photo of Mr Norman Dodds Mr Norman Dodds , Dartford

But is not the hon. Gentleman aware that representatives of the various trade organisations believe that if they were brought together they would get a simplified version? It is necessary in the best interests of social justice, however difficult it may be.

Photo of Mr John Boyd-Carpenter Mr John Boyd-Carpenter , Kingston upon Thames

As the hon. Gentleman will see if he reads the list I shall be circulating in reply to the hon. Lady, a very large number of trade organisations were consulted, and I can tell him that they were far from unanimous as to the possible solutions.

Photo of Mrs Bessie Braddock Mrs Bessie Braddock , Liverpool Exchange

Is the hon. Gentleman really saying that, in spite of the fact that arrangements could be made under the Utility scheme to deal with this matter under a Labour Government, his Department, under this Government, is completely incapable of straightening the position out?

Photo of Mr John Boyd-Carpenter Mr John Boyd-Carpenter , Kingston upon Thames

As I have already pointed out to the hon. Lady, the main burden of operating such a scheme would fall not on the Government but on the traders who have to operate it, and there are limits to the amount of work it is right or practicable to impose on trading firms under any of these schemes.

Photo of Mr Julian Snow Mr Julian Snow , Lichfield and Tamworth

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that if it comes to practical difficulties I can tell him a thing or two?

Photo of Sir William Darling Sir William Darling , Edinburgh South

Will my hon. Friend consider scrapping the D scheme altogether and having an ad valorem tax?

Following is the list:

  • Apparel and Fashion Industry's Association.
  • British Mantle Manufacturers' Association.
  • Co-operative Union.
  • Corset Trade Association.
  • Drapers' Chamber of Trade.
  • Light Clothing Federation.
  • Liverpool Chamber of Commerce.
  • Manchester Chamber of Commerce.
  • National Association of Outfitters.
  • National Hosiery Manufacturers' Association.
  • Retail Distributors' Association.
  • Shirt Collar and Tie Manufacturers Association.
  • Wholesale Clothing Manufacturers' Association.
  • Wholesale Textile Association.