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asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he is aware that an iron lung, being imported to the City and County Hospital, Londonderry, from the City of Dublin Skin and Cancer Hospital, was held up for six weeks at the border by the United Kingdom Customs authorities, pending payment of duty by tine hospitals authority; and whether he will take steps to permit urgent medical supplies consigned to hospitals to be admitted immediately, and for payment to be settled later.
The hospital authorities did not furnish full particulars of the goods for Customs entry and clearance when they arrived on 26th October. On inquiry of the Customs a day or so later, they were told that immediate clearance could be obtained by paying a deposit sufficient to cover any possible duty due, this deposit being adjusted later when full particulars came to hand. The authorities at no time indicated that clearance was required urgently, and advantage was not taken of the deposit facilities until 25th November, when the goods were cleared out of Customs charge.