Orders of the Day — Finance Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 16th November 1955.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Charles Hale Mr Charles Hale , Oldham West 12:00 am, 16th November 1955

I was coming to that. There is a difference between animals domestic and ferae naturae. I understand that the definition of animals ferae naturae includes some domestic animals. For this purpose a horse has an industrial brush, a dog has a household brush and a man has a toilet brush. That is as I understand it. If the brush has some processed metal on the back, it comes under the goldsmiths and silversmiths or some other section and attracts some higher rate of duty. [HON. MEMBERS: "A lower rate."] I believe it is a higher rate. The fact that I and my hon. Friends differ about this is an indication of the difficulties which manufacturers will have. Perhaps some of my hon. Friends have in mind the human toilet, the dog toilet or the horse toilet.

Brooms come in a different class from brushes. As I understand, the household brush would normally, in ordinary comprehension, include a broom, but "broom" has a separate definition. A whole variety of brushes is shown in the Schedules as separate articles. On the other hand, if the brush is packed in an ordinary toilet case, it goes to a higher rate still.

There is very genuine difficulty for anyone who reads paragraph (a) of Group 30, because it refers to Articles designed for use in one or more of the following processes, that is to say waving, curling, setting, dyeing, tinting, bleaching, or in any way dressing or treating the hair. … One would have thought that that included brushes, but one would have been wrong. This is followed by a note referring one to Group 31, and there one comes to brushes and combs and finds that they are dealt with separately. I am trying to make this clear as I understand it, and I am sure that the Economic Secretary will try to help.

Group 30 (b) refers to: Assemblies of two or more such articles as are comprised in the foregoing paragraph, or of one or more such articles together with any other article not so comprised. Therefore, if one sells two things together, such as a brush and a pair of scissors, they come under paragraph (a). The brush and comb come within Group 31 because combs are included with brushes as human toilet apparatus. If, on the other hand, one sells not merely the apparatus of dyeing but a brush to tint it up, this being sold in a little collection, it comes under the 75 per cent. tax in Group 30.

9.15 p.m.

It may be that I am wrong. I am prone to err and I should be grateful to the Economic Secretary for such enlightenment as he can give me on this problem, which is very serious. The gravity of the matter may perhaps come more for discussion when we debate paragraph (j) and the question of when a broom ceases to be a broom and when a house broom becomes an industrial broom and how far into the backyard one must go before it becomes industrial. It is clear that if it gets to the stable and stays there, it is industrial and if it stays in the house, it is domestic. I am not sure where the line of demarcation in the backyard is.