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New Clause.; — (Reduction of Purchase Tax from Five or Ten per Cent. to One per Cent.)

Part of Orders of the Day — Finance Bill – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 3rd July 1957.

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Photo of Mr Nigel Birch Mr Nigel Birch , Flintshire West 12:00 am, 3rd July 1957

I rise not with any desire to curtail the debate, but to make two rather short points which may be worth making now. Clearly, all taxation is unpopular. To tax and to please is given to no man. Purchase Tax is a particularly unpopular tax, which all Chancellors would like to reduce if they could. The new Clauses, however, would be very expensive. The first would cost £46 million; the second, £60 million; and the third. £16 million. If, as I understand, Sir Gordon, you are calling certain subsequent new Clauses also, the total cost involved in the proposed new Clauses tabled by hon. Members opposite would be £157 million. That is a very large sum indeed.

The right hon. Member for Battersea, North (Mr. Jay) put these proposals forward as a cure for inflation, but I must own that I think he is being a little heretical. His master, the right hon. Member for Bishop Auckland (Mr. Dalton), once defined inflation as "too much money chasing too few goods "Under the Clauses, the amount of goods would stay the same, but the amount of money chasing them would increase by £157 million. I should have thought that that was an assignment with inflation if ever there was one.