—and if we are to convince housewives that we are trying to get a genuine "plateau," then the very first thing we ought to do is to take the Purchase Tax off such items as electric light bulbs.
What happens in someone's home if an electric light bulb goes? One cannot just sit there in the dark thinking one is combating inflation, because one cannot afford to go out and buy another bulb. Of course, people have to replace items of that kind. Now, even after some reductions there is still a tax upon essential articles such as electric light bulbs at a time when the Government are giving away so much money to the higher income groups.
I plead with the Economic Secretary to try and appreciate the state of mind which is created among consumers and workers when they see this policy being put into operation. I hope that he will, in an intervention of somewhat greater length, be able to tell us, first, that he so abhors this indirect system of taxation, the Purchase Tax in particular, that the Government will make every effort to end it, and that, before ending it completely, they will, at any rate, remove the tax on these essentials on which, both during and immediately after the war, no tax at all was levied.