Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.Donate to our crowdfunder
While not wishing the Chancellor to anticipate in any way his Budget Statement, may I ask him to bear in mind that the action of his predecessor in announcing a change of Purchase Tax out of the usual routine in January was of benefit to trade and commerce? If he has any such changes in mind, will he make them at the beginning of the year?
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) for what reason it has been decided that basket-ware articles, whose primary function is within the home, such as baby baskets, bread baskets, washing baskets, and waste-paper baskets, only pay Purchase Tax at the rate of 5 per cent., whereas similar basketware articles for use outside the home, such as perambulator baskets, are subjected to tax at 30 per cent.; and whether arrangements may be made in due course for all baskets to be taxed at the same rate;
(2) for what reason the exemptions for glass chimneys and primary glasses under Group 14 (a) (iv) and 14 (d) (ii) apply to lamp glasses for candle and oil-burning lamps designed both to assist combustion and protect the flame, as well as glasses of this kind for lamps which are designed to function without a separate internal chimney, but not lamp glasses, globes, and shades, which are used to surround an internal chimney; and whether he will review this matter at an early date;
(3) whether he is aware that the present rules of the customs and excise authorities with regard to Purchase Tax provide that all preparations for the promotion of suntan, whether perfumed or not, are subject to Purchase Tax at 90 per cent., whereas preparations for the prevention of suntan are taxed at 90 per cent. if perfumed, but only to 30 per cent. if on perfumed; and whether, in view of the damage which such anomalous and heavy taxation causes to the building up of our export trade in such products, he will arrange for an early review of the matter.
Is my right hon. Friend aware that my researches in this matter have been lengthy and that there are another fifty Questions at least to him to follow, and I can provide him with another fifty if he wants them? As there are literally hundreds upon hundreds of these anomalies, would my right hon. Friend apply himself thoroughly to them between now and the next Budget, and today would he tell the House, for example, why there is this discrimination, revealed in Question 19 in the matter of baskets, in the Treasury?
While respecting my hon. Friend's knowledge of baskets of all kinds, I had in mind in drafting this particular reply the fact that there were a further fifty Questions which might be asked.
I am bound to say this to my hon. Friend. While the question of anomalies in Purchase Tax is a serious and important matter, I do not believe that the debating in Question and answer of individual changes, in advance of any change being announced, would be in the interests of the traders concerned.
Is my right hon. Friend aware, in relation to the last supplementary question, that none of these matters referred to in the three Questions are increases in Purchase Tax, but all stem from the original Purchase Tax Schedules in 1941 as made worse by the party opposite?
Since he is having an examination into all these matters and it would save the time of the House if we could have the answer to that examination, can my right hon. Friend let us know when he expects to report on the elimination of all these anomalies? It would save such a lot of time and trouble.
No, Sir. I do not think that it would be advantageous to announce a date when changes in Purchase Tax are going to take place. To do so would really do a very great deal of damage to a very large number of traders in the country. I urge my hon. Friend to exercise a little caution in the interests of the traders concerned.