European Free Trade Area

Oral Answers to Questions — National Finance – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 19th December 1957.

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Photo of Sir Gerald Nabarro Sir Gerald Nabarro , Kidderminster 12:00 am, 19th December 1957

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware of the anxiety of the British motor car industry that it will find itself at a disadvantage in the European free market, so long as the burden of Purchase Tax on British motor cars is substantially higher than that of our principal European competitors; and whether he will arrange for this matter to be closely examined in consultation with representatives of the British motor car industry before any final decisions are made with regard to the European Free Trade Area.

Photo of Mr Enoch Powell Mr Enoch Powell , Wolverhampton South West

Purchase Tax is only one among many factors which must be taken into account. My right hon. Friend will, of course, consider carefully any representations the industry may make.

Photo of Sir Gerald Nabarro Sir Gerald Nabarro , Kidderminster

Has the attention of my hon. Friend been drawn to the important statement made by Sir Leonard Lord, the chairman and joint managing director of Britain's largest motor manufacturers, the British Motor Corporation? Only forty-eight hours ago that gentleman said: The Government's policies which affect home sales through credit restrictions, Purchase Tax, Profits Taxes, hire-purchase and other control's must be revised to give us parity of home market conditions with those of our Continental competitors. It must make trade free to meet Free Trade. Is not this a most important pronouncement, and will my right hon. Friend have urgent regard to the advice of an expert?

Photo of Mr Enoch Powell Mr Enoch Powell , Wolverhampton South West

The statement to which by hon. Friend's attention has been directed does show that Purchase Tax is, as I said, one of many factors that have to be considered.