Protective Clothing and Footwear (Tax)

Oral Answers to Questions — National Finance – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 1st May 1958.

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Photo of Miss Alice Bacon Miss Alice Bacon , Leeds South East 12:00 am, 1st May 1958

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what increases in the purchase of miners' safety boots and helmets have been reported to him over the past year.

Photo of Mr Frank Allaun Mr Frank Allaun , Salford East

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what increases in the purchases of miners' protective boots during the past 12 months have been reported to his Department.

Photo of Mr Roy Mason Mr Roy Mason , Barnsley

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what increases in the purchases of miners' safety helmets and boots during the last financial year have been reported to him.

Photo of Mr Emrys Hughes Mr Emrys Hughes , South Ayrshire

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what change has been noted in his department in the sales of miners' protective clothing in Scotland during the past year.

Photo of Mr Arthur Probert Mr Arthur Probert , Aberdare

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what increases in purchases of mineworkers' protective clothing, in particular miners' safety boots and helmets, have been reported to him over the last 12 months for Wales.

Photo of Mr David Griffiths Mr David Griffiths , Rother Valley

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer to what extent he has received reports of increased purchases of miners' and quarrymen's protective clothing during the last financial year.

Mrs. Slater:

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what reports he has received on the increase in the purchase of protective clothing by miners and quarrymen during the last year.

Photo of Mr Wilfred Paling Mr Wilfred Paling , Dearne Valley

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what reports he has received of increases in the purchases of miners' safety boats and protective helmets during the past 12 months.

Photo of Mr Robert Edwards Mr Robert Edwards , Bilston

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what increases in purchases of miners' protective equipment have been reported to him from the West Midlands area during the past year.

Mr. B. Taylor:

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer to what extent he has received reports of increases in purchases of miners' safety helmets and boots in the Nottinghamshire area over the past 12 months.

Photo of Mr William Stones Mr William Stones , Consett

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what increases in the purchases of miners' safety helmets and boots during the last financial year have been reported to him.

Photo of Mr William Owen Mr William Owen , Morpeth

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer to what extent he has received reports of increasing purchases of miners' safety equipment, such as boots and protective helmets, over the past year.

Photo of Mr Jocelyn Simon Mr Jocelyn Simon , Middlesbrough West

My right hon. Friend has not received any such reports.

Photo of Miss Alice Bacon Miss Alice Bacon , Leeds South East

Is the hon. and learned Gentleman aware that there will be widespread relief now that this foolish tax has been taken from these articles and that the sales will not go down in the coming year?

Photo of Mr Jocelyn Simon Mr Jocelyn Simon , Middlesbrough West

I cannot accept that the tax was foolish, but I am very grateful for what the hon. Lady has said.

Photo of Mr Roy Mason Mr Roy Mason , Barnsley

Whilst appreciating what the Chancellor of the Exchequer has done in removing this Purchase Tax from miners' safety boots and protective helmets, will he go a stage further and define what are the items of protective clothing and safety equipment? Secondly, will he take steps to remove Purchase Tax from all these articles, particularly having in mind that firemen's helmets are still subject to this tax?

Photo of Mr Jocelyn Simon Mr Jocelyn Simon , Middlesbrough West

Successive Governments have found it impracticable to devise a definition of "protective clothing". It is for that reason that the exemption in favour of miners' helmets has not been extended. But that is no doubt a matter which we can discuss further on the Finance Bill.

Photo of Mr John McKay Mr John McKay , Wallsend

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he is aware that the estimated revenue from Purchase Tax is £100,000 per annum; and, in this context, what will be the loss of revenue from the reduction in tax on miners' caps and miners' belts.

Photo of Mr Jocelyn Simon Mr Jocelyn Simon , Middlesbrough West

On the assumption that the first part of the Question refers to the 5 per cent. Purchase Tax on miners' and quarry men's boots and helmets proposed in my right hon. Friend's Budget statement, the Answer is "Yes, Sir." But, as my right hon. Friend announced on Tuesday, he has decided to restore in the Finance Bill the exemptions on these articles. With regard to the second part of the Question, it is not possible to estimate the reduction in revenue on the particular articles referred to.

Photo of Mr John McKay Mr John McKay , Wallsend

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he is aware that the cost of boots, helmets and general clothing needed by underground workers in the pits is double the cost incurred by most workers in connection with their various trades; and what estimate he has made of the average extra cost to miners per year above that of other workers.

Photo of Mr Jocelyn Simon Mr Jocelyn Simon , Middlesbrough West

The Answer to the first part of the Question is "No, Sir," no statistics are available on which any such comparison could be based; and in these circumstances the second part of the Question does not arise.

Photo of Mr John McKay Mr John McKay , Wallsend

It may be true that there are no statistics relevant to the point involved, but does not the Financial Secretary think that before such a drastic change is made he might have investigated the problem and had a better idea of what ought to be done?

Photo of Mr Jocelyn Simon Mr Jocelyn Simon , Middlesbrough West

Of course, my right hon. Friend the Chancellor did investigate this matter before making the proposal in the Budget. On the other hand, it was quite clear from last week that the general feeling of the House was that strict logic and administrative tidiness should yield to wide social considerations. I reported that to my right hon. Friend and he again made these articles exempt.

Photo of Mr Cyril Bence Mr Cyril Bence , Dunbartonshire East

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what increases in purchases of industrial workers' protective clothing, particularly miners' safety boots and helmets, have been reported to him over the last twelve months in Scotland.

Photo of Mr Jocelyn Simon Mr Jocelyn Simon , Middlesbrough West

I would refer the hon. Member to my Answers to the Questions just asked by the hon. Lady the Member for Leeds, South-East (Miss Bacon) and other hon. Members. My right hon. Friend does not receive reports of purchases of industrial workers' protective clothing, which has indeed been found to be incapable of definition.

Photo of Mr Cyril Bence Mr Cyril Bence , Dunbartonshire East

Is protective clothing in the form of protective boots and shoes, used in the shipbuilding industry, exempt from taxation as well?

Photo of Mr Jocelyn Simon Mr Jocelyn Simon , Middlesbrough West

Speaking from recollection, I would certainly say that they are not exempt from taxation; but perhaps the hon. Member will put down a specific Question.

Photo of Mr George Jeger Mr George Jeger , Goole

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what discussions he has had with representatives from the mining industry since imposing Purchase Tax on miners' protective clothing.

Photo of Mr George Jeger Mr George Jeger , Goole

Would it not be advisable for the representatives of the Treasury to have discussions with the miners' representatives and similar organisations if in future they have such silly and stupid proposals to bring forward as the taxation of protective clothing?

Photo of Mr Jocelyn Simon Mr Jocelyn Simon , Middlesbrough West

I certainly cannot accept the hon. Member's epithets. It would be contrary to every usage to have discussions before the Budget statement.