Musical Instruments (Tax)

Oral Answers to Questions — National Finance – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 26th April 1966.

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Photo of Mr Ken Lomas Mr Ken Lomas , Huddersfield West 12:00 am, 26th April 1966

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will remove or reduce the Purchase Tax on musical instruments where these are used exclusively by schools and purchased through the appropriate education authorities.

Photo of Mr Niall MacDermot Mr Niall MacDermot , Derby North

No, Sir. It is not practicable to make special concessions to particular users of taxable articles.

Photo of Mr Ken Lomas Mr Ken Lomas , Huddersfield West

Is my hon. and learned Friend aware that the total amount of revenue collected in tax on all musical instruments is only £1 million in a single year? Although this would be a small concession, it would be a valuable contribution to the musical education of children in our schools. Will my hon. and learned Friend look into it again?

Photo of Mr Niall MacDermot Mr Niall MacDermot , Derby North

I am aware of the fact to which my hon. Friend draws attention, and I think that I answered his Question about it in a Written Answer yesterday. The difficulty here is that one cannot consider one exemption which is proposed in isolation from the very many other requests which we receive to similar effect. There are, for example, many other articles used by local authorities which are subject to tax, including many used by schools, such as stationery and sports equipment.

Photo of Sir Gerald Nabarro Sir Gerald Nabarro , Worcestershire South

Why are pianos free of Purchase Tax and all other musical instruments taxed?

Photo of Mr Niall MacDermot Mr Niall MacDermot , Derby North

I am sure that the hon. Gentleman, with his vast experience in this subject, will know the answer.

Photo of Sir Gerald Nabarro Sir Gerald Nabarro , Worcestershire South

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Is it in order for the Minister to question me? Surely, his duty is to answer me.

Photo of Dr Horace King Dr Horace King , Southampton, Itchen

Order. Nothing out of order has happened, and to raise points of order in Question Time uses up valuable time.

Photo of Mr Jon Rankin Mr Jon Rankin , Glasgow Govan

As we have created a Ministry to promote the arts, and music is an art, why should we tax them?