Tobacco (Taxation)

Oral Answers to Questions — National Finance – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 7th March 1967.

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Photo of Dr Michael Winstanley Dr Michael Winstanley , Cheadle 12:00 am, 7th March 1967

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will introduce measures to provide a financial inducement to cigarette smokers to change to the smoking of pipes or cigars.

Photo of Mr Niall MacDermot Mr Niall MacDermot , Derby North

As this is a budgetary question, no comment can be made now.

Photo of Dr Michael Winstanley Dr Michael Winstanley , Cheadle

Is the Financial Secretary aware that a transfer from cigarette smoking to the smoking of pipes and cigars could result in a future saving of thousands of lives every year? Secondly, will he accept my assurance that it would be an easy matter to impose a stamp duty on each packet of cigarettes while making an overall reduction in tobacco duty, so as to maintain the revenue at the same level?

Photo of Mr Niall MacDermot Mr Niall MacDermot , Derby North

The hon. Member's latter suggestion is not as simple as he thinks. This matter was raised in the debate on last year's Finance Bill. I can assure the hon. Member that my right hon. Friend has taken note of what he has said.

Photo of Dr John Dunwoody Dr John Dunwoody , Falmouth and Camborne

Does not my hon. and learned Friend agree that 30,000 deaths a year in this country from lung cancer form a strong argument for changing tobacco taxation? Will not he assure the House that he will consult his right hon. Friend the Minister of Health before the final Budget proposals are brought before the House?

Photo of Mr Niall MacDermot Mr Niall MacDermot , Derby North

My right hon. Friend has already taken note of this and will consider the matter with my right hon. Friend the Minister of Health.

Photo of Sir Gerald Nabarro Sir Gerald Nabarro , Worcestershire South

Will the hon. and learned Gentleman resist these blandishments to use the tax system for a purpose for which it was never devised, namely, to warp consumer choice? Will he leave it to consumers to decide what they smoke?

Photo of Mr Niall MacDermot Mr Niall MacDermot , Derby North

If the hon. Member will read carefully what I have said I think he will find that I have neither accepted or resisted the blandishments.

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Easington

Does my hon. and learned Friend realise that if he took some tax off tobacco it would have a remarkably calming influence on hon. Members?