Exemptions and Reliefs

Part of Clause 2 – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 3rd December 1968.

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Photo of Mr Harold Lever Mr Harold Lever , Manchester Cheetham 12:00 am, 3rd December 1968

I will come to that proposition in a moment. Let us first deal with this point: what the hon. Member wanted us to do in his speech he does not propose in his Amendment. If we followed the Amendment, a firm which imported £500,000 or less last year would be exempt. He is driven to rely on what has happened so far and not on what happens in the period of the scheme. So all a firm which has imported £100 million of goods has to do is to prove that it did not turn over more than £500,000 this year. It would be in a splendid position and could do £100 million in the following year since every competitor of any size would be paying the deposit. It would mean channelling the import trade of this country through the small firms. This ingenious arrangement evades the real problem of relating the deposit to what is happening now. It simply means that any importer who had the good fortune not to import £500,000 last year will have freedom to import more this year. To do what he says he knows is impossible, so the hon. Member does something quite different. He gives unrelated exemption irrespective of the amount imported, provided that the company did not import more than £500,000 last year.