HC Deb 04 May 1903 vol 121 cc1195-6

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India whether his attention has been called to the fact that the 1st Seaforth Highlanders, on proceeding to India during the present year, were required to pay five per cent. ad valorem Customs duty on the military band instruments of the regiment, and will he state whether this duty is enforced upon all regiments proceeding on service to India, and the grounds on which the duty is imposed; and whether he can take steps to have these articles exempted in future from such duty.

THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR INDIA (Lord George Hamilton,) Middlesex, Ealing

As the Indian tariff regulations now stand, military band instruments are liable to Customs duty, as they are regimental and not Government property. I have been in communication with the Viceroy on the subject, and he tells me that the general question as to whether certain articles of military equipment, among which are regimental band instruments, may not fairly be exempted from import duty, is at present engaging the attention of the Indian Government. I have asked him to inform me as soon as possible as to the opinion arrived at upon the subject of my hon. friend's Question.