HC Deb 27 November 1912 vol 44 cc1273-4

asked (1) if the Secretary to the Treasury will state what reasons led to the notice dated 1st June, 1906, issued by the Board of Inland Revenue, in regard to illustrations of postage and postage-paid stamps being superseded by the notice dated the 16th October, 1912; why the Regulations have been made so much more severe; whether he is aware that the new Regulations are calculated seriously to hamper in their business a large body of persons engaged as printers, process-block makers, proprietors of philatelic journals, and in kindred industries; (2) whether any danger to the revenue is to be apprehended from the illustrations for commercial purposes of obsolete stamps, whether British or foreign; whether an obsolete stamp can be said to denote a rate of postage; (3) whether he is aware that the reproduction of obsolete postage stamps in colour for the purposes of illustration is sanctioned in most foreign countries; whether any, and what, provision exists in the law of this country against the admission into this country of illustrations printed abroad, which if produced in this country would be illegal; if so, whether such provision is enforced; (4) whether he is aware that the use of reproductions of postage stamps in stamp dealers' advertisements, prohibited in this country, is freely sanctioned in most foreign countries; that there are constantly posted to and delivered in this country philatelic periodicals and stamp dealers' circulars which if produced here a would contravene the law; and whether any steps can be or are taken to prevent this?


It has been found by experience that the old Regulations did not give the Inland Revenue authorities sufficient control over the very large number of blocks created for producing imitations of postage stamps. The Regulations have accordingly been strengthened by the additional requirements which appear in the notice of the 16th October. With the small exception of "Postage Paid" stamps, the new Regulations do not extend to any class of stamps which were not covered by the old Regulations, and it is not apprehended that they will hamper the business of the persons interested. Under Section 65 of the Post Office Act, 1908 (which continues in this respect the former Act of 1884) foreign and British stamps have to be similarly treated. Whether an obsolete stamp can be said to denote a rate of postage is a question of law, but it is not considered desirable in the interests of the revenue to draw a distinction for the purposes of the Regulations between obsolete and current stamps, nor is it certain that it would be for the convenience of the trade. I have no information as to whether the reproduction of postage stamps for the purposes of advertisement, or of obsolete stamps in colour, is sanctioned in most foreign countries. The importation of fictitious postage stamps is prohibited by Section 1 of the Revenue Act, 1898, under penalty of £100. If the hon. Member is aware of any evidence that the Regulations are unduly onerous I shall be glad to consider it.