§ 61. Mr. KILEY
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he has received the resolution passed at the meeting of the fancy goods section of the London Chamber of Commerce, to the effect that representations should be again made to him urging that the time has now arrived when the import duty on musical instruments, clocks, watches, and motor accessories should be removed, having regard to the fact that this was a Wartime measure; and what action does he propose to take?
The reply to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. As regards the latter part of the question, I am unable to anticipate the Budget statement.
§ Major M. WOOD
Can the hon. Gentleman say whether it is not a fact that the right hon. Member for Central Glasgow (Mr. Bonar Law), when he was Chancellor of the Exchequer, said that after the War this particular tax would be removed?
§ Sir J. NORTON-GRIFFITHS
Was it not debated in the House, and understood, that a wider scope would be given for its retention in the interest of trade and industry in this country?
§ 62. Mr. KILEY
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether his attention has been called to the action of His Majesty's Board of Customs in refusing to release some articles for the reason that they might be used for the purpose of attaching a clock, a barometer, or other such article thereto, on the ground that if a clock were attached thereto the article would then become part of a clock and as such liable to duty under the Import Restriction Act of 1915, which authorised His Majesty's Customs to obtain a duty of 33⅓ per cent, on clocks; and whether, since it is stretching the Act beyond reasonable limits to levy the duty upon any article to which a clock movement could be attached, he will reconsider this decision?
The reply to the first part of the question is in the negative. If the hon. Member will furnish me with particulars of the case in question, I will cause inquiry to be made and communicate the result to him.
63. Major BARNES
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that certain industries, such as the motor car industry, the motor-accessories industry, and the musical instrument industry, etc., are enjoying the protection of a 33⅓ per cent, duty, which was imposed on the import of articles with which they are in competition, under necessity created by shortage of cargo space in the middle of the War; that his predecessors in office pledged their words to the House of Commons that the duties in question were not imposed for protective purposes and would be removed directly the conditions which required them ceased to exist; and whether steps will immediately be taken to remove the duties in question in order that the industries referred to may in principle be placed on the same footing as the other industries of the country, so that if they can substantiate a claim to a duty it will be open to them to make out their claim under similar conditions to those imposed upon other industries by the Safeguarding of Industries Act?
The reasons for the imposition and subsequent continuance of the duties in question have been fully given from time to time in the House in connection with the various Budget statements, to which I would refer the hon. and gallant Member. As regards the latter part of the question, I am unable to anticipate the Budget statement.