§ Mr. LINDSAY
(by Private Notice) asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the Treasury have issued an Order that senders of parcels posted in Northern Ireland for places in Great Britain and the Isle of Man must furnish a Customs declaration; if so, what is the object of the Order, and what is the authority for treating Northern Ireland differently from any other part of the United Kingdom?
I think there is some misapprehension in this matter, and I am glad to have this opportunity of explaining it. Arrangements have been made to obtain, as from to-day, statistics as to dutiable goods passing from Great Britain (including the Isle of Man) on the one hand, to Ireland on the other, and vice versâ. The object is to ascertain the share of Customs and Excise revenue attributable to Great Britain, Northern Ireland, and the Irish Free State respectively, in accordance with the Government of Ireland Act, 1920, and the 985 Irish Free State (Agreement) Act and the Order in Council made thereunder. The obtaining of statistical declarations from senders of post parcels from Great Britain to Ireland and from Ireland to Great Britain is a necessary complement to the procedure introduced with regard to goods carried as ships' cargo. Northern Ireland is not being treated exceptionally in this matter, the arrangements being applicable throughout Great Britain and Ireland.
§ Mr. O'NEILL
Is it not a fact that a very small quantity of such articles pass through the parcels past, and is it worth while subjecting the public who send parcels by post to this great inconvenience.?
Some such arrangement as is suggested is necessary as long as there is any necessity to calculate the revenue attributable to any part of Ireland. It is recognised that some degree of inconvenience must be imposed owing to the gathering of such statistics, but a re-adjustment has already been made which, I think, will have the effect of avoiding a great deal of the inconvenience in respect of firms which do not usually send parcels of dutiable goods, and I believe that this will go a long way towards remedying the inconvenience.