HC Deb 26 April 1926 vol 194 cc1700-1

So much for the past. But before I proceed to consider the finance of the new year, there are certain general measures which have to be taken. The first is a question, of procedure. Last year, in the interval between the announcement of the Silk Duties and the McKenna Duties and the final passage of the Finance Bill, we were subjected to a wave of dumping by importers anxious to avoid the new taxes. This caused a heavy loss to the revenue, great injury and disturbance, the effects of which have not yet passed away, to the trades affected, and, furthermore, it plainly stultified the will of Parliament. We have no intention of allowing that exhibition to be repeated. In the future new duties on commodities will apply as from the earliest practicable date after the introduction of the Ways and Means Resolution imposing them. There can, of course, be no legal obligation on traders to pay such duties until the Bill containing them becomes law. A record will be kept of all goods liable to duty imported in the intervening period, and traders will be required to pay the appropriate duties as from the original date named as soon as the Bill passes into law. A Clause will appear in this year's Finance Bill by which importers will be required to give security for the Customs Duty on their importations during the intervening period, and similar suitable provisions will be made to deal with new Excise Duties. The duties will in future be levied as from the original slate fixed. This Clause, which I am sure is an essential and a reasonable form of safeguard, will no doubt be one on which the Committee will not find itself in unanimous accord.