§ 4. Mr. FENBY
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that since the duty on lenses was increased from 33⅓ per cent. to 50 per cent. the customs officials have been charging duty, not on the net price paid by the English agent as before, but on some price fixed by the customs officials with 1658 the promise to refund any excess at a later date; that over £127 excess has been paid by the Imperial Optical Company fur the six months April to September, being nearly 20 per cent. more than the correct amount; that no money has yet been refunded though much correspondence has taken place, and that the customs refuse to give any explanation, merely stating that the matter is being considered; and what action he proposes to take to prevent this excess payment being called for in the future?
§ The FINANCIAL SECRETARY to the TREASURY (Mr. Ronald McNeill)
I have been asked to reply. In accordance with usual practice, it has been necessary to consider whether, having regard to the nature of the arrangements under which the goods referred to were imported, the amounts shown in the invoices for the goods afforded a satisfactory basis for assessment of the ad valorem duty chargeable. Pending the settlement of this question, which had no reference to the change in the rate of the duty, delivery of the goods was allowed, as is customary in such cases, on deposit of sums sufficient to cover any liability to duty which might have been incurred. The question has now been determined, with the result that the invoices have been accepted, and the excess sums deposited have been refunded.