HC Deb 16 June 1927 vol 207 cc1182-3

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether his attention has been drawn to the fact that, whilst publicity advertising matter from foreign resorts enjoys the privilege of entry into the United Kingdom duty free, certain Continental countries impose heavy Customs duties on imported literature relating to British resorts, e.g., £6 on 5,000 copies of the Official Guide to Brighton, addressed to the Hamburg-America Line in Germany; and will he take steps to bring the matter to the notice of the Governments of the foreign countries concerned with a view to such duties being abolished or, alternatively, will he take the necessary steps to provide for a reciprocal duty being imposed on similar literature sent into the United Kingdom from abroad?

The PRESIDENT of the BOARD of TRADE (Sir Philip Cunliffe-Lister)

I have been asked to reply. The attention of His Majesty's Government has already been called to this matter by my right hon. Friend the senior Member for Brighton (Major Tryon), from whom I understand that the payment of the duty on the copies of the Brighton Guide was ultimately waived by the German authorities. I doubt the usefulness of any general attempt to induce foreign Governments to abolish any duties which, in accordance with their tariff policy, they impose on these particular classes of goods. As regards my hon. Friend's proposal for the imposition of a reciprocal duty in this country, I should point out that, having regard to the provisions of our Treaties, any such duty would have to be applied generally to countries which do not, as well as to countries which do, impose a duty on our guides.


Is my right hon. Friend aware that the duty was only waived by the German Government several months afterwards, when the season was over and these pamphlets were out of date and useless?


I was not aware of that, but I understand that the right hon. Gentleman the Minister of Pensions took action as soon as he knew about it. Undoubtedly there may have been some inevitable delay owing to the fact that the catalogues, or guides, or whatever they were, were obstructed at the time; but I imagine that owing to the prompt action of the senior Member for Brighton (Major Tryon) guides to this very excellent watering place will in future be admitted in good time.


Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that the action of the German Government was completed before even the prompt intervention of my colleague the senior Member for Brighton, and therefore his answer is not particularly relevant?


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that £50,000,000 is spent annually by British people on holidays abroad, and in view of his general policy has he taken any steps to ensure that they shall take British holidays?


That question does not arise now.

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