HC Deb 14 February 1929 vol 225 cc548-50
64. Commander BELLAIRS

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer in view of the success attending the protective incidence of the artificial silk duties, he will consider taking away the excise duty altogether; and whether he will cause investigations to be made, in the case of the more valuable real silk manufactures, into the premium offered to smugglers by the existence of an excise duty as well as a customs duty.


As regards the first part of the question I would remind my hon. and gallant Friend that the silk duties are revenue duties. As regards the second part it is a matter of conjecture whether the existence of the excise duty is an incentive to smuggling, and the point does not admit of investigation.


Will the right hon. Gentleman remind the hon. and gallant Member for Bournemouth (Sir H. Croft) that it is not a safeguarding duty, but merely a revenue duty.

92. Commander BELLAIRS

asked the President of the Board of Trade what approximate proportion the reduction in prices in artificial silk since the Excise and Customs Duties were imposed bears to the amount of the duty; what position among the producers of artificial silk was occupied by Great Britain prior to the duty; and what position is occupied now on the figures of 1928?


There are many grades and qualities of artificial silk yarn, and the reductions in price have not been the same for all the grades, but I understand that in general they range from about 1s. to 2s. a 1b. The average declared value of imported artificial silk yarn was 6s. 4d. a 1b. in 1924, 5s. 4d. a lb. in 1925, and 4s. 5d. a lb. in 1928. These average values are exclusive of duty. In view of the varying proportion of different grades in the total import, it is doubtful whether the changes shown reflect accurately the changes that have taken place in prices of particular qualities. The Customs Duty on yarn is 2s. a 1b. and the Excise Duty 1s. a 1b. From the estimates of the weights produced which have been published for years prior to 1928, it appears that in 1924 Great Britain was the second largest producing country, in 1925 the third, in 1926 the fifth, and in 1927 the third. The provisional estimate of world production in 1928 shows that Great Britain maintained in that year the proportion of the total production attained in 1927.


Does not the difference between the Excise and the Customs Duty give a definite advantage to the producers in this country?


Is this a Revenue or a Safeguarding Duty?


That has already been answered.