HC Deb 22 February 1932 vol 262 cc82-3

I beg to move, in page 8, line 9, at the end, to insert the words: or in the case where an excise duty is imposed up to the amount by which it exceeds the difference between the customs and excise duty. As I understand it, the object of the Clause, is to prevent the duplication of duty, to prevent an article which is already enjoying protection under an existing duty from getting the additional 10 per cent. in those cases where the, article is of a composite character. We can all think of instances, such as articles in which there is some silk content or in which there is a sugar content. Where the dutiable element in composite articles is subject not only to Customs Duty but to Excise Duty, under the Clause as it is worded at present you make the 10 per cent. or the subsequent duty non-protective or less protective than the 10 per cent. normally should be. Let me take the case of condensed, sweetened milk. That has a duty in respect of the sugar content. I believe the duty is equal to 10 per cent, of the value of the article, and it also pays an Excise Duty on the sugar content, even if the sugar is domestic or Empire sugar. Consequently, if this Clause takes effect as at present worded there would be neither 10 per cent. nor any protection afforded to the industry of condensed milk in this country.

The same would apply in the case of articles which contain some silk, so long as the silk Excise Duty remains. The object of the Amendment is to eliminate excise in so far as it is reckoned against the 10 per cent. duty, and to make the total duty 10 per cent., reckoning in it only the Customs Duty in so far as there is no excise, or in so far as the Customs Duty exceeds the Excise Duty. I believe that would have the effect of carrying out what I believe to be the intention of the Clause. It may be that the Chancellor of the Exchequer would prefer to deal with it in a different form of wording. I attach no special importance to the wording of the Amendment. My object is to draw attention to those cases where in regard to composite articles there is an Excise Duty as well as a Customs Duty.


The Committee will observe that this Clause deals only with composite goods, and that if the Amendment were accepted it would still leave out of account those goods which were not of a composite character on which there was a countervailing Excise Duty. This seems to be rather a one-side way of dealing with the point; assuming that it requires to be deal with. The purpose of the Clause is to provide that in the case of composite goods the duty charged shall be either 10 per cent. or the composite duty, whichever is the higher. That is the effect of the Clause; and I do not think it is appropriate to bring in an Amendment of this character in here. May I point out that there is nothing to prevent an additional duty being subsequently put on an article of a composite character if the Committee so recommends; and that is really the way in which the object of my right hon. Friend should be achieved.


In view of the explanation given by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Motion made, and Question, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill," put, and agreed to.