HC Deb 06 June 1940 vol 361 cc988-9
38. Mr. A. Edwards

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether his attention has been drawn to the waste of time, labour and money connected with import duties on machine tools for Government work; and what steps he intends to take to eliminate this procedure?

Sir K. Wood

The position is that most, but not all, machine tools now being im- ported are admitted free of duty, under licences granted by the Treasury under Section 10 of the Finance Act, 1932. The work involved in connection with those licences has recently been much reduced by the issue of omnibus licences covering a series of importations, but I am considering whether any further simplification of procedure can be effected.

Mr. Edwards

While thanking the right hon. Gentleman for that reply, may I ask whether he realises that many machine tools arriving in this country are held up at the docks for two or three weeks as a result of Customs and Excise investigation, and that it is of vital importance that they should be cleared at once?

Sir K. Wood

I will certainly see to that matter, but I am informed that, if the licenceis duly produced by the importer on importation and the goods are found to correspond with those described in the licence, they are released at once. If there is any particular case in the minds of hon. Members I shall be glad to look into it.

Mr. Shinwell

Would it not be desirable to remove from all essential munitions all import duties that occasion such delays or labour?

Sir K. Wood

That is another matter. So far as the particular matter is concerned, I will see whether any further simplification can be effected.