HC Deb 01 May 1940 vol 360 cc750-1

Twelfth Resolution read a Second time.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution."

Mr. Lees-Smith (Keighley)

Perhaps we can have an explanation of the reason for this Resolution.

4.15 p.m.

The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Captain Crookshank)

It is a very small point designed for one purpose only—that of export. It is a question of the differences in administration in regard to drawback under the Safeguarding of Industries Act, 1921, and under the Import Duties Act, 1932. Section 12 (1) of the Safeguarding of Industries Act provides for payment of drawback on any re-exported key industry goods, provided that the goods have not been used in this country, and provided that they have not been processed in this country before manufacture. But the Act of 1932 gives power to the Treasury to provide for payment of drawback notwithstanding the fact that the goods may have been submitted to some process in this country, provided that the change is not sufficiently great to alter their form or character. As this particular arrangement applies in the large sphere of drawbacks covered by the Import Duties Act, it seems only reasonable that if the conditions which existed under the earlier Act are at any time a hindrance, the drawbacks should be assimilated to those under the other Act. That is the only effect of the proposal. The right hon. Gentleman will realise that that is a rather difficult matter to explain on the spur of the moment; and perhaps if he wants to raise any further points, a suitable time would be when the Finance Bill is before the House.

Mr. Lees-Smith

I do not want to raise any further points. I see that according to the Second Schedule of the Import Duties Act the Import Duties Advisory Committee must be consulted before any action is taken. Is that intended under this machinery?

Captain Crookshank

I am sorry. Perhaps I should have reminded the House that since the outbreak of the war the functions of the Import Duties Advisory Committee have been taken over by the Treasury.

Question, "That this House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution," put, and agreed to.