HC Deb 04 March 1941 vol 369 cc766-7
46. Mr. A. Edwards

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that, since the abolition of Import Duty on machine tools, a great deal of time has been saved at ports as a direct result; and whether he will now consider abolishing all Import Duties for the duration of the war?

The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Sir Kingsley Wood)

The abolition of any Import Duty naturally results in some saving of time at the ports, but I could not for the sake of such saving contemplate the loss of revenue that would be entailed if my hon. Friend's suggestion were adopted.

Mr. Edwards

Is it not a fact that every payment collected is paid back again by the Minister's Department, which is unavoidable? Is it not important that the three days saved by the abolition of Import Duties on machine tools should be saved now?

Sir K. Wood

The hon. Member will appreciate that I must take into account the financial situation.

Mr. Shinwell

What possible advantage can accrue in relation to the war effort by retaining the Import Duties? Is it of any definite advantage to the Exchequer?

Sir K. Wood

Yes, Sir. I must look after the revenue.

Mr. Edwards

Does the Chancellor not realise that all the money goes back again from his Department?