HC Deb 18 November 1941 vol 376 cc180-1
64. Sir Arnold Gridley

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he has any statement to make about the removal of import duties on goods imported for Government purposes?

Sir K. Wood

Yes, Sir. Treasury orders have now been made exempting from duty under the Safeguarding of Industries Act and the Import Duties Act a range of goods the bulk of which are imported for Government use. The Orders will be published, and will take effect, to-morrow. I should like to take this opportunity to make it clear that the exemptions in question are unconnected with tariff policy and are designed as a war-time measure to save the labour involved in the collection of the duties from Government Departments. They are made possible by the fact that all imports are now subject to rigorous control, and in that connection I can state that all the Departments concerned with imports will maintain their close contacts with the industries. I would also add that when it becomes necessary to consider the post-war position of our external trade, the industries concerned will be called into consultation.

Mr. A. Edwards

Are we to understand that no goods for the war effort which have ultimately to be paid for by the Government are to pay duties in future?

Sir K. Wood

That is the broad effect of it, but if I have to amend that, I will communicate with my hon. Friend.