HC Deb 21 April 1943 vol 388 cc1763-4

Eleventh Resolution read a Second time.

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

Mr. Hannah (Bilston)

I have received a letter from the director and secretary of the National Buildings Record, whose headquarters are "All Souls College, Oxford," about a small point connected with the Budget which I cannot help thinking is accidental. Most properly the Chancellor has raised the Purchase Tax to 100 per cent. in order to prevent the purchase of luxuries, which we must learn to do without during the war. Unfortunately, apparently this tax, as at present arranged, applies to the photo films and paper required by the National Buildings Record and may prevent their work, very often, altogether. We all know the splendid work they are doing in recording, by plans, elevations, sections and photographs, the monuments of our past. They may be useful in the restoration of those buildings if they are bombed. If they are past restoration, they will be of enormous value in connection with the history of our architecture and art. I want very strongly indeed to ask for a careful and sympathetic examination. The National Buildings Record, in a very English way, is financed by the Government, but it is not allowed the privileges, prestige and exemptions of being a Government Department. I do not think there is any doubt that this is entirely unintentional, and I ask for careful consideration. At the same time I hope the old age pensioners will be given some help.

Sir K. Wood

I do not quite follow how the last of my hon. Friend's observations come into this question of photography and matters of that kind, but I know his heart is good, and I am sure his constituency will appreciate it. I will examine this case he has raised. I rather gathered from what the hon. Member said that this organisation was financed by the Government. If so, then I do not think it will suffer very much, because apparently the Government will have to pay the extra tax. I have, in fact, followed in this connection the same procedure as in my last Budget. All those articles which were affected when I increased the tax to 66–2/3rds. per cent. are the same articles which will be subject to 100 per cent. tax. I have not heard anything about this matter so far as last year is concerned, but I will inquire into the point and communicate with my hon. Friend.

Mr. Hannah

Thank you very much. I understand that the Government help to the National Buildings Record is strictly limited. They do not provide all it would like.

Sir K. Wood

I am very glad to hear that.

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

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