HC Deb 13 December 1944 vol 406 cc1281-2

1.7 p.m.

The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Peake)

I beg to move, That the Purchase Tax (Alteration of Rates) (No. 2) Order, 1944, dated 17th November, 1944, made by the Treasury under Section 20 of the Finance (No. 2) Act. 1940, a copy of which Order was presented on 29th November, be approved. I think it might be courteous, although the House is not very full, to say a word in explanation of the Motion on the Order Paper in my name with regard to the reduction of Purchase Tax on mother of pearl buttons and studs. Mother of pearl buttons and studs, in fact all articles wholly made of mother of pearl, are included in the Seventh Schedule to the Finance Act (No. 2), 1940, and are chargeable with purchase tax at the rate which was increased in 1943 to 100 per cent., as being articles of ornament. It has been represented to us, however, that mother of pearl buttons, at any rate, are articles of a purely utility character. For example, the Admiralty specify that all pyjamas supplied to them shall have mother of pearl buttons and, in point of fact, the mother of pearl button wears much better in the wash than do buttons made of bone or casein. As regards studs, they of course only go to the wash accidently and very seldom return therefrom; at the same time these are, I think, also articles of a purely utility character, and we are proposing, therefore, that the rate of Purchase Tax on them shall be reduced to the rate of 33⅓ which is the rate paid by other articles of this character.

Question put, and agreed to.