HC Deb 28 March 1945 vol 409 cc1366-7
54. Sir Waldron Smithers

asked the Minister of Food under what authority was the profit on the importation of Algerian wine retained by his Ministry; and if Treasury sanction was obtained for the imposition of the equivalent of a tax.

Mr. Mabane

Imports on Government account may involve surpluses or deficits according to the circumstances of the case and no special authority is required to include such balances in the Departmental accounts other than the general statutory authority under which the Ministry of Food operates. Treasury authority was obtained in this as in all such cases for the purchase price, the Ministry's selling price, the traders' margins of profit and the retail selling price.

Sir W. Smithers

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that his Ministry has, in fact, imposed a customs duty unconstitutionally, and will he find out what the penalty is likely to be?

Mr. Mabane

No, Sir, I am not so aware.