HC Deb 22 April 1948 vol 449 cc2003-5
58. Sir W. Smithers

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, in view of the fact that users of wireless sets who use current from the main do not have to pay Purchase Tax for that current, he will take steps to remove Purchase Tax from radio batteries altogether, and thus avoid discrimination.

Mr. Glenvil Hall

No, Sir.

Sir W. Smithers

Will the Financial Secretary ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether his recently acquired powers as financial economic dictator of this country have so gone to his head that he has lost all sense of fair play? Will he ask him that?

Mr. Proctor

Is my right hon. Friend aware that people using the particular type of set referred to, pay Purchase Tax? Inside the set is a transformer on which Purchase Tax is paid, and which breaks down the load to the battery.

Sir W. Smithers

Will it break down the Government?

61. Mr. Peter Freeman

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that the Purchase Tax on baskets was increased from 5o per cent. to 66⅔ per cent.; that many of these baskets are made by blind people; that it has already caused additional unemployment amongst the blind; and whether he will arrange to relieve such products made by blind people from all Purchase Tax.

Mr. Glenvil Hall

I am not aware that the increase in the rate of Purchase Tax on baskets has caused additional unemployment amongst the blind, and it would not be possible to deal in isolation with basketware made by blind persons.

Mr. Freeman

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the effect of this tax on the blind institutes will be that they will be unable to resist ordinary, normal competition and that they are likely to loose the whole of this particular trade, which is one of the trades in which the blind can still engage? Will my right hon. Friend go into this whole matter again.

Mr. Glenvil Hall

This is a matter which might conveniently come up when we deal with the Finance Bill in a few weeks. It is difficult to argue it now.

Mr. Collins

Is my right hon. Friend aware that this matter is a very urgent one, because some 50 per cent. or more of the people engaged in the basket industry are employed in the workshops of the blind, where there is a degree of unemployment of not less than 25 per cent.? Is he further aware that these people are completely non-mobile and that the matter is urgent and needs looking into now?

Mr. Glenvil Hall

The institutes to which my hon. Friend refers are very highly subsidised, and the matter is not as simple as is suggested.

64. Mrs. Jean Mann

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he is aware that soft haberdashery like tapes, braids, elastics, etcetera, have not been considered haberdashery but tissues; and in consequence of this interpretation these goods have not been reduced in tax from 50 per cent. to 33⅓ per cent. but have been increased to 66⅔ per cent.; and if he will consider reclassifying these goods.

65. Captain John Crowder

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer why, in view of the fact that the Purchase Tax on haberdashery is to be reduced, such articles as tapes, bindings and elastics have now been re-classified as tissue, thereby qualifying for a higher rate of Purchase Tax.

Mr. Glenvil Hall

My right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer intends to move an Amendment on the Committee stage of the Finance Bill which will have the effect of charging fabrics not exceeding 3 inches wide at the same rate as haberdashery, 33⅓ per cent.

Mrs. Mann

Does that mean that this issue of tissue is going to be satisfactorily settled?

Mr. Glenvil Hall

I hope so.

Captain Crowder

Does the answer mean that the Order will be cancelled? That is all we want to know. There have been a lot of complaints, because the Chancellor in his Budget speech said that the tax would be reduced, and, in fact, it has been increased.

Mr. Glenvil Hall

The change will be made as I have indicated.