HC Deb 05 February 1948 vol 446 cc1906-7
54. Mr. Janner

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will remove the Purchase Tax on industrial gloves in view of the necessity of these gloves to men carrying out certain work and the fact that they cannot be used for personal private wear.

The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Glenvil Hall)

This matter was recently examined but it was found impossible to frame a satisfactory comprehensive definition for the purpose of an exempting Order.

Mr. Janner

Will my right hon. Friend reconsider this matter in view of the fact that these gloves are of a very heavy nature and cannot be used for any other purpose, and that men who are working on wires, ropes and hawsers must have them because of the nature of their work?

Mr. Glenvil Hall

This matter has been considered, and the trade organisation concerned has been consulted in association with the Board of Trade. No proper definition could be found. The trade association is not in favour of having one that would not be complete.

Mr. John Lewis

Would my right hon. Friend bear in mind that industrial gloves which are used in factories, have to be replaced at frequent intervals owing to the fact that they wear out quickly and that they ought to be regarded as a consumable store?

Mr. Glenvil Hall

We have considered that. We would like, if we could, to help in this direction but there are difficulties, and I have indicated what they are.

57. Captain Crowder

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer why it has now been decided that Purchase Tax is to be charged on the refill service provided by the manufacturers of the Biro pen.

Mr. Glenvil Hall

The service is the supply of replacements which are chargeable with the tax as articles of stationery.

Captain Crowder

Can the right hon. Gentleman say why this change has only been made in the last few months, because the Biro pen has been on the market for nearly two years and we did not have to pay tax until the latest advertisement which appeared in the Press last week?

Mr. Glenvil Hall

I understand that it was realised only recently that these refills could be put into position by the individual concerned. It was thought previously that the pen had to go back to the supplier. [HON. MEMBERS: "It does."] Other pens of a similar kind bear the tax, and there is no reason why this one, which is not a particularly good one, should be excepted. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."]

Mr. Langford-Holt

As the whole operation involves only an exchange of refill tubes, neither of which are new, is the Purchase Tax charged on the exchanged article, on the whole tube, or the ink inside?

Air-Commodore Harvey

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that his remark about this pen is quite wrong and that this firm is making a great contribution in the form of exports to all parts of the world? Would he withdraw his remark.

Captain Crowder

Would the Financial Secretary have a look at this matter again, because it is not true that individuals can refill the Biro pen? The pen has to go back to the makers.

Mr. Glenvil Hall

That is not so. Other pens have to bear this tax, and there is no reason why this particular pen should be advertised in this House one way or the other.

Sir William Darling

On a point of Order. Is it in Order for the right hon. Gentleman to make a disparaging remark of that character—that the pen is not a good one—when it is common knowledge that it is doing a very large export business?