HC Deb 03 November 1948 vol 457 cc854-5
47. Major Legge-Bourke

asked the Minister of Defence what steps he is taking to alleviate the burden of Purchase Tax on uniforms and necessary equipment of newly-commissioned officers.

45. Sir Ralph Glyn

asked the Minister of Defence if he will consider, in conjunction with the Service Departments concerned, the financial burden placed on officers of the three Services having to pay Purchase Tax on all articles of uniform; whether, in view of the high cost of uniforms now prevailing, any estimate has been made of the increased expenditure in which officers are involved on promotion, etc.; and what setps he considers should be taken at once to meet this situation.

Mr. Alexander

I ought to explain that the hon. Member for Abingdon (Sir R. Glyn) asked that his Question should be postponed, but there is no need for that.

It has been agreed in principle that the State should in future meet the reasonable cost, including Purchase Tax, of officers' uniform on commissioning. The amount of the grant will be based on prescribed scales and standards. These and other details are now being worked out and will be announced as soon as possible.

Commander Noble

Could the Minister say whether that in any way affects the £35 per annum Income Tax relief?

Mr. Alexander

I Would rather that the hon. and gallant Member awaited the details, but I will have the point looked into.

Mr. A. R. W. Low

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind the importance, if he is to achieve fairness, of giving the concession some retroactive effect?

Mr. Alexander

I will consider it.

Sir R. Glyn

Can that instruction be made retrospective six months?

Mr. Alexander

I think that is the point I have just answered.