HC Deb 22 February 1949 vol 461 c1687
53. Mr. John Lewis

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will adopt the scheme for collecting Purchase Tax similar to that operating in the United States of America where State and Federal Tax is paid at the time when the goods are actually purchased by the consumer.

Sir S. Cripps

No, Sir. A retail sales tax has repeatedly been considered and rejected as unsatisfactory.

Mr. Lewis

Is my right hon. and learned Friend aware that something is very necessary at the moment in view of the fact that uncertainty regarding Purchase Tax and the Budget changes which are being anticipated by both buyers and retailers, is having a ruinous effect on the distributive trade? In those circumstances, cannot my right hon. and learned Friend tax his ingenuity to discover some system whereby people will not lose money as a result of Budget changes in relation to stocks Which they hold?

Sir S. Cripps

I am quite aware of the difficulties which are raised by Purchase Tax, especially if people contemplate that there is likely to be any alteration, but I am afraid that is not a matter which can be overcome by a retail sales tax.