HC Deb 28 March 1950 vol 473 cc183-4
50. Mr. De la Bère

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, in cases where Purchase Tax is reduced or remitted on any article and the retailer is compelled to lower the price of the article to the public, thus incurring a loss in the value of his stock, he will in future make provision whereby the retailer can recover the difference in the tax which he has already paid.

Sir S. Cripps

I fear that up to the present it has not been possible to devise in consultation with the trade a fair and workable solution of this very difficult problem. I cannot therefore at present commit myself as to the future.

Mr. De la Bère

But does the right hon. and learned Gentleman not hold out some hope? Does he recollect that last time the answer was that it was administratively impracticable? Surely he is getting one stage better. Let us get on with the job.

Sir S. Cripps

We are certainly still using all the ingenuity of the trade as well as our own to try to devise a satisfactory system.

Mr. Wade

Will the Chancellor consider granting a discount to retailers, having regard to the fact that they suffer loss not only where Purchase Tax is reduced but also where goods are damaged, broken or otherwise become unsaleable, because, tax having been paid it is irrecoverable?

Sir S. Cripps

There is another Question on that point later on the Paper.

Colonel Ropner

Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman admit that there is an unfair burden placed on retailers in an arbitrary and indiscriminate manner by the reduction of tax?

Sir S. Cripps

There has been no reduction in tax so far which has hurt anybody.

Mr. Stanley

Could the right hon. and learned Gentleman tell us whether there is likely to be one in the immediate future?

Sir S. Cripps

That is a matter upon which everybody can take their own view.