HC Deb 03 April 1951 vol 486 cc26-7
53. Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer under what authority £20 Customs Duty was demanded on 55 crates of snow presented by Norwegian sporting organisations for use in a sporting event in this country; and whether he intends to insist on this payment.

Mr. Gaitskell

The Import Duties Act, 1932, imposed a Customs duty of 10 per cent. ad valorem on all goods imported into this country, with certain exceptions. This snow was described for Customs purposes by the importers as having a value of £200 and was technically liable to duty of £20. No difficulty would have arisen if the importers had applied for duty-free admission, as was done in similar circumstances last year. On advice from the Customs Department, they have now done so and duty relief has been allowed.

Mr. Oliver Lyttelton

Can the Chancellor say whether this import has since been liquidated?

Mr. Gaitskell

I think it is self-liquidating.

Mr. Henry Strauss

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the proposal to levy a duty on this snow was originally made in the "Manchester Guardian" by way of a joke? Is the explanation of the attempted charge that this was read by a civil servant who did not know it was a joke?