HC Deb 26 June 1951 vol 489 cc1177-9
47. Mr. Geoffrey Hirst

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will make arrangements to provide deaf people with television sets free from Purchase Tax.

Mr. Gaitskell

No, Sir.

50. Brigadier Clarke

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer why minicars attract Purchase Tax at 66⅔ per cent., in view of the fact that they are licensed as motor-cycles and insured as motor-cycles, and are, in all respects, covered-in motorcycles: and if he will give further consideration to the reduction of this tax, in view of the representations made to him by John Fisher, of 201, New Road, Portsmouth.

Mr. Gaitskell

These light three-wheeled cars do not pay the same rate of licence duty as motor bicycles, though they bear a lower rate than four-wheeled cars and the heavier three-wheelers. These factors were considered but it was decided that, in general character, light three-wheelers are more akin to other sorts of small private car than to motorcycles. I have reviewed the matter in the light of the representations referred to, but see no reason to propose any alteration.

Brigadier Clarke

Does not the Minister appreciate that this 66⅔ per cent. Tax will absolutely kill this trade, and that those poor people who could afford to buy these cars will not be able to buy them at the price now forced on them by this legislation?

Mr. Gaitskell

There is such a long waiting list for all cars that there is no question of killing anything.

52. Sir G. Jeffreys

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that officers of the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force have to pay Purchase Tax on all articles of uniform purchased by them; and whether, in view of the fact that they are obliged to purchase such articles for wear in the performance of their duties, he will arrange that in future all articles of uniform shall be duty-free for all three Services.

Mr. Gaitskell

No, Sir. Officers of the Armed Forces receive rates of pay which take into account any Purchase Tax charged on uniforms which they buy, and they are allowed Income Tax rebates for the maintenance and replacement of uniforms. I cannot agree to provide further relief.

Sir G. Jeffreys

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that officers do pay their share of Purchase Tax on their civilian clothes? Is he aware, moreover, that they have to keep their uniforms in good creditable order becoming their rank? Is he aware also, for instance, that Purchase Tax on a naval officer's ordinary daily rig amounts to £11 5s., and does he think this is fair in view of the very great fall in the value of money?

Mr. Gaitskell

I have already explained that their pay takes into account Purchase Tax and that there are special allowances as regards Income Tax.

Captain Ryder

When the Chancellor says that the tax is taken into consideration in this matter, will he say how much a year is set aside in the process of assessing the pay?

Mr. Gaitskell

Obviously the question of pay is a very much wider one. I was saying that in settling the rates of pay which were substantially increased not long ago this kind of thing was taken into account.

Mr. Mitchison

Is there such a thing as a utility uniform and, if not, why not?

Mr. Gaitskell

Not, I think, so far as the officers of the Services are concerned.

Brigadier Prior-Palmer

Is not the right hon. Gentleman aware that the recent small increases in pay were made entirely in view of the increased cost of living and had nothing whatever to do with Purchase Tax, which is something entirely separate?

Mr. Paget

Would my right hon. Friend consult with the President of the Board of Trade with a view to providing a utility range of uniforms?

Mr. Gaitskell

I am quite prepared to consult with him, but I rather fancy this has been looked at before.

Mr. Profumo

Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that the answer he has just given is completely contrary to the assurance given to the House the other day by the Financial Secretary, when he told the House there was a good case for increasing the allowances and promised to have discussions with the Service Ministries? Are we to take it that the right hon. Gentleman is in disagreement with that, or can we assume there will be discussions at an early stage?

Mr. Gaitskell

My hon. Friend was discussing the question of Income Tax rebates. This Question does not relate to that but to Purchase Tax.